Totem of Taste
Totem of Taste is a generative art project about donuts. It reflects on the monumentality of food and renders donuts just on the verge of unexpectedness through 128 unique editions.
The fascination with food and the depiction thereof runs deep in history. To taste something just right can be an ethereal experienceThe fascination with food and the depiction thereof runs deep in history. To taste something just right can be an ethereal experience, a Proust’s madeleine moment..
The project takes inspiration from digital sculptures and casts donuts in abstract form – a totem of its own right, an icon in its own light.
The first iteration took place in January 2022. I recall the sheer delight of the first sight after stacking together some of those in p5.js, and adored the glow emanating from the screen.
The Code Recipe
The donut shape was generated from strange attractors which are systems of equations that evolve over time. The algorithm guided millions of points until they settle into deterministic shapes after just a few seconds. There was no artificial textures engineering - the trajectories of the points naturally formed them. I then further contoured the borders into mochi and old-fashioned donuts. While I have been experimenting with generative art since 2018, my encounter with attractors was two years ago here.
To create compositional variations, I aimed for a delicate balance between emergence and curation. I applied weighted randomness, such that some traits (colors, shapes) would appear more often than others. To achieve unity among diversity, I used feature dependency - some features depending on others -, like the layouts depending on the number of donuts.
While the initial version of the code was created in less than an hour, the final one was a labor of love that spanned eight months of work. Day after day, I put in incremental tweaking and polishing from the time that I can garner.
Behind the scene
Day after day I put in I put in incremental tweaking and polishing from the time that I can garner.
On some days I focused on the color palettes, naming them after food items they remind me of.
On other days, I experimented with gradients and layouts.
As a final touch, I attended to tiny details such as checking that the points would scale with the screen size.
To display it, I recommend digital display, such as a vertical monitor or art frame as it best brings out the lustre. For collectors who prefer prints, I found the pronounced textures of Hahnemühle G-etching paper go well with its dark background. If you need a digital copy of your token in a specific dimension or have questions regarding the project, I can be reached via twitter or discord pm.
Please enjoy the additional outputs below, or check out the project here.