Bits of Flow

Bits of Flow


Jason Salavon was an Artist in Residence at Microsoft Research from the fall of 2014 into the spring of 2015. Over that time, he worked on a number of projects, including Bits of Flow and A Thousand Snowflakes.

A Thousand Snowflakes

Bits of Flow is a digital artwork crafted specifically for the video columns in the Building 99 atrium space. Using real-time web-scraped source code as raw material, it visualizes the 100 most visited websites in the US as idiosyncratic, interconnected particle systems.

Bits of Flow

Bits of Flow

Each of these visualizations (one per column face) is seeded according to the properties of the original site source code. Whitespace in the source, for example, is invisible and has repulsive properties, while punctuation has a wide attractive range, etc. From this initial state, the work proceeds as a 2-3 minute real-time simulation as these forces interact in surprising ways.

“Bits of Flow” appeared as an experiential art exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum Remix

Using software processes of his own design, Jason Salavon generates and reconfigures masses of communal material to present new perspectives on the familiar. Though formally varied, his projects frequently manipulate the roles of individual elements arranged in diverse visual populations. This often unearths unexpected pattern as the relationship between the part and the whole, the individual, and the group is explored. Reflecting a natural attraction to popular culture and the day-to-day, his work regularly incorporates the use of common references and source material. The final compositions are exhibited as art objects, such as photographic prints and video installations, while others exist in a real-time software context.

Born in Indiana (1970), raised in Texas, and based in Chicago, Salavon earned his MFA at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his BA from The University of Texas at Austin. His work has been shown in museums and galleries around the world. Reviews of his exhibitions have been included in such publications as Artforum, Art in America, The New York Times, and WIRED. Examples of his artwork are included in prominent public and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago among many others.

Previously, he taught at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was employed for numerous years as an artist and programmer in the video game industry. He is currently an associate professor in the Department of Visual Arts and the Computation Institute at the University of Chicago.

Neel Joshi, Jason Salavon, and Michael Cohen were all collaborators on project

Neel Joshi, Jason Salavon, Michael Cohen