Our Written World – An attempt to algorithmically discern written marks, 2011

A prototype text detection algorithm is used to process footage from the suburban streets of Perth. Everything that is not determined a word, is erased. This custom algorithm does not look for known letters, but rather in an attempt to avoid anglocentrism checks for properties common to the written word across all cultures.

According to the Rules of Chance, 2009

Inspired by Jean Arp’s Untitled (Collage with Squares Arranged According to the Laws of Chance). This video work is generated by randomly rearranging and moving image fragments depicting the Belconnen bus interchange (now demolished). Artworks like our built environment are not static they live and breath, come into being and disappear again. All of my digital works rely heavily on notions of chance, although ironically there is no chance within a computer. Everything is deterministic.

relevant [ <09 Codeworks ]

Blind Drawings, 2008

A series of experimental blind drawings created in direct relation to Benjamin’s Drawing Machine Project. These drawings are a study of the inconsistency between a drawing and the artists internal representation of the drawing in progress

relevant [ <09 Drawings ]

One hundred and forty three days by my side, 2011

process: This empty industrially printed and bound book was carried by my side for one-hundred and forty-three days. Containing no information, this book is inscribed with a history of fingerprints, dirt and violence. (Information ≠ Meaning)

relevant [ )( 11 ]

Drawing Machine State 02:11:08

Second iteration of Benjamin Forster’s Drawing Machine. Discarded the concept of the compositional drawing on a plane and instead focused on drawing as the embodiment of thought. Drawing inspiration from impulsive mark making such as, note-taking and doodling.

relevant [ <09 10 11 12 Drawing Machine ]

Expanding set of points, 2011

An expanding collection of ephemeral drawings. Exhibited as part of )( at Fremantle Arts Centre in 2011.

relevant [ )( 11 Drawings ]

Artworks / Collections / Contracts

This is a complete list of artworks and collections currently available for custodianship. Click on each item to view the associated contractual agreement. These agreements include images and descriptions of each item. A strike-though represents that an artwork or collection is currently under the care of a custodian.


Please email if you are interested in becoming a custodian. benjamin@emptybook.net


relevant [ 13 Custodians ]

Untitled, 2011

A generative work made in response to Anna Madeleine’s as part of the project Re:.

Re: is a playful and experimental online project involving six young artists – Anna Madeleine, Benjamin Forster, Robbie Karmel, Luke Penders, Sarah Catherine Firth and Travis H Heinrich. Over seven months each artist will create five artworks – a total of thirty works. The artists will take turns each week presenting a new work. There’s only one rule; each new piece must reference the one produced the week before. Not intended as a site for complete and finished works, rather re: can be seen as a simple game that allows for the artists to play with the intersections of each of their individual practices.

Find out more and view some of the work here.

relevant [ 11 Codeworks ]

La Lecon D’amour Dans Un Parc, 2006

An artist book exploring both the phychological and physical topology of books. La Lecon D’amour is a drawing into the pages and surface of a second hand french romance novel.

relevant [ <09 Drawings ]

Research Overview

Diogenes (detail) (2010)

Diogenes (detail) (2010)
Gold Pen and Pencil on Paper,
150 x 200 mm

This research residency can be seen as a tangential continuation of Benjamin Forster’s drawing machine project. His drawing machine project centred around his attempt to program a computer to draw in a way that was distinctly human, rather than stylistically digital or mechanistic. This had two concurrent aims: firstly to explore ideas about drawing, and secondly to raise questions about the validity of the specific method that he had employed. Whist at SymbioticA, Benjamin continued to explore the question ‘what is drawing?’ although instead of utilising programming, his project used materials and techniques from the biological sciences.

This research project was initially aimed at exploring new methods and potential extensions of drawing offered by the relatively new field of Biological Arts. This concerned both the technical and theoretical aspects of biological drawing. It’s important to note that by biological drawing, it is meant drawings produced from biological materials, and not drawings depicting biology.

Benjamin approached this residency as an open ended research project with no specific ideas regarding technologies or techniques, rather simply to enter the laboratory environment and be open to all possibilities. As such this research ended up far from this initial focus on drawing in an investigation of hybridity, cell plasticity and concepts of cynicism. To be continued…

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This residency was supported by the ACT Government.