Zufälliger Polygonzug – 13/9/65 Nr. 7 (Random Polygon)

Basic Information

Title: Zufälliger Polygonzug – 13/9/65 Nr. 7 (Random Polygon)
Artist(s): Frieder Nake
Date Created: 1965
Framed Dimensions: 28.75 x 21.25 in.
Unframed Dimensions: 27 x 19 in.
Inventory ID: Nake-1965-03


artist’s name, computer identifier ER56, and plotter machine identifier Z64 printed lower right

ER56 indicates the Standard Elektrik Lorenz computer used to program the plotter printer

Z64 indicates the Zuse Z64 Graphomat plotter printer used to draw the print on paper


The algorithm “Random Polygon” (which is part of the package compArt ER56) is used in an unusual way here. The drawing consists of one polygonal line only, which fact may not appear obvious at first sight. – A polygon is a sequence of vertices connected by straight line segments (“edges”). At each vertex along the polygon, the direction and length of the next edge are chosen randomly. The random choice of the direction follows a discrete probability distribution. The set of permitted directions is responsible for the particular visual appearance. The usual kind of random choice by the time (1965) was (and still often is) a uniform probability distribution over all directions. In this experiment, however, the choice of next direction is restricted. Only the horizontal, two oblique directions, and slight deviations from the vertical were permitted. This restriction creates the peculiar visual effect of the drawing. The restrictions clearly result in a more consciously composed structure. – The drawings of this experiment demonstrate the strong influence an advanced selection of probability distributions for random number generators may have on the aesthetics of even a simple constructive schema as the random polygon.


Detail images of the work

More Artworks By Frieder Nake

Matrizenmultiplikation (Matrix Multiplication)

a portfolio of twelve plotter drawings, one colophon page, and one computer code print out in a custom made quad-fold portfolio each drawing is signed, titled, and dated in machine ink each drawing is signed, titled, and dated in graphite on the reverse of the paper printed and published by Hansjörg Mayer hardware: Telefunken-Rechner 4 […]

Untitled (from the 16 4 66 Portfolio)

signed lower right in graphite numbered 77/150 lower left in graphite a double sided and folded work from the 16 4 66 Portfolio/Book of serigraphs and letterpress prints with artist’s text sheets by 16 various artists including: Max Bense, Klaus Burkhardt, Sigfrid Cremer, Reinhard Döhl, Hein Gravenhorst, Helmut Heissenbüttel, Rudolf Hoflehner, Herbert W. Kapitzki, Erhard […]

Hommage to Kazimir Malevich No. 7

artist’s name, title, and edition information printed below the image signed, dated, and numbered on accompanying certificate of authenticity paper: Fujufilm semi-matt 190 g inkjet paper, edition: 40 unique copies + 4 artist proofs On large screens we see dynamic images generated by the program at the moment of their appearance. The picture “happens” endlessly […]