VIA: Variable Image Abstractor™

VIA: Variable Image Abstractor™ is a real-time generative art (not AI) system that runs on a Mac computer. Originally developed in the early 2000s with FutureBASIC, the current versions are written in the Processing programming language.

In terms of visual memory, images float within our mind; juxtaposing, overlapping, replacing one another. VIA externalizes these visions into a time based visual experience. Depending on the source imagery, VIA can produce fragments of reality, total abstraction, or a mix of the two. Sometimes Impressionistic, other times Cubist or Expressionistic, I like to think of the resulting imagery as a visual representation of thought.

In searching for new ways to present several images simultaneously, I began thinking about automating a structured, yet random process of image transformation. I developed VIA, a stream-of-consciousness type of image engine. VIA displays an image, then systematically replaces parts of the image with parts of other images read from an image library. The reading process is random, and designed in a way that repetition is unlikely. The end result is imagery constructing and deconstructing itself, to create an ever evolving composition that can run indefinitely.

Over time, along with using diverse data sets to create image variations, several VIA code variations have been developed to alter the image output in different ways. For instance, one variation displays the image output in solid random colors, and another variation abstracts parts of a single image rather than multiple images. In addition VIA is becoming a tool in image creation for digital collages shown HERE.


VIA: Art Garden ©2024
Using two source images, flowers and an abstract painting (2:06 min. excerpt)

VIA: Squeeze ©2024
Using a single source image from a 1988 acrylic painting (2:02 min. excerpt)

VIA: Painting Abstraction ©2020
Using a single image from a mixed media 1988 painting (2:23 min. excerpt)
VIA: Glass House #1 ©2020
Using photographic source imagery of friends’ mid-century glass collection (1:44 min. excerpt)

VIA: Legacy ©2019
Using source imagery of human consumption and waste (in black & white) and of nature (in color). (7:13 min excerpt)

“Artifact” Installation (2019): Macbook Pro running VIA, and mixed media painting on paper.

More information on “Artifact” (PDF)


VIA: Pop Forest ©2008/2019
Using photographic source imagery of plants and trees. (7:15 min. excerpt)

Mixed media installation (2019): Branches, wood, hardboard/plastic, acrylic, collage, vintage fabric; iMac running VIA: Through the Pop Forest (2008 version); and Strata #24 Digital Painted wall sculpture: ink jet prints and acrylic on rice paper over branches (2015).


VIA: Architecture ©2019
Using photographic source imagery of buildings and architectural structures (4:48 min. excerpt).


VIA: DotGEO ©2018
Using source imagery from an abstract painting by my late mother, Dorothy Burnham, VIA takes image sections of the painting, and remixes it’s shapes and forms to create new ever-changing abstractions. (2:38 min. excerpt)

More information on DotGEO (PDF)


Samples of FutureBASIC versions of VIA

VIA: Grow ©2005-2006 (6:31 min. excerpt)

VIA: Peace Space ©2004-2006 (6:12 min. excerpt)