Interview

In Conversation with Per Kristian Stoveland

by Jordan Kantor

Per Kristian Stoveland (perkwerk) is a generative artist based in Oslo, Norway. Together with his daughter and significant other, he lives in an apartment in Oslo’s outskirts, overlooking the city. After graduating from The Oslo School of Graphic Design in 2003, Per Kristian pursued a career as a graphic designer-turned-coder and developer. In 2015, after more than a decade working in the design and advertising industries, he switched paths to co-found Void, an alternative design studio working at the intersection of art, architecture, design, and technology. His work at Void leverages his technical expertise and creative experience in software development to build and develop physical experiences and installations.

Jordan Kantor: Hi, Per Kristian. Wonderful to speak with you on the occasion of the upcoming release of your Curated project The Harvest. Perhaps we can begin at the start—how did you first get into making art?

Per Kristian Stoveland: I think I would have to say in early primary school, actually. The first decade of my life I lived in Africa, where my father worked in water development and sanitation. My parents decided that, rather than attending the traditional international school for Norwegian expats, my brother and I should go to a local Montessori school instead. The first years of my life at school, therefore, became quite focused on learning to express oneself through drawing, acting, and music. I am very grateful for this experience.

JK: Yes, I believe the Montessori curriculum puts special emphasis on sensory experience, culture, as well as mathematics. Really interesting to hear you reference that as a formative influence. Moving forward in time, how did you first get into digital or generative art?

PKS: After completing design school, I was struggling a bit to make a living from my design training. At the time, I was juggling a bartending job while also doing a lot of unpaid design assignments just to get industry experience. During one of these assignments, I was tasked to build a website for my mates’ band. I had just recently heard about Flash, so I thought this was a great opportunity to learn what was, for me, a new tool for site building and animation. In hindsight, this decision has probably been one of the most important in my career, as it launched me into the endless landscape of coding and created a perpetual hunger for learning more about it. It wasn’t long thereafter that I was adept enough at coding to start experimenting with generative art.

“This project is where my deep fascination for physics, space, the cosmos, and science fiction meets my art practice.”
JK: Indeed, sometimes small decisions can have large, unforeseeable impacts. How did this skill in coding and emergent interest in generative art set you on your path to this project? How did you discover the blockchain as a medium for art?

PKS: I remember hearing about NFTs and learning that the blockchain was more than just currency back in 2020, I think. But this really got my attention once my good friend and partner-in-crime Bjørn (@_nonfigurativ_) released his project The Liths of Sisyphus on Art Blocks in Summer 2021. At that time, my generative art practice had been somewhat in the background. But getting that front-seat view of how the blockchain and generative art are just simply made for each other reignited the spark in me. I got at it again right away, and have been going ever since. Not going away any time soon either—it has been extremely fulfilling.

JK: Can you talk a bit about how your creative process has evolved over time? Is your work different now since you’ve gotten back into it after a time of relative dormancy?

PKS: I have been coding for twenty years now, and my process has changed over these years for sure. Early on, in the Flash days, I was animating, designing, and coding in an unorganized and suboptimal way. As I got better at coding, and less and less reliant on animation and design tools, the process became more streamlined. I am now at a point, both in my work at Void and my generative art practice, where it’s all an integrated process, and I prefer to design while I code.

Left Per Kristian Stoveland, Shores #2, 2021.  Right Per Kristian Stoveland, Skravert #319, 2021.
JK: I am glad you brought up Void. Can you talk a bit about how your art practice relates to your design studio work?

PKS: Most of our work at Void these days tends to involve building permanent installations, which means there is a lot of planning. We have to be meticulous, build prototypes and proofs of concept, so seeing the fruits of your labor can sometimes take years. Generative art, on the other hand, is much more immediate, and for how I work, there are no dependencies—I just need my laptop, and I am good to go. There is a spot where these two worlds overlap though, and that is in the code. I find myself able to reach that same inner peace of “being in the flow” whether I’m writing an interface module for a new 3D camera in the context of my studio work or coding on a new visual generative algorithm as an independent creative project. 

JK: Are there any recent accomplishments you’d like to share?

PKS: Definitely! Our most recent project at Void is *Delta*, a permanent, embedded light sculpture that flows through streets and alleys of the Tullinløkka city block in Oslo. This project has been three years in the making, and I am really proud of what we have accomplished. It runs over a polished concrete waterfall in the heart of the block, which doubles as an amphitheater. Sensors placed around the plan recognize pedestrians, and their movement initiates waves of light that propagate within the aluminum riverbeds lined with dark basalt rock. For the grand opening of this public art piece, we hooked the whole system up to live music and used the installation as stage lights. What a wild experience that was!

Installation view of Void, Delta, 2022. Multimedia interactive installation. Oslo, Norway. Photo by Einar Aslaksen.

Another project I would mention is C8 - Tesseract. When Void first started out, it was quite hard to get across what we were trying to do. C8 is the first project to come out of Void. It was self-initiated and made to demonstrate what we were all about. This artwork was created as an exploration of light as a medium for playing with perception and dimensionality. The sculpture consists of six mirror foiled acrylic plates attached to a custom welded steel frame. The frame has a total of 1340 LEDs attached along the inside which create endlessly repeating patterns of light. You can see a video of it here.

Installation view of Void, C8, 2015. Mirror foiled acrylic plates, custom welded steel frame, LED lights. Oslo, Norway. Photo by Void.
JK: That’s a beautiful project. Turning to the work at hand, can you tell us a bit about The Harvest?

PKS: Let me start with a little background first. I’ve been into tabletop role-playing games ever since my childhood, and I have come to realize through the years that it’s the storytelling and world-building that attracts me rather than the game itself. The Harvest came to life while I was working on a few ideas I had using 3D primitives to build landscapes. A certain output popped up, and all of a sudden the storyteller in me woke up. I am usually very visually driven in my art, and the story kind of tells itself while working on it. In the case of The Harvest, though, the story came first, and was directing the visuals instead. (There is more on this narrative background in the project description here.)

The first part of creating The Harvest consisted of building an algorithm that would depict all the worlds an entity called “the caretaker” would visit. I wanted it to feel familiar, but still have aspects that give it an alien vibe. To accomplish this, the algorithm does several passes through the landscape generator to create the topography, the surface, and any disturbances from the beams. It’s been a thrill to play with, and I feel there is a lot to explore here in future pieces.

The central aspect of each output is how the beams decorate the landscape. Their configuration tells us which units have been sent out to harvest each world. The color blending and distribution of their beams took some time to get right. In fact, there was a point where I had to put it away for a while due to frustration, but the end result allows for some stunning color mixing.

Per Kristian Stoveland, The Harvest (test output), 2022.

Overall this project is where my deep fascination for physics, space, the cosmos, and science fiction meets my art practice for the first time. Looking back, it has been a great learning experience, and the result has left me wanting to create more.

JK: Thanks for walking us through that. What should collectors look for in the series as it is revealed?

PKS: Well, during the process I found that the outputs that have either very few or very many beams stood out the most. But at the same time, there are many combinations of features that produce interesting, unique compositions. I have also worked a lot on balancing how the single color palettes contrast with the multi-colored ones when looking at the collection as a whole. On another note, the palette names are riddled with sci-fi references. Let me know if you recognize any!

Per Kristian Stoveland, The Harvest #0, 2023.
JK: I am sure the community will be keen to look for these references, thanks for the tip! Is there anything else you’d like to share that would help viewers approach and appreciate your work?

PKS: The Harvest has become somewhat of a turning point for me. I feel I have found my identity with this project, and through the process of creating this algorithm, I have had a few moments of self-reflection. I find I thrive much more creatively when I’m building a world I see rather than seeing the world I’m building. I want to draw more stories.

JK: We can’t wait to see them. Thanks for taking the time for this conversation, Per Kristian. What is the best way for people to follow your work?

PKS: You can follow me on Twitter @perkwerk_ or on Instagram @perkwerk.art.

Top image  Pernille Sandberg, Portrait of Per Kristian Stoveland.

Per Kristian Stoveland (perkwerk) is a generative artist based in Oslo, Norway. Together with his daughter and significant other, he lives in an apartment in Oslo’s outskirts, overlooking the city. After graduating from The Oslo School of Graphic Design in 2003, Per Kristian pursued a career as a graphic designer-turned-coder and developer. In 2015, after more than a decade working in the design and advertising industries, he switched paths to co-found Void, an alternative design studio working at the intersection of art, architecture, design, and technology. His work at Void leverages his technical expertise and creative experience in software development to build and develop physical experiences and installations.

Jordan Kantor: Hi, Per Kristian. Wonderful to speak with you on the occasion of the upcoming release of your Curated project The Harvest. Perhaps we can begin at the start—how did you first get into making art?

Per Kristian Stoveland: I think I would have to say in early primary school, actually. The first decade of my life I lived in Africa, where my father worked in water development and sanitation. My parents decided that, rather than attending the traditional international school for Norwegian expats, my brother and I should go to a local Montessori school instead. The first years of my life at school, therefore, became quite focused on learning to express oneself through drawing, acting, and music. I am very grateful for this experience.

JK: Yes, I believe the Montessori curriculum puts special emphasis on sensory experience, culture, as well as mathematics. Really interesting to hear you reference that as a formative influence. Moving forward in time, how did you first get into digital or generative art?

PKS: After completing design school, I was struggling a bit to make a living from my design training. At the time, I was juggling a bartending job while also doing a lot of unpaid design assignments just to get industry experience. During one of these assignments, I was tasked to build a website for my mates’ band. I had just recently heard about Flash, so I thought this was a great opportunity to learn what was, for me, a new tool for site building and animation. In hindsight, this decision has probably been one of the most important in my career, as it launched me into the endless landscape of coding and created a perpetual hunger for learning more about it. It wasn’t long thereafter that I was adept enough at coding to start experimenting with generative art.

“This project is where my deep fascination for physics, space, the cosmos, and science fiction meets my art practice.”
JK: Indeed, sometimes small decisions can have large, unforeseeable impacts. How did this skill in coding and emergent interest in generative art set you on your path to this project? How did you discover the blockchain as a medium for art?

PKS: I remember hearing about NFTs and learning that the blockchain was more than just currency back in 2020, I think. But this really got my attention once my good friend and partner-in-crime Bjørn (@_nonfigurativ_) released his project The Liths of Sisyphus on Art Blocks in Summer 2021. At that time, my generative art practice had been somewhat in the background. But getting that front-seat view of how the blockchain and generative art are just simply made for each other reignited the spark in me. I got at it again right away, and have been going ever since. Not going away any time soon either—it has been extremely fulfilling.

JK: Can you talk a bit about how your creative process has evolved over time? Is your work different now since you’ve gotten back into it after a time of relative dormancy?

PKS: I have been coding for twenty years now, and my process has changed over these years for sure. Early on, in the Flash days, I was animating, designing, and coding in an unorganized and suboptimal way. As I got better at coding, and less and less reliant on animation and design tools, the process became more streamlined. I am now at a point, both in my work at Void and my generative art practice, where it’s all an integrated process, and I prefer to design while I code.

Left Per Kristian Stoveland, Shores #2, 2021.  Right Per Kristian Stoveland, Skravert #319, 2021.
JK: I am glad you brought up Void. Can you talk a bit about how your art practice relates to your design studio work?

PKS: Most of our work at Void these days tends to involve building permanent installations, which means there is a lot of planning. We have to be meticulous, build prototypes and proofs of concept, so seeing the fruits of your labor can sometimes take years. Generative art, on the other hand, is much more immediate, and for how I work, there are no dependencies—I just need my laptop, and I am good to go. There is a spot where these two worlds overlap though, and that is in the code. I find myself able to reach that same inner peace of “being in the flow” whether I’m writing an interface module for a new 3D camera in the context of my studio work or coding on a new visual generative algorithm as an independent creative project. 

JK: Are there any recent accomplishments you’d like to share?

PKS: Definitely! Our most recent project at Void is *Delta*, a permanent, embedded light sculpture that flows through streets and alleys of the Tullinløkka city block in Oslo. This project has been three years in the making, and I am really proud of what we have accomplished. It runs over a polished concrete waterfall in the heart of the block, which doubles as an amphitheater. Sensors placed around the plan recognize pedestrians, and their movement initiates waves of light that propagate within the aluminum riverbeds lined with dark basalt rock. For the grand opening of this public art piece, we hooked the whole system up to live music and used the installation as stage lights. What a wild experience that was!

Installation view of Void, Delta, 2022. Multimedia interactive installation. Oslo, Norway. Photo by Einar Aslaksen.

Another project I would mention is C8 - Tesseract. When Void first started out, it was quite hard to get across what we were trying to do. C8 is the first project to come out of Void. It was self-initiated and made to demonstrate what we were all about. This artwork was created as an exploration of light as a medium for playing with perception and dimensionality. The sculpture consists of six mirror foiled acrylic plates attached to a custom welded steel frame. The frame has a total of 1340 LEDs attached along the inside which create endlessly repeating patterns of light. You can see a video of it here.

Installation view of Void, C8, 2015. Mirror foiled acrylic plates, custom welded steel frame, LED lights. Oslo, Norway. Photo by Void.
JK: That’s a beautiful project. Turning to the work at hand, can you tell us a bit about The Harvest?

PKS: Let me start with a little background first. I’ve been into tabletop role-playing games ever since my childhood, and I have come to realize through the years that it’s the storytelling and world-building that attracts me rather than the game itself. The Harvest came to life while I was working on a few ideas I had using 3D primitives to build landscapes. A certain output popped up, and all of a sudden the storyteller in me woke up. I am usually very visually driven in my art, and the story kind of tells itself while working on it. In the case of The Harvest, though, the story came first, and was directing the visuals instead. (There is more on this narrative background in the project description here.)

The first part of creating The Harvest consisted of building an algorithm that would depict all the worlds an entity called “the caretaker” would visit. I wanted it to feel familiar, but still have aspects that give it an alien vibe. To accomplish this, the algorithm does several passes through the landscape generator to create the topography, the surface, and any disturbances from the beams. It’s been a thrill to play with, and I feel there is a lot to explore here in future pieces.

The central aspect of each output is how the beams decorate the landscape. Their configuration tells us which units have been sent out to harvest each world. The color blending and distribution of their beams took some time to get right. In fact, there was a point where I had to put it away for a while due to frustration, but the end result allows for some stunning color mixing.

Per Kristian Stoveland, The Harvest (test output), 2022.

Overall this project is where my deep fascination for physics, space, the cosmos, and science fiction meets my art practice for the first time. Looking back, it has been a great learning experience, and the result has left me wanting to create more.

JK: Thanks for walking us through that. What should collectors look for in the series as it is revealed?

PKS: Well, during the process I found that the outputs that have either very few or very many beams stood out the most. But at the same time, there are many combinations of features that produce interesting, unique compositions. I have also worked a lot on balancing how the single color palettes contrast with the multi-colored ones when looking at the collection as a whole. On another note, the palette names are riddled with sci-fi references. Let me know if you recognize any!

Per Kristian Stoveland, The Harvest #0, 2023.
JK: I am sure the community will be keen to look for these references, thanks for the tip! Is there anything else you’d like to share that would help viewers approach and appreciate your work?

PKS: The Harvest has become somewhat of a turning point for me. I feel I have found my identity with this project, and through the process of creating this algorithm, I have had a few moments of self-reflection. I find I thrive much more creatively when I’m building a world I see rather than seeing the world I’m building. I want to draw more stories.

JK: We can’t wait to see them. Thanks for taking the time for this conversation, Per Kristian. What is the best way for people to follow your work?

PKS: You can follow me on Twitter @perkwerk_ or on Instagram @perkwerk.art.

Top image  Pernille Sandberg, Portrait of Per Kristian Stoveland.

Per Kristian Stoveland (perkwerk) is a generative artist based in Oslo, Norway. Together with his daughter and significant other, he lives in an apartment in Oslo’s outskirts, overlooking the city. After graduating from The Oslo School of Graphic Design in 2003, Per Kristian pursued a career as a graphic designer-turned-coder and developer. In 2015, after more than a decade working in the design and advertising industries, he switched paths to co-found Void, an alternative design studio working at the intersection of art, architecture, design, and technology. His work at Void leverages his technical expertise and creative experience in software development to build and develop physical experiences and installations.

Jordan Kantor: Hi, Per Kristian. Wonderful to speak with you on the occasion of the upcoming release of your Curated project The Harvest. Perhaps we can begin at the start—how did you first get into making art?

Per Kristian Stoveland: I think I would have to say in early primary school, actually. The first decade of my life I lived in Africa, where my father worked in water development and sanitation. My parents decided that, rather than attending the traditional international school for Norwegian expats, my brother and I should go to a local Montessori school instead. The first years of my life at school, therefore, became quite focused on learning to express oneself through drawing, acting, and music. I am very grateful for this experience.

JK: Yes, I believe the Montessori curriculum puts special emphasis on sensory experience, culture, as well as mathematics. Really interesting to hear you reference that as a formative influence. Moving forward in time, how did you first get into digital or generative art?

PKS: After completing design school, I was struggling a bit to make a living from my design training. At the time, I was juggling a bartending job while also doing a lot of unpaid design assignments just to get industry experience. During one of these assignments, I was tasked to build a website for my mates’ band. I had just recently heard about Flash, so I thought this was a great opportunity to learn what was, for me, a new tool for site building and animation. In hindsight, this decision has probably been one of the most important in my career, as it launched me into the endless landscape of coding and created a perpetual hunger for learning more about it. It wasn’t long thereafter that I was adept enough at coding to start experimenting with generative art.

“This project is where my deep fascination for physics, space, the cosmos, and science fiction meets my art practice.”
JK: Indeed, sometimes small decisions can have large, unforeseeable impacts. How did this skill in coding and emergent interest in generative art set you on your path to this project? How did you discover the blockchain as a medium for art?

PKS: I remember hearing about NFTs and learning that the blockchain was more than just currency back in 2020, I think. But this really got my attention once my good friend and partner-in-crime Bjørn (@_nonfigurativ_) released his project The Liths of Sisyphus on Art Blocks in Summer 2021. At that time, my generative art practice had been somewhat in the background. But getting that front-seat view of how the blockchain and generative art are just simply made for each other reignited the spark in me. I got at it again right away, and have been going ever since. Not going away any time soon either—it has been extremely fulfilling.

JK: Can you talk a bit about how your creative process has evolved over time? Is your work different now since you’ve gotten back into it after a time of relative dormancy?

PKS: I have been coding for twenty years now, and my process has changed over these years for sure. Early on, in the Flash days, I was animating, designing, and coding in an unorganized and suboptimal way. As I got better at coding, and less and less reliant on animation and design tools, the process became more streamlined. I am now at a point, both in my work at Void and my generative art practice, where it’s all an integrated process, and I prefer to design while I code.

Left Per Kristian Stoveland, Shores #2, 2021.  Right Per Kristian Stoveland, Skravert #319, 2021.
JK: I am glad you brought up Void. Can you talk a bit about how your art practice relates to your design studio work?

PKS: Most of our work at Void these days tends to involve building permanent installations, which means there is a lot of planning. We have to be meticulous, build prototypes and proofs of concept, so seeing the fruits of your labor can sometimes take years. Generative art, on the other hand, is much more immediate, and for how I work, there are no dependencies—I just need my laptop, and I am good to go. There is a spot where these two worlds overlap though, and that is in the code. I find myself able to reach that same inner peace of “being in the flow” whether I’m writing an interface module for a new 3D camera in the context of my studio work or coding on a new visual generative algorithm as an independent creative project. 

JK: Are there any recent accomplishments you’d like to share?

PKS: Definitely! Our most recent project at Void is *Delta*, a permanent, embedded light sculpture that flows through streets and alleys of the Tullinløkka city block in Oslo. This project has been three years in the making, and I am really proud of what we have accomplished. It runs over a polished concrete waterfall in the heart of the block, which doubles as an amphitheater. Sensors placed around the plan recognize pedestrians, and their movement initiates waves of light that propagate within the aluminum riverbeds lined with dark basalt rock. For the grand opening of this public art piece, we hooked the whole system up to live music and used the installation as stage lights. What a wild experience that was!

Installation view of Void, Delta, 2022. Multimedia interactive installation. Oslo, Norway. Photo by Einar Aslaksen.

Another project I would mention is C8 - Tesseract. When Void first started out, it was quite hard to get across what we were trying to do. C8 is the first project to come out of Void. It was self-initiated and made to demonstrate what we were all about. This artwork was created as an exploration of light as a medium for playing with perception and dimensionality. The sculpture consists of six mirror foiled acrylic plates attached to a custom welded steel frame. The frame has a total of 1340 LEDs attached along the inside which create endlessly repeating patterns of light. You can see a video of it here.

Installation view of Void, C8, 2015. Mirror foiled acrylic plates, custom welded steel frame, LED lights. Oslo, Norway. Photo by Void.
JK: That’s a beautiful project. Turning to the work at hand, can you tell us a bit about The Harvest?

PKS: Let me start with a little background first. I’ve been into tabletop role-playing games ever since my childhood, and I have come to realize through the years that it’s the storytelling and world-building that attracts me rather than the game itself. The Harvest came to life while I was working on a few ideas I had using 3D primitives to build landscapes. A certain output popped up, and all of a sudden the storyteller in me woke up. I am usually very visually driven in my art, and the story kind of tells itself while working on it. In the case of The Harvest, though, the story came first, and was directing the visuals instead. (There is more on this narrative background in the project description here.)

The first part of creating The Harvest consisted of building an algorithm that would depict all the worlds an entity called “the caretaker” would visit. I wanted it to feel familiar, but still have aspects that give it an alien vibe. To accomplish this, the algorithm does several passes through the landscape generator to create the topography, the surface, and any disturbances from the beams. It’s been a thrill to play with, and I feel there is a lot to explore here in future pieces.

The central aspect of each output is how the beams decorate the landscape. Their configuration tells us which units have been sent out to harvest each world. The color blending and distribution of their beams took some time to get right. In fact, there was a point where I had to put it away for a while due to frustration, but the end result allows for some stunning color mixing.

Per Kristian Stoveland, The Harvest (test output), 2022.

Overall this project is where my deep fascination for physics, space, the cosmos, and science fiction meets my art practice for the first time. Looking back, it has been a great learning experience, and the result has left me wanting to create more.

JK: Thanks for walking us through that. What should collectors look for in the series as it is revealed?

PKS: Well, during the process I found that the outputs that have either very few or very many beams stood out the most. But at the same time, there are many combinations of features that produce interesting, unique compositions. I have also worked a lot on balancing how the single color palettes contrast with the multi-colored ones when looking at the collection as a whole. On another note, the palette names are riddled with sci-fi references. Let me know if you recognize any!

Per Kristian Stoveland, The Harvest #0, 2023.
JK: I am sure the community will be keen to look for these references, thanks for the tip! Is there anything else you’d like to share that would help viewers approach and appreciate your work?

PKS: The Harvest has become somewhat of a turning point for me. I feel I have found my identity with this project, and through the process of creating this algorithm, I have had a few moments of self-reflection. I find I thrive much more creatively when I’m building a world I see rather than seeing the world I’m building. I want to draw more stories.

JK: We can’t wait to see them. Thanks for taking the time for this conversation, Per Kristian. What is the best way for people to follow your work?

PKS: You can follow me on Twitter @perkwerk_ or on Instagram @perkwerk.art.

Top image  Pernille Sandberg, Portrait of Per Kristian Stoveland.

Per Kristian Stoveland (perkwerk) is a generative artist based in Oslo, Norway. Together with his daughter and significant other, he lives in an apartment in Oslo’s outskirts, overlooking the city. After graduating from The Oslo School of Graphic Design in 2003, Per Kristian pursued a career as a graphic designer-turned-coder and developer. In 2015, after more than a decade working in the design and advertising industries, he switched paths to co-found Void, an alternative design studio working at the intersection of art, architecture, design, and technology. His work at Void leverages his technical expertise and creative experience in software development to build and develop physical experiences and installations.

Jordan Kantor: Hi, Per Kristian. Wonderful to speak with you on the occasion of the upcoming release of your Curated project The Harvest. Perhaps we can begin at the start—how did you first get into making art?

Per Kristian Stoveland: I think I would have to say in early primary school, actually. The first decade of my life I lived in Africa, where my father worked in water development and sanitation. My parents decided that, rather than attending the traditional international school for Norwegian expats, my brother and I should go to a local Montessori school instead. The first years of my life at school, therefore, became quite focused on learning to express oneself through drawing, acting, and music. I am very grateful for this experience.

JK: Yes, I believe the Montessori curriculum puts special emphasis on sensory experience, culture, as well as mathematics. Really interesting to hear you reference that as a formative influence. Moving forward in time, how did you first get into digital or generative art?

PKS: After completing design school, I was struggling a bit to make a living from my design training. At the time, I was juggling a bartending job while also doing a lot of unpaid design assignments just to get industry experience. During one of these assignments, I was tasked to build a website for my mates’ band. I had just recently heard about Flash, so I thought this was a great opportunity to learn what was, for me, a new tool for site building and animation. In hindsight, this decision has probably been one of the most important in my career, as it launched me into the endless landscape of coding and created a perpetual hunger for learning more about it. It wasn’t long thereafter that I was adept enough at coding to start experimenting with generative art.

“This project is where my deep fascination for physics, space, the cosmos, and science fiction meets my art practice.”
JK: Indeed, sometimes small decisions can have large, unforeseeable impacts. How did this skill in coding and emergent interest in generative art set you on your path to this project? How did you discover the blockchain as a medium for art?

PKS: I remember hearing about NFTs and learning that the blockchain was more than just currency back in 2020, I think. But this really got my attention once my good friend and partner-in-crime Bjørn (@_nonfigurativ_) released his project The Liths of Sisyphus on Art Blocks in Summer 2021. At that time, my generative art practice had been somewhat in the background. But getting that front-seat view of how the blockchain and generative art are just simply made for each other reignited the spark in me. I got at it again right away, and have been going ever since. Not going away any time soon either—it has been extremely fulfilling.

JK: Can you talk a bit about how your creative process has evolved over time? Is your work different now since you’ve gotten back into it after a time of relative dormancy?

PKS: I have been coding for twenty years now, and my process has changed over these years for sure. Early on, in the Flash days, I was animating, designing, and coding in an unorganized and suboptimal way. As I got better at coding, and less and less reliant on animation and design tools, the process became more streamlined. I am now at a point, both in my work at Void and my generative art practice, where it’s all an integrated process, and I prefer to design while I code.

Left Per Kristian Stoveland, Shores #2, 2021.  Right Per Kristian Stoveland, Skravert #319, 2021.
JK: I am glad you brought up Void. Can you talk a bit about how your art practice relates to your design studio work?

PKS: Most of our work at Void these days tends to involve building permanent installations, which means there is a lot of planning. We have to be meticulous, build prototypes and proofs of concept, so seeing the fruits of your labor can sometimes take years. Generative art, on the other hand, is much more immediate, and for how I work, there are no dependencies—I just need my laptop, and I am good to go. There is a spot where these two worlds overlap though, and that is in the code. I find myself able to reach that same inner peace of “being in the flow” whether I’m writing an interface module for a new 3D camera in the context of my studio work or coding on a new visual generative algorithm as an independent creative project. 

JK: Are there any recent accomplishments you’d like to share?

PKS: Definitely! Our most recent project at Void is *Delta*, a permanent, embedded light sculpture that flows through streets and alleys of the Tullinløkka city block in Oslo. This project has been three years in the making, and I am really proud of what we have accomplished. It runs over a polished concrete waterfall in the heart of the block, which doubles as an amphitheater. Sensors placed around the plan recognize pedestrians, and their movement initiates waves of light that propagate within the aluminum riverbeds lined with dark basalt rock. For the grand opening of this public art piece, we hooked the whole system up to live music and used the installation as stage lights. What a wild experience that was!

Installation view of Void, Delta, 2022. Multimedia interactive installation. Oslo, Norway. Photo by Einar Aslaksen.

Another project I would mention is C8 - Tesseract. When Void first started out, it was quite hard to get across what we were trying to do. C8 is the first project to come out of Void. It was self-initiated and made to demonstrate what we were all about. This artwork was created as an exploration of light as a medium for playing with perception and dimensionality. The sculpture consists of six mirror foiled acrylic plates attached to a custom welded steel frame. The frame has a total of 1340 LEDs attached along the inside which create endlessly repeating patterns of light. You can see a video of it here.

Installation view of Void, C8, 2015. Mirror foiled acrylic plates, custom welded steel frame, LED lights. Oslo, Norway. Photo by Void.
JK: That’s a beautiful project. Turning to the work at hand, can you tell us a bit about The Harvest?

PKS: Let me start with a little background first. I’ve been into tabletop role-playing games ever since my childhood, and I have come to realize through the years that it’s the storytelling and world-building that attracts me rather than the game itself. The Harvest came to life while I was working on a few ideas I had using 3D primitives to build landscapes. A certain output popped up, and all of a sudden the storyteller in me woke up. I am usually very visually driven in my art, and the story kind of tells itself while working on it. In the case of The Harvest, though, the story came first, and was directing the visuals instead. (There is more on this narrative background in the project description here.)

The first part of creating The Harvest consisted of building an algorithm that would depict all the worlds an entity called “the caretaker” would visit. I wanted it to feel familiar, but still have aspects that give it an alien vibe. To accomplish this, the algorithm does several passes through the landscape generator to create the topography, the surface, and any disturbances from the beams. It’s been a thrill to play with, and I feel there is a lot to explore here in future pieces.

The central aspect of each output is how the beams decorate the landscape. Their configuration tells us which units have been sent out to harvest each world. The color blending and distribution of their beams took some time to get right. In fact, there was a point where I had to put it away for a while due to frustration, but the end result allows for some stunning color mixing.

Per Kristian Stoveland, The Harvest (test output), 2022.

Overall this project is where my deep fascination for physics, space, the cosmos, and science fiction meets my art practice for the first time. Looking back, it has been a great learning experience, and the result has left me wanting to create more.

JK: Thanks for walking us through that. What should collectors look for in the series as it is revealed?

PKS: Well, during the process I found that the outputs that have either very few or very many beams stood out the most. But at the same time, there are many combinations of features that produce interesting, unique compositions. I have also worked a lot on balancing how the single color palettes contrast with the multi-colored ones when looking at the collection as a whole. On another note, the palette names are riddled with sci-fi references. Let me know if you recognize any!

Per Kristian Stoveland, The Harvest #0, 2023.
JK: I am sure the community will be keen to look for these references, thanks for the tip! Is there anything else you’d like to share that would help viewers approach and appreciate your work?

PKS: The Harvest has become somewhat of a turning point for me. I feel I have found my identity with this project, and through the process of creating this algorithm, I have had a few moments of self-reflection. I find I thrive much more creatively when I’m building a world I see rather than seeing the world I’m building. I want to draw more stories.

JK: We can’t wait to see them. Thanks for taking the time for this conversation, Per Kristian. What is the best way for people to follow your work?

PKS: You can follow me on Twitter @perkwerk_ or on Instagram @perkwerk.art.

Top image  Pernille Sandberg, Portrait of Per Kristian Stoveland.

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