Contrived randomness

Contrived randomness

Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing 305:

Wall Drawing 305 is composed of one hundred random specific points that are determined by the draftsman. The points are random in that they may be placed anywhere on the wall. The draftsman uses Sol LeWitt’s vocabulary and geometric lexicon to guide the mapping of the points. …. As the draftsman maps out each generated point, he or she writes a description of how he or she arrived at that point next to it. This allows the viewers to trace the process of the placement of the points.

The backstory on the contrived randomness:

Wall Drawing 305, like many of LeWitt’s wall drawings, calls for the random application of forms — bringing up questions about how much the draftsmen should work to contrive that randomness. LeWitt’s response to the conundrum is to encourage draftsmen “…not [to] think too much in some situations. The use of the idea of the random is meant to preclude the conscious placement of elements to form a pattern.”

As it turns out, we might, however, fundamentally misunderstand randomness:

Humans are fascinated by randomness and yet we fundamentally misunderstand it. One misunderstanding is our belief in the hot hand — the intuition that a short run of consistent, but statistically independent, events is likely to continue. Another is our belief in the gamblers fallacy — the intuition that a short run of consistent events is likely to reverse. Although these two tendencies appear contradictory, they are often explained by the identical mechanism — the representativeness heuristic.

Understand or not, I’m still a LeWitt groupie.