Art as Problem Solving

It’s interesting to think of art as problem solving.

Art does this in many ways. And maybe it doesn’t actually ‘solve’ any problems, but kind’ve looks at them, from different angles, exposes problems, considers them, and starts conversations or critiques.

But when something like programming enters the equation (quite literally), the whole process of making becomes a process of figuring out a problem.

In a sense making a work becomes like a puzzle. You put pieces together. But I’m not sure if anyone, in any discipline that uses computer programming, would find that the scope of the work was in some ways made monotonous by computer programming.

Quite the opposite. In programming one always tries to optimise, and along the way is always learning new techniques and ways of doing things that were unknown previously.

I’m sure there are always more things to learn with programming, because every day I try and code something, I get one step further. It might only be a small step, but a step nonetheless, which then becomes part of your veritable tool box of techniques.

And this I find incredibly rewarding, personally. It’s fair to say one never hits the limit of any tool, but the thing about programming is simply being caught as you create. I’ve read or heard elsewhere that this is a blight of programming, that the creative process is halted by a bug or some error. And you get caught in this loop for hours, trying to figure out the tiniest detail.

It’s a strange challenge in the creative process. It’d be like trying to create a chorus for a song your working on on guitar, and then having to fix the guitar halfway through the writing process. I’m sure this isn’t unique to programming, building as you go, learning as you go, and solving problems as you create. But it’s something I find particularly fascinating about the medium.

That creating art becomes a kind of brain teaser. You know what you want, but how do you get there? It reminds me of John Maeda, in his book Creative Code, when talking about this process: “and in a flash of lightning it is suddenly there”.

Visual Research

I’ve created a new visual research blog on the Tumblr platform.

It’s more of an ongoing mood-board, a visual mind-dump of where my current thoughts are at, and visual stuff I create, or find online/IRL.

It’s also a mix of Instagram, and things that go to Facebook. Facebook is a bit of a strange one, because stuff often gets lost, hidden or deleted. I often post there, and in some ways this new blog is an attempt to capture some of whats lost there.

Instagram is great for capturing life moments, in your work or your time off, but I don’t really use Instagram to post other peoples stuff. So this Tumblr will be useful for that. Who knows I may create a second Instagram at some stage. But the Tumblr is a nice archive I think, a mix of all things. .Gifs and videos to come soon, too.

And then there’s just a ream of images I download from the Internet, so a lot of that will go up here.

I thought about creating a physical mood-board, but I guess printing things out and sticking them up on a wall doesn’t really make sense anymore. Digital happened so much more quickly. Maybe a few life-size posters of the major stuff go up in the studio.

I also avoided Tumblr for the longest time. But I don’t think my intention here is to cultivate any kind of network or followers, it’s just a digital visual diary that anyones welcome to look at.

MADA Twin Screens

Recent work in Processing on display in the MADA Foyer, on the Twin Screens at Monash University in Caulfield, Melbourne.

Displayed for a short-run across the weekend and to coincide with an in-house Symposium taking place on the Monday following, these works in progress reflect my work with Processing over the course of this year.

Even though its not an official ‘exhibition’, it was nevertheless exciting for me to finally see some work up on a wall, and these two screens had just been replaced with these two shiny new models.

I love the interplay across twin and multiple-screen environments, where slightly varying the content across each display creates shifting arrays of possible combinations.

See pics below:


Sabrina Ratté

I discovered the work of Sabria Ratté recently which I just love.

I found her work via a clip done for Plaid, from the recent album ‘Reachy Prints’.

You can check out her website and blog for more.

Processing 3D

Just as I’ve been diving into Touch Designer and vvvv I somehow jump back into Processing and get some 3d animation happening.

For ages I was super bummed out about my results in Processing, but it kinda hit me the other day that I was still working in 2d.

I don’t know why I was so afraid to work in 3d in Processing for so long – maybe I thought it was too hard. Or maybe a bit of work in vvvv and TD made me realise it wasn’t such a big deal.

But also, you know, I kinda figured – the Processing default rendering context is 2d. It only takes three keystrokes to change the context to 3d, but i think that the fact it boots up as a 2d environment in some ways influences that a little bit.

Anyway, I’ve been working on a couple 3d things which make me think it could finally lead to something much bigger. Makes me feel my time with Processing hasn’t been all in vain – and I might see a lot more progress with it 😀

Here’s a few screenshots of the sketches below…

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