Saturday, January 7, 2012

Computational art unplugged

Yesterday in class we talked a bit about how algorithmic/generative/computational art may not necessarily require a "computer".  For instance, you might take inspiration from these amazing wind walkers... they are performing an algorithm of some kind, driven by their interaction with air and sand.  And they certainly count as "art" in my book.

We also did an exercise where students had to make up (and write down) rules for coloring in a sheet of graph paper with colored pencils.  After doing this for a while, they had to trade sheets with a classmate, and see whether they could (using just the written rules) figure out what grid square to color next (and what color to put there).  Are the rules underspecified?  Is English ambiguous?  And how easy would it be to encode these rules in a computer?  During the afternoon, several students tried to do just this, while others worked on creating an art piece that had certain restrictions on which language elements they must (and couldn't) use to create it.  We also spent some time fighting with Shapeways, which apparently doesn't appreciate uploading 3D models consisting of fairly large numbers of spheres?

Color transformation of a lightning image...

I also demoed how to import bitmap images into NetLogo, and manipulate them...

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