Code Art
July 2, 2004 4:39 AM   Subscribe

Do you happen to know of any artists who are using actual code (programming languages) in their work? I've been toying with this idea a little and have come up with a few concepts that I feel are pretty unique. [mi]

My undergrad degree (part 1) is in Computer Science.

Languages like Perl are interesting to me because they have lots of seemingly cryptic symbols and, yet, can be quite expressive.

Now I'm studying Art, though... I actually took a job at a University doing web stuff (for very little money) to take an art degree (BFA and MFA).

Alternatively, do you know of any art-and-tech resources online where I can investigate this.
posted by pissfactory to Media & Arts (14 answers total)
I've done a few conceptual pieces involving randomness; they're verbal, though, not visual.

Haiku Generator
posted by jpburns at 4:49 AM on July 2, 2004

andrew cooke has some very nice computer generated artwork on his site. I've seen other stuff as well. Some of my favourite artwork ever were the old CD covers for the Apple Developer CD series which were designed by actual Apple employees. Amazingly there doesn't seem to be an online archive of these. I'll have to dig up my CDs and scan them in.
posted by substrate at 5:35 AM on July 2, 2004

GrammarFilter: There's no such thing as "pretty unique." Either something is one-of-a-kind, or it's not. It's like being a little pregnant.
posted by waldo at 5:51 AM on July 2, 2004

There's John Maeda at the media lab. I don't know what you call what Ben Fry does, but it's certainly cool. Also, a lot of the people from eyebeam are artists who use code in their work.
posted by jeb at 6:02 AM on July 2, 2004

I once hand-transcribed the GIF code from a photo and made it into a self portrait.
posted by Jeff Howard at 6:19 AM on July 2, 2004

Response by poster: For the record, I mean using code in traditional art forms for the first question. As in paintings with code in them or sculpture of code or something.

No, waldo, this is maybe definitely, pretty unique.

In modern english 'unique' can mean "distinctively characteristic", which is not the same as "the one and only". See usage. Whereas, each individual work created using this concept might be unique in the traditional sense. Thanks for the tip, though. (and I know about maybe definitely...)
posted by pissfactory at 6:41 AM on July 2, 2004

note: Ask MetaFilter is as useful as you make it. Please limit comments to answers or help in finding an answer. Wisecracks don't help people find answers. Thanks.

Browse around on deviantART. Lots of creative types posting there. I'm sure somebody is doing what you're looking for.
posted by JeffK at 6:59 AM on July 2, 2004

Osmose, a VR artwork, has a level made of code [see diagram in linked page].

But it's not 'traditional'.
posted by i_cola at 7:05 AM on July 2, 2004

This is one of my favorite things I've ever seen on the Internet. Not so sure if it qualifies as "art" though.
posted by ssmith at 7:30 AM on July 2, 2004

pissfactory: there's a *lot* of stuff out there. Some places to start:

Ars Electronia Festival (my local mirror of last year's notes - very good read)
Computer Code as Art Material

Some collections: - diverse
Processing (Casey Reas' and Ben Fry's project)

jeb: most of Ben Fry's work I'd say falls under the 'computational aesthetics' aegis (see also: Casey Reas, Golan Levin, Joshua Davis)

pissfactory: On re-reading, you mean appropriating code 'aethetics'... I'll leave the links above in case they're useful to other people, but yeah, there's been quite a bit of that too. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking of, tons of recent graphic design, also an artist who made large scale prints of functions that apply to life [while(alive) { eat; sleep; } type stuff] but the name is escaping me.

Anyway, it's art. Just go do it. Just because it's been done before shouldn't make it less worthwhile. And that's certainly one way to get feedback on people that are doing similar things.
posted by lhl at 8:07 AM on July 2, 2004

vivian selbo and john simon were part of the now defunct ada web -- an early art website.
posted by heather at 8:47 AM on July 2, 2004

Last year a student in one of my printmaking classes did something along these lines. I've also had a few instructors who made use of code in mixed media work, but they had no idea what the code did - it was just the aesthetic and the suggestion of "tech" that they were going for. (That's a little gimmicky, if you ask me..) Basically what lhl said - it's not unique, but don't let that stop you. It would be refreshing to see it come from someone who has a deeper understanding of what they're referencing.
posted by Hypharse at 9:07 AM on July 2, 2004

posted by btwillig at 11:05 AM on July 2, 2004

posted by cogat at 7:00 PM on July 2, 2004

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