Upcoming Algorithmic Art Class to Explore the World of Creative Coding

Upcoming Algorithmic Art Class to Explore the World of Creative Coding

One of the works of the generator artist and engineer Anna Lucia, whose underlined data was an elevation map of the shores of Lake Nasser, the man-made lake that formed after the construction of the Aswan High Dam.

The term “creative coding” may sound strange because the two words don’t seem to go together; the term “coding” is generally associated with pragmatism and logic rather than art and creativity. However, creative coding is where self-expression and logic meet to form a unique and rather beautiful modern art form.

Creative coding is algorithmic and generative art, which in essence refers to art generated by a computer or an algorithm. To better understand this art form, Egyptian Streets asked generative artists and engineers Anna Lucie and Islam Adel on what creative coding is, why they decided to venture into it, and what they hope to achieve by teaching their neighbor algorithmic art course To Cocoon Cultural Center from November 8 to December 1.

How would you describe creative coding to those who don’t know much about it?

Anne: From my perspective, creative coding is anything that can use coding or computer programming to produce interesting art, design, or visuals, so instead of doing something functional, you’re doing something that more like a creative expression; you use computer programming to express yourself creatively. It can be used for many different things: installations, light shows, or computer generated music – there are many different ways to use computer programming.

What first attracted you to algorithmic art, especially creative coding?

Anne: In high school, I always had an aptitude for physics and math, but I was also very creative, so I decided to go to art school. I decided to quit it after a year and pursue engineering instead because I really missed physics and math. [aspect]. However, I was still looking for that creative outlet. I’ve explored a lot of different things over the years and nothing really stuck with me until I stumbled across creative coding and generative art, which for me was a perfect combination of power. express myself creatively and create beautiful images while having the opportunity to [incorporating] mathematics and physics in it. I’ve been working there ever since and I can never imagine not doing it.

Islam: I have always been fascinated by all kinds of natural phenomena and their mechanisms. At first I decided to pursue this interest [by studying] engineering, because it was one of the few fields that allowed me to study these phenomena and appreciate their beauty. In several of my classes I had to write programs that simulated a certain system or fixed a problem, and I had a lot of fun playing around with the settings and seeing what would happen: just a lot of “what ifs”. ? »Questions to which I was curious to know the answers. A lot of the results I got were very surprising and visually interesting. There was a sense of experimentation and exploration in seeing the unobvious relationship between what I wrote and the visual models that emerged. It took me about a year to have fun on weekends programming these systems until I got to know these creative areas called generative art and creative coding. I love the process of imagining a new system to program, writing the code to see the visuals that emerge, adding to the code to emphasize some of the patterns, and finally tweaking it to make something aesthetically appealing.

Anne: Something that draws me so deeply [creative coding] is chance [element]. I often use randomness in scripts or programs that I write, so these are parts that I don’t have complete control over; I only control the limits and the computer randomly decides what will happen. It always creates those kinds of surprises that you might not necessarily get, but they pop up on your screen and are extremely rewarding. Sometimes you write a script and keep pressing Refresh to see what the computer comes up with from the script you wrote.

Can anyone learn creative coding or do they need to have some coding training?

Islam: Absoutely! Of course, having a background in programming would help get started in creative coding, but you can start with something like generative art and be able to create a lot of gorgeous art with some basic coding knowledge. That’s not to say that learning advanced topics in programming or math has no effect on what you can create, but this knowledge will rarely help you make better art. It’s kind of like doing digital art in Photoshop – you have to learn the basics so you can draw anything, then you can learn about all those brushes and filters and so on. But at the end of the day, what really matters is how you use these tools to create something big.

Anne: When I first started learning, I only had very minor coding training, like one or two college classes. Creative coding can actually be a great way to get started with programming, especially in high school or for young children, because you have this graphical feedback of everything you write, so you write a program and you see a circle appear where you want it. it appears and you have this feedback between the code you write and the image that arises. I think it can actually be a great way to introduce people to coding in a creative and fun way.

For the course with Cocoon Cultural Center, the programming language we will be working with is specifically written for educational / creative purposes, so it is not just for programmers. Some high school math is definitely a plus if you want to do some really complex math, but if you don’t, you can generate images in a very different way.

What do you hope to accomplish by teaching this course?

Anne: Maybe I’m hoping to give creatives a new tool that they can use to produce art, so maybe a photographer can learn how to code their own filters for their images, an illustrator can find new ways. to animate his work, or a graphic designer can use the randomness of the programming to produce new compositions.

I would also like to show people who have a background in programming and are usually busy creating very functional things that they can use programming to express themselves creatively. I think the nicest thing is bringing these two groups of people together during the course so that it can be a mix of creatives who have never done anything with code and programmers who have never done anything with code. creative, and bring them together in the course and see what comes out.

Islam: The main goal for me is to create a collaborative learning environment that helps participants enter the field. This course will not only be a tutorial to recreate some visuals, but it is a way for participants to use inspiration and tools to create something of their own. I am very excited to see what everyone will come up with and the discussions that will follow.

Anne: Another thing I’m interested in is building a community here in Cairo around creative coding and finding more like-minded people because the creative coding scene is very global and very online, but this kind of practice in I miss real life people are getting closer to you, so this is something that Islam and I are trying to achieve: to build this community here closer to us.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists who want to learn the art of creative coding?

Anne: Join the course! We’ve put together a good program for beginners with some great first tools and techniques to get you started, but if that’s not a possibility for some reason I would recommend downloading the treatment from processing.org and start with that. Be playful and don’t be intimidated; the website has some good tutorials for beginners so that would be a great place to start.

Islam: Just start! There are no barriers or entry rules. I would say you should think about what medium you would like to work on, be it visuals, sound, interactive stuff… etc. and learn as you go. Just find the tools you need to be able to do the basics with whatever you have in mind, then start experimenting and having fun with it! The online creative coding community is very helpful; there are many tutorials that will teach you how to do just about anything. I think everyone finds their way in this area by a different path which makes their style unique and something of their own.

Anne: And I would also say: don’t compare yourself to others, but compare yourself to your own work and your own progress. Compare your work to what you were doing before and see how you progress and improve and how your style evolves.

Anna and Islam’s next Algorithmic Art course will run for a total of eight sessions from November 8 to December 1 for EGP 4,200. The first two sessions can also be booked alone for 600 EGP per session. For more details on the sessions and to register for the course, visit the Cocoon Cultural Center website by clicking on here.

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