Computer graphics is a fast growing and changing field that aids humans to a greater understanding of different kinds of data. Often times, it is easier for the human brain to process information shown in picture or movie form rather than in words or numbers. Processing is an open source object-oriented programming language that allows data to be visualized through images and animations. It was developed in 2001 by MIT students Ben Fry and Casey Reas and has been used to program images, animations, and interactions. For example, it has been used to make animated holiday cards as well as portraying complex emergent systems through artwork. It has also been used to show flocking behavior of birds and the connections between different religions around the world. Furthermore, Processing is used to make advertisements that we see on the internet and television. Thus, Processing is a useful tool that can be used to teach programming by explaining different concepts such as recursion through images and animations.
This summer I will explore different ways to create visualizations using Processing as well as explore the role of algorithms in creative media. More specifically, I would like to focus on scenes in nature. I was inspired by Andy Goldsworthy, a British artist who makes site-specific sculptures and land-art. Goldsworthy creates both permanent and temporary pieces using materials found in nature. I would like to make scenes in nature and further explore their movements, such as a sunrise and sunset, grass moving, or a rainbow after a rainstorm. Through making this series of images and simulations, I hope to gain insight from questions on both digital art and traditional art. Since multiple identical images can be made using a single algorithm while traditional art can never be identically replicated, should digital art be considered art? If so, should the code be included as part of the final project? I am approaching this project from an artist’s standpoint and will explore algorithms that can be used to make different types of images and simulations.