Friday, July 22, 2011

Digital Age, Computer Programing, and Art

I became interested in how computer programing and code could apply to the art world when I would take my father, a programmer to the museums.  I know he has an amazing ability to appreciate most art, but I wanted to see how he would respond to the art I quite simply did not get and sometimes did not enjoy.  The process was actually quite interesting because over the years I have shown him things from websites filled with binary code filled screens making pictures and he will giggle... I do not get it but then he tells me what it means instantly - so not funny! The running joke between us is ' There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary code, and those who don't.' - I will not say how long that took me to figure out..... Ok, well it is funny, but it is amazing that I stare at binary for an hour with my head tilted this way and that and he walks up and in less than 60 seconds gets it which is wonderful because the techies have this whole genre of art they enjoy on a different level.  It is kind of like this door mat a friend of mine bought for her husband in binary - my dad saw it and again giggles and said 'that's cool'... It said, 'Welcome'. Ok so a sequence of zero's and one's isn't for everyone but it is for many.  

Binary Sunset, artist3001, Pxleyes Website Photoshop Contest

Thanks to technology I can write this:


If you cannot read this, do not despair, there is an App for that too!

Scott Sona Snibbe, Interactive Artist

Some artists may not be programmers per say but utilize technology to produce art which interacts in a way that relates to the digital age and to an audience such as programmers like my father. One of our favorite interactive artists is Scott Sona Snibb who's interactive work is on our iPhones, iPads, in large public spaces, and in museums such as the MOMA and Whitney Museum of American Art.  Snibb embraces the Buddhist philosophy of interdependence and incorporates that philosophy into his artwork, showing that every action we create has a reaction.  To truly appreciate Snibbs work it is best to actually interact with the artwork and there is an APP for that!  This is a link to Snibbs projects page and they are all very fascinating in concept, design, and reaction from the viewer.

Aaron Koblin, who recently was on TEDTalks received a BA in Electronic art at the University of California, Santa Cruz and an MFA from UCLA in Design / Media Arts.  Koblin merges his background in the computer game industry and artwork with real-world and publically generated data streams and draws on it to make spectacular artistic representations of movements and transformations in the connections between humans and technology in our modern and global lives. Koblin’s projects, which investigate how technologies make us more human and is presently leading the Data Arts Team for the Google Creative Lab.  

One of the thing that captured my attention and my father's attention, for different reasons was Koblin's use of visualizing SMS messaging which can be found at  Not only did both my father and I find the rendering beautiful and amazing, we both could relate and understand the project and the beauty.

I moved on to other programing such as algorithms and found that not only did my father love the process behind the art and the way the art was made, I enjoyed the actual art itself. Perhaps this is one of the bridges where art and technology can merge and us artist types and the programers truly intersect.  One of my new favorites is Marius Watz who works for Nike.  Watz uses computer generated shapes and colors to show the energy and aura of women working out.  Brilliant!  Watz wasn't always interested in coding, he also had an interest in art and found that by utilizing algorithms he could produce instillation art as well so in addition to his computer generated art for Nike and others he renders 3-D instillation pieces.

For a global community full of what are now called Digital Natives and Digital First Language children people worry about creativity and the humanities being lost in all the bombardment of media, multitasking, what is perceived by some as a lose of social skills, a perceived disconnect with the 'real' world, but I see a future where people are utilizing technology in a way where more connections are made, more opportunities are available to express their creativity, new social communities are being forged, and technology and the humanities are colliding in a beautiful array of art, dance, music, multi-media, interactive design, and exciting new possibilities.


  1. From my awesome professor Dr. D in a FB response:


  2. Oppsss I missed some of the spaces... they have to be taken out for the code to be read.... sorry!