Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Brian Knep

If you wanted a short summation of who Brian Knep is as a person, an easy and effective way to do so would be to say that he is a man who is deeply interested in science.
Knep spent many years learning the ins and outs of computer science and in this time he became a masterful programmer. Not originally intending to use his knowledge of programming to become a new media artist, Brian seemed to somewhat stumble into his new position while trying to find a way around the fact that technology sometimes has a tendency to disconnect us from the physical world.
In his new media work, Knep uses programming as a tool to pull people into interactive situations, and to become more playful and aware of the world around them. Some of these situations are simply human interacting with machine. For example, he has one piece called “Expand”, in which the viewer uses a tracking ball to toggle a beam of light. This beam then motivates the characters he programmed to follow it around as it moves.
There are other pieces of his however, that encourage social play. In his piece “Healing Pool”, people come together to see how their presence can affect his work of art. By standing on it, or walking across it, they temporarily destroy that section of the pool, causing it to regenerate in a different way once their presence has left. Some even get together with their friends and playfully try to destroy the ever-regenerative pool of lines by running around furiously, trying to quickly stamp it out before it can get a chance to regenerate.
Computer programming opens up a vast world of possibilities for visual artists. Without the use of programming, interactivity in the pieces that Brian creates would be impossible. Thankfully, the world of technology has advanced enough so that we can program computers in many different ways, allowing us to finally move away from thinking that those choose your own adventure books are the closest we could get to interactivity in art.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Programming: The process of writing, testing, debugging/troubleshooting, and maintaining the source code of computer programs.

Syntax: A set of rules that define the combinations of symbols that are considered to be correctly structured programs in any given programming language.

Data: Groups of information that represent the qualitative or quantitative attributes of a variable or a set of variables.

NOTE: All definitions were found on wikipedia.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Art and Software Expression

In trying to find articles and artworks that would help me conceptualize what I read in Casey Reas's article "Programming Media", I came across an artist/programmer named Daniel F. Keefe.

Here is a video of a program he is working on called 'Cave Painting'.

This is an example of how a program can be told to read gestures, and then it translates them. I think that in the Reas article, the particular program he was talking about translated gestures into sound, but this program translates gestures into visuals. It's like MS paint on a much grander 3D scale! I'm not sure if I would find it as easy to use however.

"Programming Media" Response

So I suppose I will start this response by stating that I am confused, and not quite sure what I should be writing. My confusion, however, isn’t due to the assignment being unclear.

After reading “Programming Media” by Casey Reas, I couldn’t help but sit and stare at my computer screen blankly for a few minutes. The article was well written, and the vocabulary that was used made the content feel as though it was accessible, but at the end of it all I’m not quite sure what I actually gained from that article, as the actual concepts are still so foreign to me.

For example, when Reas discusses how some different types of software can interpret gesture: “mapping the structure of each gesture into sounds that reflect it’s degree of curvature”, my immediate internal response is something along the lines of: ‘excuse me, come again?’ I am fully aware that computers can be programmed to do incredible complex things, but as I am not yet a well-versed programmer, the actual concept, to me, still seems very abstract, unapproachable and unattainable by anyone that isn’t in a science fiction movie. I am quite interested by art that is created by different programming languages, but at the same time I feel very conceptually removed, as I have no idea what it took to do that. All I really know is that I think it looks cool.