Programming for Artists with Processing

Zsófia Ruttkay
Proceedings of Bridges 2010: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (2010)
Pages 555–558 Workshop Papers


Programming has not yet become a natural medium for artists. I see two, connected causes for this: to acquire sufficient skill of computer programming and the essential algorithmic thinking is normally beyond the capacity of artists, and, for many, it is not apparent what novel possibilities the computer offers for visual exploration and for entirely new genres of experience. Processing – a recent open-source programming language made by artists for artists – makes it feasible to break both of these forbidding arguments. The goal of the workshop is to let participants – including artists who have never ever programmed before – get an insight into the programming language and its environment, practice making visual sketches and control them by using the mouse, and get an outlook on the potentials by browsing selected digital artworks. The workshop will be organized around a series of algorithmic visual tasks, to illustrate the basic algorithmic concepts and language constructs. By the end of the workshop the participants will have created some own digital sketches, and will have a basis to develop their programming knowledge further. This outcome may enrich the arsenal of individual artists. It is also useful for educators who seek a first, attractive programming language to be taught in the secondary school, or for non computer science students.