Feb 12, 2006
posted at 16:44 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid
Does one have to write code to make art or music with digital tools? Two proponents of code are designer/MIT Media Lab professor John Maeda (on the hi-fi end of the digital spectrum) and the BEIGE crew […snip](See posts here and here for the entire quote.)
The beef about using consumer software is that an engineer makes aesthetic choices for you.[…snip]
[…] An analogy I’ve used is the purist artist who thinks you have to grind your own pigment to paint, either because store bought colors aren’t good enough or out of some strict truth-to-materials dictate. I think that applies to John Maeda—his “if you aren’t programming you aren’t using the computer” rap has a whiff of the purist ascetic about it.[…snip]
I find myself on both sides of this issue.
On one hand, I don’t think it’s necessary to be able to program a computer to make digital art*. Especially as the tools to create digital art get better and better. And besides, what is the difference between Windows APIs and the the interface of Photoshop? They both present you with tools to make things happen on a computer.
On the other, I think having programming knowledge is very important (but not necessary) for one to be a digital artist. I would argue that instead of Tom’s analogy of a painter grinding his own paint, a better analogy is that a painter must understand how color and 2d form work. For those are the building blocks of a painting really, not the paint. It’s a mistake to confuse a computer for a canvas, to think of it simply as a means to a visual end. A computer does much more than display images on it’s display. With much new media art the how of image creation is just as important as the images themselves.
*Of course you get into a whole other argument if you do agree: is writing in a scripting language programming? How low-level is the code you program? Is programming in C++ somehow ‘better’ than programming in Java? etc, etc. permanent link to this post