“Tangent” by Marcin Ignac (2012)

Marcin Ignac is a polish artist/programmer/designer exploring hybrid work including data visualization, programmable art, and more. Tangent is a form of generative animation created from studying surface curvature, where tracing lines are programmed to appear across the surface of a generated shape. I really enjoy this project as the tracing lines are able to give a sense of dimension and life to these otherwise seemingly flat, line drawings. As the form rotates in his video documentation, we begin to understand the flow of the curvatures at different perspectives — these intricate details are really engaging to watch. Tangent was created using Javascript, Plask, OpenGL and glsl. Ignac heavily utilized Plask, a multimedia programming environment utilizing processing and open frameworks, through Javascript. His artistic sensibilities were integrated in the algorithm through choice of color, composition, line weight, and motion; which work cohesively to create delicate, rotating 3D forms.


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3D Visualization of ‘Mydoom Worm’

‘Malwarez’ is a series of visualizations of worms, viruses, trojans and spyware code. The project is made possible through the development of a program by Alex Dragulescu, which allows him to track the API calls, memory addresses and other subroutines of the disassembled code. The program analyzes the disassembled code; mapping their frequency, grouping and density input into the algorithm, which then grows these virtual 3D organisms. My understanding of the algorithm is limited, but I think the patterns and rhythms recorded are what influence the organism, making each one unique. I truly admire the creativity behind such a project: Who thinks of  modelling a computer virus in 3D, and actually does it? Additionally, his projects are a true integration of art and technology, and in some ways, moves past that. The Malwarez project, in the most literal sense reveals the artistic potential of technology. The project is admirable because it kind of forces the audience to move past the ideology focusing on the ‘art of technology’ into the realm of technology as art, and vice versa.

His projects span multiple computational domains, so I suppose the algorithms involve mimic the complexity of the work he is doing as a designer, programmer, and visual artist. Malwarez gives these invisible coded threats a face, while also providing captivating visuals for things no one wants to deal with.

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Alex Dragulescu developed a program which analyzes the content of spam emails and translates the variety of text patterns and keywords into three-dimensional architectural models which appear to have ‘grown’ from the base form of a cube. I particularly admire this project because it uses spam, something which is generally perceived as bothersome digital flotsam, and translates its contents into a work of digital art. The idea that words which are worthless in one form can produce very interesting meanings when passed through a particular algorithm is very exciting, and I feel that this project, as well as the columns made by the algorithms of Michael Hansmeyer, are both great examples of the potentialities that coding provides in the search for new spatial configurations. This sort of process of making something valuable from what many would consider digital ‘noise’ is a concept i would like to further explore, and I am also very intrigued by the idea that a known algorithm can produce unanticipated results which seem to mimic creativity. I think that the creative possibilities of this sort of programming is very promising and that it could change the way that designers work in the future.


Created in 2002 by Jared Tarbell, Lola Brine, Corey Barton, and Wesley Venable, Moonlight is an interactive visualization of Beethoven’s No. 14 Sonata. As the audience member walked through the installation, colored blocks of varying opacity would display the sonata, allowing one to both see and hear the music being played. What I really admire about this project was not only the combination of computer generated colors and shapes, but also the fact that the user could modify these aspects of the installation as well. It really displays the power of computer science in art, as well as combing user experience and interactivity to create something truly musical. The creators had taken a MIDI file of the sonata, which was then compressed into an MP3 as well as converted in XML with the use of C++.  By using an actual recorded performance, the creator’s ensure that, although the installation itself was generated, the integrity of the intial performance was maintained.

 The first movement of the sonata, rendered into four sections.

The full sonata, displayed by using the varying degrees of opacity and color.

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3D printing in a new way

Voxel Chair is a unique 3D printed design made by Manuel Jimenez Garcia and Gilles Retsin in 2017. 3D printing was introduced several years ago and have had many successes in creating specific objects; however, Garcia and Retsin took it one step up and tried to create a more intricate software that would allow them to further improve 3D printing itself. I really admire that the two of them together were able to pool together ideas to make more functional items out from 3D printing. If 3D printing starts from the beginning to the end, the recreated model of the new 3D robotic printer starts from the ending then slowly moves back to the beginning. By changing up the manner then process worked and by using robotic 3D printing, the two were able to vary their level of how dense and how intricate they wanted their designs to be based on the part of the chair they were working.


In July 2014, anonymous designer Strangethink created a video game exemplifying generative art in the form of a glitchy video game by the name of Error City Tourist.

Strangethink created Error City Tourist using Unity 3D as part of a “Glitch Jam” game design challenge, in which glitches are meant to be implemented in the gameplay and/or aesthetic of a game. What was most visually surprising to me about this game was its lack of consideration of the draw distance, as shown by the video above. Unlike most games that attempt to have objects in the distance fade in as they are generated, Error City Tourist does not attempt to hide this, adding to the glitchy appearance of the game.

This sparked his next project, Secret Habitat, a game in which the player is able to view generated art in a digital walk through gallery. Rather than being limited to visual art, the game includes both generated poetry and music.


Strangethink revealed that his fascination with procedurally-generated games came with his distaste of “heavily-stage managed” video games, or games in which the player is merely following a one-way path created by its designers. What I admire about both of these projects is its aesthetic consistency despite the nature of variables being generated.

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Proteus is a video game developed by Ed Key, released in 2013. Players can wander around a colorful, pixelated, procedurally-generated island filled with plants, strange animals, and the occasional remnant of civilization. The game’s soundtrack, composed by David Kanaga, also changes depending on the time of day and where the player is standing. I couldn’t find too much about the algorithms behind the game, but from playing the game there’s a certain amount of features (such as plants, animals, or structures) that can be randomly generated around the island, depending on the island’s “season.” The island’s topography and weather also are randomly generated. All this works together to create a strange, peaceful space that’s different every time the player visits it.

Even though there’s not much gameplay in the “traditional” sense–all you can do is walk around, listen to music, and take screenshots of the places you encounter–and what gameplay there is is fairly limited, Proteus has a vague, dream-like feel to it that I really enjoy. I also admire the way Key has created a world with a specific feel to it, despite or perhaps working along with the purposefully low-resolution graphics.

Proteus by Ed Key and David Kanaga

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Sample spread of the book

Conditional Design Workbook

This is a workbook created with Conditional Design studio. I admire it’s analogue interpretation of “programming” and generative art. Programming at it’s core is the logic and rules, whereas the syntax we learn is simply the language necessary to communicate the rules to a computer. Since these rules are communicated to people, there is freedom in how the information is presented, as well as opportunities for more organic, “hand-made” forms. I admire how inherently interactive the piece is; it reinforces my belief that interactive art forms are more palatable to a wider audience.

This system also relates to my design studies: our school head, Terry Irwin, asserts that to solve for “wicked”, or complex, problems, it is more effective to create rules for creation as opposed to simply creating a set number of things. In other words, it is creating a lasting system. Unlike set “things” rules for a system may outlast wear, as well as adapt to unpredictable conditions of an environment.