Assignment 02

This assignment is due Wednesday, September 3rd at the beginning of class.  

This assignment has 5 parts: 

  • Looking Outwards #2: Works made with Processing
  • Assignment-02-Tweet
  • Assignment-02-IFTTT
  • Assignment-02-Lewitt
  • Assignment-02-Instructional

Class agenda for 8/27:

Looking Outwards #2: Works made with Processing

The first tool we will learn this semester is Processing, a software toolkit and sketchpad for computer arts. People use it to create interactive games, performances, videos, animations, and 3D objects. Let’s become familiar with some of the kinds of things which people create with Processing. Here are some starting-points:

Now, in a blog post,

  • Discuss one project that you admire (why?),
  • One project that surprised you (why?),
  • And one project that missed an opportunity (why?).
  • Embed images and/or videos as appropriate.
  • Categorize your blog post with the Category, LookingOutwards.

Assignment-02-Tweet: Further into Twitter.

By now you’ve obtained a Twitter account. Now: 

  1. Please add your Twitter handle to your profile on our course WordPress, if you haven’t already;
  2. Tweet me a quick “at-message” at my address, @golancourses.
  3. In a Blog post, embed a tweet you found interesting, and write a sentence or two about why it caught your attention. Instructions for making the embedding are here.
  4. Please label this blog post with the Category, Assignment-02-Tweet.

Required follows: 

As I mentioned previously, the only “required” follows are the two listed here. The other suggestions listed afterwards are recommended but optional. Of course, you may also follow whomever else you please.

  • Golan Levin, @golan — so that you know what I’m looking at
  • This course, @golancourses — for specific logistical announcements about our course, such as “we’re meeting in a different room” or “I’m running a few minutes late”.

Smarties to Follow

  • CreativeApplications ‏@creativeapps
  • The Creators Project ‏ @CreatorsProject
  • Adafruit Industries ‏@adafruit
  • Joanne McNeil @jomc
  • Julia Kaganskiy @juliaxgulia
  • Tina Eisenberg @swissmiss
  • @rhizome
  • Lindsay Howard @lindsay_howard
  • Bruce Sterling  ‏@bruces
  • Paola Antonelli ‏@curiousoctopus
  • Tim Maly @doingitwrong
  • Brainpickings @brainpickings

Local feeds

  • CMU School of Art ‏ @SOA_CMU
  • HackPittsburgh ‏ @HackPGH

Some advice: Here’s a basic guide for how to use Twitter. Here are a few other suggestions:

  • While Facebook is a social (friend) network, Twitter is an interest network. Follow the accounts that post information you find interesting.
  • Thus, don’t feel obliged to follow your friends. Just follow people who interest you, and/or institutions and other entities whose broadcasts or events you find worthwhile. There’s no expectation that they ought to know or care who you are, and that’s okay.
  • Don’t follow more than 100 entities. It’s too much to keep track of.
  • Don’t follow people back, just because they follow you. There’s never any obligation to do so, and they might just be spam accounts. You’ll just clutter your feed.
  • Everyone is famous to 15 people, even you. You may not know them personally, but treat them with respect: Don’t tweet unless you have something worth sharing.

Assignment-02-IFTTT: Art and the API.

  1. Read Jer Thorp’s article, Art and the API.
  2. Get an account at IFTTT (“If This Then That”). Trust me.
  3. A “recipe” is a formula that connects information from some input API to some output API. Browse some of the recipes made by other people.
  4. Create a recipe which pleases you. Here are some possibilities:
    • Automate something private.
    • Create a collection.
    • Create a recipe that responds to and/or from exactly one other person.
  5. Feel free to get fancy if you can (using your own custom RSS feeds, etc.).
  6. In a blog post, quote your recipe. Explain what you like about it.
  7. In approximately 100-200 words, discuss your thoughts about IFTTT, Jim Campbell’s Formula for Computer Art, and Jer Thorp’s article.
  8. Label your blog post with the Category, Assignment-02-IFTTT.
  9. (Following this, you will be asked to execute your recipe for at least one week, and report on the results/experience in Assignment 03.)

Assignment-02-Lewitt: A “Wall Drawing”

Here is a 1974 “Wall Drawing” by Sol Lewitt:

A trapezoid whose top side is half as long as its bottom side and whose left side is one and a half times as long as the top side and is located where a line drawn from a point halfway between a point halfway between the center of the square and the upper left corner and a point halfway between the midpoint of the top side and the upper left corner to a point halfway between the midpoint of the right side and the upper right corner is crossed by two lines, the first of which is drawn from a point halfway between the midpoint of the top side and a point halfway between the midpoint of the top side and the upper left corner to a point halfway between a point halfway between the center of the square and the midpoint of the bottom side and a point halfway between the midpoint of the bottom side and the lower left corner, the second line is drawn from a point halfway between the midpoint of the top side and the upper right corner to the center of the square, the left side is drawn to a point halfway between a point halfway between the center of the square and the lower left corner and a point halfway between the midpoint of the left side and the lower left corner.

This drawing consists of a trapezoid inside a square “wall”. Now:

  • Execute this wall drawing on a sheet of 8.5×11″ (standard letter) paper. I recommend that you orient the paper in “portrait” orientation.
  • Please interpret “the square” as a 6.5″ x 6.5″ square on your page; thus, “the square” should occupy a region on your sheet of paper with a 1″ border on the left, right and top.
  • Please use pencil. It’s OK if you have visible guidelines (in fact, it’s good if you do), though they should be light.
  • Scan in your solution and embed it in a blog post.
  • Bring your paper solution to class; it will be pinned up and discussed.
  • In a blog post of perhaps 100-150 words, briefly discuss your experience executing Sol Lewitt’s artwork. Is this code? Discuss your role as “executor” of Lewitt’s artwork.
  • Label your blog post with the Category, Assignment-02-Lewitt.

Assignment-02-Instructional: An Instructional Drawing.

Take a look at the videos and the materials on the Conditional Design website. Don’t forget to click on their Older Projects (the link is at the bottom of the page). Also, please read the brief Conditional Design Manifesto. (For more inspiration, you can also look at Ed Burton’s related Peg Programming, and my blog post about algorithmic drawing.) Now:

  1. Create a set of instructions able to generate an infinite set of different drawings. Print these out as written instructions on a sheet of paper.
  2. Without showing your own experiments or previous results, ask three (or more) classmates to execute your (written) instructions. You are not allowed to communicate verbally or answer questions during the execution. Nuh-uh.
  3. Scan or photograph the resulting drawings.
  4. Write a blog post that includes the following:
    1. The actual instructions you provided to your classmates
    2. Images (scans) of the three results produced by your classmates
    3. An evaluation of your “instructions”, in retrospect, after assessing the results produced by your classmates. What surprised you? What did you get right? What might you tinker with?
    4. Label this blog post with the Category, Assignment-02-Instructional.
  5. During class, we will hang the drawings and discuss the results. Please bring them to class.


  • The surface has to be a standard letter sheet (8.5 by 11 inches).
  • The drawing tool should be the a standardized pen, pencil or marker that you provide to all of your participants. You may select one of the following possibilities: a #2 (HB) pencil; a black Bic ball-point pen; or a medium-point black Sharpie. Please be consistent.
  • Your rules must contain an element of iteration. There should be “loops” in the execution that create (for example) repetition, seriality, self-similarity structures, etcetera.
  • If there is repetition in the process you may have to devise an ending condition. For example, you could verbally stop the execution, set up a timer, or prescribe a certain amount of iterations.
  • Your rules should be as specific as possible but also able to generate different results every time, so you should include at least one element of randomness or ambiguity.
  • Most importantly: the goal is to create a recipe for interesting drawings, not arbitrary doodles. Can you embed style and composition in a set of rules?