Caspar Sawyer
Since the beginning
Works in London United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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Re: Have you ever dreamed in code?

Lewis LaCook wrote:

> 1.) What programming languages do you use?

C/C++, some assembler - looking more into Cg and GLSL at the moment.

> 2.) Why did you choose the language(s) that you use,
> and how did you learn it/them?

For real-time graphics there really isn't much of an option for speed. C and C++ are arguably the best languages currently available for this. They give the lowest abstraction to hardware while remaining mid/high level.

> 3.) Were you university-trained in programming or
> self-taught? What advantages and disadvantages do you
> see in this method of learning?

I originally taught myself C while at University - then did an MSc. in graphics programming that formalised it. I'd say having good tutors on hand is a great help.

> 4.) How concerned are you with a language's political
> implications, i.e. with whether the language is open
> source or not? Why?

I'm not that concerned about the source of C/C++ as it's so established and mature. Having source code to a library/compiler is more important to me as those are the things that are more likely to have bugs.

> 5.) Does your choice of programming lamguage effect
> the way you approach a problem you wish to solve with
> that language?

Yes - for large projects i'll need to design properly i'll be thinking with C++. For quick tests i'll be using the C subset, and if I need to be optimsising something or writing vector code - then assembler is the choice.

> 6.) Did you come to New Media Art from Computer
> Science or from the Arts? Discuss the transition.

I came to coding from Interactive Art - in turn from a more traditional Fine Art base. A couple of friends at Uni were graphics coders - and while we were learning Flash, HTML and Director as part of IA, I felt the languages and environments that they run in were too restricted. I realised that for real-time 3D the only real choice was C/C++.

I started learning C++ with the thought that as it contains all of C within then i'd learn C aswell in the process. Following this during my MSc. we were taught strict C, and from this I have come to believe that this is a better way to get into these languages. C++ contains a lot of extra aspects that make it a much larger language. C's compactness helps one to learn essentials without having to learn OOD aswell.

Once I had that under my belt I worked in the video games industry where I brought my C++ to a professional level, and working with PS2 I had to be in touch with hardware issues, hence a further understanding of assembler and vector unit micro-code. (Working in industry proved a great way to improve and learn btw).

There is still huge amounts to learn and do. Even though I feel i've made some transition, Computer Graphics is such a huge field - it's not over yet.

> 7.) What does programming add or subtract from an art
> object? Is the artist-programmer giving up control of
> the object by coding it, or introducing more control?

I depends upon the work that you do with it. I work with computers because they have the possibility to add complex interactivity. That is something no other medium can do. Conceptually that is interesting to me.

I think that the artist-programmer, by coding something, has the potential to be creating something autonomous. Whether they are giving up or introducing more control is down to the piece itself.

> 8.) Does each programming language imply an ontology?

I'm not sure that each programming language implies an ontology - programming languages per se are perhaps more like a large ontology - with each language being an aspect within that.

> 9.) Have you ever dreamed in code?

I dreamed I was in a function once - though more like I was inside the source code passing through steps in the debugger. I was working long hours =)

> 10.) Can one code art objects that produce catharsis
> in the user?

Of course.

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