Casey Reas, code>conf

[reas' process-ed work "Path 14"]

Some observations drawn from Friday's keynote lecture at the 2006 iDMAa + IMS Conference- HumanSystems | DigitalBodies follows!
For the last two years, Casey Reas has been writing software utilizing the principles of emergence and simple machines and "vehicles" which develop neural systems. His work is created these days primarily using Processing (surely blogged about before on gtxa)...

Over time, Reas' beautiful creatures begin to move together when they discover they are 'alike.' Paths in space are explored as positions over time in relationship to other 'vehicles.' Stimuli in the environment causes reactions among similarly configured organism systems. The forms that emerge out of the software are in no way predetermined, but the structures do summon organic structures, especially of plants. Working with computing is constrained, but working with emergence is wide open. So Reas aims to focus on the organic surprises...

Reas discussed his vehicles and process-based works, then discussed and the value of teaching Processing instead of other introductory languages. He argued that processing neither belongs to computer science or the arts, so because it does not belong to any particular discipline, it can help folks from both either become more technically proficient or more visual. Unlike Java, Processing is specifically built for motion and interaction. Arguing for teaching programming through a "Motivation by Images," Reas showed new examples not seen in the gallery on The social components to the project: not only free to use and modify, but avail for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The international participation is quite high in the Processing community.

The strategy proffered by Processing: to start off with procedural programming and move into OOP, is also supported by Ira Greenberg in his new book on Foundation Processing, coming out soon from Friends of Ed.