MARK: This is now week three in creative coding .
MARK: And we’ve had a range of sketches that students have been developing. Can you talk about the relationship between those sketches and perhaps, what students or people interested in creative coding might actually do with them in an applied sense?
JON: Well, I mean obviously this is an introductory course, and we’re only spending six weeks and a very short amount of time per week actually working in this area. There’s a commonly held belief that to become really expert in something, it takes you about 10,000 hours of practise to really become expert in that particular domain. And this really equates to around about five years of work. So a lot of the examples that we’ve been looking at from professional artists and designers, of course, have been working in this area for that period of time or longer. And so they’ve had a lot of chances to hone their skills and become very, very skilled at what they do.
So obviously in a course like this, we’re just introducing the material, but hopefully what people will get out of running these very simple sketches is a sense of what might be possible if you were to pursue this line a little bit further. So even the simplest sketches that we’ve talked about have this potential for some kind of emergence to happen. That is, that the results of running simple rules over and over again leads to a complexity that surprises you. Because ultimately I think, what you’re after is creating a system that exceeds your imagination, that makes it possible for you to do things that you couldn’t have done without working in partnership with the computer.
So sure, these sketches are very simple stepping stones, but they point to something greater, and if you’re willing to put in the time and the effort to really hone your skills and become an expert in this area, I think you’ll be able to do some really interesting things that have never been done before.
MARK: What I find particularly exciting is that everyone will come from a different domain, a different kind of industry, or have a different kind of background. And I think of the transformational aspect that coding has within industrial design, architecture. We’ve had a particular focus on the arts, but this has just infiltrated everywhere.
JON: Yeah, exactly. Well, I mean we live, obviously, in the modern age where everything is completely controlled by machines, and we’re– in a way,– we’re kind of subservient to them, even though we might think that we aren’t. So having basic coding skills is obviously important for understanding how computers affect us socially, technologically, artistically, creatively, and so on. But you’re right. There’s probably very few creative activities that can’t be at least augmented or changed by technology. And you can apply these skills because they’re really about looking at systems. It’s a systems approach, I think, is the thing that we’re really trying to advance.
And that is, that a system, once you understand a little bit about its behaviour, and if that behaviour is open-ended, you can apply it to all sorts of domains. So you could be working in fashion, you could working in music, you could be working in architecture. Or even something that might not traditionally be considered a creative endeavour. And provided you understand the capabilities of the system and what the system can do, I think that puts you in a position where you’re able to actually do things that are quite exciting.