Last week saw the return of the Resonate digital media festival in Belgrade. Once again the event was a huge success and included a stunning array of fascinating presentations and workshops. And as ever, one of the primary organisers was MA ADM lecturer and tutor, Filip Visnjic.
“Digital Kaleidoscope” workshop with Richard Difford and Anne-Laure Guiot:
On day 1 of the festival, the MA Architecture and Digital Media also hosted a workshop attended by students of architecture and design, both from local universities and beyond. Using scripted graphics in Processing, the workshop explored the opportunities for pattern generation made possible by multiple reflections. Whilst by no means the first, or the most sophisticated, attempt at scripting kaleidoscopic patterns in Processing (see OpenProcessing for many more) , the workshop aimed to offer a simple and accessible way of utilising existing images and Processing graphics to create ever-changing reflective symmetries.
“It will create in an hour, what a thousand artists could not invent in the course of a year; and while it works with such unexampled rapidity, it works also with a corresponding beauty and precision.”
David Brewster (inventor of the Kaleidoscope)
The day began with a presentation by Richard Difford on the history and theory of the kaleidoscope. The discussion focussed on the origins and nature of the kaleidoscopic image and the wider significance of ornamentation, geometrical patterns and reflected symmetry in the history of design. Examples were drawn from all aspects of art and culture but with particular emphasis on the relevance of kaleidoscopic patterns to contemporary digital design and generative art.
Throughout history and in almost every culture, symmetry and repetition have always been considered fundamental to beauty. Symmetries surround us both in nature, and in art; and mirrors in particular have been constant source of inspiration. It should come as no surprise then that computational design is often deeply rooted in the machine-like nature of iterative and recursive patterns. Like the rich complexity of fractals or the endlessly fascinating dynamic of cellular automata, the reflected patterns created in the Kaleidoscope embody these symmetries in a way that is inherently spatial and which replicates the fragmented subjectivity of the digital age.
Taking inspiration from this familiar philosophical toy, our workshop explored the possibility of creating dynamic kaleidoscopic patterns by combining the principles of the analogue Kaleidoscope with coded graphics created in Processing. Participants were instructed in scripting kaleidoscopic symmetries and guided in the creation of animated interactive graphics employing these principles.
Many thanks to all our participants.
More details, including the Processing code will be published soon.