Recreating The Past

In Recreating the Past, we will study computational art from the past decades, and co-create our own computational art histories through recreating the works of artists who inspire us. We will use contemporary techniques to gain aesthetic, analytical and technical knowledge, and study the contexts from which these artists’ works emerged to better understand the politics, communities of practice, and social and artistic movements they engaged in.

For each class, we investigate a different set of artists that have created work using computational techniques—either through code, algorithmic processes or instruments—and then recreate their artworks from scratch, while discussing their approaches, tools, and social and poetic underpinnings. By recreating historic works, we can learn what modern tools and approaches have to offer. Through our focus on the building blocks of media art, generative design practice, and computational techniques such as algorithmic composition, typography, imaging, computer vision, audio analysis / synthesis, and interaction design, the class will encourage critical inquiry into what constitutes the canon of computational art by re-verbing “recreating” to take on different forms: reproducing, reenacting, rethinking and reframing.

Participants will be given a toolkit featuring a series of exercises and questions to unpack and expand on the themes, techniques and communities of practice engaged by artists. Participants are encouraged to bring their own artists not only to compile a more inclusive list of artists and designers working in and around computation, but inspire new generations of computational artists well versed in diverse computational art histories and practices.

Meet the Teachers

Zach Lieberman (Co-teacher) · Zach Lieberman is an artist, researcher, and educator with a simple goal: he wants you surprised. In his work, he creates performances and installations that take human gesture as input and amplify them in different ways -- making drawings come to life, imagining what the voice might look like if we could see it, transforming people's silhouettes into music. He's been listed as one of Fast Company's Most Creative People and his projects have won the Golden Nica from Ars Electronica, Interactive Design of the Year from Design Museum London as well as listed in Time Magazine's Best Inventions of the Year. He creates artwork through writing software and is a co-creator of openFrameworks, an open source C++ toolkit for creative coding and helped co-found the School for Poetic Computation, a school examining the lyrical possibilities of code. He is a professor at MIT Media Lab, where he leads the Future Sketches group.

Murilo Polese (Co-teacher) · My name is Murilo, I am a Brazilian creative technologist (or a full stack developer if you prefer). I am profoundly interested in learning experiences and technology. But I'm equally interested in music, microscopes and drawing machines.

Edgardo Avilés-López (Co-teacher) · Edgardo Avilés-López is a Mexican engineer, researcher, and artist currently living and working in NYC. His work combines photography, drawing, prototyping, and creative coding and is focused in exploring how technology and art can be used as amplifiers of curiosity, opportunity, and happiness. He received a MSc and a PhD in Computer Science from the CICESE Research Center. Since 2012 he has been a member of Torolab, an interdisciplinary art collective based in Tijuana, Mexico. The collective works on projects that seek to improve qualify of life through art. He is currently working for Lifion, by ADP, as a Principal Architect.

Hind Al Saad (Co-teacher) · Hind Al Saad is a designer, maker and creative coder based in Doha. She is interested in creating emergent graphical forms, both physical and digital, using procedural and analog systems, and exploring the endless ways finite rules can create infinite results.

This session is organized by Galen Macdonald and Neta Bomani.

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