Initial thoughts - workship

By Taina — 

I don’t know if coincidence is a word to describe how I ended up attending this workshop. I experience coincidences all the time, and look for connections. Initially I thought I might not personally be interested in using nodebox because I had gotten the impression that this would be two weeks of coding typography. I it might change someday since many things have, but so far it’s been impossible to sit still at a computer doing something like that. I prefer drawing by hand to doing things by computer, and usually I at least start working by writing and doodling in my notebooks. I have no problem, however, spending all day on the computer chatting, reading and writing emails, watching videos, reading blogs and following links ending up looking at something totally different than what I started with. That seems worthwhile (although it isn’t always), a journey, something where you can discover and learn about people, the world, yourself. Though I have specific interests and make choices, I can’t know how big my effect in the world is. I often let things happen, giving many things a try out of curiosity.

So I came to listen what this workshop (I just misspelled it ‘workship’, which somehow pleases me because of the association to traveling, a journey, and the fact that I can’t only drift but might in fact have to work really hard to produce something) is about, and it blew my mind - what I saw and heard about previous things made with nodebox opened so many possibilities and questions. (By the way, I love the plastic bag story!) I like it how the makers and users of nodebox make models of how biological and social phenomena work, often based on scientists’ research. There seems to be both systematic and intuitive research and searching going on. I got the impression that there’s constant change in the program and its uses. The database of words, ideas, concepts and thoughts need to be made wider - I hope lots of people will be able to take part in developing that, it’s got potential to be a very interesting tool. The random art criticism text generator cracked me up. Those kinds of formulae are refreshing, anything that seems to question norms and hierarchies, play with our conceptions and worldviews. At the same time it also made me feel awkward because it seems to mock anyone writing in a complex way. I find it funny though that people look up to authors of texts they don’t understand. Some texts are complicated for a good reason though; to be expressed accurately, things shouldn’t be oversimplified. The fact that people randomly create something, whether text or art that’s looks like there’s a lot behind it seems to undermine the purpose of it - expression is difficult, uncertain and vague enough without that. People can always find meanings that weren’t meant to be expressed though, which can be good for them, perhaps not so good to those who try to say something specific! I love playing with ideas and communication though. And that’s what seems to be behind this - playing with common assumptions and blurring boundaries. Also, since I make art intuitively, I wonder what the connection between a human’s intuition and different models of it are. There are questions on my mind about how to look at language, expression, communication.

I still have no idea what I’m going to do. Both my thoughts and text are drifting in all directions. I didn’t have much of a clue how I could make a computer do the things saw today - perhaps it will be easier to understand once I’ve tried out the program. So glad there’ll be a new version! I’d like to find a way to make animations that doesn’t require too much coding…

I find everything related to music fascinating. Today, we saw some visuals that reacted to music. I’m interested in connections between things and the concepts behind them. I wonder where the border between sounds or noise and music is, and how preferences for these come about. People seem to have very distinct tastes in music.

I need to think of something specific to work on. I’m sure thoughts will come together but suggestions are welcome!