Last Wednesday i was checking the workshops for the Numero festival, and a friend pointed out the Quartz composer workshop, by Laetitia Morais. While it seemed a nice technology, i presented him to Processing.org and we was astonished with all the creative possibilities of the language, particularly with the works by Philip Worthington.
Processing was created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional production tool, being one of the most honorable efforts bridging the gap between art and technology. The works of Ben Fry and Casey Reas set the ground for creative collaboration such as the pieces by Golan Levin or Zach Lieberman, awarded in ArsElectronica.
While interested in the creative possibilities of the language i never really thought about the business side of it. Based mainly on the work presented in the exhibitions section, here are my inspirations for Processing:
Barbarian Group and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners did an excellent piece for NextFest, easily deployed to other fields besides the auto industry, such as industrial or IT sector. There is a huge potential in providing user experimentation and introducing a “play” factor .
Using sound, data or 3D models to showcase new product designs will definitely be one of the main applications of this technology, following the example of the acclaimed Infinite Interactive Mirrors project.
It’s when dealing with large amounts of data, that Processing excels itself. It can gather large amounts from the Internet or databases and is able to represent such info into something understandable for a regular person.
Take for example, the work of We Feel Fine, with a bit similar to The Dumpster by G.Levin. In a time were social networking is so present in our lives, it’s a refreshing example how relationships are established using technology as a conversational medium.
This area is the most prolific one, and lots of examples are available:
Education and Games
Shadow Monsters is an great piece that could be used as a learning tool for children.
Other interesting example is Jellyfish, where the usual concept of encyclopedia is enriched by a dynamic interface, a serious alternative to the classic multimedia CD/DVD.
Using additional hardware and electronics, the language can produce some amazing applications such as Genius Loci where pixels are placed on a 20×20 grid, networking themselves and using self sustainable solar panels. This concept could be easily integrated into domotics, where a intelligent system interprets and adjusts the environmental conditions of our homes (similar to the DynamicLightning technology from Philips).
The work of Ben Fry with isometric blocks and the human genome is perhaps the most famous application of processing and i see it already as a full-blown commercial application, despite the fact it was elaborated as a PhD thesis.
What could be considered as a gigantic task – the visual representation of the human genome – was accomplished with skill and beauty, turning large amounts of numbers into a aesthetic representation of life.
Many of the current installations are works commissioned by large corporations such as Nike, Toshiba or Nissan. The next move might be into producing such applications for mass distribution.
If you know a bit of code, try it yourself – with small learning curve and lots of available source code, if you’re really into it you’ll have your own Processing application in a few weeks !