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Authorship & Control in Generative Design


Field Of Study

Interaction and Generative design has been combined together which has caused authorship of design to involve the users. This project will explore the relationship between designer and user in design and how much of an effect and uniqueness a user can have on the design.

Generative design is a design method that uses an algorithm or a set of rules to create an output. The algorithm/rules allows the design to create complex forms with the means of creating permutations and selecting outputs though a set of rules or variables. Today’s technological ability allows artists and designers to create something new and surpass the human hand and create works that are generated at least in part by some process that is not under the artist’s direct control. Control can come from a multitude of factors such as; the variables within the system which can be controlled via users, therefore creating a relationship between user and art.


Generative design can allow the audience or a user to get involved and create alternatives to the current settings of a certain project, removing the control of perception from the designer to the audience. Roland Bathes challenged the concept of authorship altogether by suggesting there is a new authorial structure through “the death of the author” where he disconnected the creation from the author and “assigns to it autonomous voice in the realm of a multi- dimensional space, where it is in the consciousness of its interpreters to be attributing a meaning. Once the creation comes to light, the author, according to Barthes, “enters into his own death”. [Barthes, 1977, p.142]” (Theodoropoulou, 2007). This implies that once the user or audiences receive the messages from the artefact it is the perception of the individual that is considered the connection, not author to audience. This is supported by the idea that “early models of graphic design were built on ideals of anonymity, not authorship.” (Armstrong, 2009) and how technology has allowed the development of design to put “…creation, production and distribution into the hands of the designer, enabling such bold assertions of artistic presence. These acts of the graphic authorship fit within a broader evolving model of collective authorship that is fundamentally changing the producer-consumer relationship.” (Armstrong, 2009). The development of collective authorship has enabled the ‘free culture’ to grow to allow individuals to become generators or producers of content. Laser Tag – Graffiti Research Lab (2007), Video Grid (2009), We Feel Fine (2005), Study of a Mirror (2008), and House of Cards (2008). All these examples use set designs and then allows the user to apply their ‘preferences’. With all this in mind the examples still leave a graphic mark. “As a designer working with generative processes, one may still wish to leave a recognizable mark on a creation” (McCormack, 2004).

The history of generative design is believed to be as old as art itself. There are many examples of historical persona who have used generative design towards production of their artefacts. “Mozart developed a “musical game of dice“… … Mozart composed 176 bars of music, from which sixteen were chosen from a list using dice, which then produced a new piece when performed on a piano. Sixteen bars, each with eleven possibilities, can result in 1,116 unique pieces of music.” (Ihmels, 2011). Similarly John Cage laid out rhythms and sequences using traditional notation. His performances were unplanned and were produced through the elements of chance and variation, differing the results. “Through the performance process, the individual’s freedom to modify the structure results in a social interaction in the group of musicians. This non-hierarchic form of creativity can be compared with the ‘bottomup’ structure by which an open source software such as Linux is constantly further developed by its users. In either case, it is possible to vary and re-interpret a specified code with the result that the boundary between author and user become fluid.” (Daniels, 2000).


Looking into control and authorship is important to me because I have always been interested in creating interactive products and this study will allow myself to understand the relationship between the user and the designer. Hopefully it will allow me to understand how to control this relationship, of users and designer, for the future. This is an important problem within Graphic Design: New Media because interaction and generative designers need to know how to relate to the audience sufficiently. Two exhibitions that influenced my original interest in interaction and generative design the most were V&A Decode and the Offf Festival in Lisbon. The Offf festival was the first experience of seeing major designers in one place, and it enabled me to see work from Joshua Davis, Karsten Schmidt, Multitouch Barcelona and lots more. Before that festival I did not know a lot about interaction within design and how it could be represented. The Decode exhibition allowed me to see more designers and the range of different types of interaction. Over the past few years projects have appeared on Creative Applications website that have inspired me in previous projects.


Throughout this project I will need to research and revisit sources because of the amount project being shown to the public allowing possible influence and enabling my project not to go in one direction once the development stage has begun. The project will have to begin with experimenting and generating prototypes that challenges authorship of the artefact and I will need to find ways of doing this. There are many types of interactions that can be looked into such as; the human-computer interaction and self-regulating systems. Also, the varieties of user experience design could inspire branches that this project could go down. Testing the final result will be vital because of the variations that the artefacts could produce.


Practical Skills Empathy (“the power of entering into another’s personality and imaginatively experiencing his experiences” [Beardsley, 2004]) Learn coding within Processing or some other programming package. Testing and recording feedback. Time keeping and organisation. Theoretical Skills Understanding of the types of interaction. Revisiting research from previous project and applying it to this project. Break down the relationship of the designer, user and design. Understanding the feedback from experiments and applying it to a final outcome.

Predicted Resolution

I am aspiring to generate artefacts that investigates or shows a relationship between the designer, user and design. As I am dealing with the aspect of the ‘user’ it may have an interactive component to show the results of the findings of how much of an effect and uniqueness a user can have on the design. Whatever the outcome of the major project, a designed booklet containing research, processes, experiments and the final outcome will be produced. This will show the progression of the project and promote the design problem and the resolution.


Armstrong, Helen. (2009). Graphic Theory. Princeton Architectural Press.


Daniels, Dieter. (2000). Media Art Interaction, The 1980s and 1990s in Germany. Springer.

Beardsley, Sally (2004). Interactive generative design: A living language? AsiaLink Seminar on Generative Design.

Dubberly, H., Haque, U., Pangaro, P. (2009) What is interaction?

Craemer, A (2010). Can information design create social change? (And should it even try?). Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design Cramer, F. (2002). Concepts, Notations, Software, Art. Creative Applications (2011) Cox, G. (2006). Generator: about Generative Art and/or Software Art.

Freyer, Conny., Noel, Sebastien., Ruck, Eva. (2011). Digital By Design. Thames & Hudson. Galanter, P. (2003). What is Generative Art? Complexity Theory as a Context for Art Theory. New York University, New York. Heller, Steven. (2007). Become a Digital Designer. Wiley. Ihmels, T,. Riedel, J. (2011). The Methodology of Generative Art. themes/generative-tools/generative-art/

Kitchen Budapest. (2011). Maeda, John. (2004). Creative Code: Aesthetics + Computation. Thames & Hudson Maeda, John. (2006). The Laws of Simplicity. MIT Press McCormack, J., Dorin, A., and Innocent, T. (2004). ‘Generative design: a paradigm for design research’. Proceedings of Futureground, Design Research Society, Melbourne. Noble, Ian., Bestley, Russell. (2004). Visual Research. AVA Publishing Offf Festival. (2011). Osbourne, P. (2002). Conceptual Art. Phaidon Press.

Reas, Casey., McWilliams, Chandler. (2010). Form+Code in Design, Art, and Architecture. Princeton Architectural Press. Reas, Casey. Fry, Ben. (2010). Getting Started with Processing. Make. Theodoropoulou, A. (2007) Architectural Authorship in Generative Design. University College London. V&A Decode Exhibition (2011) Ward, Adrian., Cox, Geoff. (1999) The Authorship of Generative Art. Sidestream, London & CAiiASTAR, School of Computing, University of Plymouth, UK.


Subject Research

Experiments 15 - 23 Mar

1 Mar

FMP Briefing

List Experiments

24 Feb

2 Mar

Work in Progress Crit 24 Mar

Identify Problem

Finalise Proposal

25 Feb

11 Mar

Mid Point Crit

Easter Starts

4 Apr

16 Apr

Research/ Development Sections Completed

Image Making Workshop 28, 29 Mar + 5, 7 Apr

16 Apr

Budapest Trip 13 Apr - 18 Apr

Project Deadline 12 May

Easter Ends 3 May

Generative Design

The method of generative design was first introduced to me by Joshua Davis during his presentation during the Offf festival in Lisbon 2009. Joshua Davis’ style within his designs are not what I am most interested in but more on the methods and processes he used to produce his work. His presentations of showing his step by step methods towards his final pieces was very impressive. The reason that I liked his methods was because it created something new with endless variations and did not always have a producers control over the outcome. Its well worth looking at the history and future of generative design to see where it began and what possible directions the future of this design area could take. The history of generative design is believed to be as old as art itself. There are many examples of historical persona who have used generative design towards production of their artefacts. “Mozart developed a “musical game of dice“… …Mozart composed 176 bars of music, from which sixteen were chosen from a list using dice, which then produced a new piece

when performed on a piano. Sixteen bars, each with eleven possibilities, can result in 1,116 unique pieces of music.” (Ihmels, 2011). Similarly John Cage laid out rhythms and sequences using traditional notation. His performances were unplanned and were produced through the elements of chance and variation, differing the results. “Through the performance process, the individual’s freedom to modify the structure results in a social interaction in the group of musicians. This non-hierarchic form of creativity can be compared with the ‘bottomup’ structure by which an open source software such as Linux is constantly further developed by its users. In either case, it is possible to vary and re-interpret a specified code with the result that the boundary between author and user become fluid.” (Daniels, 2000). In the 80’s, John Whitney who was an inventor, animator and early computer art pioneer was able to produce a generative piece that visualised music and it was called ‘Permutations’.

Joshua Davis is one of the leading designers within generative design and was a pioneer by developing an area previously unexplored within graphic design. Although, Davis’ primary tool is action scripting and flash because he is a graphic web designer his influence to generative design development over the past ten years have been vital. Programming environments are the reason that generative design is becoming more and more important and have made it very easy for designers with little programming experience to implement their ideas.

“There is broad agreement that generative art is a term applied to artwork that is automated by the use of instructions or rules by which the artwork is executed.“ (Cox, 2006).

Generative Design

Design Method

1. A Design Schema 2. Means of creating variation 3. Means of selecting output

Implemented in

Output = Image / Sound / Animation

Generated by Algorithms / Rules

Art, Architechture, Communication Design, Product Design

Generative Design Process The generative design process allows me to visualise the stages of development that a product will require. I will be able to show the development through these stages and will know where to go from each stage by having a choice of modification.

Idea Abstraction

Rule/Algorithm Modifies rules

Formalisation and starting parameters

Source Code

Interpretation by the computer

Designer Modifies source code or parameters

Output Designer judges the output

Purist Using code to create the visuals

Ben Cas Joh Gola Tox Esk Jon Mar Ed B

Ben Fry Casey Reas John Maeda Golan Levin Toxi Eskimoblood Jonathan Harris Marius Watz Ed Burton

Hybrid Mapping artwork to code

During my first year of Graphic Design: New Media I had the opportunity to go to the design festival Offf. The year that I went it took place in Lisbon which has a great design culture. This festival was important to my own development because it allowed me to hear from designers that have already mastered the industry just as I was entering it. Also, the breadth of the festival enlightened and expanded my view within design. From different types of motion, interaction, print and more... The festival topic was quite useful to me as a student because it was all about trying new things with the possibility of failing, an aspect of design that I did not recognise until then.

Although, the festival topic was about the failures that the speaker have had, it was also about how these failures could become innovative pieces of design. I attended presentations from Neville Brody, Multitouch Barcelona, Karsten Schmidt, Joshua Davis, Paula Scher and PES. Before attending I did not know who they were as my knowledge of design was very limited although I had seen some of their works around.

“OFFF is an entity in continuous transformation, alive and evolutionary. More than a decade ago, it was born as a postdigital culture festival; a meeting place to host contemporary creation through an in depth programme of conferences, workshops and performances by the most relevant artists of our time.� - Offf

Joshua Davis As stated before I first noticed Davis’ work and methods at the Offf festival in Lisbon. Visually, I really like the work that Joshua Davis’ produces but I that is not what intrigues me the most about his work. The processes and methods that he has and applied it with code. On his website he has the quote “Among modern artists, I conceptually identify with Jackson Pollock — not that I’m a particular fan of his visual style, but because he always identified himself as a painter, even though a lot of the time his brush never hit the canvas. There’s something in that disconnect — not using a brush or tool in traditional methods.” This probably sums up what I like about his work; that avoiding traditional methods in creating something new.

Davis states that the code is his artwork although all the components in his design are drawn in illustrator and coded together to produce a many pieces of art. His development and decision making throughout a project is what I find impressive as at each stage it is not possible to tell what the final outcome will be. His presentation at Offf showed step by step his approach and it was similar to John Maeda’s Laws of Simplicity by breaking the project into really small tasks. For example he had to create interesting stream of colours and shapes around the canvas. He started the project by having a ball and making it ping from point A to point B. His development to this was creating methods that changes the path.

“20 years ago... Computing couldn’t replicate what human hand could achieve. Today... Technology wielded by artists and designers surpasses the human hand.“ - Joshua Davis

V&A Decode

The Decode exhibition was something I heard about from a tutor and decided to check it out. The festival had three different sections within it; code, interactivity and network.

“Code presents pieces that use computer code to create new works and looks at how code can be programmed to create constantly fluid and ever-changing works.

This exhibition was very interesting to me because of the focus on works that were “innovative, often interactive, displays use generative software, animation and other responsive technologies to instil a ‘live’ element into contemporary artworks. Some works exist in a state of perpetual evolution other are altered by the behaviours of the spectator.” - V&A Decode. This was interesting to me then and is very important to this project because of the relationship between the exhibition manifesto and this project.

Interactivity looks at works that are directly influenced by the viewer. Visitors will be invited to interact with and contribute to the development of the exhibits.

The relationship that exists between Decode and this project is that the themes are related such as this project focuses on control and authorship with generative design and these have themes of coding, interactivity, networking, behaviour modification.

Network focuses on works that comment on and utilise the digital traces left behind by everyday communications and looks at how advanced technologies and the internet have enabled new types of social interaction and mediums of selfexpression.” - V&A Decode Website.

Karsten Schmidt As part of the University of Creative Arts designer lecture program, Karsten gave a presentation about his works and methods. Karsten uses a unique way of producing his content which merges various fields towards a project using code, design, art & craft skills. During his talk he suggests that society has created experts within fields and that there should be more designers that have skills in many fields. The reason for this is because experts see problems from their own niche. Karsten introduced toxiclibs which is a library that can be used within processing. Also, he explained how easy it was to get a varied image of a tree through three simple rules. This was done on Context Free.

Postspectacular Manifesto Learn by doing. Become literate in systems thinking Use the right tool for the right job - make those tools! Encourage creative flow in your process Be part of networks Allow for recombination of ideas by adopting modular development Be open to new influences Benefit from and accept that you’re working towards moving targets (caused by your own doing and that of others) Use clear language without hype & buzzwords Be self-critical to promote quality & positiveness Ask the important, uneasy questions if you’re in doubt Attempt to move away from isolated projects towards a continuous flow of activity

Aaron Koblin

Aaron Koblin is an artist who specialises in combining data and digital technologies. The House of Cards project for Radiohead was the first piece that I saw of his work and was really interested on how he was able to capture the data and then turn it into two pieces of work; a video and an interactive piece. This method was made available to download and has been developed into other projects such as electro artist Krause’s music video (

“Aaron’s work takes realworld and community generated data and uses it to reflect on cultural trends and the changing relationship between humans and technology.“

The second trip that I was able to attend with the Graphic Design: New Media course was to a new media festival called Transmediale which takes place in Berlin. I was also fortunate to revisit the festival a year later with the course. The first year the festivals theme was called ‘Futurity Now!’. The aim of the festival was to see what we have in store for the future, not what the future has in store for us. Talks that really interested me was the one that was called ‘Art 2.0’ which involved Michelle Teran, Jens Wunderling, Jamie Wilkinson, Aaron Koblin and Daniel Massey. The main focus of this talk was ‘different strategies of artistic appropriation such as crowdsourcing, the direct invitation of a group of people to participate in an artwork, or retroactive gathering and recycling of foreign contents and forms.’

The second years theme was called ‘Response: Ability’ and it explored “...the qualities of liveness that are fundamental elements of our digital culture and discusses the ability required to respond to the social, political and economical processes formed by the intensity of our participation and interaction.” The performances this year were really good and I enjoyed performances from Eboman with the SenSor Suit and Ei Wada with the Braun Tube Jazz Band. The Sensor Suit investigates the possibilities opened up by the medium of sampling by capturing it audiences and then remixing it to a collection. The Braun Tube Jazz Band works by tapping the TV screens and it produces primitive, cosmic electrical music. You could say that these are very similar to John Cage and how he produced his works.

This mini documentary was produced during the Transmediale festival 2011 to discuss the issues of the future of art. I’m sure this discussion could go on for many hours and in many directions but these are the questions that were answered by these participants. Ken Wahl discusses how that if you have a set of data which could be interpreted in many ways such as through different mediums or different techniques it brings in the question what is the art as the only original thing is the set of data. So, what is the artwork? Is it the data or the produced outputs? In interaction design, this is a problem because if there is confusion on what the art is, it is going to raise questions about the authorship especially when the interactive piece will be generated by a participant.

“What are the defining aesthetics of art in the networked era? How is mass collaboration changing notions of ownership in art? How does micropatronage change the way artists produce and distribute artwork?�

Jamie Wilkinson

Jamie Wilkinson is an internet culture researcher and software engineer, who I saw at the Transmediale festival presented his pieces of art that involved participants. His most famous piece of work would be Star Wars Uncut which won an Emmy for ‘Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media Fiction‘. He has also produced ‘Know Your Meme’ which is a database of viral internet memes. He later introduced what Free Art and Technology Lab are about, what they produce and how he is involved (See next page).

“The Free Art and Technology Lab is an organization dedicated to enriching the public domain through the research and development of creative technologies and media. The entire FAT network of artists, engineers, scientists, lawyers, musicians and Bornas are committed to supporting open values and the public domain through the use of emerging open licenses, support for open entrepreneurship and the admonishment of secrecy, copyright monopolies and patents.� The Free Art and Technology Lab’s attitude towards their target is something to be appreciated and their work relates to my investigation as they give the control back to the people.

“Dedicated to enriching the public domain one mutha-fuckin LOL at a time�

Graffiti Research Lab The Graffiti Research Lab is something I came across while looking at the Digital By Design book. “…Graffiti Research Lab explore how technology can contribute to street art and urban communication and empower individuals creatively to alto and reclaim their surroundings.” This enables users to show their creativity through the technology allowing the control to be with the user, this in turn gives the user a majority of the authorship because they are creating the message and using the technology as a tool similarly as designers use Photoshop or any other design package.

Strategies of Interactivity

While this project is about investigating authorship and control in generative design, we must look at the strategies that are available to a designer on how a participant can interact with a process using the Strategies of Interactivity by Dieter Daniels’ Media Art Interaction book. “Most of Cage’s compositions do not define a precise musical human-instrument interaction, but open up a field of possibilities to be interpreted by the performer of his composition and producing each time, through elements of chance and variation, differing results. Some pieces modify the instruments (prepared piano) or leave the choice of instruments up to the performers. Through the performance process, the individual’s freedom to modify the structure results in a social interaction in the group of musicians. This non-hierarchic form of creativity can be compared with the ‘bottomup’ structure by which an open-source software such as Linux is constantly further developed by its users. In either case, it is possible to vary and re-interpret a specified code with the result that the boundary between author and user becomes

fluid. The opposite model would be a ‘topdown’ structure as represented by the precise notation of a classical composition as well as the proprietary software developed by Bill Gates’ Microsoft Corporation, for which the secrecy of the source code is the basis of a capitalist monopoly. Program users work in line with the patterns of interaction decreed by the software industry, just as the classical musical composition specifies as exactly as possible the usage of musical instruments. The purpose of composition, as Cage saw it, was not to deliver an optimum ‘operating system’ for musical instruments, but to initiate an individual and social creative process which successively detaches itself from the intentions of its author. By contrast, the software of Bill Gates and other proprietary systems keeps users in the dark about the structures ‘inscribed’ by its writers. A model derived from the time-honoured, idealistic notion of art — that of the deep mystery inherent to all creativity — is being kept alive solely by artificial secrecy. Instead of serving the sacred goals of the genius, it panders to the mammon of monopolists.

Cage’s concept of interactivity stems from an aesthetic and ideology leading to the dissolution of the boundary between author, performance and audience. That was why he deployed media technologies like radio, record, tape and, later, computer — through the information structures of such apparatus, the interference of musical production and reception became possible. Technology could not only replace human labour, but also open up a creative sphere. For Gates, by contrast, interactivity is an economically and technologically determined pattern according to whose specifications millions structure their workflow — a view he pinpointed in an in-house paper stating that Microsoft treats human users like it does computers: it programs them. While the computer is indisputably replacing the piano as the most-used keyboard instrument in the home, liberation from the often tortuous obligation to practise has not reached young people in an open, Cagean form but instead in the voluntary self-conditioning of interaction with industrial software such as computer games. This admittedly bold comparison serves to bridge the gap between Cage’s art and Gates’

technology in order to show that ultimately their conflicting models of interactivity stand for two different blueprints of society. The respective principles of openness and closedness could act as a leitmotif for the changing meaning of the term ‘interactivity’ from the ’60s to the ’90s.” Using the ‘bottom-up’ model with this project would be perfect as it will allow users to become part of the authorship. Also, as the main property of interaction design is the user, it means that designers must understand humans and human behaviour. “One of the essential skills of an interaction designer is empathy. Empathy: The power of entering into another’s personality and imaginatively experiencing his experiences: the power of entering into the feeling or spirit of something... and so appreciating it fully.” (Beardsley)


Fluxus designers use the intersection of medias and see what reaction that results from it. Most results are simple and use everyday object to create new combinations. Fluxus designers worked through instructions to produce their works. Yoko Ono exhibited ‘instructions’ for paintings which allowed the audience to complete the artwork through certain methods. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde curated an exhibition called ‘Fluxus Scores and Instructions The Transformative Years. “Most of the scores and instructions are complete original manuscripts or the earliest printed versions of the works. There are also performances of scores recorded in photographs and realizations presented in other forms, alongside scratchy audio from the 1960s and blurry films of early Fluxus performances. The exhibition will also include germinal pre-Fluxus scores by George Brecht, John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, Yves Klein, Walter de Maria, Yoko Ono, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and La Monte Young.” (E-flux, 2008).

Fluxus allows a participation which causes me to query the role of the designer because of how much input the participant could have on these pieces allowing the authorship to shift. This piece was set through Ono’s set of instruction therefore becoming a ‘bottom-up’ model and allowing a collective authorship.

Role of the Designer

Looking at the role of the designer is important because it allows us to see how over time the role has changed and why it has changed. The development of collective authorship and open source has allowed the designer to become more of an author to start a product or a process. Due to the emergence of open source and collective authorship this has had to happen as “...designers position and reposition themselves in relation to the discourse of design and the broader society.“ - Armstrong. Heller states that the basic goal of the designer is to “ people understand the world through the visual interpretation of complex information“ and this is still case whether the designer is part author, part translator or part director. For example; a designer who codes, sets parameters and rules for a participant or system to abide by which will most likely not change (unless it is in by another coder in open source) and the participant will be able to interact or change these parameters to get an output they produce. This is very similar to what Yoko Ono did with her instructions.

“The role of the Graphic Designer expanded in the last decades. In times of information explosion, climate change, obesity and the financial crisis stepping into the forefront of common interest, the influence of the contemporary Graphic Designer addressing these issues has been raised.” - Craemer.

Role of the Designer by Anna Craemer

Collective Authorship

Collective Authorship is an evolution from the development in digital technology where “... content generation by individuals has never been easier. (Consider the popularity of the DIY and the “Free Culture“ movements.) As more and more designers, along with the general population become initiators and producers of content, a leveling is occuring.“ - Armstrong. Wordpress is a prime example of collective authorship as user are able to download or sign up to a service and upload content similarly to the content within Jamie Wilkinson’s Know Your Meme. More directly with this project and generative design we could look at Karsten Schmidt’s Toxiclib as it uses libraries collectively built and developed to improve the outcomes of the project. In an interview with Joshua Davis, he explain why he shares his knowledge and code. He states that if he were Rembrandt and showed you his methods and ways he mixes his pallets you still would get the same result as the original author but you would get a recognisable creation. “As a designer working with generative processes, one may still wish to leave a recognizable mark on a creation.” - McCormack.

Death of the Author Roland Barthes theory on the ‘Death of the Author’ is something that I was taught during Contextual Studies during first and second years of the degree and it probably a major theory that should be recognised. “Roland Barthes in “the death of the author” in 1968, challenges the notion of authorship altogether. Barthes suggests the emergence of a new authorial persona. He disconnects the creation from the Author and assigns to it autonomous voice in the realm of a multi- dimensional space, where it is in the consciousness of its interpreters to be attributing a meaning. Once the creation comes to light, the author, according to Barthes, “enters into his own death”. [Barthes, 1977, p.142]” - Theodoropoulou.

This theory could be connected to collective authorship where there is no one author but many and that “once published, the text is no longer under the control of the author” making the author have a limited control on the future of the text. Although, this can be argued within generative design where the designer can set parameters to leave his mark on the work therefore displaying that his original code is the art not the outcome.

Behavioural Influence

As designers it is our job to ultimately sell, influence and create behaviour. I was unaware to look at this subject until I saw a video of Dan Ariely on TED. “Behavioural economist Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational, uses classic visual illusions and his own counter intuitive (and sometimes shocking) research findings to show how we’re not as rational as we think when we make decisions.” This video was very interesting and I was able to find out how to previous designs have thought about controlling the user to outcome by using various methods like adding additional preferences that causes our perception to change “Dan Lockton is a designer and researcher from the UK, and has come to specialise in design for behaviour change – applying techniques from a range of psychological and technical disciplines to the problems of influencing human behaviour for social benefit, via the design of products, systems, services and environments.” (http:// Through the design with intent website I found about Dan Lockton who specialises in design that influences user behaviour. This presentation progresses the talk from Dan Ariely. Although Dan Lockton discusses about architectural products but the issues are the same.

Dan Ariely

Dan Lockton

Behavioural Influence

“In his 2003 book Persuasive Technology, BJ Fogg lists some reasons why using technology to influence behaviour is different from persuading people using other forms of media like traditional advertising. For example the anonymity of interacting with a machine can encourage people to be more open in their responses to questions which could allow a computer to present more tailored responses. Computers can also sift through enormous volumes of data to present people with an overpowering case – or find the one fact in millions that they find most persuasive. Another reason Fogg gives that I find convincing is that computers can present people with a rich variety of text, video, audio and the ability to interact and simulate, allowing people to select the media that they find most engaging.” Decode wasn’t an exhibition about changing behaviour of course, but it was interesting to read an interview with one of the artists, Golan Levin, who when asked “what do digital technologies allow you to do or investigate that other tools do not?” replied “I can create ‘behaviour’”.

BJ Fogg

Golan Levin

History of Processing “Processing is a programming language, development environment, and online community that since 2001 has promoted software literacy within the visual arts. Initially created to serve as a software sketchbook and to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context, Processing quickly developed into a tool for creating finished professional work as well.” “Processing was founded by Ben Fry and Casey Reas in 2001 while both were John Maeda’s students at the MIT Media Lab. Further development has taken place at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, Carnegie Mellon University, and the UCLA, where Reas is chair of the Department of Design | Media Arts. Miami University, Oblong Industries, and the Rockefeller Foundation have generously contributed funding to the project.”



“Casey Reas is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Design Media Arts at UCLA. His classes provide a foundation for thinking about software as a dynamic visual medium and set a structure for inquiry into synthesis of culture, technology, and aesthetics. With Ben Fry, Reas initiated in 2001. Processing is an open source programming language and environment for creating images, animation, and interaction. In September 2007, they published Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists, a comprehensive introduction to programming within the context of visual media (MIT Press). Reas’ essays have appeared in the books Network Practices (Princeton Architectural Press), Aesthetic Computing (MIT Press), Code: The Language of Our Time (Hatje Cantz), and the Programming Cultures issue of Architectural Design (Wiley).”

“Ben Fry received his doctoral degree from the Aesthetics + Computation Group at the MIT Media Laboratory, where his research focused on combining fields such as Computer Science, Statistics, Graphic Design, and Data Visualization as a means for understanding complex data. After completing his thesis, he spent time developing tools for visualization of genetic data as a postdoc with Eric Lander at the Eli & Edythe L. Broad Insitute of MIT & Harvard. During the 2006-2007 school year, Ben was the Nierenberg Chair of Design for the Carnegie Mellon School of Design. At the end of 2007, he finished the book Visualizing Data for O’Reilly. He currently works as a designer in Cambridge, MA.”

Image Making Workshop

This workshop was preparation tool to make our knowledge of Processing and Arduino ready for a workshop with Kitchen Budapest. I was very fortunate to have this workshop on processing as my project will probably be primarily based within that programming environment. The workshop started with showing us the basics to processing and common programming techniques. We learnt the basics to processing such as; setting the canvas size, drawing shapes, use of variables and the different types, integers, floats, boolean, the structure of a sketch and more. We then were put through various small projects to develop our coding skills.

The Brief We want you to design and prototype a mechanical or computational image making machine. Neither the input nor the output is required to be photographic, and in fact we urge you to avoid this. You are free to let your imagination go wild so long as you produce a mechanical or computationally generated image at the end.

Serial Communication

Serial Communication II

Import Library

Declare movie capture

Integer ‘space’ = 13

Project Setup

Canvas Size

Smooth Quality

Movie capture information

Background = white

Circle sizes with int space

Stroke colour = random

Stroke weight = random

Add a frame to movie

If space bar pressed finish movie capture

Declare properties for x, y, px, py

Project Setup

Canvas Size

Smooth Quality

x & y = mouse with easing

If left click distWeight = distance of x, y, px, py properties draw stroke with distWeight class properties

If right click fill screen with background colour

Draw line

Declare properties for x, y, px, py Declare easing property

Project Setup

Canvas Size

Smooth Quality

x = (mouseX co-ord - x) * easing

y = (mouseY co-ord - y) * easing

Print Line

The Drawing Machine

The Drawing Machine & Outcome

Kitchen Budapest

The Graphic Design: New Media course provided the opportunity to go to a workshop run by Kitchen Budapest that was to involve noise production. The workshop were led by Lรกszlรณ Kiss and Mรกrton Andrรกs Juhรกsz. The first day we did not know what to expect and we were introduced to what they produced and what they were about. After that we discussed individual ideas in what object could make interesting sounds. With nearly everyone filling pages full of ideas the best were selected and then we chose what groups we wanted to be in to produce an instrument for a performance. The rest of the day was experimenting with the making of the instruments with everyday objects. We found it quite difficult to locate certain objects as we did not know the area well (until the last day!). On the last it was time for the performance and the nerves were alive and kicking. We originally had the idea to perform in an underground station but had to move due to being moved along! Some instruments out performed others and gained some interest from the public. Kitchen Budapest were very kind with giving us a free bag and book on all the projects.

“Detach them from their usual habitat and they can push that envelope into the endless depth of Ligeti’s Volumina! At first they were a little bit skeptical, of course, but when they all started building their instruments the following day, they really got the taste of it. Black and white pattern recognizing noise baggage, bit crushed salad spinner guitar, 4 channel scratch-able book cover tower, gesture controlled compressed air canister whistles and recorders, ultrasound acid harmonica, spinning Pringle’s machine! They were loving it!”

Why is this topic important within wider design? The importance of this project in wider design is quite interesting as it helps to explain many issues that designers must be aware of. All types of design are able to influence our behaviour but the designer must know how to do this; for instances in advertising the design must influence the viewer to buy the product. Technologies are also effecting behaviour and designer have the opportunity to influence behaviour by using them to their advantage. Also, looking at how participants can effect or control interfaces and understanding why choices are made will allow the designer to effectively control the direction that the participant will take. The growth of open source and collective authorship has allowed the issue of a participant to become apart of the piece of art which provides a new avenue of design possibilities. Creating something from code shows that designers do not have to depend on traditional tools and that an coded approach can create something unique and very different to what could be produced by hand.

How to capture and show permutations This task was about finding out how it was possible to export the outcome of the code so it would be possible view the development. Also, working with generative designs it would be sensible to have a record of it as it would not be able to replicate exactly the same image.

Video Permuations I was able to export to video using the moviemaker function. It is possible to export in high definition to publish designs with motion. ( MovieMaker.html)

Stills Permutations Using the nested for loops example from the image making workshop I was able to find out how to capture permutations. The PDF export function is really good as I can export one image to 100. ( libraries/pdf/index.html)

Even though these two capture methods do not have a lot to resemble my project it has allowed develop my technical skills.

Find a method of creating algorithms/rules and can be easily changed

Originally I was over thinking the method of creating algorithms and rules that a system must abide by. I was shown the Concepts, Notations, Software, Art article by Florian Cramer which breaks down the way of making an algorithm. Basically, it states that we should look at it as a set of instructions. “Imagine a Dadaist poem which makes random variations of Hugo Ball’s sound poem ``Karawane’’ (``Caravan’’): KARAWANE jolifanto bambla ô falli bambla grossiga m’pfa habla horem égiga goramen higo bloiko russula huju hollaka hollala anlogo bung blago bung blago bung bosso fataka ü üü ü schampa wulla wussa ólobo hej taat gôrem eschige zunbada wulebu ssubudu uluw ssubudu tumba ba-umpf kusagauma ba-umpf

The new Dada poem could simply consists of eight variations of the line ``tumba ba-umpf’’. The author/performer could throw a coin twice for each line and, depending on the result, choose to write down either the word ``tumba’’ or ``baumpf’’, so that the result would look like: tumba tumba ba-umpf tumba tumba ba-umpf tumba ba-umpf ba-umpf ba-umpf ba-umpf tumba tumba ba-umpf tumba ba-umpf The instruction code for this poem could be written as follows: Take a coin of any kind with two distinct sides. Repeat the following set of instructions eight times: Repeat the following set of instructions twice: Throw the coin. Catch it with your palm so that it lands on one side. If the coin shows the upper side, do the following: Say “tumba” Else do the following: Say “ba-umpf”

Make a brief pause to indicate the end of the line. Make a long pause to indicate the end of the poem. Since these instructions are formal and precise enough to be as well executed by a machine (imagine this poem implemented into a modified cuckoo clock), they can be translated line by line into a computer program. Just as the above instruction looks different depending on the language it is written in, a computer program looks different depending on the programming language used. Here I choose the popular language ``Perl’’ whose basic instructions are rather simple to read: for $lines (1 .. 8) { for $word (1 .. 2) { $random_number = int(rand(2)); if ($random_number == 0) { print “tumba” } else { print “ba-umpf” } print “ “ } print “\n” }” After looking at this I have developed the knowledge that not all systems are going to be the same and that I will have to take these step when producing systems. I also was trying to think about a final product that the generative design would be and how it would be interacted with. I read John Maeda’s The Laws of Simplicity and I discovered that it is better to break down the project into simpler pieces, especially when coding can become so complex.

Also, to have good organisation which will save time, learning will make tasks simpler, therefore practicing sketches in processing will allow programming skills to develop and speed up tasks. These were some points I found on the page ‘Ten Laws’ and the rest are below.

“1. REDUCE The simplest way to achieve simplicity

2. ORGANISE Makes many appear fewer

3. TIME Savings in time

4. LEARN Knowledge makes everything simpler

5. DIFFERENCES Simplicity and complexity need each other

6. CONTEXT What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral

7. EMOTION More emotions are better than less

8. TRUST In simplicity we trust

9. FAILURE Some things can never be made simple

10. THE ONE Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful”

Investigate types of systems

This task was to find out whether I could use different systems to create news ways of processing a generative piece or how it could be interacted with. Taking into account that the knowledge level within processing is beginner I would probably only be able to use a simple system but it would be good to know what developments could be done with my skill or with the project. Most of this information is from the article ‘What is interaction? Are there different types?’ by Hugh Dubberly, Usman Haque and Paul Pangaro.

Seven Stages of Action “Norman has also proposed a “seven stages of action” model, a variation and elaboration on the gulf model. Norman points out that “behaviour can be bottom up, in which an event in the world triggers the cycle...”

“All man-made objects offer the possibility for interaction, and all design activities can be viewed as design for interaction. The same is true not only of objects but also of spaces, messages, and systems.”

Self Regulating System “A self-regulating system has a goal. The goal defines a relationship between the system and its environment, which the system seeks to attain and maintain. This relationship is what the system regulates, what it seeks to keep constant in the face of external forces.”

Man-Machine System “In 1964 the HfG Ulm published a model of interaction depicting an information loop running from system through human and back through the system.” Gulf of Execution and Evaluation “The user turns intention to action via an input device connected to the physical system. The physical system presents signals, which the user interprets and evaluates—presumably in relation to intention.”

Linear System “A linear system sets the goal of a self-regulating system. In this case, the linear system may be seen as part of the self-regulating system—a sort of dial.”

Learning System “Learning systems nest a first self-regulating system inside a second self-regulating system. The second system measures the effect of the first system on the environment and adjusts the first system’s goal according to how well its own second-order goal is being met. The second system sets the goal of the first, based on external action. We may call this learning—modification of goals based on the effect of actions. Learning systems are also called second-order systems.”

Man Effectors

Man-Machine System


Input / Output




Physical System Interface display

Input Devices


Gulf of Evaluation

Gulf of Execution

Action Specification


Intentions User


can be Static or Dynamic

which can be Linear or Closed-Loop

which can be Recirculating or Self-Regulatory

which can be First or Second-order

which can be Self-adjusting or Learning

Create a inspiration book

This task was about developing my editorial skills and to do this I decided to find the best or most intriguing to me design. Most of these appeared through my Google Reader account (http:// over the past three years and I was able to scroll back and save the images that I thought that could be an addition to this projects book.

Build a facial detection system While researching for facial detection within processing I found a project called ‘I am Einstein’ that was made for the British Science Festival in Birmingham. The code was open source so I has a browse on how they created it. I changed the graphic image to a smile face I designed. The code was very complex and is probably just a bit advanced for now.

Interview a group into the understanding of the project Background project information for interviewee Generative design is a design method that uses an algorithm or a set of rules to create an output. The algorithm/rules allows the design to create complex forms with the means of creating permutations and selecting outputs though a set of rules or variables. Today’s technological ability allows artists and designers to create something new and surpass the human hand and create works that are generated at least in part by some process that is not under the artist’s direct control. Control can come from a multitude of factors such as; the variables within the system which can be controlled via users, therefore creating a relationship between user and art. Interaction and Generative design has been combined together which has caused authorship of design to involve the users. This project will explore the relationship between designer and user in design and how much of an effect and uniqueness a user can have on the design.

Questions 1) What is your understanding of generative design? 2) How do you perceive something being generative? 3) Describe a piece of interactive generative design that you have seen lately and why do you like it? 4) Name some generative designers that have interested you. 5) Select one and describe a project and why you like it. 6) How can looking into authorship and control affect all types of design? 7) Can design control our behaviour? Explain why. 8) How do you personally measure the authorship of a design [between user and designer]? 9) Do you believe their can be a collective authorship between user and design? And why? 10) Can you think of an examples of authorship or control issues within generative design that you have seen? 11) Has the open source community removed the idea of authorship?

Project continued on

Create uniqueness The definition of uniqueness “ the property of model or program transformations to deliver a unique result upon termination.� - wg/SoftwareEvolution/index.php/Terminology. This definition is leaning towards a programming context which is perfect for this project. Examples of uniqueness could be the identity of each person in terms of people or a QR code in terms of visualising data. Through this development it would be an idea to make a project that produces a visual code through peoples identity.

Project continued on

Create permutating typography

Project continued on

Write a algorithm of a permutating shape and test

Step 1- Shapes The first stage allowed me to create a system that can easily flick from a circle to infinity, although there is no progression between them. Step 2 – Conversion Olly showed me how to make the conversion between the two shapes‌ int r = 200; void setup() { size( 600, 600 ); smooth(); strokeWeight(5); } void draw() {

1, to use it as a controller for the //cosine modulation of the points (the part that creates the infinity symbol) float p = map(mouseX, 0, width, -1, 1); //we calculate the cosine and map it based on the mouse position //if mouseX is 0 then p= -1 so cos(radians(i)) will be mapped between -1 and 1 //which is its normal range anyway. If mouseX is width, then p=1 so //cos(radians(i)) will be mapped between 1 and 1, so it can only equal 1. //This means that when we multiply the radius by this mapped value it will //result in it staying the same and therefore draw a circle. float infinityMaker = map(cos(radians(i)), -1, 1, p, 1); //float infinityMaker = cos(radians(i));


float cX = cos(radians(i)) * r; float cY = sin(radians(i)) (infinityMaker);



for(int i = 0; i < 360; i+=5){


//we use map the mouse value from -1 to





Control variations & behaviour During an interview from the V&A Decode exhibit Golan Levin stated that he ....can create ‘behaviour’ through digital technologies that other design tool can not. The definition of behaviour “refers to the actions or reactions of an object or organism, usually in relation to the environment. Behaviour can be conscious or subconscious...”

Project continued on

ControlP5 ControlP5 is a GUI and controller library for processing that can be used in authoring, application, and applet mode. Controllers such as Sliders, Buttons, Toggles, Knobs, Textfields, RadioButtons, Checkboxes amongst others are easily added to a processing sketch.

Generative Piece I noticed that Joshua Davis sometimes created outlines with his generative art and then filled it with a colour pallet. This is quite a good method that I could try. I was watching a video which was a presentation by Jared Tarbell at Flash on the Beach 2010 and he discussed the process of recursion which I found it a really interesting way of producing visual of a subject. I searched openProcessing for recursion and found a sketch that uses basic circles and varies the size by where you click on the screen. The position and colours are random.

Project continued on

Export a project onto iPhone This task was all about getting a previous project and uploading to an iPhone. First of all I decided to look at the different methods of uploading to the iPhone. I have three options, use my coding from Processing and amend it for iProcessing. Secondly, upload through flash and thirdly, using xCode. Using the examples from iProcessing it took quite a while to figure out the xCode application but eventually got there and the coding it slightly different to Processing and iProcessing uses an integration of the Processing. js library and a Javascript application framework for iPhone. The first thing I had to do in xCode using iProcessing was to change the current project settings and change the Base SDK to Latest iOS (found in Base tab) and create a organisation name (found in General tab). I used com.massinghamcraig as that is my Apple ID and read that you must have com. at the beginning.

Project continued on

Project continued on

Craig Massingham 0800415 07944096092

Authorship & Control in Generative design