12 October 2012

30 Pick up the pieces, put them back differently

Following a discussion at a supervisory meeting, I've decided to hang the coding I do on a particular range of behavioural modelling: flocking, swarms and attraction/repulsion. There are some very pragmatic reasons for doing this, such as the fact that it's less explored by designers than say, evolutionary art or modelling natural form*. There are some less pragmatic ones too. Firstly,  a rural childhood that may be part of the reason I'd generally rather watch birds flocking than most television. I do my best not to be superstitious, but catching sight of flocks of birds in the evening does appear to be a good omen whenever I've been making big decisions. In the very unlikely event that I'm ever on Desert Island Discs, a daily murmuration of starlings going to roost would be my luxury. Secondly, Chris Reynolds' Boids simulation, which is one of my longest standing web browser bookmarks, and probably a good example of how if things bump around in your brain for long enough, you find a use for them. Finally, as I start to compile a definition of terms, the fact that flocking means something entirely different in the world of printed textiles (what some people might call curry house wallpaper).
This has meant letting go of the models I've been using to structure my code so far and taking the plunge with Object Oriented Programming. Unlike my previous attempts, which I've been able to do by essentially mapping existing (if extraordinarily rusty) coding or mathematical skills on Processing, this has involved learning how to work in a new way. Simply put, the elements that make up the designs will be the Objects; their arrangement will be determined by code (in programming terms, the Methods in the Object's Class). Unlike the work so far, where I'm been able to get to the bit where I actually have some kind of visual output fairly quickly, this will take longer - so apologies for the lack of an image. You could watch this.
Been a while.
*or that my Director of Studies suggested it.