1. How would you describe what you are doing in connection with design and programming?

BF: computational design. using software/hardware to do design/information
visualization work.


2. Did you study this specialisation? If so, where? Did your school prepare you for this specialisation or did you study on your own?

i was interested in graphic design and computer science for a long time, but as independent things. for my undergraduate degree, i studied graphic design, and minored in computer science. i later came to the media lab where as part of john's group i have an environment where i work with people that are melding the two together.

3. I'm collecting examples of studios/ projects where programming is used in cooperation with design. Examples: John Maeda @ Media Laboratory of the MIT, his students, Letterror, Typerware, etc. Is anyone else dealing with the issues that are important/influential for you? If so, why do you admire them?


hrmm… this is tough. i don't dig around for this stuff much. i think just
& erik's stuff is really great, and they've got a great attitude about it
as well. casey reas, who recently finished here at mit is now at ivrea, and you should definitely check out his work. as well as some of the others that he's working with (i.e. dag svanaes). ermm… there must be others and i'll be embarrassed later cuz i'll remember i forgot a bunch, but i guess i haven't thought about this much.


4. How did you start with programming, and what was the main motivation to learn it? Which language did you choose and why?

hrmm… i was curious about making things. i was seven or eight years old and my dad showed me how to do a few things and then i was curious enough to keep going. at the time it was in basic, on an apple II and an ibm pc. later i learned pascal. then c. then java, c++, perl, python, etc.

5. In your opinion is it necessary to become a programmer if the concept of the project requires writing a programme? What are your experiences?

i think 'necessary' only depends on the project. for me, i want to make information design pieces that use huge amounts of data but are intricate and elegant and stimulating. so software is the way for me to build the things in my head. if other people want to build that kind of stuff, neat.

you can't say everyone should learn how to program any more than you can say that everyone should learn to paint. although, to some degree, everyone *should* try to learn how to paint, and with that, programming is a fun thing too. :)

6. How do you see yourself, more a designer or programmer? As a designer, do you feel some restrictions/limits of software you are using and can you give me some examples? If you are a programmer, how do you collaborate with designers? Does it influence your work in some specific way?

fighting to maintain an equal balance between both. it's easy to get lopsided.

7. Self-made programs seem to bring a 'game' aspect to graphic design life? How did you use programming knowledge in both 'for fun' and commissioned projects? Are your projects published on the internet? If so, where? (URL)

since i'm in school, most of the pieces are for myself, or me working out ideas based on some set of interests or curiosities. so hopefully all those things are fun (don't confuse this with 'easy' or not worth pursuing :). i'm quite spoiled in being able to spend time thinking about
stuff i really enjoy thinking about. when i leave the program, i'll be spending more time doing commissioned pieces. i look forward to this as well.

for the 'where' part, my web site is: http://acg.media.mit.edu/people/fry/


8. What about the computer aesthetics? Do you attempt to reconcile the contrast between the natural and technological looks of your results? How?

not as much as perhaps i should. it's too easy to get into a medium only to realize how detached it is from the real world. on the other hand, being heavily immersed in the medium has its advantages as well.

9. Are you attracted to exploit the programming in order to help the computer become more 'human' or 'emotional' (to simulate our 5 senses)? What are your results?

hmm. some of my work has had to do with breathing 'life' into information. making data represent itself and be expressive. but as for making the computer more human in an anthropomorphic way? i don't really think so. i'm not sure what the point would be, wouldn't that be human arrogance that machines should be like us?
it's fun to think about machines having individual senses, and using those as modes of input, but i think the point should be making a machine that feels or has senses, not that it becomes 'human'.

10. Can everyone learn how to create a programme? python.org gives the programming language and manuals for free for anyone interested…

sure. folks can do anything they want. learn to program, draw, do a math problem, drive a car. there's no magic exclusive to any of these endeavors. but that said, doing any of them well requires a great deal of time.

11. Will you be developing your programming knowledge in your future practice? Do you have any plans in relation to the 'D + P' issues?

just keep doing it.

12. Did you publish/can you recommend some articles related to the theme and where?

you might check our web site for references, particularly around the
'concepts' section: http://acg.media.mit.edu/concepts/


Thank you!

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