1. How would you describe
what you are doing in connection with design and programming?
FN: I've trouble describing what I
do in general:) Most of the projects I'm involved in investigate digital/networked
communication and interaction. The relationship between design and programming
forms a part of the overall approach and is not necessarily an objective
in itself. However, because of my personal interests and method of working,
design and programming is often the starting point of my research into
various subjects and project development.
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 obtained a B.A. in Fine Arts: Applied
Graphics at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. My formal studies
prepared me to a degree for aesthetic analysis and an experimental approach,
but the theoretical foundation and training in traditional media did not
include a consideration for digital media in the curriculum. The rest
of my studies are informal and an ongoing experience.
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 etc. Is anyone else dealing with the
issues that are important/influential for you? If so, why do you admire
Apart from the usual Hall of Fame that include Maeda, Jodi, etc. I have
great respect and admiration for the exchange of information and experiments
that exists on mailing lists such as robotmedia and eu-gene. Institutions
[especially Scandinavian and Dutch schools] occasionally provide refreshing
newcomers, for instance Joergen Skogma from ascii33.com, but education
is still not the best source of examples dealing with the above issues.
Studios such as tomato interactive [tomato.co.uk], type01 [type01.com]
and wireframe [wireframe.co.za] are examples of evolving digital agencies
that relies on experimental research and development to create commercially
ps. I'm writing this away from the studio and might not remember all the
relevant examples, will send more when I've a moment:)
4. How did you start
with programming, and what was the main motivation to learn it? Which
language did you choose and why?
My first encounter
with code was an example of interactive 3D objects done in Lingo [Director
v.5.0]. Unable to make sense of anything in Director or its script window,
CGI provided the next adventure and I explored Perl to create a conceptual
search-engine, my first 'real' programming experience. I still love the
textual and non-visual nature of Perl and how it enables me to add information
manipulation and networking ability to projects. I've since returned to
Director and the continuing expansion of Lingo makes this language my
choice for quick and effective interactive projects. Yet, I'm not willing
to specialise in any particular language and often use a combination of
them in projects.
- Exploring the foundation of digital communication enables one to discover
- It makes me self-reliant for making products practical, not everyone
is awake between 2 and 6 am:)
- I've a natural enquiring approach to all of my diverse interests.
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?
No. One can always work in teams and in most cases collaboration produces
a better output. Unfortunately, finding the correct collaborators is a
difficult and sometimes impossible task, and one I personally find
frustrating and limiting. Furthermore, I believe that the process of programming
often enhances the concept in ways not predictable from the outset. There
should be a continuing interaction between the creators of the concept
and creators of its product.
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?
since abolished the idea that I'm either:) My involvement in projects
often contains both roles, but I don't have the interest in or commitment
to specialisation that I believe the terminology requires. Researcher
developer is a generic term that I often use:) As far as limitations is
concerned, my opinion is that a concept can only exist when there is a
set of criteria that allows one to validate the concept. Limitations is
part of that criteria.
Self-made programs seem to bring a 'game' aspect to graphic design life
Did you use programming knowledge in both 'for fun' and commissioned projects?
Are your projects published on the internet? If so, where? (URL)
I've only wrote one game, in BASIC with a
ZX Spectrum:) It was this little rocket shooting other rockets. I thought
it was very cute, really:) In most of my projects I hope to introduce
a 'joy of use', but find myself tiredlessly [and irritatingly] trying
to justify every element: (Yet, once in a while, playfullness might creep
through the cracks in various ways.
For example: The instant.poll on alt.sense www.altsense.net/projects/poll/
is pure silliness on a site that otherwise tries not to be.
contains a shockwave 'sketch' that added an interactive element to the
logo I designed for type01. A multi-user, conversational agent [mu-mu]
was added to this sketch [unfortunately down on the moment] link_R.I.PPER
has a certain fun aspect to it, though many of the portals didn't really
perceive it as such :))
However, playful, or non-committed experimentation is part of my approach
to both personal and commissioned projects; and I attempt to utilise 'discoveries'
wherever they are appropriate.
8. What about the computer aesthetics? Do you attempt to reconcile the
contrast between the natural and technological looks of your results?
To be honest, I never gave this much thought. The nature of a medium will
inevitably have a stylistic effect on the aesthetics; to try and manipulate
this is in my opinion a time consuming and unneccessary exercise. Visual
appearance is only part of the beauty of computers. On the other hand,
to willfully force a stylistic element true to the medium is equally 'wrong'.
Visual style is more about the context of the content than the context
of the medium.
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
really. The human mind has the ability to adapt to different environments
and there's [imho] an over-emphasis to recreate or simulate the way we
respond to a physical realm in a digital environment. There is certainly
fundamental human traits that can be exploited through computing, but
the exploitation does not come from humanising the computer, but from
understanding the interaction between human and computer.
Can everyone learn how to create a programme? python.org gives the programming
language and manuals for free for anyone interested
There's so much methods for creating programs, that
one's involvement with programming is only limited by your interest in
it. Ability and interest seem to have a lot in common when it comes to
the digital playfield:)
11. Will you be
developing your programming knowledge in your future practice? Do you
have any plans in relation to the 'D + P' issues?
Oh yes:) But not to pursue programming as an end
in itself, but to allow me to continue to understand in which way it can
facilitate me in developing our understanding of digital communication.
My love for design and visual culture will hopefully ensure that most
of my projects integrate and explore 'D + P' issues, even if that is not
the final objective.
12. Did you publish/can you recommend some articles related to the theme
The following is some articles I wrote that might be relevant:
Eulogy for design www.altsense.net/library/factual/design.html
Redefining a Conceptual Approach to Multimedia
ps. These are rather old, and I probably changed my opinion/s since then:)
The following discussion might also be worth a read, or at least entertaining:
Thanks very much. Now, you can go watering your