1. 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?

TC: my favorite at the moment is ben fry of the mit media lab. he is currently doing some of the most exciting work in this field. the reason i find his work interesting is that his approach to his work is in many ways related to the process-based design of LUST. he establishes a few parameters and lets the program do the rest. of course, this is true of any programmer but to me mr. fry doesn't overload his program with too much of a design aesthetic. the resulting schematic visualizations are pure and minimalist all at the same time.

anemone, tendril and valence are great examples of how visually exciting programming can be. and the chromosone studies are some of the best 'poster' designs i have seen in the last years!

some other huge inspirations are: john conway and his 'game of life'and fibonacci and his numbers.

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

TC: i started with basic on the apple II back in 1982. programming at the time was a novelty. the whole idea of a home computer was new and it was somehow cool to see what these 'toys' could do. looking back now it seems that somehow those early experiments helped define some of my ideas regarding digital media when i started experimenting with html in 1995.

i mean in the basic sense:

10 print "hello ";
20 goto 10

is animated type. it taught me that a maximum effect can be reached with minimum means.

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

TC: no, it's not necessary. i like the idea that my programming skills are primitive compared to real programmers. in a way i embraced it. this naïveté means that i always have to keep my concepts simple. i find many solutions in the inherent capabilities of the medium i use. an example of this is the 'do-it-yourself mondriaan':

4. 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?

TC: i am a designer who sometimes has to program to get my ideas across. and, like i said above (#3), i love any limitations of any tool i use. and many of my programming 'errors'have led to discoveries and solutions. a good example of this is my partner jeroen's accidental discovery of how to layer type using only pure html back in 1996. it seemed that without defining the cell width in a table, the cell contents will overlap. so we tried to layer type using this 'limitation'in netscape 3.0. which resulted in this:

www.xs4all.nl/~lust/intro/karel.html. in 1997 we were asked to contribute to www.typ.nl and we created onscreen '4-color' TYP logos using this netscape 3.0 bug www.typ.nl/TYP07/woud/lust/index.html
<-remember it only works with netscape 3.0). the idea was to reproduce a truly analog medium (four-color printing) in a digital medium (web). the funny thing is that Dot-Dot-Dot issue 1 copied this idea, but because it was actually a printed magazine, the original idea was lost.

5. 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)

TC: all our html experiments are here:
1997-present www.lust.nl
1996/97 www.xs4all.nl/~lust

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

TC: i try not to. i have no problem letting the medium dictate the aesthetics of a piece. i'm not saying it's always correct to do this. just that, why try to force something that might not be possible or necessary, when the solution might just be to simply accept the constraints of the medium in question? for example: we were lecturing one time at a renowned grad school in the usa and i talked to a student there who said his goal was to make his flash animations as smooth as film. viewed locally, they did indeed seem very fluid, but viewed on the web (back in 1998), the animations took forever to download. the result being that his public left long before being able to view the animations. whereas, there is an inherent 'coolness'in pushing the medium, what's the use if your point is not getting across?

7. 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?

TC: i personally am not. but i think it is an interesting trend to watch and follow.

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

TC: everyone can learn to program. but programming is always just a tool. the most important thing is the idea.

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

TC: since the advent of desktop publishing, designers have had to become their own lithographers, typesetters, paste-up artists, color-management specialists, etc. i think it is unfortunately inevitable that programing is another task that will burden graphic designers in the future. the trick will be not to be overwhelmed by this and be comfortable and courageous enough to use it in unique and personal ways as a means to get your message across.

Thanks Thomas!