WORKSHOP SESSION : SUNDAY 26 JUL 18:00

The proposed workshop “Coding Art–Idea to Visuals” is based on the first part of the book “Coding Art” and will be taught through the Processing language and coding environment. The “Coding Art” book1 is a joint project with Mathias Funk (Associate Professor, Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology) and currently, the book is in its publishing process with Apress.
The “Coding Art–Idea to Visuals” workshop aims to introduce the use of computational techniques and structure aligned with process and practice. This workshop is to show how participants can translate their ideas into simple visual elements, and then work with these elements creatively, by animating them in motions and interaction. In this three-hour workshop, I will leave half an hour for a brief introduction of the Processing software and its general capabilities, creative (computational) techniques in general, and a four-step creative process from the “Coding Art” book. In the following, I will focus on the first of the four steps: “Idea to Visuals”. In this main part of the workshop, I will explain how to (1) frame ideas into visual elements in Processing, (2) shape up visual elements in static to animate and scale them, and finally (3) make the step to interaction as input for animating visual elements. With this step-by-step progression, the workshop participants can get hands-on experience with visual elements through creative exercises and personal explorations of animating visuals in motion and interaction. In the end, the workshop will give some time for participants to work out a small example in class and we will go through this example together and connect the example with the concluding workshop summary. I have run similar workshops several times and found this format fitting for novice creatives and general public interested in new approaches to creative expression.


An artist by training, Yu Zhang finished her PhD in 2017 on the theory and artistic practice of interactive technologies for public, large-scale installations. She approaches visual art with mixed reality installations and projections, sensor-based interactives, and computational arts2. She roots her artistic intent in the symbolism of Asian traditions and transforms the artistic unpacking of drama and cultural signifiers into experiences of interactivity and connectivity that ultimately bridge artistic expression and audience experience. In her recent projects, she uses systems design toolkit, to realize a complex multifaceted experience playing with the spatiotemporal context of the audience’s interaction with the installations when digital and physical converge. Starting from interactivity, she constructs layers of different connections between artist, artwork, audience, and the environment to express how far such connectivity can impact and reshape the structure and relations of objects, space, and time within a dynamic audience experience. Apart from her artistic research and practice, Yu has taught design and art classes and workshops for over ten years. In both her art practice and teaching activities, Yu is well-versed in different interactive technologies. Her latest work – the book “Coding Art” is a novel form of teaching practitioners about coding based on the Processing platform as a way to extend their expressivity in practice.