Creative coding

Push the limits of creativity by using code to generate new forms and by thinking in terms of multi-media and interactivity. 

For many years, artists and designers have developed their own computational tools to further explore the world of digital creation. Many disciplines have emerged from this work – e.g., generative art, parametric design and mapping – and the field continues to evolve with the recent, and more controversial, arrival of NFTs and image generators such as Disco Diffusion and Dall-E. However, the main ingredient of these approaches, i.e., programming, remains a mystery for many, despite myriad tutorials that can be found online.

This course offers an introduction to the basic techniques of creative coding. Drawing on the history of generative art, we will build elementary forms that will gradually be assembled into complex and evolving paintings. Through concrete and progressive exercises, participants will understand the basic logic and syntax of a programme and learn how to use it to generate a poster, an image, a book, a video installation or a scalable website.

Target audience
This course is primarily aimed at people who are familiar with the fields of art and/or design and who wish to strengthen their professional integration in fields related to emerging technologies. 

Targeted skills
This course aims above all to provide professionals from the worlds of art, design and architecture with access to artistic programming. It also opens the way to “data visualisation” through which various types of data, e.g., scientific, can be transformed into visual forms. Whatever the final field of expression, the idea is to tone down the use of new technologies and to divert them from a purely utilitarian use in order to exploit their creative potential. Computer scientists, for their part, will benefit from these historical and methodological approaches from the worlds of art and design in order to better understand how a machine constructs an image.
- Knowledge of the creative coding approach.
- Knowledge of key works in the history of art and generative design.
- Good knowledge of the basics of artistic programming through tools and languages such as Processing.
- Ability to create a generative form through a painting, a web page, a poster or a book.

No technical skills are required other than basic computer skills (word processing, file management, etc.).

Teaching methods
Historical courses, technical training, experimentation sessions, project monitoring

Certificate of Continuing Education 

2 ECTS credits

Practical information
From November 3, 2023 until November 25, 2023
Languages: French/English
Course format: courses and workshops
Fee: CHF 1,200/HEAD – Genève alumni CHF 900
Location:  Campus HEAD, Building H, Room H – 4.01, Av. de Châtelaine 7, 1203 Geneva

Information and registration/admission
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General terms and conditions

Module Head

Douglas Edric Stanley

American-born artist Douglas Edric Stanley works primarily in the field of new media and more specifically on the relationship between algorithms and aesthetics. As an artist, designer, curator, developer and theorist, he focuses on the way various disciplines are transformed by the progressive “algorithmisation” of the world. Active in the video game industry and in experimental forms of play, he is the joint founder with Antonin Fourneau of the monstre-à-n-têtes also known as ENIAROF. He has led numerous creative coding and experimental game design workshops for various museums, associations, universities and art schools and has participated as an artist in several exhibitions related to computer art. 

Programme & agenda 2023 /8 half-days

#1 – Friday 3 November 2023 from 2pm to 5:30pm
Lectures, discussion, debate
A short history of generative art
What is this #@%$ “NFT” and why is everyone so angry?
The art of visualisation

#2 – Saturday 4 November 2023 from 9am to 12:30pm
Time-to-Triangle, Time-to-Pixel: rapid shape generation
The P5.js design environment
Experimentation and drawing exercises
Some basic notions: variables, loops, functions

#3 –Friday 10 November 2023 from 2pm to 5:30pm
Exploring editing and exposure methods
Drawing robots: using AxiDraw
Printing a poster
Designing a project

#4 –Saturday 11 November 2023 from 9am to 12:30pm What is an “object”? How can one shape generate another?
Creating a drawing machine

#5 – Friday 17 November 2023 from 2pm to 5:30pm
Animation: The role of the loop
Four types of movement: linear, random, sinusoidal, noise
Making typography dance

#6 – Saturday 18 November 2023 from 9am to 12:30pm
Interactions of Colour: RGB, HSB, blend modes
Shifting the point of view: “Push” and “Pop”
The basics of the three Ds

#7 – Friday 24 November 2023 from 2pm to 5:30pm
Finishing touches for projects

#8 - Saturday 25 November 2023 from 9am to 12:30pm
Exhibition and documentation