Info Log

11/04/2016: Final Project Brief


10/28/2016: Final Grasshopper example

Today I may direct some of you to look at this aptly (annoyingly?) named Grasshopper definition:

10/21/2016: Second round of Grasshopper tutorial

In class today I made three examples of Grasshopper definitions: The first and most important,;
the second involved placing combinations of items on a surface instead of the world X-Y grid:; the final used the normal vectors of the surface to orient the items:

10/15/2016: Grasshopper in-class examples

In class I made this: After class, as promised, I extended it a but to create a 2-D grid of cubes intersecting a plane: basics-cube-rotate-intersect-many-gh.

10/15/2016: Nodebox in-class examples

In class today we introduced Nodebox with a few examples: wave-ellipse.ndbx, which simply uses a wave generator to affect the width of an ellipse; A more elaborate example, polygonsongridsintersecting.ndbx, uses two grids, each with polygons influenced waves with different periods. Finally, linesoncircle.ndbx addresses lists, specifically list shifting of points on a circle to create a radial pattern. Since the end of class, I made a bonus example, randomtube.ndbx, which uses the frame value as the seed for a random number. Finaly, a bonus bonus, something I’m working on: drawing-machine1.ndbx

10/13/2016: Assignment 3 Resources

The project three assignment sheet is here as a PDF (intoToCompAssign3.pdf). Next week students will read Lewitt’s “Sentences on Conceptual Art” (PDF). For this assignment students will have the option of using Nodebox or Grasshopper in Rhinoceros. If using Grasshopper, students are advised to use the Windows version of Rhinoceros.

10/01/2016: Today’s Example

In class today we briefly discussed recursive functions with a tree-drawing example,

09/30/2016: Assignment 2 resources

The assignment 2 project brief is available as a PDF file: intotocompassign2.pdf. Digital scans/photos of the canonical works of “computer art” mentioned in the assignment sheet can be downloaded here:

09/26/2016: Results from “When the Machine Made Art” reading assignment

Students were asked to read the introduction to When the Machine Made Art, the Troubled History of Computer Art by Grant D. Taylor and reduce this essay to ten sentences by excerpting the text. This is Kevin Crouse’s version:

Pairing the noun “computer” with “art” has in effect built a label with an unending fission, a precarious reaction from joining two seemingly incompatible and oppositional worlds. The term [computer art], unlike those within the narratives of modern art that were coined by a disparaging critic and later accepted by the art establishment (“Impressionist” and “Cubist” come to mind), has remained problematized and contested throughout its entire history. For many, it is hard to reconcile the fact that the digital computer, perhaps the greatest and most impactful invention of the twentieth century and a technology that fundamentally changed the economic and cultural fabric of the globe, is continually omitted from the history of art. Apart from having no national heritage, there was no centralized location or organizing body that could devise a coherent corpus of belief, in contrast to the myriad of other twentieth-century art movements that achieved this through a type of geographically linked metropolianism. Computer art, governed by technical utility and conceived through the logical philosophies of Western science and technology, is found to be largely underpinned by what many perceived as the rising cult of science. Combining the strong anthropomorphic ideals of Renaissance humanism with the eighteenth-century traditions of romantic protestation against the machine, this humanist reaction sought to admonish computer art for its dehumanizing and hyper-rationalizing tendencies. Beyond deciphering the mysteries of art, the technologists and mathematicians believed it was possible, through programmed aesthetic and stylistic rules, to automate aesthetic production and “program the beautiful,” as Max Bense famously phrased it. After a period of mistrust concerning computers, artists began feeling a new sense of ease around the computer, which, through its ubiquitousness and expanding role, would clearly play a significant part in modern life, and thus in art. So began the rhetorical debate that centered on the mind/body dualism in which one group privileged the analytical and cerebral while the other valued traditional artistic standards such as intuition, craft, and manual dexterity. A new focus, one deprived of old prejudices, has begun the process of reevaluating these computer-generated artworks, finding them to be acutely important to the history of art.

The complete set of excerpted versions from all students is available as a PDF file: whenTheMachineMadeArt-StudentExerpts.pdf

09/23/2016: Exporting as PDF

In today’s brief demonstration I modified an example from last week to save a PDF file:

09/16/2016: Examples constructed in class today

(Note that from now on I’m uploading the entire “sketch” folder, not just the .pyde file. Soon that will become important as that folder will contain other resources for the script.) First, we talked about lists with this example: Then I showed a very un-original drawing algorithm that compares every point to every other point and connects based on distance: Using if, elif and else statements this example adjusts the stroke weight depending on distance: Finally, at the end of class, there were a few extra things I wanted to show including how to check if an item is already “in” a list as well as another way to use the “%” operator:

09/09/2016: Processing examples from class today

First a quick note about these files, the CMS I use (wordpress) does not allow uploads of certain file types, so I will always compress Processing files into a .zip before uploading. The first example from today was called “basics” ( The second was called “followMouse” ( The third is “insaneFlower” ( After class Samantha asked about checking to see if a key was pressed and I quickly showed this example, which is a modification to the “insaneFlower” script (

Update (9/10 8pm): The original “followMouse” example was the wrong file. The link is fixed now. Also, because that example got a little complex with global variables being involved, I thought that it might be useful to just show a very basic (non-continuous) version: “followMouse_simple” ( Finally, I made a bonus example in which the two lines are drawn and their size increases if the cursor stays still. It’s fun: followMouse_growing” (

09/09/2016: Assignment 1 Reading

When the Machine Made Art: The Troubled History of Computer Art, Introduction, by Grant D. Taylor. (.PDF file, must my logged in to RISD Google account to access)

09/09/2016: Processing

For the first few weeks, we will use “Python Mode” in processing. It can be downloaded from this page. I have found that on Mac OS, the latest version, 3.2.1, does not work with Python Mode. Therefore, I recommend scrolling down to the “Stable Releases” section and downloading version 3.1.2 instead. This tutorial covers some Python Mode basics, including installation.

The Python Mode for Processing homepage is Please note that the “Reference” section will serve as an essential resource.

09/08/2016: Assignment 0 and Assignment 1 handouts

Download as PDF file: intotocompassign0.pdf

Download as PDF file: intotocompassign1.pdf

09/08/2016: Syllabus

Download as PDF file: intotocompsyllabus.pdf

08/28/2016: About this course

Introduction to Computation is a RISD course listed as IDISC-1571 and ARCH-1571. It meets during Fall 2016 on Fridays from 1:10-6:10. It is a studio course open to all majors that explores coding, algorithms, and computational ideas. Projects include rule-based drawing, parametric animation, improper-tool-making, and human-agent-computation. No experience required. Critical attention will be given to code as a body of crafted text, as well as the tension, conflict, and potential possible when computation generates, informs or interacts with drawings, materials, forms, and spaces. Canonical computational works of art and design and will be presented and assigned for analysis. This course is open to students of all majors and is designed for those with little or no computation experience. A laptop is required. Priority registration will be offered to students interested in pursuing the undergraduate Computation Culture & Technology Concentration. To register email the instructor, Carl Lostritto, clostrit[ATrisdDOTedu] and indicate your major and your intentions regarding the concentration.

08/28/2016: About this site

This site uses a combination of WordPress and Instagram to host content. I started with Christian MacAuley’s “Near Nothing” barebones theme and expanded it to achieve the layout and basic responsiveness I wanted. Smash Balloon’s “Instagram Feed Pro” plugin was used to integrate Instagram into WordPress. I only modified the plugin slightly to adjust some of the CSS that was not adjustable in the plugin interface. (Left-aligning the captions, for example)