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Creative coding is a type of computer programming in which the goal is to create something expressive instead of something functional. It is used to create live visuals and for VJing, as well as creating visual art and design, entertainment, art installations, projections and projection mapping, sound art, advertising, product prototypes, and much more.
Using programming to create art is a practice that started in the 1960s. In later decades groups such as Compos 68 successfully explored programing for artistic purposes, having their work exhibited in international exhibitions. From the 80s onward expert programmers joined the demoscene, and tested their skills against each other by creating "demos": highly technically competent visual creations.
Recent exhibitions and books, including Dominic Lopes' A Philosophy of Computer Art (2009) have sought to examine the integral role of coding in contemporary art beyond that of Human Computer Interface (HCI). Criticising Lopes however, Juliff and Cox argue that Lopes continues to privilege interface and user at the expense of the integral condition of code in much computer art. Arguing for a more nuanced appreciation of coding, Juliff and Cox set out contemporary creative coding as the examination of code and intentionality as integral to the users understanding of the work.
Currently there is a renewed interest in the question why programming as a method of producing art hasn't flourished. Google has renewed interest with their Dev Art initiative, but this in turn has elicited strong reactions from a number of creative coders who claim that coining a new term to describe their practice is counterproductive.
A number of libraries have been created that aid in the rapid prototyping and development of these works. There are libraries for various functionalities, such as computer vision, as well as motion detection devices such as the Microsoft Kinect camera and Leap Motion. Notable larger toolkits that are used (and often created by) creative coders are:
- Lopes, Dominic (2009). A Philosophy of Computer Art. London: Routledge. ISBN 0415547628.
- Toby Juliff, Travis Cox (April 2015). "The Post-display condition of contemporary computer art". eMaj. 8. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- "DevArt Website". Retrieved 29 September 2016.
- "Hack The Art World". www.hacktheartworld.com. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- Maeda, John (Jan 1, 2004), Creative Code: Aesthetics + Computation (1st ed.), Thames & Hudson, Limited, p. 239, ISBN 0500285179
- Greenberg, Ira (May 28, 2007), Processing: Creative Coding and Computational Art (Foundation) (1st ed.), friends of ED, p. 840, ISBN 1-59059-617-X, archived from the original on January 27, 2011, retrieved March 12, 2014
- The Art of Creative Coding Video produced by Off Book
- Creative Application Network, a website that showcases new work
- Dev Art - Art made with Code, a project by Google
- CreativeCode.io, an education initiative of GrayArea.org
- push.conference is a series of events and workshops aiming to unite Creative Coders & User Experience Designers
- OF Course is a creative coding program to give both hardcore coders and designers with no programming experience the hands on experience, tools, ideas, and full support for making their own stunning projects.
- Vidcode is a creative coding platform for K-12 classrooms to learn to code through creative coding courses.