This summer I stepped down from helping run the School for Poetic Computation (SFPC), a school I helped co-found in 2013 along with Amit Pitaru, Jen Lowe and Taeyoon Choi. In the past several years Lauren Gardner, Taeyoon and I had been helping administer the school, along with assistance from others to help run specific programs.

The last time I remember SFPC being physically together was February 2020 — it was our 7 year anniversary show, organized by Tega Brain and held at the Westbeth Gallery.


One of the more exciting calls I get as an artist working in the field of new media is for editorial illustration work. It’s rare. I most do generative design as a commercial practice. I don’t have a background in illustration or even a portfolio of this kind of work, so I am always excited when an art director looks at my mostly abstract and gestural animations and inquires about a possible connection. I really enjoy brainstorming and thinking about what images or animation would help bring an article to life.

I am a teacher — at MIT Media Lab


I started the process of doing daily code sketches Jan 1st, 2016. These are small animations I make with code and post on instagram. I wrote about the year-long process in 2016 here. Also, this talk I gave at the AIGA has an overview about daily sketching (as well as a snippet of live coding!).

I kept going with the daily sketching last year and I thought for 2017 I would offer some updates and talk about how the process of sketching went this year, focusing on some broad themes and lessons I’ve learned.

Overall I had a really fun…


Project overview video

Más Que la Cara, a spanish phrase which means, “more than the face” is in an interactive installation we installed in Downtown Houston last year.

The studio I help run, YesYesNo, was approached by the Weingarten Art Group and the Downtown District with an interesting proposition — design an artwork for the public in downtown Houston at the old Sakowitz building, a former department store that is currently operates as parking garage — the facade of the building is still the same but the inside is completely gutted.

The building was a staple of downtown Houston in…


I decided that in 2016 I would start a policy of “open office hours,” once per week where anyone can come and talk to me in person or online.

Last December, I was at the ACT Festival in Korea and I had a conversation with Filip Visnjic, the curator who runs the Creative Applications site. “Most artists,” he said, “don’t have a great understanding of what value they bring to the world.” …


(note: this article has a fair number of images and animated gifs. Just an FYI if you are on mobile or slower connection.)

In 2016 I started an experiment of doing daily sketches in the form of short animations posted on instagram. In these sketches I tried out different visual ideas involving geometry, animation, gesture and graphic form. I had no idea what to expect but it felt like a good new years resolution and nice way to experiment with some ideas I had been thinking about. …


Land Lines overview

Project URL : https://lines.chromeexperiments.com/

(cross post of: https://developers.google.com/web/showcase/2016/land-lines)

When the Data Arts team approached me about exploring a data set of earth images I was quite excited — the images were beautiful, revealing all different kinds of structures and textures, both human made and natural, and I was intrigued with how to connect this data set. I did a variety of initial experiments looking at image similarity and different ways of filtering and organizing them.

t-sne similarity layout, high res 50 mb

We also looked finding similarities between images:


I spoke a few days ago at the act festival in Gwangju, Korea and as part of my presentation I talked about the School for Poetic Computation and more generally about my teaching style. It was really hard talk to give since the stage was in the middle of an exhibition and on stage I could hear a million other things instead of myself.

Speaking at Act Festival

Because the acoustics were so strange, I wound up having this internal dialogue while I was giving the talk and at some point I thought, this section of the talk should *really* be a medium post


One of my former students (@andrewbadr) from The School for Poetic Computation wrote me earlier this year to ask some advice about public speaking:

Hey Zach, hope you’ve been well since SFPC. I’m writing to get your advice on presenting a project. I’ll be speaking at WordHack this month about Your World of Text. I’ve never spoken about it before, or any other project really. I’ve only done technical talks. I know you’ve done a lot of creative project presentations, and watched even more, and thought a lot about how they could be better. Do you have any advice for…


I joined facebook after avoiding it for almost a decade when my father passed away last month in order to read what people had written on his page. Today I checked in and was greeted by this:

ouch!

So inspired by this prompt, I decided to type out this letter my father wrote to me 18 years ago, when he visited me in Vermont. I was spending the summer helping run a cafe at the Marlboro music festival. …

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