Episode 012 - Marius Watz

Marius Watz

Marius Watz drops by the studio for our last episode in DUMBO. We talk art, twitter, The Algorithm Thought Police, programming, java, processing, python, Modelbuilder, weak and strong typing, and more. 

A note from Marius:

"Thanks again for an interesting conversation. Listening to the edit, I'm somewhat pained to hear myself coming across as sounding both smug and self-important. I'd like to think I'm not those things, but my cognitive bias might be keeping me from seeing the truth.
For the record: I have strong opinions but no absolute truths. My comments should be taken as me playing Devil's Advocate to a world I know and love, namely the range of creative practices that look to involve computational logic as both as a tool and an area of inquiry. My own focus lies within art, but I am equally obsessed with new forms of expression within architecture, graphic design and data visualization."


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Show Notes

  1. Marius Watz’s personal website

  2. Follow Marius on Twitter

  3. Marius has presented multiple times (see here and here) at the Eyeo festival, a super-cool annual event for bringing together computational creatives started by Jer Thorpe and others

  4. Marius is listed on WIRED’s list of “pretty much everybody who’s anybody in [the computational aesthetics] racket” along with a bunch of architects

  5. In 1996 Marius co-curated Electra, a major media art exhibition in Oslo featuring the work of Diller + Scofidio and Greg Lynn, among others

  6. Everybody loves triangles

  7. In 2009 Marius presented at Carnegie Mellon dFab’s CODE, FORM, SPACE symposium along with Casey Reas, Ben Pell, and MOS

  8. Art is its own site

    1. Unless of course you’re talking about Richard Serra

  9. Layar is an app for making interactive augmented reality experiences

  10. Marius did VR in 1994 so he’s not impressed by your Oculus Rift

    1. Hey remember how Facebook bought them?

  11. Electric Objects is a platform for taking screen-based art out of the gallery and bringing it into your home

  12. Gifpop takes animated GIFs out of the internet and makes them physical through the user of lenticular printing

  13. John Powers is an American sculptor who creates large pieces based on algorithmic assembly strategies. Antony Gormley works in a similar manner

  14. The Grasshopper forum needs to get its shit together

  15. VBScript, seriously?

  16. Back in the day having (or not having) Kai’s Power Tools for Photoshop could make all the difference

  17. Marius caused a bit of a stir in 2012 when he published the tongue-in-cheek article “The Algorithm Thought Police,” which argues that heavy use of standard algorithms without personal flair or underlying understanding is bad for you if you wish to consider yourself a computational creative

    1. Along similar lines, David Rutten integrated an easter egg into Grasshopper that appears when the Voronoi component is overused

    2. The algorithm though police live on in 2015

  18. Hella Obvi is Brian's Scandinavian name

  19. Marius has taught parametric design classes at NYU’s Tisch ITP (code from the fall 2013 class on GitHub, photos on Flickr). He also teaches regularly at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO)

  20. Marius authored a Processing library Modelbuilder (source code on GitHub) which extends the core functionality of Processing to construct valid triangulated 3D meshes for 3D printing in the STL file format

    1. Similar libraries included Toxiclibs and Hemesh

  21. POV-Ray (“Persistence of Vision”) is a freeware raytracer

  22. Marius originally programmed in C then Java. The latter provided him with the ability to write applets for browsers

  23. Oracle essentially killed the Java applet with their repeated security holes

  24. Oracle again pissed everyone off by winning an appeal for copyrighting APIs for Java

  25. Steve Jobs killed Flash

  26. Ben Fry and Casey Reas, co-creators of Processing, came out of John Maeda’s Aesthetics + Computation Group at the MIT Media Lab

  27. Processing was born out of John Maeda’s application Design By Numbers, which ran through a Java applet and allowed users to code designs within a 100x100 pixel space

  28. Setup and draw” are all you need to get cooking in Processing

  29. Cinder and openFrameworks are open-source libraries for creative coding in C++

  30. jQuery is a web functionality library for JavaScript that makes certain high-level web tasks more user-friendly

  31. Processing.js ports the Processing visual language to JavaScript

  32. Millennials like weak typing

  33. Polymorphism is a computer science concept of the provision of a single interface to entities of different types

  34. A timeline of the for-loop syntax in various programming languages

  35. Triangle strips and quad strips are means of sequentially connecting vertices to define contiguous poly faces

  36. Aesthetics is the main thing driving parametric architecture

  37. Sex sells

  38. The Cooper Union building by Morphosis is “architecture as a weapon”

  39. DFM (Design for Manufacturing or Design for Manufacturability) is the technique of designing an object with its method of manufacture in mind

  40. Marius was the first MakerBot Artist-in-Residence

  41. Leander Herzog creates beautiful organic forms through laminated lasercut pieces

  42. The fun things you can do with a defocused laser cutter

  43. You can't, or shouldn’t, really claim authorship for basic algorithms

    1. But you can try to patent geometry

    2. And then defend yourself when everyone is furious with you

    3. Which can lead to a pretty fruitful conversation

    4. Which in turn leads to a clarification of the initial defensiveness

  44. The 10 best Twitterbots that are also net art

  45. Do you have FOMO?

  46. Speaking of FOMO, don’t miss this work by Jonas Lund

  47. You're not a man until you've avenged the death of your father

  48. Wait, who killed Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru?

  49. We’ve all had a mullet

  50. Generator.x was an influential and early (2005) conference, exhibition, and blog created examining software and generative strategies’ role in art and design

    1. Similar sites/events include FORM+CODE (2010) and scriptedbypurpose (2007)

  51. “...you’re an angel investor, most artists are broke. The power imbalance is not endearing.”

  52. The creation of Delicious (formerly del.icio.us) was a seminal moment in non-hierarchical web content classification through folksonomy. Hashtagging on Twitter is an example of folksonomy

  53. People who are bad at hashtagging

  54. Sterling Crispin is a well known net and digital artist and Twitter personality

  55. Bating: See trolling

  56. Trolling: See internet cesspool 4chan

  57. The Trolls Among Us

  58. Reddit moderator Violentacrez (pronounced “Violent Acres”) is considered to be “the biggest troll on the web.” Read more here

  59. Golan Levin is one of the most successful of the new media artists and teaches at Carnegie Mellon

  60. Is there diversity in architecture?

  61. Data is not objective

  62. Even Westvang teaches a class at AHO called Internet Carpentry 101 on “the material circumstances of the internet and how this informs how we may design for it”

  63. What is an IP address?

  64. Doomsday Preppers are people who are certain of a post-apocalyptic scenario and prepare accordingly - this is an overwhelmingly American phenomenon

  65. This Chrysler commercial is extremely upsetting to Brian

  66. Marius is an autodidactic and a polymath. Just like Leonardo da Vinci

  67. These days, you’ve got to be a full-stack employee

  68. Relative silhouettes of all podracers in the Boonta Eve Classic

  69. A look back at the Dotcom Boom and Bust

  70. Should everyone learn to code?

  71. Malcolm Gladwell is annoyingly accurate

  72. Were Bill Gates and Steve Jobs just lucky?

  73. N55 is a Copenhagen-based studio that open-sources their designs

  74. Can you be an idealist and still make money?

  75. Print the Legend is a Netflix documentary on the desktop 3D printing revolution and maker movement

  76. Autodesk may have more power to direct architecture than architecture itself

Lightning round:

  1. What book(s) are you reading right now?

    • A lot of books about genocide

  2. What music are you listening to right now?

  3. What’s your favorite retro-game?

  4. Have you played Mountain?

    • No

  5. What’s your favorite childhood cartoon?

  6. Describe your productivity ritual.

    • Stay up until midnight

  7. Pronounce the name of that crazy Icelandic volcano

On Designalyze, we analyze what makes thought leaders in design technology tick through informative, insightful, and often humorous interviews. Designalyze is hosted by Zach Downey and Brian Ringley and recorded in DUMBO, Brooklyn. For design technology tutorials and content visit us at http://designalyze.com

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