The Quiet Revolution: Processing 1.0

Its not often a software v1.0 release is celebrated by the users – historically it often means its been rushed to market & will be buggy as all hell, but it would seem the opposite is true of the release of Processing 1.0 which has undergone a lengthy development period in the hands of many very clever visual & audio artists…

So what is Processing exactly? “Processing is a programming language, development environment, and online community that since 2001 has promoted software literacy within the visual arts. Initially created to serve as a software sketchbook and to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context, Processing quickly developed into a tool for creating finished professional work as well.”

For any artists, choosing tools is critical, especially when those tools have a serious learning curve… Choosing to learn ProTools, or ableton LIVE or Logic is challenging enough, but then choosing whether to pursue more open-ended audio programming environments such as Max/MSP, Kyma, Reaktor etc adds another whole realm of complexity. And that is where Processing has achieved a quiet revolution. Re-read that description: “since 2001….” – its now near the end of 2008; thats a long time in beta, but the evidence speaks for itself.

I remember on my first trip to Tokyo back in 2004 visiting the fantastic ICC Gallery and getting to play with an audio visual generative toy by the name of SONIC WIRE SCULPTOR (it was created in Processing by Amit Pitaru) & below is a video of it… but you can also try it in your web browser here

Another example of Processing I recently read of in pingmag is a very interesting project called Advanced Beauty: “Advanced Beauty is an ongoing exploration of digital artworks born and influenced by sound, an ever-growing collaboration between programmers, artists, musicians, animators and architects.”

Read the full article here, find the Advanced Beauty site here & check out the trailer for the DVD release below:



Advanced Beauty / Out Now from Universal Everything on Vimeo.

As with any creative medium (or artist), the best advertising is created through inspired works of art being made & I find the work of one of the artists featured on Advanced Beauty to be truly inspiring; namely Robert Hodgin, who’s flight404 blog documents development of his work.

Here are just a few examples of his work with Processing (note – go to vimeo to view in HD)


Audio-generated landscape from flight404 on Vimeo.


Magnetic Ink, Process video from flight404 on Vimeo.


Short Royksopp experiment from flight404 on Vimeo.


Check more of his videos on vimeo here

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