New course draft: Molnar Reconstructed

Published by Tim on Thursday February 2, 2023

Last modified on January 25th, 2024 at 14:06

Dear people,

greetings from beautiful Barcelona. I’m here for the second week now and have met some great people in the meantime. I’m even in the process of planning a casual “Creative Coding Barcelona” meetup, we’ve started a WhatsApp group and if you’re also from the area I’d be very happy if you join as well. Other than that, I’m making great progress. I’m working intensively on the book I’m developing with Martin and also on a course that this update will be about.

As you probably know, my curriculum, i.e. the sum of my courses, is structured and sorted in a way that everything builds on each other. You start with Creative Coding Essentials and then work your way through the following courses. It’s a bit like a string of pearls.

The second course in the curriculum so far has been Bauhaus Coding Workshop, which is a collection of free exercises where the goal is to visualize abstract concepts. I have now found that at the very beginning of the curriculum, this does not yet work well for most learners. I think the course came too early, because after just working through the Essentials course, you haven’t even internalized and fully understood all the commands yet.

While I was working on a text about the history of creative coding that will appear in the book, I decided to put special focus on the artist Vera Molnar. She is a very early pioneer of Creative Coding, having made art with computers as early as the 1960s, having previously worked for years with a self-invented algorithmic method for abstract drawing and painting (called “Machine Imaginaire”).

Molnar’s works are usually very simple compositions of lines and geometric shapes. Using the computer as a tool, Molnar has always worked with principles of randomness as well, incorporating them as disruptors into her very stringent formal language.

After studying this fascinating personality, I had an idea: why not develop a course in which students become active themselves and recreate Molnar’s works? So far, I have always relied on free assignments in the style of the Bauhaus Coding Workshop, because I felt that I should focus on the creative aspects of creative coding as early as possible, but that often didn’t work either, especially for beginners. This has even been scientifically proven: In his doctoral thesis, Stig Møller Hansen did a lot of research on how best to teach coding to graphic designers, with the result that it works especially well if they analyze and recreate existing work

That’s exactly why I’ve now added the Molnar Reconstructed course to the curriculum as a draft. I have now moved the course “Bauhaus Coding Workshop” much further forward and renamed it “Coding Bauhaus”. Sounds catchier! Next week I will give a free workshop here in Barcelona at the Glashaus (co-working space) to test the idea “Molnar Reconstructed” with real students. I’m really looking forward to that.

What I like about the topic of “Vera Molnar” is that by dealing with her art, I can also explain very well how computer art, or creative coding, actually came into being. From Vera Molnar you can learn very well what Creative Coding is really about.

Of course I’m really curious what your opinion is on this. What do you think of the idea for the new course? Do you have any ideas of your own that you would like to share? As always, I’m very happy about your comments.

I wish you a wonderful weekend!

Warm greetings,

Tim, 2022-02-02

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