Powers of Two – 128kb by Lena Weber

Published by Tim on Tuesday July 9, 2024

20 = 1
21 = 2
22 = 3
23 = 8
24 = 16
25 = 32
26 = 64
27 = 128

»In computing, the number 128 is part of the system of powers of 2, which is fundamental because digital computers operate on binary code. Powers of 2, like 128 (which is 27), align with the binary system used in computer architecture, enabling efficient data representation and memory addressing. This binary foundation simplifies hardware design and supports a wide range of computational processes.«

After Tim asked me to join as a curator for 128kb, I wanted to take a fresh look at the project. I see the 128kb collection as a place where the creative coding experiments – which accompany the path of all our learning curves – can find a place to shine. On the other hand, the challenge itself can motivate us to train in creative coding. With a free choice of topics and thus endless possibilities, complexity and effects, most coders immediately feel the greatest limitation of all: their own ability, or their own position in the learning process. In addition to this omnipresent limitation, Tim imposes a series of what at first glance appear to be tough limitations. A maximum of 128 kilobytes filesize, pixel-dimension, colours and frames. The challenge celebrates these technical limitations and aims to unleash inspiration by limiting the scope of possibilities. How can we interpret and use the 128kb challenge to improve our sense of coding and keep learning?

An important point for me when it comes to learning success and skills in coding is to emphasise that improvement does not necessarily mean more technically sophisticated and complex code. Insights can also be gained through one’s own conceptual skills, sense of aesthetics and historical and design-philosophical learning.

I wondered how the 128kb challenge limitations could also work as the sole inspiration behind graphics. The aim is to be open-minded about the results of your learning and to create exciting graphics by thematically charging them with the limitations.

The powers of two applied to the size parameters of shapes

128 rectangles building a random pattern,
within a grid based on 8 or 16.

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