Tech+Art Podcast: Tim Rodenbroker

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OVERVIEW

Welcome to the new Tech+Art Podcast!

Join us on this adventure as we meet & speak with: artists, makers, researchers, designers and creators from all background and fields.

Our objective is to understand their creative perspective, dive into their workflow & creative process, be inspired by new ideas and their work – and stay one step ahead of cutting-edge industry developments.

"that’s the main value of creative coding, I think, to understand how technology works. It’s a playful way to learn that very complicated stuff"

IN THIS EPISODE...

In this episode, we’re chatting with Tim Rodenbroker, a designer, musician and media-artist from Paderborn, Germany.

After graduating from the Münster School of Design, Tim discovered Creative Coding and has been pursuing it in countless projects ever since, constantly pushing into “unexplored territories”.

He joins us to share some of his perspectives and learnings, why his passion is centred around teaching creative coding to students, and much more.

Question 1: You mentioned you are a designer and an educator around creative coding, the space between design and computation - so how did you first make this leap into creative coding? What was the shift in your own mindset and some of the challenges that you had to overcome in order to combine these two disciplines?

[ 4:06 ] – That’s something I still have to think about a lot because I see that problem often when I talk to my students because learning technology and learning coding is not super easy. […] I think it’s very helpful to have an intense phase of diving into that thing that’s very, very important. And that’s what I try to include into my teaching.

Question 2: So from when you first got into this in 2014/2015 - what has changed? How has creative coding evolved in that time based on your experience?

[ 5:11 ] – So Creative Coding changed a lot I think and at the time when I started, I didn’t have a deep insight into that scene and I just started to create graphics. And it was so fascinating because these graphics were just so complex, before it was just impossible for me to create such complexity in Illustrator or Photoshop or something.

Question 3: So what is it about creative coding in particular? Why is it different from traditional design and why is it important to be applying technology to the traditional design field?

[ 6:20 ] – Well we are living in times of rapid digitalization. Everything changes very, very fast. I feel like every week there’s a new framework on the market that needs to be evaluated…. And this is extremely frustrating and challenging for creatives because finding the right toolset in times of disruption – of weekly disruptions – is an extreme challenge.

[ 6:58 ] – […] that’s the main value of creative coding, I think, to understand how technology works. It’s a playful way to learn that very complicated stuff. So before we had to read books and those books were boring. Today we have new tools, new ways of expression. We can create art and at the same time we learn something that can transform our careers, transform our future. Also from a business perspective, because if you are able to program an application, you can make a lot of money from that as an entrepreneur. So that’s basically what I find very motivating about it – it’s not just the creative, and not just the art side of creative coding, it’s also the fact that it really creates perspectives for young people.

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Your dose of creativity

Question 4: I know you’ve created a few creative coding tools - in particular there’s p5Studio that I wanted to discuss. What motivated you to create that tool and how did you approach creating a tool that is based on the idea of a generative system vs a static design? What does that mean in your opinion?

[ 7:57 ] – The idea of a Design System is very old. And I’ve been researching that theme in my studies when I was at the Munster School of Design. But I felt that the tools are not really existing to create productive design system machines that can create graphic design. And while the theory was already there… but from that moment when I’ve learned Processing and then after web technologies, I had a moment in my perception where I felt like: “now I’m able to do that. Now I can create a design machine, right, I can create an application that can compete with Adobe tools.

Question 5: One of your most recent projects is to launch an elearning platform and a creative coding course called The Essentials of Creative Coding. Can you tell us a little bit more about what motivated you to launch this course and where you hope to do with it?

[ 13:47 ] – Maybe that’s my most ambitious project, well from a project perspective. Well I want to inspire and I want to empower young people. That’s basically what drives me. […] My elearning platform is my way to do that because I think many people could benefit from that knowledge and also from that mindset.

Question 6: How do you see the adoption of new technologies and tools affecting the next generation of creators?

[ 15:52 ] – Every technology that is new on the market always comes with a huge promise to create new markets, new possibilities in expression, in business and there are mostly some very agile designers, agencies, artists who jump on that technology and who create amazing things with that.

Question 7: And so given your experience and all the resources and work that you’ve put out in order to help push the industry forward - how have you seen the community around the world change and grow? Are there cultural differences within that community?

[ 16:59 ] – I think, in the US, creative coding is very driven by computer science. That’s something I feel like – maybe I’m wrong. Well I feel like creative coding is really adapted by people who come from computer science. In Europe, we have lots of designers who jump onto that thing. And of course that culture influences how people use creative coding in their practice. In Europe I have the feeling people are more driven by the esthetics, and in the US, they are more driven by the technology itself. By the possibilities of that technology.