Tech+Art Podcast: Saskia Freeke

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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.

"I wanted to open up the machine and let everyone discover how things are working [...] So I think coding as well gives a lot of people the understanding of how things are created and how things are working around you. "

IN THIS EPISODE...

In this episode, we’re chatting with Saskia Freeke an artist, creative coder, interaction designer, visual designer and educator based in Amsterdam.

Her work focuses on structure, geometry and playfulness. A big part of her artistic practice is her daily art project that started in January 2015. Each day sees a new exploration and experiment with generative patterns and animations.

You can follow Saskia’s work online:

Question 1: Since January 2015, you’ve posted a new work of art every single day. What motivated you to take on this ambitious project and what have been some of the biggest outcomes of the project?

Even when something is finished, it’s really hard to say to yourself that something is good enough to be done with it. […] So I thought I would do this challenge for one month, everyday I will make something and I will post it online [….] and it was really, really, really hard to do. At least to be creative. To find something new to make and then to see if it was good enough.

I think having this daily, it kinda really gives me this structure to explore and experiment with making art. And being creative. It really helps to be in a creative flow. It’s much easier than the first month and it’s just something that I do daily.

It’s really a time for playing and relaxing and I think this daily project really helps me in playing with colors and understanding design – what works and what doesn’t work.

Question 2: What is your creative process like? Where do you get ideas/inspiration from?

I think inspiration can be a challenge you put on yourself. It’s like my weekly theme now. Last year it was a monthly theme. So I really had to push, I had this framework to try to explore what I could do with it. And trying to make something different every day can also inspire you. And previous things can also inspire and mash up things together – so I think as well, watching your own work and getting inspiration from previous things because sometimes I even forget what I’ve made last week. So it’s good to look back sometimes on what you’ve created, what you can iterate on and get new ideas which you can add.

Question 3: What tools do you use? And is the process of creating the same or has that evolved?

The last few years, the focus has been on using mostly code. So Processing is, I think, just my go-to tool. Sketching is a quick way for me. I think if you’re using any tool a lot it becomes just a pen for example, just something you use.

But mostly Processing, sometimes P5 – if I’m doing some other work. Open Frameworks I’m not using anymore that much. Now I’ve also started to do a bit more live coding performances and I’ve started to explore Hydra […] I think those are my main tools that I use right now.

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Question 4: How have you seen the creative coding community evolve over the last 4 years?

I think it’s become a lot more visible. I think during the time that I was learning Processing there weren’t as many examples and that social media was a bit less active then. So there are much more communities locally. […] I think it shows a lot more recently that you can do a lot more artistic things with code. I think that becomes a bit more visible than 10 years ago.

Question 5: If someone is just now looking to get started with creative coding / generative art, what resources would you point them towards?

But I think when you are starting to learn, take the time to investigate your code and try to think about what is it doing, what if I change this, what is it doing then?’ Just take your time and make iterations. Don’t try to learn everything at once. Stick with a few things and play around with the things you know. And when you know a bit more, then perhaps something new and explore what you can do with that. So ya, making a lot of iterations and playing with the things you learn. Don’t just learn all the things and then don’t know what to do with it.

Question 6: What has attracted you to doing more live coding?

If I do my daily, I’m at home, in my studio, in my safe place. I have all the time, I can do whatever I want I feel. Mostly just inner relaxed state. But when I’m live coding, I want to respond to the music that somebody else is live coding. So you’re more triggered to think real-time ‘oh I’m getting this music, what kind of visuals will suit this?’ […] Playing and responding to something else.

Question 7: What was the most ambitious and challenging project that you’ve undertaken?

Again, what’s really important in my work is the playfulness. As well as being playful with technology. So in that installation, it was also a lot open to discover how the machine is working. So you would just see the Arduino and the wires. And that something that when I started studying maybe graphic design or interaction design, I think you always kinda of learn about hiding the technology. And that’s something when I started using more coding and understanding more about machines, I wanted to open up the machine and let everyone discover how things are working […] So I think coding as well gives a lot of people the understanding of how things are created and how things are working around you.
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You can catch Tech+Art Podcast in the following places – or your favorite podcast app: