Recode Project

Recode by Quinn Kennedy based on Universal Declaration of Human Rights by Kenneth Knowlton, 1976

Matthew Epler studies at the Tisch School of the Arts in New York enrolled on the ITP program. His is a passionate student, practically spending every working hour he can muster in what appears to have become his home. The ITP course is also home to professors such as Daniel Shiffman, Kyle McDonald, Mark Hanson and Eric Rosenthal to name but a few. Highly acclaimed and multidisciplinary, ITP is self proclaimed as a “Center for the Recently Possible.” One of those possibilities has taken form with Matthew’s enthusiasm in a collaborative initiative to preserve computer art from the pioneering days. The project is entitled Recode and is based on translating past work with current tools.

A website and a GitHub repository has been created to publish work, share code and help engender collaborative efforts in what can only be expressed as a most bold and potentially vast project. It is an extremely important one at that. Very little attention is given to this period of pioneering work with computers. Indeed, for the majority of artists involved in exhibitions and movements from the sixties and seventies, computer art has been shunned by the art establishment on a grand scale. We have a lot to discover and the cultural heritage in this domain demands the dear attention it merits.

What makes Recode equally special is that it is both a means to learn a cultural history and programming within an artistic framework. Using what little information we have from online documents, magazines and disparate blogs, Recode translates work using Processing. This therefore serves as a means for further understanding not only a modern day programming language but also the algorithms, coding and procedures so implicit in those early days of computer art. This is a highly enriching initiative and Matthew has made many calls for more information. He is contacting schools, institutions, galleries, artists, museums and libraries. The call is also a call for collaboration.

The Free Art Bureau is organising a number of events in line with our Processing Cities project. We recently contacted Matthew and will be putting together our efforts as a community worldwide to help push the project forward. We would also like to express our deepest respect for those pioneering artists who are engaged in the project. Recode is equally if not more a means for recognition. Recognition well overdue.

As of February 2013, various cities including Ghent, Bordeaux, Paris, Chicago, Vancouver and Dublin will be dedicating one or more of their monthly sessions to the Recode project. Some of those cities have already made contact with local artists and will be adding to the long list of work we hope to discover and indeed reveal to you as it progresses. More information will be published soon about this and with further details on each session. If you are interested in helping out then please contact Matthew directly by email. FAB is proud to be a part of such a project.

>>> Recode GitHub repository.