Casey Reas, Chandler McWilliams, LUST – Form+Code in Design, Art, and Architecture

Casey Reas

Princeton Architectural Press, ISBN-13: 978-1568989372, September 1, 2010, English
This book is based on the sharing of knowledge between two colleagues at UCLA (Reas, one of the two Processing creators, and McWilliams) and the Dutch LUST collective. It is divided into five chapters that take their names from actions that sound like powerful programming language instructions: Repeat, Transform, Parameterize, Visualize and Simulate. It could be mistook for a purely educational book, because it clearly explains concepts and techniques, with plain code examples that can be downloaded from the book’s website (not wasting precious printed space). But, in Reas’ tradition, it also provides plenty of excellent examples of artworks, mentions more sophisticated concepts (like “procedural literacy”), and turns out to be a compendium, a textbook and a collection of ideas. In fact the best quality of this hybrid book is that it is one hundred per cent “inspiring”, instead of simply instructional. It goes through contemporary art, design and technology without any formal distinction, only grounding concepts and exploring them effectively. The description of the processes used to accomplish aesthetic goals is critical for developing original works, so this book works as an ideal introduction to how software can be used in visual arts. The “processual aesthetics” that is explored here is a nodal topic, as it reflects so much the contemporary complexity and the need for constructing and deconstructing it in order to understand and communicate it. And dealing with processes is always the starting point from which to depart for other domains of sense.