Casey Reas, Ben Fry – Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists

Casey Reas

The MIT Press – ISBN 978-0262182621
Casey Reas is one of the few digital artists that are both technically and theoretically talented. In the media space his works of art are more often than not taken over by his status of Processing language co-creator with Ben Fry. That’s wrong and it means to miss an essential part of its work. But being a programming language creator means to work for a community, abstracting problems and implementing then tools for creative solutions. That’s why this is a unique book. It’s not a technical manual and it’s not a speculative essay, nor an anthology of texts. It’s all of the above forming a harmonious whole. Processing is explained through a ‘learning by doing’ approach, with extremely focused code examples, extensively explained, always triggering the reader to then start to play with the code himself. Some ‘synthesis’ sections are giving something to think about, bringing in visual artworks (both historical and new), experiments or techniques that would inspire the reader to go on with the just finished code session. The ‘synthesis’ are usually followed by short interviews with the same five questions that result in a collection of ideas sparked by different very interesting working paths. The dichotomy between the technical and the artist personal vision here is simply dissolved. Finally, a digital artist can start to check and see how code is used and for which reason, being triggered to develop his own work and having the chance to be inspired by more experienced colleagues or other important related data, all in a single reading space.