About W:Blut

Cre­ative cod­ing is about won­der, about explo­ration, about learn­ing. And this is the web­site of some­one who is hap­py to call him­self a cre­ative coder. Code gives me a way to play, to explore the odd behav­ior of our world, to find the sys­tems beneath it all.

Who?

Dur­ing the day­time, a physics Ph.D. work­ing as a med­ical physics expert in a uni­ver­si­ty hos­pi­tal in Bel­gium. Togeth­er with a team of radi­a­tion oncol­o­gists, physi­cists, and nurs­es, I turn med­ical data into effec­tive treat­ments for can­cer patients. Dur­ing the night­time, a cre­ative coder, on the fine line between art and sci­ence, between util­i­ty and aes­thet­ics. Work­ing with Pro­cess­ing since 2004, cre­ative cod­ing fuels my curios­i­ty in phys­i­cal, bio­log­i­cal, and com­pu­ta­tion­al sys­tems.

Bridg­ing dis­ci­plines, I’m spo­rad­i­cal­ly involved in turn­ing diverse sources of data into artis­tic visu­al­iza­tions, from tiny con­tri­bu­tions like decod­ing CERN exper­i­men­tal results for Ruben Van Leer’s award-win­ning dance movie Sym­me­try, to more involved col­lab­o­ra­tions such as visu­al­iz­ing clas­si­fied mine lay­outs for Fred­erik De Wilde’s black­er-than-black M1ne #1 sculp­ture and in anoth­er col­lab­o­ra­tion with the same artist, Safe­cast radi­a­tion mea­sure­ments for the short film Siev­ert Ris­ing.

My HE_​Mesh library for the cre­ation and manip­u­la­tion of polyg­o­nal mesh­es in Pro­cess­ing has gained a small fol­low­ing and sees use in gen­er­a­tive, sculp­tur­al and archi­tec­tur­al explo­rations. I don’t know what they were think­ing either…

Why?

When rain hits the wind­screen, I see tracks alpha par­ti­cles trace in cells. When I pull the plug in the bath­tub, I stay to watch the lit­tle whirlpool. When I sit at the kitchen table, I play with the glass­es to see the caus­tics. At a can­dle­light din­ner, I stare into the flame. Some­times at night, I find myself behind the com­put­er. When I final­ly blink, a mess of code is draw­ing ran­dom struc­tures on the screen. I spend the rest of the night star­ing.

W:huh?

Bear with me on this one. One of the sto­ry­lines of William Gib­son’s nov­el Count Zero con­cerns the Box­mak­er, part of a frag­ment­ed arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence resid­ing in an orbit­ing space sta­tion. It’s only remain­ing pur­pose is cre­at­ing Joseph Cor­nell type box­es from float­ing debris. Box­mak­er is in a way a descen­dant of two oth­er A.I.s, Neu­ro­mancer and Win­ter­mute.

The image of this con­struct cre­at­ing art by dis­as­sem­bling com­plex items, going beyond the lim­its of its mechan­i­cal pro­gram­ming, has remained with me ever since I first read the nov­el. When I start­ed play­ing around with gen­er­a­tive algo­rithms in 2004, I thought Win­ter­mute to be a fit­ting name, quite wrong­ly as I would lat­er real­ize. The name, short­ened to W:Mute (in part because oth­er web domains were unavail­able), was espe­cial­ly appro­pri­ate since a) my orig­i­nal inten­tion was to nev­er address you, the view­er and b) win­ter has always had a spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance for my fam­i­ly.

Any­way, tak­ing a name from a nov­el isn’t a smart move, espe­cial­ly from a pop­u­lar one. Aside from this, there were oth­er rea­sons to step away from the orig­i­nal Win­ter­mute. Gen­er­a­tive cod­ing builds com­plex­i­ty from sim­ple things, quite the oppo­site of the orig­i­nal Win­ter­mute. And fun­da­men­tal­ly the gen­er­a­tive code is guid­ed to its final form by an inescapable human sense of esthet­ics. So the machine-like nature of Win­ter­mute, how­ev­er strik­ing the imagery is, was actu­al­ly not what I intend­ed to con­vey.

So W:Mute became W:Blut or Win­terblut, Warm­blut, Were­blut,… No longer mute.