Click here to go to the Field development website.
The technical frontier of digital art is no longer what computers can do, but how we get them to do it.
Today, digital artists can choose to work with a profusion of advanced hardware options (fast processors, graphics cards, sensors, etc) and some wonderful open source code libraries — but when it comes to environments for authoring their artworks, their choices are remarkably few. With this open source project we hope to expand the possibilities open to artists.
Based on ideas and practices formulated at the MIT Media Lab, this environment, which we call Field, has been developed over the course of many years. We almost always work in a collaborative contexts — where the collaborators are not only other digital artists, but also programmers, choreographers, composers, musicians, and lighting designers. For such projects, the algorithms have to be created simultaneously with the ideas and the aesthetics, and usually under the typical time constraints of collaboration (the cost of theater time, the pressure of live performance, etc).
Working like this means that we have had to devise an authoring system for ourselves that can keep pace: flexible so that the artwork can be revised, recast, and reconsidered as rapidly and as radically as creative collaborations usually demand; and powerful so that new algorithms and control structures can be created from scratch rather than simply selected from a limited menu of preset options.
More than an authoring system, Field is in fact a system for creating authoring systems (a “meta authoring system,” if you like). It seeks to allow artists to fashion their own authoring environments for any given domain they are working within; and as they work they can continue to adjust and even recast their environments as the need arises.
We ourselves rely on open source software to create our works, which is why we’ve seized on this chance to give back to that community. We wish to give back to the arts community as well by offering a radically different way of conceiving, implementing, and running digital artworks. We look forward to what you make of it — or rather what you make with it.
A more detailed look at Field is available on the main development site.