On programming and visual art

Written by julia on February 18, 2016

Meet Krystof Pesek, successful university lecturer and a graduate of Center for audiovisual studies of FAMU. Krystof's work lies somewhere among computer art, generative. Enjoy our short interview with him.

Hello, Kryštof
we are very excited to have you finally here in Bratislava to our Krakatoa-talk club. Hope, we are finding you in a good health conditions and ready to meet our Bratislava crew and people! You couldn’t have made it to Bratislava last time, but we know that at the end of 2015 you have visited New York. Could you maybe tell us something more about your work/project there? Was it a ‘one day project’ or is it a ‘long term assignment’ for you?

It was a busy times last year. That time back I was traveling quite a lot having some flu along, which was probably altering my perception quite a lot. The New York City trip was one of those. There was an exhibition curated by Zbynek Baladran in Czech Centre and we went there with couple of CAS people (Center of Audiovisual Studies @ FAMU) to make some live coding performance. It was a little bit weird evening, but finally, it went quite well at the end.

Is it possible to compare the USA’s point of view and Europe’s point of view upon programming, computer art, generative graphics and live coding as an artists’ creative tool? What would you say about conditions under which artists create their work there and here?

Well it is hard to compare in general. In some sense, localization is not that important. Communities from all ver the world communicate via different networks on daily basis. What probably makes some difference is how it is perceived at let’s say academic level. Speaking about live coding practice, Europe seems to be more alive, it may be an illusion, but you can hear much more about such communities here than in US. On the other hand, in States, there seems to be more academic programs aimed towards some creative or applied coding.

Maybe we could put some light onto what have brought you to work with programming tools and to combine programming and arts together? Where have all this started?

It has a quite long history. At first, it was probably photography which introduced me to *operating an apparatus to make art* approach. In my 18 I decided to move towards moving picture. My objective was to have a bigger control upon visual experience in general. Was back in the days when The Center of Audiovisual Studies at Prague’s FAMU opened its gate for the first time. I was really lucky that I had a completely free ground for experiments that time. I had this tension to use programming also before, but that time, it seemed not fitting anywhere. I was really lucky that I had a chance and started to attend CAS.

programming, generative art, krystof pesek















We all know that you are a university lecturer for couple of years now and that you are working with young and fresh minds :). What would you say about your students? Do they inspire you in your projects? Or better said – do you often find a student (or more students) in your classes with who you are cooperating closely?

Students are great. I am really happy to see plenty of talented people at CAS. From time to time there are also some newcomers in our live coding group called Kolektiv. Many of them are students with similar approach, some of them are just experimenting along with their other activities. I also think that performative aspect of live programming is really motivating to start studying tools of your choice. The need for being expressive leads to your custom tool modification etc. The great thing is that people who plays this way, really enjoys it and so they are able to spend their free time improving them.

Could you tell us anything about your recent projects and assignments at the end? What about the future – is there something you would be really thrilled about if you were part of it? 

My plans for the future? I need to learn more C (laughter). The system I use has a many parts written in this particular language. When I handle this language more my reservoirs of free knowledge will bend and exploit for my further creation. It sometimes accelerates – the more you know, the more you feel how little you know. At the moment, I am currently working on some new software tools. Recording sounds at exact time is something which really fascinates me. I also archive these sounds for later interpretations. There are many principles in software development which could be used more widely. I really am a great fan of multidisciplinary approach; which combining more types of knowledge together. I often dream about free and open source in architecture, history, biology, politics … so generally – in a human culture.

Thank you very much for your time. We are already looking forward to your presentation!

You can see Kryštof talking about his work and live coding on our Krakatoa-talk club on 25th of February in Goethe-Institute Bratislava at 19:00.