Designing Phenomena: The Artists Who Use Algorithms to Examine Nature


When you think of programming you may think of this..

and probably not this...

Yet this lower image is far more accurate to how these digital artists use their tools to examine and create from nature...


Shohei Fujimoto

Shohei Fujimoto is a creative coder from Japan who makes minimalist 'living systems' using C++ and openFrameworks.

He develops work between the worlds of graphic design and generative simulation, culminating in these 'living phenomena' digital pieces. Reminiscent of a colony of ants or staring out into the ocean, Shohei's work taps into that fascination with nature, abstracting phenomenon you see in everyday life and reducing it down to it's essence.

Read this fantastic interview with him done by thepluspaper for more!

Or check out Shohei Fujimoto's instagram for the latest

Or all his stuff on Creative Applications


Ryoichi Kurokawa

Ryoichi Kurokawa is a Japanese artist based in Germany. He states his "...greatest interest is to create and compose sound and light, in order to ‘design time’ as time-based media."(from here)

Using a mix of generated components and field recorded images and other data he composes video and installation work in an effort "to advance artificial ideas and real material collaboratively" (from here).



Davide Quayola is a London based digital artist from Rome. When he's not transforming baroque ceilings he examines nature and uses it's raw elements as data in his work:

Davide directly references many classical and traditional artists styles his work - his questioning goes beyond himself observing from nature and seeks to reveal what the great masters themselves observed and what that means in today's digital age.


What Phenomena Can Teach Us

Artists, filmmakers, writers - all creatives have sought to communicate or explore life's phenomena, it is a constant question and one that feeds the process which is trying to examine it; new discoveries are made which in turn provoke more questions, all the while enriching our lives.

Turning algorithms and programming to the visual world will demand we clarify our mental models, create new ones, destroy the old - turning the wheels of creative progress.

As traditional uses of programming are hijacked for non-traditional artistic works, different modes of thinking and understanding can be explored and developed.. maybe one day working with a computer won't mean being chained to a dark desk and instead we can run and frolic in the fields like Vincent.... (and do some meaningful art while we're there)