Since this is the "on tools and technologies" group, I thought that some of you might be interested in hearing about OpenEnded Group's new digital art programming environment — Field. It's been a quietly open source project for nearly a year now — it's behind the scenes of the Loops Open Source project, which apparently has a group on dance-tech.net and it's what Marlon videoed me talking about in the dark here. But we've just started bundling up beta "releases" as self contained binaries for OS X. The project is ready to hear more voices and contributions.

We think that it's a very unusual platform — like Processing etc., it's primarily concerned about the problems surrounding writing code, but unlike these tools it hybridizes textual code with visual programming to create a very malleable development environment. Field can be "customized" and interfaces layered on top of it from within Field itself. Field has a great text editor, but it's not just a text editor.

Field is a Java-based application that uses Python as an embedded programming language. But rather than reinvent the wheel (and package it up as yet another set of libraries), Field wants to talk to existing open source-projects. In fact, special support for Processing-based libraries is included; Field offers itself as a drop-in-replacement for Processing's development environment, implements many of the features that Processing community is trying to implement and does so in a way that's much closer to experimental "live coding" than Processing's start-stop-compile cycle. Field also contains proof-of-concept support for a number of other programming languages including JavaScript and Scala and language based-techniques for integrating with products like Maya & MotionBuilder.

Finally, over this beta release cycle OpenEnded Group will add to the public repositories their basic motion capture code-library and complete the documentation of their 3d rendering system which Field is based on.

More information about this project is available here, and the documentation index is here.

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Replies to This Discussion

Marc,

Thanks for posting introduction to your Field open source project. I look forward to exploring and learning more. By any chance, have you posted examples of digital art created with Field?

Best,
Doug Fox
http://greatdance.com
http://twitter.com/dougfox
Well, three possible answers to this. First, the actual source code, including the Field 'sheets' to the most recent incarnation of Loops is available — although it's a very complicated and messy beast. An interesting one, we hope, but still quite a difficult one.

Secondly most of OpenEnded's work since 2002 has used Field in some form or another. An early version of Field was the basis for our piece 22 (with Bill T. Jones) and played a more important role in How long... (with Trisha Brown).

Thirdly Field is the foundation for this project with Wayne McGregor. It's early days yet, but its a very fun use of Field and I expect that we'll make its source available as well. The plan is to have this very odd sketchpad in a form where he's actually using it to make work by the end of the year.

Field — that is, our decision to spend time making a tool to help us make art as well as just making art — really came out of our work with collaborating with choreographers. Trisha Brown while making a piece can turn a dance on its head with a single word to her dancers; that kind of speed induces a kind of panic among programmers of all stripes. Nobody wants to fix bugs while renting theater time. The typical response is to fall back to shaking a pre-prepared back of tricks. But that's not a collaboration between artists. What kind of support do I need, as a artist writing and wrangling code, to be able to keep pace?
Hello Marc, I just want to place here an interview with Nick Rothwell where he mentions the project with talks about the project with Wayne McGregor.

Find more videos like this on dance-tech.net
Paul Kaiser showed me Loops and explained the concept. I read about your Choreographic Language Agent a little while ago - tweeted about it this morning. I'm very intrigued about this project with Wayne McGregor, but don't fully understand scope. Look forward to learning more about it and possibly seeing demonstration in near future.

Best,
Doug Fox
http://greatdance.com
http://twitter.com/dougfox

This looks very interesting...I am passing this on to folks here at University of Illinois who program Maya with Python, and want to interface with Max/MSP (which I know pretty well). So I will let you know how those three technologies interface in Field as we begin to find time to explore it. 

 

John

http://jtoenjes.com

You find us on the verge of a significantly new binary release, which will go public today or tomorrow. Stay in touch and let us know of any problems — field@openendedgroup.com

 

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