Practicing with Hiroshi Kawano

After finishing the 2D Animation and Interaction Course of Andrew Glassner I continued  my practicing with Processing. Although I am using Processing for my work for four years I thought this would be the right moment to go a bit deeper into the language. I noticed from the past eight weeks that I needed a lot of time to get used to the tools Andrew Glassner told me about. But I need also a lot of time to think of a graphic theme each week. I would like to avoid that for the coming weeks. I have read a few articles about the Japanese philosopher Hiroshi Kawano. He was one of the most important pioneers in the conquest of computer technology for the arts. You can read more about him here:

And this is the piece of art which I will use to work with:

Work no. 1

Hiroshi Kawano. Work no. 1. Simulated Color Mosaic. 1964, Computer-generated design. Gouache on paper. 19.5 x 20 cm, OKITAC 5090A, line printer. Programmed in OKISIP. Produced at the Computer Center, University of Tokyo.

As a tribute to Hiroshi Kawano’s work and research I will use his piece of art as a vehicle to make several small projects. In that way I don’t have to define all graphics every week from scratch. Beside of that I can better concentrate on programming issues in stead of design issues. For this period the project is divided into three parts. Part one is making images with rectangles. The second part is creating images with ellipses. And the third part is to create images with a combination of rectangles and ellipses.

In part one I began with scanning Hiroshi Kawano’s ‘Work no. 1’. I will work at a display image size of 800 x 800 pixels. As I mentioned before this work is 19.5 x 20 cm. So it is not a perfect rectangle. I took the freedom to make it a rectangle by adding one line at the top. I have chosen the top because that leaves less to my interpretation than when I would add a line to the bottom. The bottom line is much more open for different interpretations. When I now use 800 x 800 pixels I can easily divide it in 40 x 40 squares of each 20 x 20 pixels. I loaded the scan into the background so I could check if everything was positioned well. At this stage I am almost halfway.


This is the finished version. I mixed rectangles with squares when possible.


Now I could start with making variations on this theme:

W9_01_03_01, W9_01_03_02, W9_01_03_03, W9_01_03_04

While this seems to be fine. In the second part I have to use ellipses. And in the third part it should be a mix of ellipses and rectangles. Watch what happens with this image when I replace the rectangle with ellipses:


That is not what I was looking for. I did expect a modification but this is too much. Rectangles are drawn from the top left corner to the bottom right. Ellipses are drawn from the center. So there is a shift in position and because I used rectangles and squares you get those long horizontal ellipses. This meant that I had to recode everything again. Here’s a better ellipse version (2240 lines of code):


After that, I changed ellipses into squares. And I moved all squares 10 pixels to the left and 10 pixels to the top. We have seen this image before but the code is different. Ready to make some variations with the rectangle version:

W9_01_06, W9_01_07, W9_01_08, W9_01_09, W9_01_10, W9_01_11, W9_01_12, W9_01_13, W9_01_14, W9_01_15, W9_01_16, W9_01_17, W9_01_18, W9_01_19, W9_01_20

Time for part two. Now that everything is in its place we can make the variations with the ellipses.

W9_02_03, W9_02_04, W9_02_05, W9_02_06, W9_02_07, W9_02_08, W9_02_09, W9_02_10, W9_02_11, W9_02_12, W9_02_14, W9_02_15, W9_02_16, W9_02_17, W9_02_18, W9_02_19, W9_02_20, W9_02_21, W9_02_22, W9_02_23, W9_02_24

That last sketch contained 4480 lines of code. When I added another 2240 lines of code Processing began to complain: ‘The code of method setup () is exceeding the 65535 bytes limit’. I did everything in setup. Did not use draw.

And in part three the rectangles and ellipses should now fall right in their place. To check that I made a file where ellipses and rectangles changed each row:


That worked well. I could now generate variations of the combinations:

W9_03_02, W9_03_03, W9_03_04, W9_03_05, W9_03_06, W9_03_08, W9_03_10,  W9_03_12, W9_03_13, W9_03_14, W9_03_15, W9_03_16, W9_03_17, W9_03_18, W9_03_19

And that concludes the period of practicing using rectangles and ellipses.


2 thoughts on “Practicing with Hiroshi Kawano

  1. Hi, interesting approach (and I’ve read all your A&I Course posts). But why so much code again? Isn’t it possible to do it otherwise because you want exactly this layout (and not a more randomized one)? Or do you simply like to write all the statements yourself? 😉 Good work though!

    • Hi Jerome, the reason why I produce so much code again is simple: practicing. Of course it can be done otherwise. But I did it this way. Anyone else will do it different. Later I will use other functions which make it more easy to manipulate the image. Although manipulation works on this laborious way too! But I do it step by step. Thanks for the comment and compliments (by the way).

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