Being aware that a digital revolution is trying to pass me by – and that Processing seems to be the digital tool of choice of lots of data designy types that I admire – in the new year I scoured the internet again for any courses in London, or the UK for that matter. Amazingly there was one starting in late January at the V&A: Programming for artists and designers: An Introduction to Processing, Tuesdays, 26 January – 16 March, 18.30–21.00. Sounded like what I was after.
Oh boy. I had a small headstart having worked through Ben Fry’s book up until it got heavy. As for these classes, first one OK. Second one I kind of kept up. Thereafter I was more observing than anything else. The drop-out rate was exponential, in fact everyone dropped out except the teachers, me and those pupils who already knew another programming language. They were trying to cover too much for too many people from too many disciplines who wanted to do different things with Processing.
What’s frustrating is I know that given the time I don’t doubt I’ve got the aptitude to pick up a programming language or two, but what this course made me realise is that the only way I’m going to do it is by total immersion. And a suitable chunk of uninterrupted time isn’t something I’ve got just now.
I count myself lucky we have such talented developers to work with in the office, trained specialists, knowledgeable and brilliant because they’ve spent years studying the subject, just like I have design. I don’t ever presume to be as good as them, but at least I’m on the way to beginning to understand the mindset, language and approach.