Curry On
July 15-16th, 2019

Say What You Mean: Exploring Declarative Computation in Art
David Schmudde


“Say What You Mean” parallels the production of art with approaches to exploratory programming. 20th century art practices were clearly influenced by the milieu of computational thought. Expressionist artists like Jackson Pollock declared intent with few implementation details in mind. Pollock’s paintings have since been proven fractal in nature. Conceptual artists like Sol LeWitt wrote imperative instructions where “the idea becomes the machine that makes the work.” The results of both artists are computational in nature, but very different in quality. This is partially due to approach. This talk examines creative approaches to exploring unknown or open-ended domains. It emphasizes declarative programming and the tried-and-true techniques of abstraction and composition. Rather than showing a sliver of a sprawling codebase, approaches are illustrated more immediately through computational art. Parallel code examples are written in Clojure.


D. Schmüdde is a computational artist who creates experiences that examine the everyday realities of our post-digital society. Over the last fifteen years, he has installed interactive work at the Center for Holographic Arts in New York City, projected video art in the Schusev Museum of Architecture in Moscow, performed at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, screened at the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, and given talks around the world. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science, a masters in music technology, and currently teaches science and technology studies at Stevens Institute of Technology while building a next generation computational notebook at Nextjournal. He’s always ready to discuss big ideas - find him at