Gorilla Newsletter 18

This week RCS published an importent interview with Casey Reas and Lauren Lee McCarthy, Dmitri Cherniak shares a mini-documentary on his upcoming project, and Tyler Hobbs publishes a new article. Among other interesting reads!

Gorilla Newsletter 18
Assemblage - throwback to an FxHash project from February 2023

Hey everyone 👋 and welcome to all new subscribers that joined since last week! Thanks for signing up and joining along for the ride!

This is the weekly Gorilla Recap - a newsletter in which I go over everything that I found noteworthy from the past week in tech, generative art, creative coding and AI.

Hope you have a good stay!

First things first - I turned 27 just yesterday! Thank you all for the warm wishes over on TwitterX, you really made my day! I'm incredibly grateful for all the lovely people I've got to interact with through creative coding, generative and the internet! ❤️ I'm hoping to make many more internet friendships in the future.

This was my fourth trip to Tunisia. Luckily it wasn't as hot as last summer 🥵 Now I feel full of energy and excited for what's to come. Got lots of things in the works already!

Second order of business - we're doing some minimal rebranding, the Gorilla Recap is now titled Gorilla Newsletter, as that more accurately encapsulates what it's slowly evolved into over the past weeks.

Although there's still a short segment on my own endeavors every week, the main aim is to capture important happenings from the past week in the genart space, as well as an assortment of interesting reads.

Genart Updates

The Power of Processing

On the occasion of Casey Reas' 923 Empty Rooms launching at Bright Moments in Berlin this past week; Alex Estorick from RCS had the chance to interview both Casey Reas and Lauren Lee McCarthy, the creators of Processing and p5js respectively:

The Power of Processing
Casey Reas and Lauren Lee McCarthy explore the future of social software with Alex Estorick

The interview goes into detail on the design implications of p5js and processing, that they're not just tools to make generative visual things, but rather vessels for building a community, and at that, a community that is as inclusive as possible.

Both Processing and p5js were meant to be transformative and disruptive vessels, that sought to be boundary pushing in several ways; by making code, as a creative medium, more accessible to a larger group of people and secondly by redefining what it actually means to be a creative coder. The interview was definitely the highlight of the week for me!

Dmitri Cherniak's Lightyears

Another thing that caught my attention was the mini-documentary for Dmitri Cherniak's new project caught my attention:

Link to Video

Earlier this year Dmitri Cherniak made waves, not just in the genart space, but in the entire art world when Ringers #879, aka The Goose, was auctioned off at Sotheby's for a whopping $6.2M - and he's already back with a new mesmerizing project titled Light Years.


What's special about Light Years, besides the mesmerizing outputs, is that it's inspired by the great László Moholy-Nagy and at the same time backed by his estate. The documentary shows us how Dmitri is allowed direct access to the private archives of Nagy and working closely with Daniel Hug that is currently in charge of the estate. The video is really fascinating - go watch it.

We need more high quality video content like this for generative art!

Interesting Reads

This week I've come across some really nice articles that I thought were really worth sharing, covering generative art, making it as a writer on the internet and thinking out loud about improving the Twitter Algorithm 👇

On Sketching by Tyler Hobbs

With Tyler Hobbs you get some of the best pieces of advice on tackling a career as a generative artist. I was delighted to see him publish a new article this week on the topic of sketching and how ideas develop over time:

On Sketching (and the Life-Cycle of Artistic Ideas) — Tyler Hobbs
I find that many gardening metaphors apply to artistic creation. For example, harvest season is not a year-round event. First you prepare the soil, then plant the seeds, and then care for the plants as they develop over time. Artistic ideas follow a similar path. They grow best in a rich soil, forme

I've mentioned this a couple of times throughout various blog posts, but one of my favorite pieces of writing on generative art is Tyler Hobbs essay titled reflections on 5 years of Generative Art. He addresses a many of the hardships that come with it and how to approach it in a manner that allows to preserve some of your sanity. One invaluable piece of advice that he provides in the essay is that new works emerge by putting in the time, and that it's okay to make try out new things even if they ultimately end up as a crumpled paper in the trash bin.

In this new article, he reiterates on the concept of sketching as a practice that doesn't necessarily always need to produce masterpieces. But rather, as a selection process where you weed-out the duds from the ideas that might have potential and later on down the line grow into larger projects. He also says that it's really important to set yourself up for success with an easy to boot up template that lets you save your code and output at the same time - even though I have my own template, it could use some (many) improvements.

I also highly recommend checking out the Tweet where there's a lot of interesting comments, questions and discussions from the community:

Link to Tweet

Here I'd also check out Tyler's other essays that are all wonderful pieces of writing. I'll also pitch my own essays on the topic, which can maybe give you some different perspectives:

Creative Coding: The New Era
Creative coding is a new interdisciplinary art form that bridges the gap between technologists and artists. This article explores what it means to be a code artist, what it means to make art with code, and how we approach this new discipline today.

The longest piece I've written to date - it took a couple of months to organize my ideas for this one.

The Importance of Sketching with Code
Sketches are more than just little artworks that you hack together in your bedroom. They’re ongoing conversations that you have with the yourself and the machine. It’s important to explore them, gain new perspectives and ultimately contribute to something larger than yourself.

If you feel like a quick and inspirational bite, this one's for you.

How I make six figures on Substack by Emma Gannon

I don't generally like sharing articles with these kinds of headlines - because this newsletter isn't really about making money, as much as it is about coding and making art. However, as someone that's been doing quite a bit of writing over the past two years, I found Emma Gannon's success story incredibly inspirational.

It's not one of those 'get rich quick' kind of posts - she goes into the nitty gritty of her 14 year long career as a writer on the internet and provides a gigantic list of tips and advice:

How I make six figures on Substack
It’s been a surprising/thriving 18 months on here, so here’s some stuff I know.

For the first point on her list she echoes the words of Bill Gates, back from an article he wrote in 96, stating that Content is King. Although the landscape has drastically changed since the early days of the internet, the phrase still rings true up until the present day - content with substance is what drives the internet forward, it's essentially an intellectual service that you provide to your audience.

A content creator provides information, knowledge, ideas and entertainment in exchange for their audience's time and money; and it's never been easier to monetize engagement in this current day and age. Gate's original article can be read here:

“Content is King” — Essay by Bill Gates 1996
Ever wondered where the phrase “Content is King” stemmed from?

Looking at the social media space today, Gates' thinking was in many ways ahead of it's time. Without the intent to glorify the man - reading his words, it seems to me that he had a visionary understanding of the internet. Which explains the success of his endeavors.

Emma Gannon shares many more pieces of invaluable information throughout her article, hence why I highly recommend reading it if you are someone that creates content on the internet.

Making the Twitter Algorithm better

I can't tell if Elon is delusional, or brilliant.

I can't tell if him being copiously active - in a seemingly haphazard manner - on the platform that he's acquired, is daring and avant-garde, or simply plain out dumb. I believe that if you hold this much power, you should be a bit more careful with the words that you share with the rest of the world.

But maybe, actually something good can spring from this brazen approach to running his business - if he actually follows through on the promises that he's making. Since my last post The Current State of Social Media, I've spent many idle moments to think on what Human Friendly Algorithmic Dopamine mechanisms could look like, and even though I'm still very far from having a definitive idea on the subject, I believe that a big step towards that end would be transparency.

I recently came across this tweet from a twitter user I've shared on the newsletter before, when we dove into the factors that have an impact on your tweet rankings. This time they return with suggestions on improving said algorithm:

Link to Tweet

I can't vouch that all of the suggestions are actually good ones, but it's good to get the discussion started again.

If you want to learn more and you're curious about how the Twitter algorithm functions - the version that was open sourced earlier this year at least - I've written about it in this article:

Everything we learned about the Twitter Algorithm so far
Elon Musk’s decision to open-source the algorithm that powers Twitter after acquiring in October of 2022, is a monumental event in social media history. In this post we’ll dive into everything that we’ve about the inner workings of the code so far.

AI Corner

Scientific Discovery in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

This one's a research paper, but it's a worthwhile read. It details some of the emergent methods how AI tools are being incorporated into scientific research methods - for instance for the purpose of data analysis or automated component design:

AI systems can enable efficient, intelligent and highly autonomous experimental design and data collection, where AI systems can operate under human supervision to assess, evaluate and act on results.

The article juxtaposes the benefits of these methods with some of their deficiencies:

Scientific discovery in the age of artificial intelligence
Nature - The advances in artificial intelligence over the past decade are examined, with a discussion on how artificial intelligence systems can aid the scientific process and the central issues…

This can have important implications for a variety of fields, making me wonder if in the future a fully autonomous type of AI research can be made feasible. As of now, these methods still require human supervision to be of any use.

Google's Project IDX

Google announced a new online code editor that runs fully in the cloud. It's aimed specifically for the development of apps. One big draw of the editor is integrated support from AI tools. I have used ChatGPT for debugging purposes and for quickly brainstorming ideas; however I have yet to try tools like google co-pilot:

I signed up for the PaLM2 developer API many weeks ago, but it seems I'm still on the waitlist.

I really want to try out code generation/completion plugins very soon. I think it could be a different creative coding avenue to explore, where it gets easier to break writer's block while exploring ideas.

You can sign up for the IDX waitlist here:

Project IDX
Project IDX is an entirely web-based workspace for full-stack application development, complete with the latest generative AI (powered by Codey and PaLM 2), and full-fidelity app previews, powered by cloud emulators.

I don't know how long it takes to get an invite however 🤞

Tip of the Week

Besides posting awesome works of generative art, Yazid also provides much needed perspective. Genart is already a difficult endeavor in and of itself, having to learn the mechanics of social media while constantly marketing yourself in some manner just makes things so much harder.

One reply to his Tweet that stood out was by Rik Oostenbroek:

Link to Tweet and it's replies

Do not let your emotional well-being be affected by meaningless algorithmic metrics. These things are at best random. I have definitely experienced self-doubt from not receiving the reaction that I was expecting on work that I poured my heart into. Ultimately your work speaks for itself.

Sit down and have fun. That's all there is to it.

Music for Coding

You might know Jake Bowen as one Periphery's guitarists. When he's not shredding the guitar he also makes electronic music. His album Isometric was one of the first instrumental electronic pieces that I fell in love with, and it just resonates with me so much more all these years down the line:

And that's it from me this week again, hope this caught you up a little bit with the events in the world of tech, AI and generative art in the past week!

If you enjoyed it, consider sharing it with followers, friends and family on your socials, that share interest in this nerdy stuff. Otherwise, consider signing up to get notified whenever there's new content on the blog. Cheers and happy sketching ~ Gorilla Sun 🌸