Google Encourages Developers to Create Art Using Code

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2014-02-10

Google Encourages Developers to Create Art Using Code

Google isn't just about code. It's also about art and creativity and the expression of new ideas, which is why Google is now helping promote a global competition to find an up-and-coming developer artist who pushes the boundaries of art using code.

That's the idea behind a new Google initiative to join with the Barbican in London, Europe's largest multi-arts and conference venue, to find, publicize and sponsor a developer who will join a rising group of interactive artists who are creating amazing projects and work using code.

"I sometimes hear phrases like 'Artists create, developers code,' but nothing could be further from the truth," Paul Kinlan, a Google developer advocate, wrote in a Feb. 5 post on the Google Developers Blog. "We are all a creative bunch with a passion for exploring and creating amazing works that push the boundaries of what we believe is possible with modern computing technology. Sometimes we just need some inspiration and an outlet."

That's where the joint effort between Google and the Barbican come in. The two groups will "celebrate the creative use of technology with a DevArt interactive gallery, as part of the Digital Revolution exhibition" that will be built at the Barbican Centre in London and also displayed online. "And we want you to be a part of it," wrote Kinlan.

"As part of this exhibition, we're looking for the next up-and-coming developer artist," he wrote. "This is your opportunity to express your creativity in new ways, and to have your work featured in the Barbican and seen by millions of people around the world."

 So what exactly is DevArt?

"DevArt is a new type of art," a Google spokesman told eWEEK. "It is made with code, by developers that push the possibilities of creativity and technology. DevArt is the opportunity to open their creative process, share their art with the world and be a part of a new movement in art."

To create this concept, Google has commissioned three of the world's finest interactive artists, Karsten Schmidt, Zach Lieberman, and duo Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet, to create their own all-new installations in the DevArt section of the Digital Revolution exhibition this summer, according to the Google spokesman.

"The commissioned interactive artists will open up their creative process and offer a rare, unique look into their way of using a palette of modern Web technologies, including Google APIs, products and services. You will be able to follow their journey—from concept and early sketches to the finished piece—through regular updates on their respective Project Pages. By sharing their creative process, the artists hope to involve and inspire the participating community of creative coders to do the same."

Interested developers can enter the competition and begin creating their projects using a Github account and a browser to visit to show Google what they intend to create, according to the rules. "From there, we'll pick one creator whose work will sit alongside some of the world's finest interactive artists who are also creating installations for DevArt: Karsten Schmidt, Zach Lieberman, and the duo Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet," wrote Kinlan.

All entries must be received by March 28 at 18:00 GMT.

Google Encourages Developers to Create Art Using Code

Participants can use any blend of technologies such as OpenFrameworks or Processing, Arduino or Raspberry Pi for their projects, but they must include at least one of the following four Google technologies:

Google languages: Go or Dart;

Google platforms: Chrome Apps, Android, Google Compute Engine or App Engine;

Google toolkits: Any use of Google Web Toolkit or Polymer; and

Google APIs: Any use of a Google API.

Another unique part of the competition is that all of the installations are being actively developed on Github, which will give visitors "a rare look into artists' ways of working with modern technologies," wrote Kinlan.

For more ideas and inspirations, prospective participants can peruse the projects that other developers are working on in a collection of catalogued entries, according to Kinlan.

The winner of the competition will receive a prize of about $41,042, as well as Google Developer help, and curating and production support from the Barbican to help transform their concept into a digital art installation, according to the contest rules. The top 10 finalists will have the opportunity to meet the DevArt judging panel during a Google+ Hangout, along with a receiving a "DevArt finalist" award for their site.

Through March 28, one ongoing project each week will be named as a "featured" project by one of the commissioned artists involved with the program.

On April 5, a "short list" will be announced with the names of the top 20 semi-finalists in the competition. The finalists will be determined through Google+ Hangouts interviews from April 9 to 15, with a winner being named April 15. The winner's work will be displayed at this summer's Barbican exhibit from July 3 to Sept. 14, and then will go on tour to cities around the world.

Google is often involved in the promotion of art around the world.

In December 2013, Google unveiled its Google Open Gallery, an online service that lets small art galleries around the world get some free help from Google to show off the lovely artwork within their walls by displaying their collections to online visitors.

In March 2013, Google expanded its Global Art Project with another 2,000 works of art in its growing and evolving Google Art Project, which is a Website that displays amazing and hard-to-find sculptures, paintings, drawings, and even folk and street art from around the world. The collection now includes more than 30,000 beautiful and creative works of art in 200 museums across 40 countries, all viewable through a Web browser.

The Google Art Project began in February 2011 by a group of Google employees who came up with the idea of creating an online collection of art from around the world. The project was designed during their "20 percent time," which is set aside for employees to work on personal projects that advance the company's work and missions using as much as 20 percent of their work week. The employees built the project using Google's Street View, Picasa and App Engine technology to take pictures of artwork and assemble them on this special Website. The Google Art Project, a collaboration between Google and the participating museums, began with 17 museum partners in nine countries when it launched.

 In August 2013, Amazon began selling fine art online, adding it to the many categories of items that shoppers can buy from the e-commerce giant, which already is the leader in selling books, CDs, DVDs and more online. The Amazon Art category on Amazon's site includes more than 40,000 works of art from about 4,500 artists that are being offered for sale by more than 150 galleries and art dealers in the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Canada.

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