Around 1:00 AM, on a night just before Christmas in 2009, I sat at my desk and wept tears of frustrated exhaustion into my laptop. Having enthusiastically pitched an interactive piece for 12 performers and escalator for a festival in January, I’d just started work on the implementation and it wasn’t going well. My first attempt at running the Computer Vision example from the Open Frameworks website had resulted in 600 compile errors. I had no idea how to solve them, I’d been at it for hours, and I was yet to write a single line of code.

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Les Escaliers Mechaniques — Kings Place 2010

The problem was that I was still quite the newbie. As such I was lacking a bundle of skills which are peripheral but nonetheless essential to the writing of code. To solve my compile errors I needed to know how to use command line tools, check out repositories, fix makefiles, and configure my IDE. At that moment, I had neither the time nor the will to study any of it. Instead I resorted to what I call the workaround strategy; I trawled internet forums until I eventually found a post linking to a version that would compile on my machine. This got the job done, but in a much more labour intensive and stressful way. It left my project fragile and susceptible to breaking changes. …


Simon Katan

Digital artist and educator — I work with hidden mechanisms, emergent behaviour, paradox, self-reference, inconsistency, abstract humour, absurdity and wonder.

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