- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Thames & Hudson (October 30, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0500285179
- ISBN-13: 978-0500285176
- Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,239,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Creative Code: Aesthetics + Computation Paperback – October 30, 2004
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"Nicholas Negroponte on John Maeda: 'John Maeda deconstructs the digital world with the earned authority of an M.I.T.-trained computer scientist and a card-carrying artist. Being ambidextrous with Eastern and Western cultures, he can see things most of us overlook. The result is a humour and expression that brings out the best in computers and art'"
About the Author
John Maeda is director of the Aesthetics and Computation Group at the MIT Media Lab. Maeda@media, his first major monograph, was published by Thames & Hudson.
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Now, in "Creative Code" we get a book not really different from the "New Masters of Flash" series that's now in (I think) its third edition. CC is a collection of case studies of work by some very smart people, and some essays about digital media, working methods, and so on. Much of it is great work and pretty. It's rendered pretty lifeless in a printed book, of course, so you'll want to track down this work online to actually check it out.
How valuable will this be to you? Do you need another heavy, sexy design book? If you're really interested in this kind of work, you'll certainly already know about all of these designers, and probably about most of the peices included here. You've probably also read the designers' own blogs or web sites, so you'll know about their methods and interests in much more detail than you get here. (The description's statement that "little of this research has been seen outside the laboratory" is not true.) In that case, you get a book of pretty pictures that probably will sit on your shelf more than on your lap. If you're looking for code samples or detailed technical explanations, you'll be better off looking elsewhere.
It's kind of a shame in the end. He's so talented, I want to see Maeda doing less surveying of the state of interaction design and more genuinely innovative and interesting things. In fact, I'll tell you what's needed: to finish the project he started in DBN, which is to really explain the concept of "coding elegance" (and the creativity behind it). There's a lot in all three books about the aesthetic appeal of well-written computer code, but there's not much about what specifically makes one algorithm more beautiful than another. This algorithmic elegance is really central to Maeda's work; he says that digital designers should appreciate both the coding and the visual/interactive design natures of the medium. The people represented in this book are the ones who'll be able to do that, but it hasn't happened yet.
Without real text i think it's just a beautiful book, no more and no less than that. Great for snobs, or for having in your living room...
Within a friendly package, i got intimately convinced by the faithfull project of John Maeda, and I'm now driving my research having in mind the many accessible yet visionary projects i have seen in this book. I'm applying to MIT Media Lab and i want to change the world, with my vision.