From Foundational Exercises to Theories of Representation
By Carl Lostritto
About the BookThis book explores computation, specifically the craft of writing computer code, as a medium for drawing. Exercises, essays, algorithms, diagrams, and drawings are woven together to offer instruction, insight, and theories that are valuable to practicing architects, artists, and scholars. This book can serve as a primer for those new to programming or motivation and context for those with experience.
“Computing” and “drawing” are both deeply historical and loaded terms. Although digital media is often positioned in opposition to the “manual” act of drawing, the broader territory of “computing” includes matters of language, rules, procedures, and orders that are very much compatible with the presence of ink on paper. Indeed, the nature of drawing—a temporal medium governed by marks that can be precisely defined, but not easily edited—provides welcome structure for computational methods.
Carl Lostritto is Graduate Program Director and Assistant Professor of Architecture at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI. He operates an artistic practice that involves writing custom software and adapting machines to create drawings.
“With acupuncture-like precision, Lostritto unpacks genetic connections between drawing and computing, on the prowl for new visual bodies and alternative forms of knowledge constructions—revelatory insights a double key click or bodily gesture away. Operating in the space between a guidebook and Jorge Luis Borges’ encyclopedic Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge, Computational Drawing gathers, dissects, and resplices assumptions about the generative potential of computing and drawing, realigning things taken for granted…” - Perry Kulper, associate professor of Architecture, A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
“In a historical moment when pedagogies of drawing and computing are still being debated, this timely contribution identifies, unpacks, and repositions the instrumentality of the tools that underlie varied media. Linking strategies that range from the compositional to the rule-based, Lostritto historicizes these tools, the ideas that precede them, and their results. What surfaces is a refreshing respite from the limiting dichotomies we have all endured in the trenches of curricular debates. Beyond the intellectual precision of the book’s argument, Lostritto’s drawings form an indispensable body of work whose figures and configurations embody, line by line, the evidence through which the instruments of the discipline must manifest that debate.” - Nader Tehrani, dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture and Principal of NADAAA