March 8, 2019

Imitating Sophie Taeuber's abstract art with Scratch

Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889–1943) was a Swiss artist, painter, sculptor, textile designer, furniture and interior designer, architect and dancer. She is considered one of the most important artists of concrete art and geometric abstraction of the 20th century.

Today, on Women's Day, I want to write a post dedicated to this amazing woman, who was a pioneer of the early twentieth century avant-garde.

More than two years ago I published in Scratch a project on how to imitate Sophie Taeuber's abstract art. These projects that mimic ways of painting are useful for getting into the artist's mind, understanding what he or she was doing, and designing prototypes and starting points that might lead you to create your own works of art. This particular project can be implemented in many ways, and can be programmed by children, youth or adults. It was inspired by this painting below.

Six espaces distincts, Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1939).

My Scratch project divides the stage into six parts, just like the painting. The shapes are also the same (each is a sprite) but their position, direction and color are random. Although of course the result is far from perfect, I find it a fun and easy way to play with an artwork, and at the same time learn from it. You can try the project in Scratch to see the randomness:

Scratch project.

Each of the shapes has its sprite within the Scratch project.

And each of the sprites has different costumes, with different colors.

The algorithm is as simple as distributing the shapes in the six available spaces, giving them a random direction, and also a random costume.


Can you do something similar with another abstract artist? What if the shapes don't move randomly but following a music, or responding to some physical interaction through a sensor?


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