20 Challenges

This is a list of twenty arbitrary challenges for people who are learning to create using a tool like Processing, Quartz Composer, or the like.

Some are purposefully vague while others are specific. They’re all open to interpretation. They’re not meant to be real world or critically thought out, so don’t take them too seriously. They’re for people who are learning how to use a new tool and need a short term goal or are maybe just bored.

  • Choose a word and express its meaning only through typography, still or animated.
  • Create a silent animation that embodies visual rhythm, using drawn primitive shapes, images, 3D objects, and/or typography.
  • Create a novel software or hardware interface to an electronic music instrument of your creation.
  • Create an promotional spot or opening sequence for a movie, imagined or real.
  • Create a data visualization tool that shows some quantitative or qualitative representation of your email inbox or craigslist classified ads.
  • Create software that allows two people, on different computers, to “chat” with each other in a language comprised of only abstract shapes.
  • Read an image file and display it in some time-based way that slows the viewer’s ability to experience the image.
  • Create a unique image comprised of straight and curved lines, with a visual effect applied to some or all of the components of the image.
  • Allow an iPhone user with an OSC client (like OSCemote) to trigger sounds on a computer and also dynamically change the parameters of an audio filter of some kind.
  • Create a series of 3D objects that interact with each other.
  • Create a system that allows a 3D object’s movements to be controlled by an iPhone’s accelerometer, again using OSCemote or some other OSC client app.
  • Create an application that posts to twitter or responds visually or audibly to the tweets of a specific user.
  • Create a piece of software that makes a unique work of art every time it runs.
  • Create a speculative prototype for an electronic object that you think the police might use in the future.
  • Create a piece of software that uses computer vision to produce a condition of augmented reality.
  • Create a program that “plays” a photo by synthesizing sound or “plays” an MP3 through purely visual means.
  • Make a classic-style 2D video game that has a subversive agenda.
  • Create a 45 second animation that references an art movement.
  • Create a Photo Booth-like tool that captures the user’s face from a video still and creates a color-matched composite of their face on a dollar bill.
  • Create a program that has malicious, but altruistic, intent and operates on all of the files in a given directory.