During his hugely popular year-long Tumblr project, YearoftheGlitch, Phillip Stearns explored the New Aesthetic so thoroughly that he became a staple of the glitch art community. Years of designing glitch-inspired blankets and technology-dissecting installations later, Stearns has entered a new area of exploration: creative coding.
Stearns began AYearinCode at the beginning of 2015 as an experiment to make more precise glitches from custom programs, allowing him to design very specific effects. The project is just two months in, but he's already got the beginnings of some fresh image-warping tools. "I'm really into this vectorDrift.pde sketch I've been working on," he tells The Creators Project. "The idea came out of some work I made YearoftheGlitch. I wanted to have more precise control over a particular datamoshing artifact where pixels seem to flow and melt."
AYearinCode is about more than just expanding his own style as an artist; Stearns wants to expand the creative coding community. "What fascinates me is all the different possibilities that present themselves while developing a piece of software. The metaphor of a branching tree is not far off," he explains. "However, in creating that path towards a particular goal, oftentimes you simply don't have the resources to explore every possibility. Here is where I find value in making code available as open source or through licenses that permit the free non-commercial development of an idea. Working in parallel will also push you to find your unique expression through the software and how you use it."
So far Stearns has glitched faces, datamoshed meat, and turned the Microsoft desktop meadow into a pixelated wasteland of blues and greens. But he's just getting started. "The project operates more like a sketch book and much of my work is in developing tools," Stearns says. "I hope later to produce actual works, but for now posts are more aimed at demonstrating where I am in the development of a particular line of thought."