Interview with Sinan Ascioglu


"Driving through Iceland” sketch by dotlassie. Winner of Rhizome's Tiny Sketch Competition. is a site that has built a community around sharing visual coding examples created in Processing. As user number 36, I had the unique privilege of watching the idea take shape, while in a thesis group with Sinan at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. During it’s first two years of activity, the site has grown to host thousands of user-generated sketches and subsequent conversations between artists / programmers, teachers, and students from around the world. Sinan and I escaped the snow recently at a café outside Washington Square Park to discuss OpenProcessing’s origins, Rhizome’s collaboration with OpenProcessing in the Tiny Sketch competition, and what we can expect for the future. - Tim Stutts

Tim: How did you first come up with the idea for OpenProcessing?

Sinan: I guess the first thing to talk about is OpenVisuals, which was my Master’s thesis project at ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program, New York University). I was reading Edward Tufte’s books at the time, and I became very interested in data visualization. In the meantime I was also fascinated with the social revolution that was happening on the web, through a class I was taking at NYU with professor Clay Shirky. Before studying with Clay, I didn’t understand Facebook—I didn’t even have a Facebook account. I knew I was missing some concepts, and wanted to understand what was going on. Through his classes, I decided that my thesis would have a social component. I also discovered ManyEyes, a site where users can upload datasets, and choose between different the visualization methods for augmentation. Users comment on each other’s visualizations, and may even suggest other ways of looking at or representing the dataset. What ...