a nervous system workshop at Summit

laser cutting generative art on top of a mountain

laser cutting generative art on top of a mountain

A couple weeks ago we were invited to teach a workshop in Eden, Utah. The organization that invited us is called Summit and they recently purchased Powder Mountain, a 10,000 acre ski resort. They brought us out there for the weekend to teach a class at their makerspace on top of the mountain. The makerspace there has a lasercutter, so we decided to create the workshop around our generative jigsaw puzzle project. Over the course of 2 hours, we discussed our ideas about design, technology and nature and then opened up our puzzle generation tools to attendees so they could create their own jigsaw puzzles.

we also added this new cut style to the puzzle generation system. what should we call it?

we also added this new cut style to the puzzle generation system. what should we call it?

We released our generative jigsaw puzzle project back in 2012; but, in all this time, we never made any kind of user interface for the project. Primarily, this was because it takes a while (5-10 minutes) for the puzzles patterns to “grow” and we thought it would not work as a web app. Now that we finally got around to making a UI, designing puzzles interactively turned out to be a lot of fun! The puzzles people made were quite weird and that’s a good thing.

growing a custom puzzle with our primitive UI

growing a custom puzzle with our primitive UI

We made a rather primitive and unattractive interface where users could paint with variable size and shape brushes to design the shape of their puzzle, the patterns of the cut, and add recognizable figure pieces (whimsies). Here are a few of the puzzles people designed.

aggregation-y puzzles

aggregation-y puzzles

weird rectangular puzzles

weird rectangular puzzles

ovular and amoeba-ish puzzles

ovular and amoeba-ish puzzles

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