By Chelsi Cocking and Manaswi Mishra
Code Cypher, hosted by CAST Visiting Artist and Grammy-winning rapper Lupe Fiasco and Professor Nick Montfort, invited MIT students to develop computational artworks that play with language and rhythm. The event was hosted from 10am to 6pm on Saturday, October 9, 2021.
On the morning of the event at 10am, all the participating teams at the Code Cypher were given the following project prompt:
“What I saw in the forest...”
Over the next few hours, teams hacked and interpreted the themes in the prompt into a diverse set of computational art performances.
After being given the prompt, we hosted a quick "yes, and...” brainstorming ideation session with each other. Thinking of what the prompt reminded us of. Riffing off of each other's ideas and sparks of inspiration. We both became enamored by the idea of tree trunks. We thought of what we "saw" in a tree trunk, and we saw: a fingerprint, a music record, a clock. We saw these things represented in the grooves and contours of a tree trunk.