Algorithmic Pattern Salon 2023

Welcome to the website for the first Algorithmic Pattern Salon, bringing people together to share and discuss algorithmic approaches to pattern-making in creative arts, craft and code.

The salon took place from 23rd November and 1st Dec 2023. Although it was an online event, there was also an in-person gathering in Barcelona, with an additional programme of local events.

The event is now over, but you can still enjoy recorded talks and archived writings from our first salon.


Image: Internet of Towels, Anuradha Reddy

Humans have always explored algorithmic patterns, as creative, culturally-embedded ways to work beyond our imaginations. This salon will bring together people working with creative formalisations for pattern-making, whether they explore heritage or contemporary patterning techniques.

This theme emerges from heritage algorithms, found in ancient/ancestral creative practices in arts and crafts such as weaving, braiding, juggling and music-making, and developed through a long history of continual innovation. These heritage algorithms are structured by the procedures and rules of pattern – shifting, combining, reflecting, rotating, interfering, glitching, and combinations thereof, at multiple scales. They work both in the movements of the maker, and in perception of the result by the beholder. 

Image: Robot maypole dance, Dave Griffiths
Image: Robot maypole dance, Dave Griffiths

Patterns are also seen in computing, from the binary operations involved in low-level machine code, to high-level operations used by creative coders. However, the word “pattern” is overloaded, often used to describe simple phenomena such as straightforward sequences in music. On the other hand, the word ‘algorithm’ is often used to describe unfathomable complexity. In combination, “Algorithmic Pattern” refers to human-made algorithms, where complex and surprising results can result from the combination of simple parts (or rules). This offers us rich ways of making; easy to learn but taking a lifetime to explore. 

This salon brought people together who value deep, human curiosity into patterns. We hope this event excites you whether you are exploring strange patterns in heritage crafts or contemporary algorithmic art.

Image: Experimental weaving with AdaCAD, by Laura Devendorf and Marianne Fairbanks