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Tactile Computations

Tactile Computations are attempts to generate organic images which help the audience imagine the feeling of texture or recall a memory of the sense of touch.

produced by: Eri Ichikawa


I am interested in how non-organic computers generate organic images and movements seen in nature. One image looks as if it was drawn by hand and is composed of extensive lines drawn with systematic randomness, an effect only made possible by computation.  The purpose of my project is to explore this close-yet-far relationship between the computer and living things.


The Freischwimmer series by Wolfgang Tillmans was created in a dark room, nonetheless looks like coloured ink flowing in water. This effect makes audiences imagine, for example, how water and ink flow or mix, and offers the pseudo-time lapse experience associated with it. Those colours even affect people’s emotions.  I aim to reproduce this experience through computation. The images itself are abstract but access a specific part of memory and emotion. Through the curve, layer, depth, thinness and colour, I tried to select the most appropriate setting and give each figure unique features.


All of these images were generated by one program. By changing slight numbers of screen division, particles and increment of noise, its surfaces change remarkably. The code is based on Daniel Shiffman’s Perlin Noise Flow Field Coding Challenge. As the original was designed for p5.js, I converted it to Processing with the help of Nemanja Milosevic’s code. Meanwhile, I explored many other ways to experiment Perlin Noise Flow Field, as seen in Keith Peters’ article “Flow Fields, Part II”. For further development, I would like to discover more examples and gain more skills in generating abstract images.


Keith Peters, Flow Fields, Part II (2017), [Accessed 13 January 2020].

Nemanja Milosevic, Perlin-Noise-Flow-Field (2017), GitHub repository, [Accessed 13 January 2020].

The Coding Train (2016), Coding Challenge #24: Perlin Noise Flow Field Available through: [Accessed 13 January 2020].

PHILLIPS (2018), Swimming Free: Wolfgang Tillmans Masters Camera-Less Photography, [Accessed 13 January 2020].