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Google's DevArt competition explores coding as art

Google is looking for one incredible coder who can elevate software development into art.

Lights On artwork
A look at Zach Lieberman's "Lights On" project. Zach Lieberman/Google DevArt

On July 3, an unusual exhibit will open up at the Barbican arts venue in London. Called "Digital Revolution," it's billed as "an immersive exhibition of art, design, film, music, and videogames." It will feature the work of established artists, including and Zach Lieberman, but it also will introduce the world to a new artist chosen by Google.

Google isn't looking for a great watercolor painter or a bronze sculptor. The company wants to find a creative coder. Entries will be accepted through the DevArt site until March 28.

Google uses the term "developer artist," but what exactly does that mean? The best way to get a handle on it is to look at some of the DevArt examples designed to inspire entries for the competition. One project, titled "1000 Hands," involves a mobile app that lets participants add to a collective drawing.

A piece titled "Looks Like Music" is an installation involving a small robot that translates visual color data into sound. An example from Zach Lieberman is "Lights On," a display of LED windows choreographed to music.

The DevArt site contains an eye-opening variety of art projects, all using some sort of code to make them possible. So go ahead, get inspired. You just might get invited to a huge art opening in London.