In the second project in my graduate course at Georgia Tech, Computer As Expressive Medium course, students were challenged to create generative art using an API or JSON files. The project was completed using p5.js, a Javascript Library.

Originally, I wanted to bring a critical lens to issues impacting social justice, such as prison reform, abolition, and climate change. However, learning more about APIs and Data Sources, I quickly learned that the data I wanted to creatively use did not exist in the capacity that I needed. This was helpful in two ways. First, it changed the nature of my project to focus on data sources that are easily accessible, then consider a critical lens to those datasets. Second, it prompted me on a journey of what is data, who gets to create it, and how does it impact social reform. While this was not included in the scope of the project, it ignites a curiosity I didn’t know existed!

Letting go of my initial ideas was a bit tough, but the best option moving forward. Instead, I focused my attention on data that was available, still fit the criteria of the project, and was more personal. After speaking with my professor and expressing my interest in Tarot reading as a healing tool, she informed me of Mark McElroy’s, A Guide to Tarot Meanings, as a potential JSON file for my project.

With the data source in mind, I then worked on creating an interactive experience. I wanted to mimic traditional Tarot readings, where the Spread is based on “Past,” “Present,” and “Future.” Considering the JSON file did not include images, I wanted to add three types of text from data source: Name of Card, Fortune, and Meaning (Light or Dark). This way, the user would have a thorough understanding of what the card means and how it contributes to their overall reading.

Below is a screenshot from a reading. The top three rectangles represent the card. Even though there is no imagery, the user can see what card is randomly generated, and what that card means. The user generates a card by simply clicking on “Past,” “Present,” or “Future.” Below the three cards is a large rectangle that combines the meaning from all three cards to generate one reading. The user can then start over by clicking “backspace” or clicking on “Past,” “present,” “future” countless times.
Get your Tarot reading here.