Field trip

As the event of our original field trip remains unannounced, instead we will go on a class field trip to the upcoming Facets conference at NYU. This will be the saturday after our last class.

This conference is a 2 day event that explores computation and creative practice. You are welcome to attend the whole thing if you wish, but the field trip is to attend the 3 panel sessions from 2pm – 5pm on Saturday May 2nd.

The event requires you to travel to Brooklyn and book tickets here:




Week 9 – Spring Break to do list

Watch this ted talk:

If you have had no or very little javascript experience: 

  • Please work through some exercises on code academy to get the hang of the syntax and language. Set up an account and work through here: – Do the first three modules: Getting Started, Choose your own adventure and Introduction to Functions. (if you are into it, keep going).
  • Review, run and make sure you understand the examples in the Strings folder of the code repo. Run the files in node from your terminal, make sure you know how they are working, how to do this and what they mean is covered in the first part of the Javascript 2 tutorial (the first few of sections on strings in js, manipulating strings and splitting.
  • Take a look at the links below and choose a source text you want to work with in class next week (it can be anything). Come to class with this source text saved as a text file.

If you are already familiar with the javascript language:

  • Please review the javascript 2 tutorial and look at the examples in the folder labelled fileinput_node from class this week (download the repo here), analyze and experiment with them using a source text of your choosing saved as a txt file. Do some analysis on the word counts of certain words in this text. You might want to look at how these words are positioned, coupled etc.
  • Write a brief post of your results, do your findings or analysis relate to the ideas in the ted talk?

To choose a source texts consider the following:


SNOW DAY to do list….

For next week (changed due to snow day today):


  • Work through the first Arduino 3 tutorial exercise –  03A – TALKING TO PROCESSING.
  • Assignment 2 pitches to be presented at the start of class next week​. This pitch should include a conceptual outline of your project with research. This should respond to steps 1-3 in project brief. You should also develop a technical plan for the construction of your project. Identify any parts of your project that you don’t know how to make yet and list materials and sensors/components you need to obtain. If your work has a speculative angle (ie you are going to create a prototype with an imaginary functionality to explore your brief, articulate how you will create your prosthetic to suggests that functionality to your audience. Eg. using an indicator light ) You should prepare a deck and a presentation around 5 min long.​
  • Continue developing Assignment 2  in your groups. Bring any materials you will need to work on your project in class next week​
  • Please complete this weeks API reading and also the supplementary API reading by Jer Thorp if you haven’t already. Come ready to discuss next week. (discussion led by Anthony and Julie) (Next weeks reading will now happen the week after (week 9).
  • Think about the issues in these readings and how they relate to the Week 7 lecture links on artists working with APIS (in the lecture part of the site​). Comment on Anthony and Julie’s reading summary, perhaps discussing some of the ideas in Jer Thorp’s reading, or commenting on one of the art examples in the lecture links.
  • Take a look at some the artworks in ARTART section of this site.



Week 5 round up

Sorry about the hacky start to arduino. You will get the hang of it. I found the mistake in our 3 color LED so please review the updated tutorial.

Read through the tutorial and try out any of the exercises we didn’t get to today.

Also for primers on electricity – grab some popcorn and see the video tutorials, they are short and sweet and help to get the gist of circuits.

(If you want more, you can try some of the arduino examples and take a look at the corresponding circuits in Fritzing. )

If you are keen for even more help… see this handy introductory textbook.

Assignment 1, Part 1 submission

Remember to send me the link to your chosen blog post and also submit a text version to Turn It In on Moodle. There is a link in the section for this week for our class. It is there now.

See you tomorrow.

Week 4 round up

Some links from Lauren, and if you haven’t already seen her website, it is here.

Then she also mentioned artist Amalia Ulmans who has built an Instagram account as conceptual art project with a huge following. Her website is here and here is an explanation of the piece in this article. 

Ulmans follows in the footsteps of artist Lynne Hershman Leeson who famously created a work where she conceived of, constructed and ‘developed’ a fictional persona and alter ego: that of Roberta Breitmore from 1974-1978.

I will follow up on other links from the talk.

Remember, I am always adding artist examples to the tumblr blog here. So peruse them for ideas and inspiration.

I have also sorted out our twitter so please send me your handles if you haven’t already. I also post articles and bits and pieces relevant to class there. Will also retweet any juicy/thought provoking/inspiring links you tag that are relevant to our class. Follow along and see our fancy sidebar ——> ——–> ——->

And thank you Julie for this fab banner for this week’s assignment – good luck everyone!


Week 3 reading

Critical Engineering Manifesto

  • -Engineering is a transformative and influential language that shapes our communications, mobility and thought.
  • Critical Engineers are people who are aware of engineering’s influence and are therefore suspicious of technologies that push dependency or rich user experience and seek to deconstruct and expose their inner workings
  •  Critical Engineers recognize that dependency on a piece of engineering in turn engineers its users.  They expose these spaces between production and consumption of technology to showcase their imbalances and deceptions
  • Critical Engineers consider the term “machine” to encompass devices, bodies, agents, forces and networks.  They understand that written code can regulate behavior between people and machines, and seek to use this to reconstruct user-constraints and social action
  • Critical Engineers look for historical examples of Critical Engineering withing the realms of art, architecture, activism, philosophy and invention and utilize concepts, strategies and goals from those works
  •  Exploiting a system is the most desirable form of exposure
Critical Engineers examine systems to find how a new technology could change the way we think or interact in potentially undesirable ways. They then look for ways to exploit the technology so it can expose its own flaws


  • Sovereign society – Hierarchy, with one central individual or group holding the most power, with lesser powers branching off from the center.  Enforcement of control usually relied on violence or coercion
  • Disciplinary society – Bureaucracy, decentralized control with several individuals or groups with equal power and smaller powers spreading off of each node.  Control enforced by bureaucratic guidelines and wage control
  • Control society – Protocol, distributed power with set rules determines how power flows.  Control exercised by limiting the permissions and access of a user within the network
How the internet works:
TCP/IP – Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol Suite, digital rules for transmitting lots of octets (8 bits) between programs or servers on a computer or the World Wide Web.
TCP/IP treats each computer as equal in a network, enabling any computer to communicate with any other without hierarchy
DNS – Domain Name System, a decentralized, hierarchical system for associating a plain-text web address ( with an IP address, which is a set of 4 numbers that the computer can actually recognize as where it needs to connect.  (Try typing into your browser, it is the default address for many types of router)  The addresses are found by starting at a root server, which directs the request down the line to a specific domain, ie “.org”, this repeats until all parts of the address are located (.org -> rhizome -> www.)
Since DNS is a decentralized hierarchy, parts of it can be turned on or off to deny or allow access to certain blocks of IP addresses, making servers and webpages unreachable even if there are no other connection issues.
HTML/HTTP – Hyper Text Markup Language, and Hyper Text Transfer Protocol.  On the server of a webpage, HTTP encapsulates the individual HTML objects and follows the TCP to deliver the information to the computer that requested the page
Disciplinary society tied power to the location of the machinery through factories, plants and offices.  The control society will distribute the power across the network, but control comes from the strict requirement to follow the protocols within the network.  If two nodes wish to communicate, its not an issue of who as more or less influence, its a matter of if they are speaking the same language.  However, the Internets reliance on DNS forms a weak point in its distributive model, allowing a government or similarly powered body to deny access to whatever web domains they want, making the equality provided by TCP/IP meaningless

  1. Have you stopped using any technology after an exploit showed you its ugly side?  Or have you simply changed the way you use that technology?
  2. Are there any Futurist or Science Fiction technologies you would really like to see realized?  Are there any that would creep you out, scare you, or challenge your moral beliefs?  Are there any that are both?
    (IE – cryogenics, genetic manipulation, androids, smart devices, or anything you’ve seen or can think of?)
  3. Is it unusual to consider and try to act upon the potential negative aspects of a technology that hasn’t been fully realized yet?
  4. Do members of your family work in an office or factory?  Do you see yourself working in that same environment after college?  Have you seen a shift in friends/family/yourself towards working outside of traditional work spaces on personal computers?  Is that something you want going forward in life?
  5. How would you react to your government shutting down internet access and even text messaging services in order to exert control?
  6. Do you have an opinion on “The internet of things”?  If so, does the concept of DNS servers blocking access to entire domains of addresses change that opinion?  Should we base a system of embedded smart devices and automation on protocols that are subject to hierarchy?