Math, Art and Logic: In this class, we will explore computation logically, historically and artistically by focusing on an early history of computation and cybernetics. Beginning with the birth of software and science fiction in the early 1800s, to gendered computation in WW2 through to the geodesic dome in the 1970s, we will look at ways that math has solved problems of communication, computation and control, and ways that some artists have contributed to or utilized each mathematical, logical or computational moment. We will consider these topics through assigned projects, discussions, readings and studio time.
Programming and Electronics: This course will introduce students to practical applications of physics, programming, and electronics by designing and building functional interactive electromechanical devices. This course will cover basic elements of programming (Processing and Arduino), electronics (basic circuits, Arduino, sensors and actuators), and physics (mechanics, dynamics, energy conversion, and structural forces). Concepts in math and physics will be reinforced through their application in designing, building, and programming electronic and electromechanical projects. The course assumes high school level competence in algebra and trigonometry.
Data and Networks: In this course, we will study the history of information and networks as they came to be conceived in the 20th-c. We will use this history to shed light on current trends in the digital humanities and think critically about the prevalence of big data and networks. We will use the Processing programming environment to explore visualizations of various kinds exchanges, metadata, and networks. We may find ourselves considering what the limits of data and networks are.
We will be talking about and making with data. While data may (or may not) convey facts, the ways in which it is commonly conceived in the 21st-century are historically and culturally specific. Understanding this and the implications of this is a big part of the conceptual work of the class. Please always bear this in mind and weigh it against the technical and perceptual elements of the course.
Image of “Gaussian Quadratic,” by Michael Noll.