CS 5789-001 Spring 2015 Emb Sys & Kinetic Art

CS 5789-001 Spring 2015 Emb Sys & Kinetic Art

SerpenteRosso3s.jpg PaulStout.jpg

Embedded Systems and Kinetic Art:

Drawing on Data

Instructors: Erik Brunvand (School of Computing) and Paul Stout (Department of Art and Art History)

Course Numbers: This course is cross-listed for Spring 2015 as CS5789 and Art4455

When: Spring Semester 2014, T-Th 4:00-6:40

Where: We'll meet primarily in the Art building in Sculpt 178. 
Sculpt 178 is the "Sculpture area" in the Art building. It's in the SE corner of the art building. 
(There's an interactive map of campus located here if you don't know where the Art building is...)

What: Drawing on Data is our theme for 2015. We want to focus on kinetic art that draws upon, or reacts to, or modulates, or is otherwise connected to data. This could be as simple as using real-time sensors to capture data about the environment in which the artwork lives, or as complex as performing detailed data analysis to drive the kinetic behavior, or any number of other ways that data can be used as a fundamental element in the work.

Why: One of the main purposes of this joint class is to help students understand the fundamental notion of DESIGN, both in engineering and the arts. We all can appreciate good design when we see it, and appreciate things (both computer-related and art-related) that exhibit excellence in design. But how do good designers learn to be good designers? We hope that this course is one step along that journey.

From the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) side we encourage students to apply their technical skills in a context that is explicitly non-technical. This can allow students thefreedom to try a wide range of approaches to a particular problem. In the process, engineers are exposed to a variety of aesthetic and creative concepts that would not normally be part of an engineering curriculum. Artists explore programming and engineering in a context that is more conducive to their learning style because it is directed at art-making. Both groups of students gain practical experience in design-thinking which is quite distinct from the computational thinking that is usually more associated with CSE.

Course Description

Kinetic sculpture is art that contains moving parts or depends on motion, sound, or light for its effect. The kinetic aspect is often regulated using microcontrollers  connected to motors, actuators, transducers, and sensors that enable the sculpture to move and react to its environment.

An embedded system is a special-purpose computer system (microcontroller) designed to perform one or a few dedicated functions, often reacting to environmental sensors. It is embedded into a complete device including hardware and mechanical parts rather than being a separate computer system.

Kinetic art using embedded control is a marriage of art and technology. Artistic sensibility is required for concept and planning, and engineering skill is required to realize the artistic vision. In this project-based class computer engineering students will work together with art students to build collaborative kinetic art pieces. Students will explore interfacing of embedded systems with sensors and acuators of all sorts, along with real-time/interactive programming techniques and interrupt driven system design. They will also explore physical and conceptual aspects of machine-making as a sculpture process.

Drawing on Data implies a connection between the artwork developed, and some sort of data that mediates its behavior. We will start with individual projects, and then finish with group projects that include both artists and engineers. We want to make kinetic art that is interesting sculpture in its own right, and that involves data of some sort in its conception or behavior. This is a cross between an engineering class (embedded system design and programming) and a studio art class (designing and building the sculptures) with all students participating fully in both areas.

Course Schedule

This collaborative course is constantly evolving, so the schedule will be changing from week to week as the course evolves...

Remember to start keeping your sketchbook! We expect a page a day in your sketchbook related in some way to this class. Remember, not every page needs to be a masterpiece, but we want you to get in the habit of drawing/writing/composing in your sketchbook every day. We also hope that you'll use your sketchbook for inspiration, ideas, planning, prototyping, etc. for your projects.



Topics/Agenda Links (these will become active as they become available)
T: 1/13
  • Introduction
  • Historical survey of kinetic art
  • A look at past versions of this class
Th: 1/15
  • More motivation and examples (drawbots)
  • Soldering Demo
  • Discussion of Reading #1: Jones

T: 1/20

  • Sketchbook Assignment 1: Sensor Awareness due
  • Student Artist Report presentations in class
Th: 1/22
  • 3:45-5:00:
    • James Coupe lecture in Gould Auditorium
  • James Coupe (jamescoupe.com) is an installation artist from Seattle. He is an Associate Professor in the DXARTS program at the University of Washington.
T: 1/27
  • Blind/Modified Contour drawing activity (Sandy)
  • Discussion of Reading #2: Bouttiaud
Th: 1/29
  • Drawbot demo/critique
T: 2/3
  • Programming intro
  • Sketchbook Assignment 2: Linkages due
  • Programming/wiring hands-on - LEDs etc.
  • Discussion of Reading #3: Benjamin

Th: 2/5

  • Surplus/Hacking project preview
    • Bring your device/artifact in for review
T: 2/10
  • Sketchbook Assignment 3: Data Mapping due
  • More programming - sensors/servos
  • Discussion of Reading #4: Bishop + response
Th: 2/12
  • Principles of design
  • Basic 3d sculpture activity
T: 2/17
  • 3:45-5:00:
    • Lindsay Grace lecture in Gould Auditorium
  • Lindsay Grace (www.lgrace.com) is an Associate Professor, and director of the Game Lab and Persuasive Play Studio at American University in Washington, D.C.
Th: 2/19
  • Surplus/Hacking project demo/critique
T: 2/24
Th: 2/26
  • Lecture in UMFA - Visiting artist Duane Linklater
T: 3/3
  • Erik is out of town...  
Th: 3/5
  • SPI interface and external LED chips
T: 3/10
Th: 3/12
  • Papermaking demo
  • Major Project - team forming
  • Major Project - brainstorming
T: 3/17
  • No Class: Spring Break
Th: 3/19
  • No Class: Spring Break
T: 3/24
  • 3:45-5:00:
    • Mark Koven lecture in Gould Auditorium
  • Mark Koven (www.markkoven.net) is an inter-disciplinary and multi-media artist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Art + Design at Utah State University.
Th: 3/26
  • Papermaking with LEDs work day
T: 3/31
  • DC motor and stepper motors
Th: 4/2
  • Paper/LED Project Demo
T: 4/7
  • Major Project #1 design discussion
Th: 4/9
  • AC control
T: 4/14  
  • Presentation by Paul on his work
  • Presentation by Erik about Drawing Machines
Th: 4/16  
  • Interrupt programming
  • Slides on interrupt programming
T: 4/21
  • 3:45-5:00:
    • Bill Manaris lecture in Gould Auditorium
  • Bill Manaris (www.cs.cofc.edu/~manaris) is a Professor of Computer Science at the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C., and director of their Computing in the Arts program. His interests include computing in the arts, human-computer interaction, and artificial intelligence, specifically as these topcs relate to music.
T: 4/21
  • Project work day
Th: 4/23
  • Project work day
T: 4/28
  • Major project demo/critique


On this page you'll find a collection of links that you may find useful...  

Course Summary:

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