School of machines, making & make–believe

Coming Soon



Can we create connected devices which reflect the subtleties and complexities of our human nature? Can we fabricate objects that lead to the creation of new cultural norms? What is the role of ethics in the creation of a new connected world?

Join us for a special program in partnership with the Officine Arduino, Fablab Torino, and Casa Jasmina communities, taking place at their facilities in Turin, Italy.

  • / 1 February - 28 February 2016

  • / four weeks, full-time in Turin, Italy

  • / Only 8-12 participants accepted

  • / Based in Officine Arduino, Fablab Torino and Casa Jasmina

  • / Special scholarship fee for Italian particpants available

  • / For pricing info, see FAQ

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In our four-week program "Coming Soon", using a hands-on approach, we will investigate the creative and expressive possibilities of Internet of Things technologies, electronics and sensors, while gaining a foundation in digital fabrication and design fiction methodologies.

Inhabiting a fictional narrative, students will dream up inventive ideas for new smart objects and with the aid of our instructors and other professionals, learn the proper tools and processes needed to create and communicate their own vision of the future.

Starting with basic prototyping through to advanced fabrication techniques, making use of the latest digital fabrication tools within the Officine Arduino community facilities, we will work through the entire process of design from initial narrative and conception through rough prototyping. At program's end, we will present a fully documented performance and exhibition of our final objects in Casa Jasmina, the connected home of the future conceived by science fiction writer Bruce Sterling and Massimo Banzi, co-founder of the Arduino project.

The infiltration of smart devices into our lives is coming soon. Currently, corporations and even governments are investing billions to fund research and manufacture up-and-coming networked objects designed to "make our lives easier". But what are the implications of this?

Throughout the program, we will collectively construct the mythologies and belief systems we inhabit, as a means to speculate around the possible impacts contemporary exploration may have on future society.

Instructors

  • Sitraka Rakotoniaina sitraka.co.uk

    Born in Madagascar and raised in Paris, Sitraka Rakotoniaina currently lives and works in London. He is an Artist and Designer whose body of works ranges from fictional science experiments to speculative objects and devices. His work explores our relation to science and technology, encompassing cultural and social implications, as well as the beliefs and values intrinsic to their development. With a focus on the possibility of transforming individual sensory experiences, Sitraka often uses the human body as vehicle to trigger people’s imagination.

    He ‘crafts’ narratives through the conception and fabrication of objects and uses their ‘aesthetic’ qualities and theatricality as the foundations enabling a physical form of storytelling. Sitraka studied Industrial Design and Graphic Design/Multimedia in Paris, and graduated from the Design Interactions course at the Royal College of Art. He has worked as an independent Interaction Designer since 2006 and is currently represented by Nexus Interactive Arts as a Director on their roster.

    His work has been shown internationally including venues such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, Venice Architecture Biennale, Saint-Etienne design Biennial, the Art Center College of Design. And recognised through awards and publications including D&AD, we-make-money-not-art, Axis Magazine, See Yourself Sensing by Madeline Schwartzman, Design and Violence by the MoMA, etc.

  • Andrew Friend andrewfriend.co.uk/

    Andrew Friend is an artist and designer who’s work explores experience, and the relationship between people, landscape, and their desires. He is interested in the extraordinary, fantastic and desirable (or indeed undesirable) experiences and outcomes that may result from these interactions. His work spans a range of media, through narrative and drawings to large scale physical objects designed to promote, facilitate, and question these experiences, examining relationships between the known and unknown, the real and imagined in the individual quest to harness the sublime.

    His work has been exhibited and published internationally at institutions including The National Museum of China, Beijing, Welcome Collection, London, & Art Centre, Los Angeles, USA, in 2015 he was awarded the Arte Laguna Prize, (Land art division), Venice Italy. Andrew is currently studio leader and associate lecturer in the department of Spatial Practices, Central St Martins, University of the Arts London.

  • Iohanna Nicenboim iohanna.com/

    Iohanna Nicenboim is a Berlin based designer and researcher, focused on creating poetical interactions with technology. Inspired by complex socio-technical systems and scientific imaginary, she creates speculative futures and alternative presents in different scales and formats: from generative food installations to narrative connected devices. Her practice overlaps design, science and data, showing a critical and provocative approach towards technology and the way it relates to society.

    Her recent work is concerned with the social and ethical aspects of the Internet of Things, investigating what our role as humans in the connected home would be, suggesting we may become the objects of the systems we have created. In this way, Iohanna encourages a critical reflection on the models of the Internet and the use of data in our daily lives.

    She is currently a teacher at Node Center, part of the organisation team of Retune Conference, and a reviewer for TEI16: Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction conference. Aside from various workshops and residencies, her work has been featured in international festivals, such as FutureEverything, and books like DataFlow.

Instructors previous work:

Benefits and what you will learn:

  • - Prototyping as iterative design and development process

  • - Design, development and fabrication of physical mechanisms

  • - Integration of multiple materials and media to create interactive objects

  • - CAD design for fabrication: use of Rhino to develop 3D models suitable for manufacture with 3D printers, CNC machines, and laser-cutters

  • - Digital fabrication tooling, e.g. 3D printing moulds, jigs, etc.

  • - Basic Arduino and Yun syntax programming

  • - Circuits using active and passive components (potentiometers, motors, transistors, solenoids, relays)

  • - PCB Etching

  • - Various methods of networking and data transmission

  • - Use and integration of traditional manufacturing processes alongside new technologies in creation of new objects/components.

  • - Experience with different materials, e.g. plastics, metals, rubbers, timber, etc.

  • - Final exhibit in Turin, Italy

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Programs provide

  • Hands-on intensive and guided learning
  • Fun atmosphere + safe space for experimentation
  • Collaborative working
  • Introduction to art practice
  • Mixed group: skills, cultures, backgrounds
  • Free time with your peers to explore and play w/ technology
  • Informal opportunities to speak to and learn from guests
  • Exposure to tight-knit digital art community
  • Ongoing opportunities once program has ended

Highlights

  • Talented instructors from around the world
  • International participants
  • Weekly Guest artists talks
  • Community exploration field trips
  • Final group show in Casa Jasmina
  • Winter in Italy!

Testimonials

  • Brent Dixon

    The School of Machines is a playground, bootcamp, community center, and lucid dream in equal parts. The mix of giving students, brilliant instructors with giant hearts, and visionary and thoughtful leadership made this exactly the art/tech education experience I've been trying to find for a long time.

  • Beverley Ng

    As a visual communication undergrad, I'm constantly exposed to working with print and amongst designers who advocate the idea that #printisnotdead. I am interested in merging the practices of visual communication and new media, and was very happy to find the School of MA, as it offers a unique and perfect place for me play with tech and art, and a starting point for me to branch out on skills that can help me to achieve my artistic goals.

  • Theresa Reimann-Dubbers

    One of the things that I appreciated most was the utterly liberating atmosphere. Talking about ideas, associations, thoughts, sometimes related, sometimes unrelated to the projects, throughout the entire course was so special and created such a positive and fun environment!

  • Thomas O'Reilly

    It was only after doing the school of MA that I saw how far from ‘now’ my undergraduate in product design was. As an independent school it seemed uncensored in its ability to offer a plethora of practical skills and thinking. For me, it was a shortcut to the future.

  • James Kneafsey

    School of MA does for coders what Josh Homme's Desert Sessions does for musicians. It reminds us why we started in the first place.

  • Vaishali Dhanoa

    I learnt so many things that cannot be summarized in a paragraph. But most importantly I learnt to appreciate art, how to use it as medium to change the way people think, inspire others and as a way to express yourself. Also how technology can assist us to express the artistic and creative views of a non-artist like me.

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