School of machines, making & make–believe

What can be gained by reframing our environments and examining social relationships anew? How can this introspection affect our experiences in virtual worlds?

  • / 3. July - 28. July 2017

  • / four weeks, full-time in Berlin, Germany

  • / 10-15 participants accepted

  • / Based in ACUD MACHT NEU


Course Description

Virtual Reality is a medium compelling us to explore artistic creation, storytelling, and interactivity. The goal of this program is to approach VR as a creative platform to address social issues, imagine new forms of social engagement, and create social experiences that engage multiple users at a time.

The primary tool of this program will be Unity 3D. We will also incorporate 3D, 360 video, video-tracking, and micro-controllers. As we engage the potential of these new tools, we will also take a critical perspective discussing the shortcomings and challenges of future technologies. No previous experience in virtual reality required.

We are all embedded in social systems, enabled and constrained by a tangle of relationships and interdependencies. In this program, we'll aim to examine social relations by reframing our environments as fragile ecosystems.

This will allow us to focus on narratives that offer new ways of understanding ourselves, other animals, plants, stones, habitats, ecosystems, and as super-communities made up of networked collectivity functioning as something more than the sum of its parts.

This summer, we attempt to go beyond that binary, inspiring a nuanced look at different styles of coexistence.


  • Regular Fee*
    €1250 (artists/students/freelancers)
    €1450 (professionals)

  • *Includes materials, use of space and professional mentorship

In this course, you will be introduced to

- creative development with Unity3D*
- scripting in Unity3D to create interactivity*
- filming with 360 Cameras*
- creating AR and VR experiences using Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift, and Vive*
- interactivity using computer vision and micro-controllers*
- critical and conceptual development of projects*
- An amazing network and community of like-minded creative beings and potential future collaborators
- *No previous experience necessary

Course Outline

Week 1: Introductions, concepts, narratives, play, and critical discourse.

Week 2: Tools and Techniques for creating interactive VR experiences in Unity

Week 3: Computer vision and microcontrollers as they relate to interactive VR

Week 4: Projects for final exhibition

Who is this program for?

This workshop is geared toward anyone involved in creative projects (designers, makers, artists, musicians, performers etc.) that wish to begin incorporating interactive virtual reality experiences into their work or practice. The course approaches VR from an introductory level. A basic knowledge of programming (in any language/platform) is encouraged but not required.



  • Chris Sugrue /

    Chris Sugrue is an artist and programmer developing interactive installations, audio-visual performances and experimental interfaces. Her works experiment with technology in playful and curious ways and investigate topics such as artificial life, eye-tracking and optical illusions. She has exhibited internationally in such festivals and galleries as Ars Electronica, Sónar Festival, Pixel Gallery, Medialab-Prado, Matadero Madrid, and La Noche En Blanco Madrid.

    Sugrue’s interactive installation, Delicate Boundaries received an honorary mention from Vida Art and Artificial Life Awards and first prize from Share Festival. In 2009, she collaborated to help develop the EyeWriter, a low-cost eye controlled drawing tool for ALS patients. The EyeWriter was honored with Design of the Year award for interactive category, the Future Everything Award, and a Golden Nica from Ars Electronica.

    Sugrue holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Design and Technology from Parsons School of Design. She has worked as a creative engineer at the Ars Electronica Futurelab where she was the lead interaction developer for a stereoscopic interactive dance performance with artist and choreographer Klaus Obermaier. Sugrue was the recipient of a year-long fellowship at the Eyebeam Art and Technology Center in New York, and has held artist residencies with Hangar in Barcelona, La Casa De Velázquez in Madrid and Harvestworks in New York. She has taught courses in the Design and Technology department at Parsons School of Design, the Interface Culture program at the KunstUniversität in Linz, Austria, and numerous workshops on visual and creative programming.

  • Karolina Sobecka /

    Karolina Sobecka is an interdisciplinary artist and designer. Her recent projects focus on climate engineering as a way of investigating the values that drive technological innovation, and shape the philosophy that inscribes humans in nature.

    Karolina’s work has been shown internationally, including at the Victoria & Albert Museum, MOMA Film, National Art Museum of China, ZKM, Zero1, ISEA, Beall Center for Art + Technology, Marfa Dialogues and Science Gallery. She has received multiple awards and commissions including from the Creative Capital, New Museum, Rhizome, NYFA, Eyebeam, Queens Museum, Princess Grace Foundation, and Vida Art and Artificial Life Awards.

    Karolina is a visiting scholar at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and works at design studio Flightphase. She has taught at Rhode Island School of Design, School of the Art Institute of Chicago and University of Washington.

  • Laura JuoHsin Chen /

    Laura Juo-Hsin Chen is a creative technologist and doodler originally from Taipei, Taiwan. With a background in traditional 3D animation, Laura acquired a Master’s degree at the NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) in 2015. She recently completed a Research Residency at ITP, and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

    Laura is interested in weird human interactions and their impact on the subconscious. For MASK, her Master’s Thesis, she made a series of customized virtual reality headsets. Each mask has its own VR experience and physical functions for the purpose of overcoming communication difficulties. Participants empower themselves by wearing different versions of MASK, as an approach to one of Laura’s abiding questions: how can one change a person’s perspective by changing their perception?

    Laura uses open-source technologies and a low-tech approach to create lighthearted and publicly accessible experiences. Recently, she has exhibited her works at De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam, Museum of the Moving Image, Grand Central Terminal, and Time Squares in New York City, and has given workshops and talks at the Queens Museum, and the IDFA DocLab.