School of machines, making & make–believe

How can we expand our visions of the world around us and ourselves in new ways by learning to code?

  • / 5. August - 30. August 2018

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

  • / Small class of paricipants

  • / Based in ACUD


Course Description

As we become more connected through technology, understanding how that technology works can be empowering, insightful and practical, especially as coding has become a building block for an increasing number of professions. We hope that by increasing the number of people who can understand code, we can also diversify the voices controlling these technologies.

How can we create meaningful interactive experiences or tell stories with code? This course will focus on creative coding, narrative, interactivity, and self. The goal is to explore the creative and expressive possibilities of technology, digital tools, and self-expression while gaining a foundation in how to code.

Course Outline

Week 1: Introductions, playful and embodied exercises to understand code, and critical discourse as introduction to coding. Introduction to command line. Programming basics with processing and P5.js

Week 2: Hands-on creative assignments, data, API's, sound.

Week 3: Advanced coding techniques, alternative interactivity using EEG, computer vision, face-tracking, sound.

Week 4: Creating hands-on interactive experiences for showcase to the public on the final day of the program.


  • Artist / Student (Full Time)*

  • Women and persons from LGBTQ+ and other under-represented communities in the tech field highly encouraged to apply!

    *Includes in-class materials, use of space, and professional mentorship

    Note: If you'd like any assistance in finding housing, please let us know in your application. We suggest budgeting around €525 for a month room rental.

In this course, you will learn

- Tools for generating ideas, building stories, completing an idea
- Tools for creating interactive artworks
- Toolkits and platforms like Processing, P5.js
- The basic concepts of working with code
- Playful ways of self-expression
- Programming building blocks by making fun experiments and projects
- Axidraw techniques for plotting artwork
- Playing with interaction, audio and visuals
- EEG sensors and facetracking for controlling sound
- Getting familiar with command line
- Gaining enough familiarity with code, reading documentation, installing tools and libraries, and using github etc. to carve your own way forward
- An amazing network and community of like-minded creative beings and potential future collaborators
**No previous experience necessary**

Who is this program for?

The workshop is suited for anyone interested in familiarising themselves with code, and particularly suited for visual artists and designers keen to augment their practice. In a professional workshop, you will be taught through hands-on and playful explorations, creating visuals, animations, and interactive experiments. You will be provided with with an essential tool kit that can be applied across contexts and problems and will do so in a manner that is fun, accessible, and engaging.

Facial Pentatonic, A simple prototype of a music instrument controlled by the user's face, 2012. Tomás Laurenzo

The Blind Spot is an artwork comprised of five scenes that present different EEG-reactive environments. This is done through a pipeline of data processing where the EEG data to generate textures in real time (using Processing) which, in turn, are mapped to both pixel and vertex shaders in Unity. Tomás Laurenzo with Christian Clark and Tobias Klein.



  • Saskia Freeke/

    Saskia Freeke is an artist, creative coder, interaction designer, visual designer and educator based in Amsterdam. She has a BAT in Interaction Design and a MA in Computational Arts. Her work focuses on structure, geometry and playfulness.

    Central to her artistic practice is her daily digital art project that she started January 2015, where she experiments and explores creating patterns and animations. These artworks are mostly created with code. From her digital work she creates often physical artworks and she is interested in creating tangible interactive and playful installations.

    She previously taught at the University of the Arts Utrecht School for Games and Interaction in Visual Design and has taught Physical Computing at Goldsmiths University of London. Saskia has been a fellow with the Processing Foundation in 2017, where she created in collaboration with the Code Liberation Foundation multiple workshops.

  • Tomás Laurenzo/

    Tomás Laurenzo is an artist, engineer, and academic working with physical and digital media, interested in data representation, music, interaction, and politics.

    With a background in both computer science and art, his research spans across different practices and interests, including artificial intelligence (machine learning), human-computer interaction, physical computing, and virtual reality. He has several publications, mainly in the areas of New Media Art, and HCI.

    His artistic production is also diverse, including installations, interactive art, music, live cinema, and digital lutherie. His artworks and performances have been shown internationally. Since 2014, he is Assistant Professor at the School of Creative Media of the City University of Hong Kong.

    Laurenzo has also performed artistic and academic activities in several institutions including The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Microsoft Research, Carnegie Mellon University, Brunel University, and INRIA, among others. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the PEDECIBA Program, advised by Dr. Alvaro Cassinelli, University of Tokyo.

  • Sarah Grant/

    Sarah Grant is an American media artist and educator, currently based in Berlin. Her areas of focus are bio-circuitry, sculpture, radio, and computer networks. She has taught workshops in self-hosting and DIY networks around the world. She is a former Research Fellow at the Tow Center for Journalism at Columbia, Adjunct Professor at NYU Polytechnic in Digital Media, and Resident at the Eyebeam Art and Technology Center.

    Additionally, she is the author of Subnodes and organizes Radical Networks, a community conference and arts festival for creative, critical, and alternative applications of Internet technology.