School of machines, making & make–believe




How can we design experiences using performance, machine learning, and speculative prototyping to construct alternative visions in times of political uncertainty?

  • / 31. July - 25. August 2017

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

  • / 10-15 participants accepted

  • / Based in ACUD MACHT NEU

In this four-week intensive program guided by artists and speculative designers Sascha Pohflepp and Chris Woebken, you will be designing experiences through use of live-action role play techniques (LARPing), computer vision, machine learning, and speculative prototyping.

We will provide a framework that revolves around a rapidly changing world increasingly bound to be populated by non-humans, both natural and artificial—such as advanced AI systems. Making their perspectives experienceable is going to be a key angle to designing for the new societies that will emerge.

What you will learn: An overview of future studies tools, crafting scenarios, collaborative work, narrative prototyping, simulation techniques, character and game design for live action roleplaying, basics of advanced machine learning/neural networks, digital fabrication, environment/set design, project critique, exhibition production and documentation.

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How can we expand our soundscape horizons through experimentation with different materials? How can that translate to and affect our perception of sound in virtual worlds?

  • / 24. July - 4. August 2017 (Two-week Formal class)*

  • / 7. August - 17. August 2017 (Two-week optional Residency for class participants)*

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

  • / Up to 10 participants accepted

  • / Based in ACUD MACHT NEU

Augmented Ear Reality is a workshop led by sound artist Antoine Bertin and visual artist Helene Combal-Weiss. They meet in the design practice of sensorial experiences. Their hybrid creations merge auditory and tactile senses in the completion of objects, installation and participative experiments.

Leading an exploration of materials, shapes, human body, binaural recordings, interactive audio, and listening practices, participants are taken on a journey to reveal new and unexpected sensations.

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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

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.

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How can we help each other increase our creativity and productivity by surrounding ourselves with like-minded humans?

  • / 5 June - 30 June 2017

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

  • / 10-15 participants accepted

  • / Based in ACUD MACHT NEU

Join the School of Machines in Berlin this June for a four-week pop-up co-working/co-creation opportunity. This is a unique chance to work, play and collaborate with like-minded creatives and artists in the heart of Berlin's creative technology community. You will also have full access to our equipment and facilities.

Along with an awesome location to work, you'll also have the option to use the Studio and Gallery for organising your own workshops and events. Have an idea for a short-course? Need help with planning and execution of your event idea? We'll do what we can to enable you to bring your idea to life!

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How many times a day
 do we accept, without negotiating, the everyday demands inscribed in the
 design of user interfaces? What rhetoric hides the apparent neutrality
 of its design? How does the data we generate
 through an interface transform and encode our social and intimate
 sphere?


  • / Live Online class begins 22. May, ends 12. June

  • / Mondays, 7pm-9pm, GMT +1

  • / Up to 20 participants accepted

This program seeks to critically reveal, analyze, and connect the complex
 network of agents that converge on the configuration of the Graphic User
 Interface (GUI). During this four week course we will creatively reveal,
 deconstruct, and re-articulate the material and immaterial elements that
 make up the GUI in order to reflect on its role and influence within
 the social, political, economic, cultural and emotional spheres of the
 networked society.

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How can artists, activists, designers and other creative minds take a stand and be heard in these days and age of ecological crisis, unfettered intolerance, and growing economic inequalities? Can their work and efforts have a significant impact on the way society thinks and functions? How much responsibility does an artist bear? Is it enough to just ’spark a debate’ and hope other people will do the rest?

  • / Live Online class begins 9. May, ends 30. May

  • / Tuesdays, 7pm-9pm, GMT +1

  • / Up to 20 participants accepted

The ambition of the course is to help participants understand the mechanisms of activist art and provide an overview of the most inspiring and thought-provoking actions of politically-minded creative practioners. The sessions will also be designed to leave space for debates and reflection over contentious and ambiguous questions relevant to contemporary society.

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What defines the relationship between art and science? How can a deeper understanding of the laws of physics alter our perception and interactions with the world around us? In which ways do light and sound influence our experience of being human?

  • / May 1 - 26, 2017

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

  • / 10-15 participants accepted

  • / Based in SPEKTRUM

All elements of our world are composed of vibrating particles that pass through time and space. By exploring the different ways in which we experience vibration, we'll be able to more effectively understand the web of relationships that together form our perception of the universe through our bodies, minds, and tools. In this program, we'll navigate the world of vibration as a sensory experience with a special focus on sound and light.

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How can a deeper understanding of feeling and thinking help us define our ideal relationships with future machines?

  • / 3. April - 28. April 2017

  • / up to four weeks, full-time in Belgrade, Serbia

  • / 10-15 participants accepted


We're thrilled to invite applications for our first creative research residency. It's a residency in three parts: self-initiated learning, group teaching and sharing, and community outreach set to take place this spring in Belgrade, Serbia.

Through participation in this program, attendees will have a unique opportunity to investigate topics related to creative artificial intelligence and machine learning for artists with a group of like-minded peers and experienced mentors for up to four-weeks, this April 2017.

Individually, and as a group, we'll spend time examining the ethical and sociocultural dimensions of machine learning, while discussing issues of significance surrounding the ever-increasing integration of these thinking machines into our daily lives. We'll also explore the implications of perception and the notion and possibilities of future feeling machines.

This program will coincide with Belgrade's beloved annual Resonate festival dedicated to creative technology, audiovisual and music performance.

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Join us for two workshops in collaboration with the Influencers festival on unconventional art, guerilla communication, and radical entertainment in Barcelona, October 19 - 22!

Sign-up for MACHINE LEARNING FOR ACTIVISTS with Gene Kogan, October 19 - 20


Sign-up for INTERNET DECONSTRUCTED with Joana Moll, October 21 - 22




Are there new and deeper meanings to be found in 360° immersive storytelling?

  • / 1 August - 26 August 2016

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

  • / 10-15 participants accepted, rolling admissions

  • / Based in ACUD MACHT NEU


This program offers a hands-on course in storymaking and storytelling. Working as an experimental film unit,​ over the course of four weeks, w​e will speculate around the cultural and social impacts that the advances in virtual reality may have on society, forming narratives centred around personal visions of virtual worlds.

We will build a collection of experimental 360° films, each presenting different immersive experiences and stories within imagined virtual realities.

The films will be informed by our investigation into virtual reality itself as an emerging and complicated technology. Narratives will form around characters and situations which probe at what it means for virtual reality to become mainstream for future entertainment, education and other forms of escape.

By developing these films, our objective will be to​ uncover and experiment with techniques for making new narrative experiences. U​tilising dedicated film camera equipment and editing software, combined with the physical prototyping of props, we will test out new forms for fiction and transport our imagination into the make­-believe.

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How can a deeper understanding of machine learning affect our relationships with machines and with each other?

  • / 4 July - 29 July 2016

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

  • / 10-15 participants accepted

  • / Based in ACUD MACHT NEU


This course will introduce students to the field of machine learning as a subject for artistic practice and interdisciplinary research.

Students will gain a practical and conceptual understanding of machine learning methods through the lens of creative subversion. Simple and deep neural networks will be introduced, analyzed, and applied within various artistic contexts.

Throughout the program, students will learn to program self-adapting musical instruments (using Wekinator), generative poems, and machine-hallucinated visual and sound art, mediated by intelligent algorithms. We'll examine the ethical and sociocultural dimensions of machine learning, and discuss the coming issues which are sure to be preceded by the ever-increasing integration of these thinking machines into our daily lives.

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How can we reappropriate pervasive surveillance technology in ways that empower people? How can we use these same technologies as tools to express ourselves creatively?

  • / 6 June - 1 July 2016

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

  • / 10-15 participants accepted

  • / Based in ACUD MACHT NEU


Computer vision is a responsive, interactive, and exciting tool for realising creative vision. From tracking body movements to face detection and pixel manipulation, computer vision is a rich area that opens up many new possibilities. Low cost cameras and open source platforms now make this field much more accessible allowing us to introduce powerful algorithmic approaches to our creative endeavors.

These kinds of technologies are also pervasive in our daily lives and understanding their inner workings will allow us to challenge and play with them in creative and subversive ways.

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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

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.

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Facts and Fictions in the Age of Data



How can we create meaningful experiences using data to explore the facts and fictions of our modern-day lives? How can a thoughtful and more personal exploration of data visualisation and storytelling provide new ways of understanding the world around us and ourselves? In this four-week program we'll take a hands-on approach to exploring these questions and more in a variety of conceptual, digital, and physical formats.

  • / 2 November - 27 November 2015

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

  • / Based in ACUD MACHT NEU Kunsthaus

  • / Only 6-10 participants accepted


The relationship between data (information) and stories is rich and multi-layered. Now more than ever, questioning the origins of our data and how it is collected is essential to our understanding of it. With an eye on perception, objectivity, critical thinking, analysis, misinformation and truth, we’ll examine data, and in turn data visualisation, in all its grotesque and beautiful facets, focusing on the finer details of how to pull a story from data and craft it into something meaningful.

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Fabricating Empathy

How can we create meaningful experiences using technology to explore the very, very distant corners of the universe? How can speculative exploration of outer space provide new ways of understanding ourselves? In this four-week program, we'll journey to explore possible future scenarios, crafting artefacts destined to capture, manufacture, and re-enact human emotions in space.

  • / 31 August - 27 September 2015

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

  • / Based in ACUD Macht Neu Kunsthaus and FabLab Berlin facilities

  • / Only 6-10 participants accepted


The aim for this program is to enable a hands-on approach and creative exploration of digital fabrication, electronics and sensors.

This program is part of an on-going investigation and research project by London-based artists Andrew Friend and Sitraka Rakotoniaina called Very, Very Far Away which is set to be realised in April 2016.

Fabricating Empathy will emphasise the learning and use of digital fabrication and processes to examine how technologically mediated interactions can produce emotional and empathetic responses and how they could be repurposed to experience distant and even fictional territories.

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Interventions: Art, Technology and Social Practice

How can you socially engage with the world in playful and disruptive ways? How can you use art and technology as tools to express who you are and what you care about?

  • / 8 June - 14 August 2015

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

  • / Based in N.K.

In our ten-week summer program, you’ll explore the intersection of technology and art, activism, and community-building.

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Responsive Spaces

  • / 30 June - 25 July 2014

  • / four weeks, full-time

How can we create meaningful interactive experiences or tell stories with code? This course will focus on creative coding and interactivity in the context of responsive spaces. The goal is to explore the creative and expressive possibilities of new technologies and digital tools and sensors while gaining a foundation in creative coding (algorithmic animation, computer vision, audio analysis and synthesis, projection mapping, networks, and 3D graphics).

We will work mainly with OpenFrameworks and Processing, but other platforms will also be incorporated such as Max/PureData and SuperCollider. Teachers and students will work together towards the production of individual or group projects and will have access to the equipment needed to create functioning responsive installations. Expect to play with code, be experimental and have fun!

Instructors

Let's Get Physical!

  • / 04 - 29 August 2014

  • / four weeks, full-time

How can we create meaningful interactive experiences or tell stories by making things move? This course will focus on physical computing and interactivity, exploring the creative intersection of new technologies, digital fabrication (3D printing, laser-cutting) and how they can work seemlessly together to help you express yourself artistically in both thoughtful and nonsensical ways.

Teachers and students will take a hands-on approach to working with basic electronic components, sensors and motors as well as with Arduino and Raspberry Pi, using these tools to play and to create magical things that move! Robots and wearable technology will also be explored in this course.

Instructors