School of machines, making & make–believe


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


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Acting out ideas in the real world is an important part of testing the conceptual, critical or aesthetic potential for projects in many disciplines. Fiction can be a useful tool when trying to learn the limits of a new set of ideas, and provides a platform to prototype concepts which can result in positive, unexpected outcomes.

By building real structures around ideas we can immerse ourselves in a specific situation, discover new lines of enquiry, encounter happy accidents and think through making: all are elements of a design process that will enrich and engage the maker and the audience.

Course Description

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.

What will we do?

We will build physical scenes and craft narratives for making 360° films and real time experiences: to transport an audience from one reality to another. F​ictional scenarios will be made by developing short stories and characters based around different virtual worlds. Dedicated props, 1:1 scale sets, found locations and other artefacts will also play an important part of the storytelling process.

We will explore how to develop and make films for new, wider perspectives where everything is in sight and the camera is embodied by the viewer ­ investigating the technical and creative potential of 360° camera technology.

By experimenting with techniques, interactions and considerations particular to this medium we can explore the shift from the real to the virtual, developing immersive atmospheres to craft anticipation, suspense and surprise. A​range of practical skills rooted in filmmaking will be addressed, from special effects to screenplay ­ which will enable participants to gain confidence in creating nuanced, fictional worlds.

The ultimate goal for the workshop is to produce engaging and exciting narrative experiences with 360° video to be shared with the world as part of a special screening in Berlin and also on online platforms.

An example of 360° filmmaking:

Who is this program for?

This program is aimed at people working in creative disciplines who are interested developing their skills and knowledge for communicating ideas through storytelling. It adopts methods of design fiction: using narrative elements to envision and explain complex proposals and concepts.

This program is for anyone who is interested in getting hands­-on with 360° video technology and wants to critically explore issues and themes surrounding virtual reality. O​ur motivation will be to use film and narrative experience to consider the wider cinematic, psychological and cultural issues of immersive virtuality.

The studio will be a playful environment to collaborate with likeminded people, to develop interesting concepts and physically prototype ideas. T​here are no specific requirements for certain skills, ho​wever a keen interest in making and storytelling with art and design is important to bring to Berlin.

Course Outline

Week 1: VR technology overview with industry professionals. Contextual research and workshops for design fictions, with field trips to studios and organisations working with VR.

Week 2: Developing concepts and stories in response to contextual research, alongside dedicated storytelling and making workshops. Prototyping narratives, scripts and test shoots with cameras and editing software. First iteration of props.

Week 3: Resolve scenarios, build sets, make props and costumes, preparations for 'official shoot'. Production of final outcomes.

Week 4: Complete filming and post-production. Screening of films in public event.

Pricing
  • Regular Price:
    €1900 (artists/students/freelancers),
    €2200 (professionals)


APPLY

Instructors

  • Anrick Bregman anrick.com

    Anrick is an award-winning interactive filmmaker working at the intersection of storytelling and experiential technology. He's currently focused on exploring Virtual Reality, and is generally interested in how narrative and technology can complement each other.

    Anrick is a director with Unit9 in London as well as a member of the World Building Institute. His work has been recognised by the FWA, by the Webbys, the One Show Awards, Cannes Lions, SXSW, New Media Film Festival and at the D&AD, among others.

  • Joseph Popper / josephpopper.net/

    Joseph Popper is an artist and designer who examines space travel and other human technological endeavours by imagining future narratives and simulating fictional experiences. His works depart from developments of the emerging present and seek to project toward things to come. He employs handcrafted imagery and built environments where everyday objects, simple materials and found locations transform into props and stages for playful, critical fictions.

    His recent exhibitions include "They Used To Call It The Moon" at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art (Gateshead) and a commission for HOUSE 2015 Festival (Brighton & Hove). Joseph is currently an associate lecturer in the department of Design Interactions at the Royal College of Art and is also a visiting lecturer for various arts universities in the UK and Europe.

  • Nicholas Mortimer / nicholasmortimer.net

    Nicholas Mortimer brings together cultural studies of media and technology, historical research and theory to explore relations between perceptions of reality, systems of control, and the blurred boundaries of fact and fiction. Within this enquiry there is particular interest in how narratives can be formed to highlight the way in which technological advancements, both past and present have operated as catalysts of endeavour, expectation and failure.

    Current work is exploring the extent to which histories of technology can be used to reflect on the outcomes of an expanded computational world. The enquiry seeks to explore the new spaces created between data and knowledge, speed and attention, spaces which are home to changing behaviours enabled by technology of all kinds.

    The outcome of projects combine; detailed scenography with multilayered narratives to create studies of people and places operating in closed systems, often performing cyclical tasks or banal speculative obsessions which act as absurdist reflections on current or future issues.

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


APPLY


Machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence concerned with the design of data-driven programs which autonomously demonstrate intelligent behavior in a variety of domains.

Machine learning systems are all around us. When you deposit a check, scan your fingerprint, or post a picture on social media, autonomous algorithms are deployed on the spot to sift through and make sense of your constant interactions with our technology.

Machine learning silently underpins the fabric of our digital infrastructure, discriminating spam e-mail and banking fraud, making light-speed transactions in the global financial market, recommending music and films for customers to buy, deciding what search results are relevant to your queries, and countless more of the daily interactions with electronic media that we take for granted.

Machine learning is the backbone that powers self-driving cars, content recommendation in social media, face identification in digital forensics, and countless other high-level tasks. It has gained rapid interest from the digital arts community, with the recent appearance of numerous artistic hacks of scientific research, such as Deepdream, Stylenet, NeuralTalk, and others.

Creative re-appropriation of these techniques is necessary to refocus machine learning's influence on those things which we care about. Artistic metaphors help clarify that which is otherwise shrouded by layers of academic jargon, making these highly specialized subjects more accessible to everyday people. Taking such an approach, we can repurpose these academic tools and harness their capabilities for creative expression and empowerment.

Course Description

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.

Who is this program for?

This course is aimed at people working in creative disciplines who wish to learn about machine intelligence and how to apply it in their own fields. It is *not* aimed at scientists or engineers who are seeking a rigorous technical course on machine learning -- plenty of such classes already exist. Instead, no specialized knowledge of mathematics or computer science is assumed or expected of students, and we will build up our understanding of the subject from elementary building blocks, imagination, analogy, and metaphor. This course is more practical than it is theoretical; we are interested less in proving theorems and equations, and more into hacking existing tools for making machines that do interesting things.

People of diverse backgrounds and interests will all find something to take away from this class. If you are a journalist interested in the socioeconomic ramifications of increased automation, a musician wanting to manipulate your instruments with data streams, a designer wishing to imbue your craft with machine artifacts, or you’re just plain old fascinated by the age-old philosophical dilemma of cognition, this class is for you.

Course Outline

Week 1: Introductory Lectures
Week 2: Neural networks and real-time performance applications, Wekinator
Week 3: Deep learning, convolutional neural networks, and open questions
Week 4: Course projects and special topics

Pricing

  • €1550 (artists/students/freelancers)
    €2050 (professionals)


APPLY

Instructors

  • Gene Kogan / genekogan.com

    Gene Kogan is an artist and programmer who is interested in generative systems and the application of emerging technology into artistic and expressive contexts. He writes code for live music, performance, and visual art. He contributes to open-source software projects and gives workshops and demonstrations on topics related to code and art.

    He is a contributor to openFrameworks, Processing, and p5.js, an adjunct professor at Bennington College and ITP-NYU, and a former resident at Eyebeam.

  • Rebecca Fiebrink / More info

    Dr. Rebecca Fiebrink is a Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London. She designs new ways for humans to interact with computers in creative practice, and she is the developer of the Wekinator software for interactive machine learning. This software has been downloaded thousands of times and used by world-renowned composers and artists including Laetitia Sonami, Phoenix Perry, Dan Trueman, Michelle Nagai, and Anne Hege to make new musical instruments and interactive experiences.

    She has worked with companies including Microsoft Research, Sun Microsystems Research Labs, Imagine Research, and Smule, where she helped to build the #1 iTunes app "I am T-Pain.” She is the creator of a massively open online course (MOOC) titled “Machine Learning for Musicians and Artists,” offered by Kadenze. She holds a PhD in Computer Science from Princeton University. Prior to moving to Goldsmiths, she was an Assistant Professor at Princeton University, where she co-directed the Princeton Laptop Orchestra.

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.

Course Description

This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of computer vision and image processing for creative projects and critical discourse.

Computer Vision is an area of research centered on how algorithms can extract information from images. This was originally done using still images, later video and now includes 3D data from cameras with 3D sensors.

Computer vision has found application in many areas: the military, video games, police surveillance, robotics, etc. For artists and designers, computer vision can bring interactivity to works allowing reaction to body movement and motion, and allowing for the creation of new forms of imagery.

Through the exploration of these technologies for creative purposes we’ll have the opportunity to see how these algorithms may be used for privacy and surveillance and what problems it might pose to use them within different contexts. In a time when access to cameras and sharing of imagery is commonplace, the possibility of analyzing or manipulating images allows for new forms of commentary and creativity.

This course will be taught using Openframeworks.

Who is this program for?

This workshop is geared toward anyone involved in creative projects (designers, makers, artists, musicians, performers etc.) that want to begin incorporating computer vision into their work or practice. The course approaches computer vision from an introductory level, however a basic knowledge of programming (in any language/platform) is encouraged.

After taking this course, you'll walk away with

Hands-on experience making interactive audio/visual works using openframeworks

A deeper understanding of the technologies behind surveillance and how you can intercept and engage with them in creative and subversive ways

An independent creative project for exhibition

Course Outline

Week 1: Introductory Lectures (guest speakers tbd)
Week 2: Basic techniques for computer vision using OpenCv and openFrameworks
Week 3: 3D cameras and related algorithms
Week 4: Projects for final exhibition

Pricing

  • €1550 (artists/students/freelancers)
    €2050 (professionals)


Instructor

  • Chris Sugrue / csugrue.com

    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.

  • Adam Harvey / ahprojects.com

    Adam Harvey is a Berlin-based artist and researcher whose work explores the impacts of surveillance technologies. His previous projects include CV Dazzle, camouflage from computer vision; Stealth Wear, 'Anti-Drone' fashion; and the Privacy Gift Shop, an online marketplace for countersurveillance art. His work has been widely covered in the media including 60 Minutes, The New York Times, BBC, and the Air Force Times.

    Harvey has taught a course on the pervasiveness of surveillance technologies at New York University; was an inaugural member of NEW INC, the New Museum's art incubator program. He is currently developing a computer vision toolkit for the artist Trevor Paglen and developing new products for the Privacy Gift Shop.

  • Mauritius Seeger / morishuz.com

    Mauritius Seeger is a programmer and video artist, also interested in photography, live video performances, and interactive art. In the past has worked in the fields such as physics, optics, image processing, computer vision and machine learning. His recent work has focused on interactive media installations, projections, displays and art projects.

  • Program Guests

  • Gene Kogan / genekogan.com

    Gene Kogan is an artist and programmer who is interested in generative systems and the application of emerging technology into artistic and expressive contexts. He writes code for live music, performance, and visual art. He contributes to open-source software projects and gives workshops and demonstrations on topics related to code and art.

    He is a contributor to openFrameworks, Processing, and p5.js, an adjunct professor at Bennington College and ITP-NYU, and a former resident at Eyebeam.

  • Graffiti Research Lab Germany graffitiresearchlab.de/

    Graffiti Research Lab Germany (GRLG) is a collective of hackers, coders, artists and vandals who consider themselves activists that use technology as a tool for intervention in the public space.

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

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

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

  • / For pricing info, see FAQ


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.

Throughout the program, you’ll explore the seen and the unseen. You’ll go from conceptualising to sketching and playing with data, challenging yourself to interact with data in visceral and unconventional ways. You'll learn methods to collect and gather data both off- and online. Once you’ve established your dataset, you'll explore ways to communicate your story using layout and design. You’ll also learn how to take your data into the physical realm, creating objects using 3D printing and lasercutting techniques.

Each participant will have an opportunity to come up with a concept which is meaningful to them. By the second week we'll begin focusing on individual topics and research, learning how to gather and work with data significant to the project you are creating. The program culminates in an exhibition of your work in a final group show.

Whether you’re a designer who longs to integrate data into your work, a seasoned data analyst who wants to communicate data in more engaging and artistic ways, or you’re someone who simply dreams of working in the field of data visualisation and data storytelling and are seeking a creative and in-depth foundation from which to begin, we encourage you to join us!

Instructors

  • Nicholas Felton feltron.com

    Nicholas Felton spends much of his time thinking about data, charts and our daily routines. He is the author of many Personal Annual Reports that weave numerous measurements into a tapestry of graphs, maps and statistics reflecting the year’s activities. He was one of the lead designers of Facebook's timeline and the co-founder of Daytum.com.

    His most recent product is Reporter, an iPhone app designed to record and visualize subtle aspects of our lives. His work is a part of the permanent collection at MoMA. He has also been profiled by the Wall Street Journal, Wired and Good Magazine and recognized as one of the 50 most influential designers in America by Fast Company.

  • Stefanie Posavec stefanieposavec.co.uk

    Stefanie Posavec works as a designer with a focus on data-related design, with work ranging from data visualization and information design to commissioned data art for a variety of clients. Her work has been exhibited internationally at major galleries including at the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Centro Cultural Banco Do Brasil (Rio de Janeiro), the Victoria & Albert Museum, Southbank Centre, and Somerset House (London).

    Currently she is in the midst of a year-long drawing project with Giorgia Lupi (based in NY) called Dear Data, where each week they get to know each other better by gathering and drawing data on a postcard to send to the other.

  • Miriam Quick miriamquick.com

    Miriam Quick is a UK-based researcher specialising in data visualisation and information design. Her work has been published by informationisbeautiful.net, BBC and WIRED UK, among others.

    She has experience across the creative and commercial worlds and has collaborated with designers and developers on everything from static infographics to interactives, animations, installations and wearable data objects.

    She regularly collaborates with Stefanie Posavec as part of a researcher-designer team and together they have produced an array of data art pieces including an installation at London's South Bank Centre in 2015.

  • Maral Pourkazemithis-is-maral.com

    Maral is a German designer with Iranian roots, living and working from London. If she’s not designing projects herself, she’s organizing them; With a huge passion to bring the international data design community closer together to encourage conversations about projects and problems, she’s recently joined the Visualized team.

    She believes that design has the potential to make relevant and important topics accessible. That’s why in the past few years her interest in human rights related stories and her involvement as a designer in this field grew significantly. Before joining Visualized she was Small Media’s Creative Manager, running an interdisciplinary, international team of creatives who work on Human Rights related projects.

  • Rick Scavettascience-craft.com/

    Rick is an Italian-Canadian Biologist living in Berlin. Since leaving active research at the beginning of 2012, he's dedicated himself to developing and hosting training programs for doctoral students in the life sciences.

    With a focus on scientific presentation, data analysis and visualisation as well as statistical literacy, Rick is at home at several high-profile institutes across Germany (including several Excellence Clusters and Max Planck Institutes).

    Rick brings his enthusiasm for science to the fore with engaging and relevant seminars that motivate young scientists to understand and communicate their research with a critical eye.

The Schedule

Stefanie Posavec will be with us during week one to cover concepts and theory, exploring esoteric and unusual places to find data, using her Dear Data project as reference. We'll have assignments, going out into the city to collect data and working towards a unique perspective on what to do with the data once we've got it.

Maral Pourkazemi will join at the end of the week to discuss her own work and share inspiration and highlights from the upcoming Visualized conference taking place in NY October 8-9.

Nicholas Felton will give an intensive two-day workshop over the weekend, sharing his own unique perspective on working with data. Following this, on Monday he'll be around to discuss one-on-one with students regarding the direction of their final projects.

Miriam Quick will spend the next two weeks sharing her in-depth knowledge as we begin developing creative concepts, research techniques, gathering and processing data from the web using scraping and API's, identifying relationships, finding stories and using visualising tools along the way. She'll also cover collaboration techniques when working with other designers and developers as a necessary part of the process.

Along with working with data inside the computer, we'll also explore what it means to take data out of it, learning to use lasercutting and 3D printing as a means to visualise data in the physical world.

There will be several guests and studio tours throughout the program. We'll visit and hear from some of Berlin's best talent working creatively with data, including StudioNAND and Onformative studios.

Data analyst Rick Scavetta will join to discuss the truths and untruths that data can tell. The Tactical Technology Collective, themselves dedicated to the use of information in activism will also join us as we delve into discourse about data ethics.

From week two onward, students will choose a topic to explore which will be used to guide their individual progress throughout the remainder of the program. At the end of the course, there will be a final exhibition of student work.

Instructors previous work:

Benefits and what you will learn:

  • - Exploring concepts: What is data? Why is data important?

  • - Data-collection in the physical world

  • - Developing creative concepts

  • - Defining typography and palette

  • - Intro to creating visualisations with code

  • - Finding data: data sources and formats, research techniques

  • - Getting data: data gathering, scraping, using APIs

  • - Processing data: cleaning and formatting

  • - Exploring data: asking the right questions, identifying relationships, finding stories, using visualisation tools

  • - Storytelling: presenting insights, using data creatively

  • - Data ethics: responsibility, honesty, transparency

  • - Collaborating with designers + developers

  • - Exploring bringing data into the physical realm with lasercutters and 3D printing

  • - Studio tour: StudioNAND

  • - Studio tour: Onformative

  • - Studio tour: Tactical Technology Collective

  • - Final show exhibiting our work

We offer a unique opportunity:
the freedom of being a beginner and the inspiration of great minds. Here we encourage you to indulge your curiosity with the guidance of experts. We're looking for students who are willing to take advantage of this special opportunity presented to them and ready to jump into the unknown.

Instructor Conference Talks

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

  • / Deadline to apply: August 9

  • / For pricing info, see FAQ


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.

Instructors previous work:

Benefits and what you will learn:

  • - Work shown during London Design Week**

  • - 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 programming using Arduino - motors, steppers, servos, sensors, LED strips, etc.

  • - 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.

  • - Presentation and communication of ideas to a wide international audience in both London and Berlin

  • - Final exhibit in Berlin

**This program will culminate with a Berlin - London public livestream event where students will have the opportunity to showcase, demo, and discuss their projects, learnings and challenges met over the course of the program. Our partner team at SPACE Studios in London will imagine scenarios, contexts and worlds materialised through video and performances in their own two-day plugin workshop based on our work here in Berlin. The event will be an evening conference, as part of the London Design Festival. In addition, there will be a final exhibit of our work here in Berlin.

For our Fabricating Empathy program we would love to find people exited about making. People who are ready to dream up new ideas of things yet unseen and who are ready to learn the skills to make these ideas come to life. Our topics are fabrication, empathy, and outer space, afterall. It's safe to say we encourage you to dream big!

Weekly Schedule Breakdown

I. Speculative design concepts, prototyping, beginning 3D modelling, training (laser cutter, 3D printing)

II. Developing design concepts, 3D modelling, beginning electronics / arduino / sensors, materials, training (CNC)

III. Continuation of week two, working towards final projects

IV. Development and fabrication of final protoypes, some prototypes taken to London, first livestream meeting about projects with Space Studios London, final show Berlin, livestream show during London Design Week

Instructors

  • Sitraka Rakotoniaina sitraka.co.uk

    Born in Madagascar and raised in Paris, Sitraka 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.

    Andrew holds an MA in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art, London and is currently Associate Lecturer in the department of Spatial Practices, Central St Martins, University of the Arts London, and department of design, Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Interventions: Art, Technology and Social Practice

  • / 8 June - 14 August 2015

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

  • / Based in N.K.

  • / For more info see FAQ

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? Find out in our next class session: Interventions: Art, Technology, & Social Practice, taking place June 8- August 14 in Berlin, Germany.

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

Artists, complete beginners, and experienced coders are all welcome to apply. There will be new opportunities for artists and designers to learn to use technology and gain coding skills and experienced coders will engage with their craft in new, creative ways!

Together we'll conceptualise and create socially-engaged artwork and stories in both old-fashioned ways and through using code, electronics, and more. From the whimsical, to the thoughful, to the subversive, this course is set up to take you on an introspective journey that inevitably leads to discovering the world around you. It could even change your life!

Structure of the course

Individual and group explorations will challenge you to dig deeper into the creative and expressive possibilities of new technologies, digital tools, and sensors. (And while gaining a foundation in coding for interactive spaces or for the web!) Most days will begin with a group check-in, followed by a hands-on lecture, break for lunch, and then lab. There will be a weekly electronics & sensors course, and guest artist visits, studio tours and other events throughout.

At the end of each week we'll participate in atypical interventions, engaging with the public through humorous and profound provocation and social experiments led by inquisitive guest artists and lecturers intent on taking you off your computer and out into the streets!

This is not your average coding school. We encourage authentic connection, both between the students themselves and with society at large.

Our goals are lofty. Above all, we'll learn from each other and try to do good in the world, using art and technology in provocative and fun ways! Wanna join us?

Choose from two tracks:

Me and You and Everyone Who Codes

In this track, you'll explore sensors, inputs and outputs of all kinds, and create interactive installations to tell stories in the physical world. Are you ready to code each day
as if it were your last?

Learning to Love Web More

In this track, you'll explore sensors, inputs and outputs of all kinds, and create interactive stories in the browser using web technologies and frameworks like p5.js, three.js, node.js, etc.
Your first assignment:

Instructor/Guest Artist Playlist

2014 Past Programs

The School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe hosted two Summer 2014 programs.

Classes were a mix of lectures, workshops, labs and experiments with well-known artists, technologists and educators, as well as abundant time for self-directed, hands-on learning. Students also had opportunities to share their knowledge with each other through student-led workshops. In addition, we organised weekly artist-talks/discussion groups for participants with invited guest speakers. Fun times!

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