Code as Craft

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes —

Michael Salmond's "Protest Cell" project

LOS ANGELES, February 24 — CAA Panel: Code as Craft: Programming in the Art & Design Curriculum

CHAIR:
Michael Salmond, Florida Gulf Coast University

 

Jason Bernagozzi's "Scapes"


Fostering Play & Rewarding Failure in the Pedagogy of Programming
Jason Bernagozzi, Alfred State College, State University of New York

– Endless pursuit of the new
– Guide students away from mimicking the most common uses of technology
– Students take more and more shurtcuts: concept over craft
– Departments are offering more prosumer applications for their students to work with: iMovie, Garage Band, etc
– Students aren’t learing the critical vocablularies needed to sustain a future in media practice

Our students can no longer think outside the box when they can no longer see what the box is.

I’m trying to “teach students to hone their craft so they’re more ‘maker’ and less ‘user.’” Max/MSP has proven to be effective: you still have to understand programing ideas and techniques, but the specific code is encapsulated and not seen.

Teach students to be visual reserachers. In traditional fine arts classes they relentlessly explore media, charcoal, paint, we must do the same with code. “By learning to become artists and researchers, they’ll be prepared with the fundamentals to move on to the next big thing.”
 

Victoria Bradbury's "Electronic Ginseng"


Metabellium: Teaching Code through Collaborative Interdisciplinary Performance
Victoria Bradbury, Ball State University

To most art students the notiion that code can give form to their work is a new idea.

I try to draw student attention to the limits of packaged software. Code and craft are central to my own work which, for example, integrates sewing, drawing, and code. For students today, born around 1993, code has been completely hidden for their entire lives. Prepackaged software mediates artwork and translates into the limited range of possibilities dictated by the interface.

This is true of everyone, [all software users] not just art students.

As new media educators we need to insert concepts of code into new media curriculum. Processing, Open Frameworks, Arduino, Max/MSP/Jitter have given us new possibilities. It’s difficult to introduce code into a single semester art course. So in Sprng 2011 we created Metabellum, a 1-unit immersive learning collaboration with code and performance interactions with choreographers at Ball State. We wanted the audience to understand the interaction between live performance and code. We set the programmers conspicuously in the front of the theater to emphasize this. In one performance the programmers sat directly on stage, their bodies on stage with the dancers.
 

Rachel Beth Engenhoefer, "Currently in the Studio"


Code: Intellectual Property, Fair Use, and Palgiarism
Rachel Beth Egenhoefer, University of San Francisco

In most programs students learn to code through adaptation. The Processing documentation encorages this implicitly. Is there a point at which this practice becomes unacceptable? Plagiarism rules aren’t too helpful. N. Katherine Hayles, My Mother was a Computer. Where is the IP in a knitting stitch? In the scrolls of a player piano?

Perhaps the “death of the author” has merely been replaced by the birth of the “owner.”

Remix is incredibly important, but how do we teach citation? At what point do you “own it?” Just because something is Creative Commons or Open Source doesn’t mean that someone else didn’t create it and deserves credit. Many universities have strongly worded plagiarism policies, but few have similarly worded policies regarding code. Are we teaching our students to be authors or owners? Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, all encourage remixing and reposting. We don’t even seem to care who made it in the first place. How do we taech our students the concept of attribution when they live in a sea of digital mashups.”

Bernadette Marie Walker received a cease and decist letter from BMW because her website used the same initials they do. (her site is not about cars, and her logo looks nothing like theirs – BMW seems to be exerting the ownership of the very initials “BMW”)

Susan G. Komen claims ownership of “for a cure” and has sued countless other charities.
 

Keon Pettiway's website homepage (detail)


The New Program: Computational Thinking in Graphic Design Practice & Pedagogy
Keon Pettiway, East Carolina University

Design is in an identity crisis.
Attitudes:

We teach design not software. If students want to learn software they can go to a community college.

Design students think:
PROGRAMMING = keyboarding, anti-social, uncerative activity, only coding and no front-end,
and therefore not interesting

PROGRAMMING = HTML/CSS PHP JavaScript Processing Dreamweaver Flash C++

But they should think:
PROGRAMMING = Principles, conceptual, design thinking, problem sloving, experimentation, human-centered, computing concepts, and therefore entirely valuable
 

Ashley John Pigford's "Knock Knock Joke Machine"


Artists’ Machines: Postdigital Design Education for the Real World
Ashley John Pigford, University of Deleware

People want technology to be an extension of themself, with no complications.

Teaches a course in Physical Computing: Sensing the world: input:output
Nam June Paik, TV Buddha – sensing the world.

I begin by having them hack a simple electronic toy, replacing the brain of the toy with an Arduino. The process of hacking these cheap plastic toys allows a designer to create new relationships and effect experience. Material exploration is always essential, in the Bauhaus, and today.

How are you actually contributing to society not just creating more stuff to fill a landfill?

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