Recombinant Media - Spring 2003

Monday/Wednesday 7:15 PM to 10:15 PM Hybrid Lab (Founders 304)

This course is intended as a workshop for those who want to concentrate on media presentation and interaction. The objective is to create generative, recombining media systems that evolve and mutate, reacting to internal and external stimuli. The environment, body, and the Internet will be explored for their potential as remote control / stimuli. Students will research and implement hybrid acquisition and delivery systems. Trashed scanners, extended surveillance cameras, compounded desktops, projection systems, and myriad sensors will be mined for their potential as alternate means for media creation and narrative recombination. Topics include generative / iterative structures, autonomous interactions, physical computing, and artificial behavior. Learned skills include advanced programming techniques with MAX/MSP/JITTER, advanced electronics, remote control of media and machines via the Net, dynamic looping, compiling stand-alone applications, morphing sound, and streaming video.

Don Day: Electronics and Sensors Barney Haynes: Media and Programming

Grade Break Down

Attendance: Miss 3 classes lose 1 grade point, miss 4 and you will not pass

Active participation in class exercises and mini assignments and punctuality - 20%

Assignment 1 Random media driver due February 5 - 5%

Assignment 2 Research project due February 12 - 5%

Assignment 3 Preliminary Proposal Written/Illustrated description of final Project due February 19 - 5%

Assignment 4 Transformation project due March 19 5%

Assignment 5 Hand in Formal Project Proposal Presentation: due March 19- 15%

Assignment 6 Fully Functioning Final Critique - due April 16 - 20%

Week 15 Final show May 3- 25%

Missed or late assignments will result in the loss of associated percentage

Steve Wilson's Massive Artist List

Classical Kinetic Artists

  • Hero of Alexandria
  • Jacques de Vaucanson
  • Marcel Duchamp
  • Thomas Wilfred
  • Jean Tinguely
  • Nam June Paik
  • Len Lye
  • Pol Bury
  • Nicolas Schöffer
  • James Seawright
  • Otto Piene
  • Fletcher Benton
  • Billy Klüver
  • Robert Whitman
  • Charles Frazier

Classic Groups and Organizations
  • USCO
  • EAT (Experiments in Art and Technology)
  • ZERO
  • GRAV


Sources Field Trip 1: Saturday February 9 Just like a class - absence condemned

Sources Field Trip 2: Saturday March 2 Just like a class - absence condemned

Mike Quinn Electronics
401 McCormick St
San Leandro, CA 94577

Week 1
Monday 1/13 Introduction to the class
  • Delineation of the 3 areas of concentration / departure
  • Expectations: Assignments and show
  • Possible strategies and models
  • Collect contact information for students

Barney: Computers and the Hybrid Lab (RM. 304) 

Don: Power & Control and Electro Safety 
  • Hazards of the disposable flash camera powered by an innocent AA battery 
  • Sources of power
    Sun, nuclear power plants (PG&E), chemicals, lemons and potatoes 
  • Too much energy getting loose

  • Circuit Breakers, Fuses (flash bulb in socket) 
  • Toxics Soldering, lead with the Romans, smoking the flux 
  • Heat a LITTLE too much energy getting loose 

  • liquid metal on the flesh makes for a nasty burn 
  • Tiny objects close to your eyes
  • Shock causes you to lose motor control
  • Current through your heart can kill you
Todd: Introduction to Fabricating Electromechanical devices 
  • Planing your design - design, prototype
  • Sourcing your materials - surplus, dumpster diving
  • Fabricating - tools, the lab and the metal shop
Some Links
Wednesday 1/15


Guided construction of a circuit with sensors and actuators and Teleo Modules


Guided construction of a MAX patch to exercise the recently constructed above circuit through the Teleo Modules.

Week 2 
Monday 1/20

Martin Luther King Day - NO CLASSES

Wednesday 1/22
    Wires, switches, solenoids and relays.
Week 3
Monday 1/27 
  • Intro to Max /MSP/Jitter
  • Anatomy of Simple Patch: Objects, Message Boxes, Number Boxes, User Interfaces and Parameters 
  • Basic Jitter objects
  • sfplay~
  • Basic Max Objects:bangs, toggles, metros, sliders, number boxs. Utilizing said objects to build rudimentary playback patches
Wednesday 1/29
  • Basic Sensors and Actuators:
  • Connecting them to the Teleo Modules
  • Teleo Max Objects

Visting Artists - MakingThings

Week 4
Monday 2/3

Max /MSP and Jitter 

    • Objects and programming techniques 
    • random, select, uzi and drunk
    • selects, basic conditionals
    • patching order
Wednesday 2/5 
Assignment 1: Random media driver

Construct a sound or video patch that has unpredictable playback patterns and is activated by a sensor.
Media can be downloaded off the net or personally acquired. Advanced folks need to incorporate or eradicate the desk top and use both Jitter and MSP.

Week 5
Monday 2/10

Visiting Artist - Sue Costabile

Wednesday 2/12 Assignment 2:

Pick an artist working in the field of electronic media arts, write a report and prepare a presentation for class perusal.

Week 6
Monday 2/17

Video/Sound/ and Midi Sensors

Wednesday 2/19

Assignment 3:  - Preliminary Proposal Due-
Hand in Written/Illustrated description of final Project

Week 7
Monday 2/24

Individual Meetings to discuss the feasibility/audacity of the final project

Wednesday 2/26

Individual Meetings to discuss the feasibility/audacity of the final project

Week 8
Monday 3/3

Audio convolution: 

  • MSP: Timing for audio objects, different methods of compulsive playback

Visting Artist - Scott Arford

Wednesday 3/5
  • Electronics
  • Ampifiers
  • Signal conditioning
  • Power Control


SPRING BREAK March 10-14
Week 9
Monday 3/17 

Black Boxes full of computer crap

Wednesday 3/19

Assignment 4 Hand in Formal Propasal for final project.

Assignment 5 Assignment Transformation Sense to Media. Connect Sensors to your media patch transforming physical phenomena into media control.

Week 10
Monday 3/24

Class Critique of Formal Propasals

Wednesday 3/26

Visiting Artist

Week 11
Monday 3/31

Wednesday 4/2

Week 12
Monday 4/7

Pre-Crit Panic Labs

Wednesday 4/9

Pre-Crit Panic Labs

Week 13
Monday 4/14

Fully Functioning Final Critique

Wednesday 4/16

Fully Functioning Final Critique

Week 14
Monday 4/21

Individual Meetings - Refinement for Public Presentation

Wednesday 4/23

Individual Meetings - Refinement for Public Presentation

Week 15
Monday 4/28

Critique I

Wednesday 4/30

Critique II

Saturday 5/3