IM_III/Rouvelle/Fall '07

Thursday 4pm-10pm.  (Dinner break from 6-7)

Brown Center 206

Office: Brown Center, room 211, phone (in office).

Office hours: by appointment



Course Description


Interactive Media III is studio course that offers an overview of the tools, aesthetics, and cultural paradigms at the intersection of computing, art, design, interaction and communication. Students will be introduced to an array of multimedia tools and techniques used in the production and authoring of graphics, text, animation, video, and sound.  The goal of the course is to develop a familiarity with the materials of this evolving medium, along with practical and critical skills essential to the creation and interpretation of digital and electronic art forms.

  Students are not expected to become experts in any software application.  This course is not a "software training" course. Students are expected to learn the basics of the technology, make progress in their understanding of the tools I will introduce, and to make the best artwork they can.  It is the intention of the course to explore the computer as a tool for making art, with the various software applications, readings, and presentations offering a context.

 I ask that you approach our work with a sense of experimentation, and a willingness to explore its possibilities for you.  In other words, to approach our work as artists: to reveal combinations, forms, perspectives, and patterns that, while speaking to personal sensibilities, engage others on the grounds of invention, discovery, beauty, and sincerity.

  At the conclusion of our time together we will organize an exhibition in and around the Rosenberg Gallery of our work together. 


  This class, although carefully planned, will be a work in progress as I come to know you, and you me.  I am very excited to be here and look forward to becoming familiar with your work and interests. Please feel free to contact me for any reason regarding our class. Communication goes a long way to ensure a good environment and successful experience.



Course work in summary



Main Project

  A significant element in your final grade will be your final project, which will be presented to the class for critique and be installed in the final exhibition in the Rosenberg Gallery. You are free to make your work out of whatever media you like.  It is essential that the work have a clear interactive feature.  We will discuss this thoroughly during class. You will also have to make it available to visitors to the show.  We will discuss this as the semester progresses.  It is also essential that you document your work  - this is a skill that will benefit all of your future undertakings.  Stategies and techniques of documentation will be a significant part of our coursework.  You will have ample time to work on your project during the final third of the semester.  During this time I will make a point of meeting with each of you individually.  During our ninth class I will ask each of you to submit a brief proposal for your final project.  The point is this is for me to work out technical needs, and to get an idea of what you are thinking about.  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­



 Grades in this course will be based on regular class attendance, the quality of your work, class participation, and progress.  Tardiness and excessive absences will adversely affect your grade.  Participation in discussions and critiques is mandatory.



Projects & Grading:

 Students will be graded by letter, A-F, on all evaluated work.  Work must be completed on time and in full satisfaction of each project goal.  Late work (assignments handed in or posted after the start of in-class critique sessions) will be automatically downgraded by one letter grade.



Well above the expectations of the course.  Outstanding participation, attendance, and exceptional progress.


Above average assignments and participation. No more than one absence.


Average execution of assignments, participation, and no more than two absences.


Well below average: work, attendance (two absences), projects, and participation.


Unsatisfactory: work, attendance (more than two absences), projects, and participation




Two or more unexcused absences from class may result in failure.  Two unexcused late arrivals, or early departures (eg, not returning from lunch, or other unexplained disappearance) will be marked as the equivalent of one absence.  Absence from a class is not an excuse for skipping a tutorial, reading assignment, or posting an assignment.  You are fully responsible for completing work.



Readings and tutorials will often be delivered through the web - via links (URLs). Critiques will frequently be initiated from various topics covered in the readings - in other words, please use the concepts you read about in discussion of fellow students' work.



Please bring to each class: 1-2 CD-R(s) - Recordable Compact Discs (700 MB). You'll probably go through many of them, for both this and other digital classes.  You might also want to bring in a sharpie to label your CD's.

 It is essential that all work done in class be saved to CD-R at the conclusion of class.  There will be many, many other students using these computers and anything saved on them will be permanently removed shortly after the conclusion of class.


Software Consultant:

If you are having trouble becoming acquainted with the software we will be using please see the software consultant.

    Who: Bill Berry

    Where: Bunting 222

    When: Monday: 3-5, Tuesday; 10:30-12:30, Saturday; 1-3


Food and Drink in the Computer Labs:




In MICA's efforts to provide the highest possible quality

educational experience for every student, MICA maintains compliance with the

requirements of the ADA and Section 504. Any student who has, or suspects he or she may have, a disability and wants to request academic accommodations

must contact Dr. Kathryn Smith at the Learning Resource Center, 443 695-1384 or email at immediately.



MICA has developed policies and practices to ensure a healthful environment

and safe approaches to the use of equipment, materials, and processes. It is

the mutual responsibility of faculty and students to review health and

safety standards relevant to each class at the beginning of each semester.

Students should be aware of general fire, health, and safety regulations

posted in each area and course specific polices, practices, and cautions.

Students who have concerns related to health and safety should contact

Quentin Moseley, Environment Health and Safety Coordinator at 410 225 0220

or email at



This course is about making things interactive


Weekly Schedule



Week 1


in class:

Introductions; course overview, resources, registration matters,


>>Prototypes, Permaculture, and goodie bags


This is a studio course that will culminate in an exhibit in the Rosenberg Gallery that will open on December 8th.  While I will present various things in class, you are free to create your work out of the materials that you feel are most appropriate to you. 


The goal of the course is to have you: conceive, prototype, refine, install, and document a project.


You will be asked to submit a final document by the last week of school that must contain:



***We will work with you on each phase of the project


Next week will have a meeting with Hadieh Shafie from Career Development and she will go over how one writes a compelling artist statement.


Next week I will ask each of you to spend a few minutes telling the class about what it is you are interested in exploring this semester.  To facilitate this discussion, please begin your project journal this week.


Please email both sam ( and I ( your interests by Monday so that we can prepare to work with you during class.


Please visit sam’s page regularly:


Some tools you might like:




some toys that you might wish for:




with our prototyping motto in mind:




something cool:




an idea of integration and sustainability:







Core Values of Permaculture:




This may interest the artist:


O'BREDIM design methodology

O'BREDIM is a mnemonic based on Observation, Boundaries, Resources, Evaluation, Design, Implementation and Maintenance.




Š       The use of patterns both in nature and reusable patterns from other sites is often key to permaculture design. This echoes the Pattern language of Christopher Alexander used in architecture which has been an inspiration for many permaculture designers. All things, even the wind, the waves and the earth on its axis, moving around the Sun, form patterns. In pattern application, permaculture designers are encouraged to develop: 1. Awareness of the patterns that exist in nature (and how these function) 2. Application of pattern on sites in order to satisfy specific design needs. "The application of pattern on a design site involves the designer recognizing the shape and potential to fit these patterns or combinations of patterns comfortably onto the landscape" Sampson-Kelly. We can use branching for the direction of our paths, rather than straight paths with square angles. Or we may use lobe-like paths of the main path (these are known as keyhole paths) that minimize waste and compaction of the soil.



Interactive Media Swag: Mr. Michael Dennis, a retired electronic engineer from Lancaster, pa.  Has been kind enough to donate 50lbs of electronic gizmos to our department.  We will spend the rest of class exploring these wonders.



Assignment:  start you project journal, be prepared to talk a bit about what it is that you’d like to work on for this class.  Please write in you project journal every week.  Remember that it is much easier to edit pre-existing text than create things from scratch.  If you build up a journal of projects and document (write about) their development then writing the project statement will be a matter of editing, rather than creating something entirely new….



Week 2


Your brief presentations on your intentions for the class.


conflux starts next weekend.  any volunteers?


Turbulence – commissioning and supporting net art for a long time….


Machine project – just go there, you’ll see.

The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago.  Founded in 1915, The Society's mission is to encourage the growth and understanding of contemporary art through exhibitions, publications, and events.


Art n Data:


Š       Upcoming work at free103point9 :  Live video and audio stream from CCRT AIRtime residency at Wave Farm. Cross Current Resonance Transducer is LoVid: Tali Hinkis & Kyle Lapidus and Douglas Repetto. During their AIRtime residency, CCRT will focus on two projects: 1) Data Collection Devices An analysis of signals on the electromagnetic spectrum and telluric currents (signals in the earth) will inform CCRT's development of measurement device sculptures. These devices exist both as aesthetic objects and as functional monitoring mechanisms, which will enable data recordings used in future projects. 2) Bonding Energy A web-based project commissioned by, "Bonding Energy" is a model system for distributed microenergy generation. The system suggests new ways of thinking about renewable resources and to address global warming and climate change.

1.     what do the bold words mean to you?


Tomato Quintet

Š        Chris Chafe (Music) and Nikolaos Hanselmann (Visuals) and Greg Niemeyer (Cook) team up to serve a night of tomato music. During the last week of August, they will let 5 cases of different varieties of tomatoes (from Chafe’s garden) ripen to perfection at Machine Project. They will record the ripening process by tracking the changes in CO2 that the ripening produces. They will store the CO2 changes during the week as a time series, compress it along the time axis, and translate the changes to a musical scale. The resulting music, a bit like a sonic time-lapse, is a sonification of 7 days of ripening in the course of 49 minutes.


Michelle Rosenberg

Š        Bio/artist statement


Ben Rubin/Ear Studio

Š        Bio/artist statement


JoĎlle Tuerlinckx: Chicago Studies: Les Étants Donnés


Patricia Reed/Leaky Studios:  mapping controversies | 2005

Š        About Leaky Studios/Patricia Reed


Usman Haque: environmental xml

Š        About Haque Design + Research


Q: how do, if at all, these works address the idea of data ?


Varied offerings:


Š        360 deg, holographic display


Š        kindergarden in tachikawa


Š        31 Downcanal st. situation


Š        seem carving


Daily Tech:


Š        Leah Buechley’s Boda Blocks.  She sent us a box of them!



  Bring in prototyping materials and begin prototyping your project. 

  Write in your project journals – include your research, it will come in handy later!


Week 4


Some important concepts to review:


Jane McGonigal on ARGs


Interactive MEDIA is Cross-media, multi-surface computing.


We have defined interactive as a relationship of mutual influence.




>>An intervening substance through which something else is transmitted or carried on.


>>pl. media. Computer Science. An object or device, such as a disk, on which data is stored.


Information  - often described as ‘a difference that makes a difference



The artist does his thinking in the very qualitative media he works in, and the terms lie so close to the object that they merge directly into it.  - John Dewey


Does this imply that artists are superficial materialists?  Hmmm.  Maybe that’s a good thing.




Surface computing beyond Microsoft surface and Jeff Han’s multitouch screen




Does the phrase Technological Overlay mean anything to you?


Jacob Bekenstein and the Bekenstein Bound.




The Web is a surface.

The Retina is a surface.

The library is a surface.

Microsoft surface is a surface.

Microsoft is a surface.

Cuisine is a surface.


Experience may be the Area of the surfaces with which we are currently interacting.



Š       A person, object, or device capable of accepting data in the form of facts and figures, manipulating them in a prescribed way, and supplying the results of these processes as meaningful information. This device usually consists of input and output devices, storage, arithmetic and logic units, and a control unit.


The network, which is to say the interactivity among media, is the computer.


Forms that foster and or model interaction among media (aka cross-media, multi-surface computing). 

Each is dialogic, collaborative, and cross-media.


Processes that are dialogic, collaborative, and cross-media provide access to greater, more nuanced information. 


As the area (cumulative surfaces) grows, so does the knowledge within the system.


The more knowledgeable a system is, the more surfaces it includes. 

A deeply knowledgeable system is a network of surfaces where no one surface contains all the information. 

A deeply knowledgeable system is an example of distributed intelligence, which requires persistent interaction among its parts to maintain its level of knowledge.

A deeply knowledgeable system provides deeply nuanced information. 

Š       In order to do so it is continually self-organizing so that different combinations of surfaces are prominent at different moments to meet the needs of specific moments. 

Š       This means that no one surface (person, object), or combination of surfaces is ALWAYS dominating, but, inevitably, there is a hierarchy at each moment.

Š       A deeply knowledgeable system is an example of a shifting, distributed hierarchy.

A deeply knowledgeable system will contain irresolvable conflicts and paradoxes. 

Š       There is no one answer, there are multiple answers and questions which exist simultaneously. 

Š       As each moment is hierarchal, however, most moments will present themselves as, primarily, ‘one or the other’ (true, false, happy, sad, red, blue, loud, soft, etc.). 

Š       This is a paradox. 


Cross-Media, multi-surface computing is a practice of active, persistent integration and dialogue among and between various elements and categories within a given environment for the purpose of greater knowledge and deeper experience.


Interactive Media can be understood in these terms.


Here are some models of Cross-Media, multi-surface computing:


ARGs/Street Games


Terunobu Fujimori


Deliberative Democracy


Nomic – a game of self-amendment







9.     The information given off by a dish is enjoyed through the senses; it is also enjoyed and interpreted by reflection.


Some Artists and Projects:

Aram Bartholl

Multimedia lab

Usman Haque

Fiona Templeton, You-The City

How do gestures become interactive?



Your Projects.



Read Collective Remembering and the Importance of Forgetting, by Anne Galloway.

Write in your project journals!

Google Marina Rosenfeld and please prepare a question for her!



Week 5


Marina Rosenfeld will present her work.

Here’s a brief bio

She is in Baltimore to perform at HighZero.


Studio time on your projects.



Read Collective Remembering and the Importance of Forgetting, by Anne Galloway

Read You Can’t Predict Who Will Change The World, by Nicholas Taleb.

Write in your project journals!


Week 6


Todd Blair


Lygia Clark




Jeremy Ahearn Moving Charge Detector



On Scent

Emporer of Scent

Chandler Burr


Excerpts from Burr, with Turin Quotes:


“The trouble with science is that, as a rule, oddity among scientists-perfume obsessions, strange work habits- is often indistinguishable from inefficiency.  What appears ludicrous and implausible and outrageous usually is.  And then, sometimes it’s not, the problem being telling the difference.  “I really do not”, says Turin, “think that a ‘balanced view’ is derived from tepid opinions.  It comes from having extreme opinions and seeing the most extreme sides.”


Do we privilege the tepid?  Think about Taleb’s Black Swan.


Animated Numbers may not be the Whole Story



The Gaussian bell curve is about finding the average in a data set. Powerlaws are looking for extremes.  The extremes of large numbers and the extremes of small ones. If this makes any sense, it will lead us to understand that the underlying assumption of the bell curve is that society is governed by what is average.  Here's Taleb addressing this issue.

The traditional Guassian way of looking at the world begins by focusing on the ordinary , and then deals with exceptions or so-called outliers as ancillaries.  But there is a second way, which takes the exceptional as a starting point and treats the ordinary as subordinate.

Taleb's point concerns probabilities and those rare events that catch people unawares. He believes that bell curve thinking excludes the possibility of these rare events for the sake of making what we know more certain.

Note once again the following principle: the rarer the event, the higher the error in our estimation of its probability - even when using the Gaussian ... the Gaussian bell curve sucks randomness out of life - which is why it is popular.  We like it because it allows for certainties! How? Through averaging ...

I interpret this to mean that we are conditioned to look at life from the vantage point of the average.  We look at people as to how they fit into some average norm or convention, rather than looking at each person as one with unique gifts, talents, personality and experience.  The former way was a conventional way of treating people when the work they performed did not require creative thought or interaction with others. 



Turin quote from the end of Burr’s The Emperor of Scent:


Metaphor is the currency of knowledge.  I have spent my life learning incredible amounts of disparate, disconnected, obscure, useless pieces of knowledge, and they have turned out to be, almost all of them, extremely useful.  Why?  Because there is no such thing as disconnected facts.  There is only complex structure.  And both to explain complex structure to others and, perhaps more importantly, to understand them oneself, one needs better metaphors.  If I was able to understand this (the physiology of scent) , it was because my chaotic accrual of information simply gave me better metaphors than anyone else.”



Jaime O’shea Olfactograph



Perfume – a lot of information.

Glossary of Olfactory Terms

Create your own scent blends

How to make your own scented aroma beads

Make your own incense using unscented cones and sticks

How to make your own essential oils

Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia

Scented Ads

Scent Design

SaveonScents – good prices on over 1500 fragrences

The Good Scents Company – details on the chemical and olfactory properties of many synthetic scents



 Sense exercises:


  List the five senses in descending order of importance to you.  Then list the artforms that best speak to each sense.



  Sample a few fragrances.  Pick your favorite and write a brief description of it without using only nouns, similes, and metaphors/images.




Outdoor Power



3+ hours for LEDs, radio transmitters, microphones, microcontrollers

12v7ah lead-acid rechargeable battery from batterymart

Power Bright PW200-12 200 Watt Power Inverter



2+ hours for Audio/Video Equipment

12v38ah lead-acid rechargeable battery from batterymart

Power Bright PW400-12 400 Watt Power Inverter


Battery Tender Plus Battery Tender  - works for both batteries above.  Search for on ebay.


***How to calculate the amount of power you need:


Power consumption is rated either in wattage (watts), or in amperes (amps), and this information is usually stamped or printed on most appliances and equipment.  If this information is not indicated on the equipment check the manual, search online, or contact the manufacturer.


To calculate the continuous load of your device:


Amps * 110 (AC voltage) = Watts


This formula yields a close approximation of the starting load of your device>>


Watts * 2 = Starting Load



Assignment:  Bring in materials to work on your project and please be prepared to work during class.


Week 8


Wii fit

Wii fit explanation


free103point9 = Transmission Arts


31 Down/Ryan Holsopple



Empty Vessel (Tianna Kennedy/Paula Zaslavsky/Dylan Gauthier, et al)



The Land Foundation


Shawn Onsgard



Broadcast  (those of us who haven’t seen it will go tonight.  If you have seen it, please stay here and work with sam).


Scentair Simulation Samples are here.


Assignment:  You will present your works to the class for a crit in two weeks, NOVEMBER 1.

To get you in the mood, read: Fail Early!  Fail Often!


Week 9





Week 10


Emailing your notes from last week….


The Crits, part II


Current Gallery Exhibition Call


Exhibit Planning…I have news…..




A description (of an aesthetic experience???):






Derren Brown Gift







Derren Brown Zombie Arcade Game


Derren Brown: Photo Booth Hypnosis


Derren Brown: Staring Competition





Mind Control: The Ultimate Revelation


Tricks of the Mind


Famous Lecture on Mind Control:


“The Ultimate Revolution”: 1962 Speech by Aldous Huxley on Mind Control


Week 11


Visiting artist: Alessandro Bosetti

Related, local artist: Aaron Oldenburg – ‘the mischief of created things


Remember Derrin Brown and the discussion we had after looking at his work.

Real/Magic/Entertainment/Science (?)


Mircea Cantor - Deeparture


What are the similarities in the experience of Brown’s and Cantor’s work?


The telegarden, Goldberg/Santorromana


From The world is not a desktop, by Mark Weiser, posted on Next Nature.


A good tool is an invisible tool. By invisible, I mean that the tool does not intrude on your consciousness; you focus on the task, not the tool. Eyeglasses are a good tool – you look at the world, not the eyeglasses. The blind man tapping the cane feels the street, not the cane. Of course, tools are not invisible in themselves, but as part of a context of use. With enough practice we can make many apparently difficult things disappear: my fingers know vi editing commands that my conscious mind has long forgotten. But good tools enhance invisibility.


Aram Bartholl’s First Person Shooter Glasses




Take magic. The idea, as near as I can tell, is to grant wishes: I wish I was the person I am now, but richer; I wish my boyfriend were smarter and more attractive; I wish my computer would only show me what I am interested in. But magic is about psychology and salesmanship, and I believe a dangerous model for good design and productive technology. The proof is in the details; magic ignores them. Furthermore, magic continues to glorify itself, as Robin Williams’ attention-grabbing genie in Aladdin amply illustrates.



Exhibition Plans


Week 13




Week 14


Good work!


I’ve uploaded the video of the exhibit to the work drive on the teaching station.  I chose this computer as there are some exhibits going on in 206 that may require some computers to be temporarily moved – but the teaching station will remain in place.  Please create a few minutes of documentation for your project, burn it onto a disc, and give it to me next week during class.


Today we will discuss our show, get a report from Mike Ries on his adventures as Conflux goes to Rome, and go to the thesis opening.


Next week we will check out the final work of the Time Based Media class in the station building.


Oh, and then there’s artwork anti-scam (scambaiting), here’s another