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Time and Process Based Digital Media II

Time: Thursdays 3:30-6:20pm, VAF 228

This class is an advanced study and portfolio project course centered on the use of hardware and software to create interactive and time-based art. These projects can take many forms—interactive installations, dynamic visualizations/sonifications, printed renderings—chosen by the students. This will not be a course of technical instruction—rather we will consider technical and conceptual issues in tandem, supplementing discussions and activities with specific technical instruction where necessary. There is a strong emphasis on the development and articulation of personal directions of research by the students in the course.

I would like to split the reading/homework responsibility for two parts of the class. In the first half of the term I will present a series of works and readings covering my particular interests--the intersections of social performance, embodied experience, and cognition. In the latter half of the class (after the midterm) you all will do the presentations on topics of your choosing. Working individually or in small groups, you will provide us with some conceptual provocation (reading material) covering topics you intend to engage with your final, and you will lead a discussion on technical and conceptual issues. Reading and critical writing, in response to text and works you present and those I present, are integral to this course.

The schedule is a living document and will be revised over the period of the course.


Robert Twomey

Office Hours: Wednesday 3-4pm, Atkinson Hall Rm 1601 (CRCA research neighborhood). Please e-mail me if you plan to attend.


  • Midterm Project - 30%
  • Final Project - 40%
  • Presentations - 10%
  • Readings/Assignments/Homework - 10%
  • Participation - 10%


(1) Short presentation on your work in the second week of class. This should be a statement of your interests, direction, goals with media art. Present examples from your own work which you feel strongly about, and which best represent your interests and trajectory. Present examples of other artist's work that serve as models for the kind of work you would like to make. (5-10 minutes each)

(2) Medium presentation on final projects in the second semester of the course (weeks 7-9). This is the portion of the class where you dictate the reading and the discussion. If you are presenting on a given week, you need to provide us with a reading 1 week in advance. We will sign up for those time slots in week 6, just after the midterm. (10-15 minutes)

Reading Responses

These are written summaries and critical responses to materials assigned for out of class viewing. Things to consider: What points does the author make? Do you buy their assumptions or agree with their conclusions? Reading responses will be printed and turned in to the instructor at the beginning of class. Generally these should be 1 page long.


Midterm and final projects will be graded on concept, effort, and realization. Formal proposals are a necessary component of the process so take them seriously. Make the effort to get started early and seek the help you need--we want to see finished, well-considered pieces for the midterm and final. Additionally, you will need to submit documentation of the project after completion which includes images, video, and source code where applicable. These materials (proposals and documentation) will all be posted to the wiki.

Documentation Policy

  • section on your project
  • source code
  • image/video documentation. 5 images or 5 videos.
  • descriptive writing (on intent, motivation, context)


Attendance is mandatory. Each unexcused absence will drop your final grade one letter. There are only 10 weeks of class, please come to them all.


Week 1 - Intro

Week 2 - Student Research Interests

Week 3 - Computer Vision / Human Perception

  • Due: Nothing. Read the Golan Levin piece, but no written response.
  • Discuss:
    • Myron Kreuger. Video Place. 1989 [1]
    • Text Rain. Camille Utterback & Romy Achituv. 1999. [2] [3]
    • Very Nervous System. 1982-1991. [4]
    • Suicide Box. Bureau of Inverse Technology. 1996. (13:00)
    • Marie Sester. ACCESS. 2003. [5]
    • Messa di Voce. Golan Levin and Zach Lieberman with Jaap Blonk and Joan La Barbara. 2003. [6] [7]
    • Seen. David Rokeby. 2002. [8]
    • Sorting Daemon. David Rokeby. 2003. [9]
    • Cheese. Christian Moller. 2003. [10] made in collaboration with UCSD Machine Perception Lab
    • Eyewriter. 2009 [11]
    • Saccade. 2010 [12] (in progress)
  • Discuss:
    • thresholding
    • frame difference
    • OpenCV - download reference manual. If you are getting this for your computer, be sure to get OpenCV, the OpenCV Processing Library, and the OpenCV Processing Examples (three separate downloads).
    • face recognition
  • In Class:
    • Working alone or in small groups, do experiments with video processing and computer vision.

Week 4 - Computer Vision Work

  • In Class:
    • Work on computer vision projects
    • Talk about midterm projects.

Week 5 - Midterm Workshop

  • Due: Midterm project proposal.
    • Working individually or in small groups (2-3 people), produce an interactive piece that bridges the gap between screen space and physical space. There are many ways to do this--using image-based computer vision techniques, game controllers, audio input, or other physical hardware (Arduino?). Think about the parameters of interaction--are you documenting viewer's behavior (unknown to them), are you taking a familiar form (such as a video game) and tweaking it in some way, are you intervening in social space? Think about what form the output will take. In your one page proposal, describe the input(s), output(s), and dynamic of interaction, as well as some statement of your motivation. Why is this a valuable or interesting project? In addition to the written description, produce supporting visual materials. These should be two functional diagram images and two visual/aesthetic images. The functional diagrams should show the necessary software and hardware components and explain how the interaction will occur. The aesthetic diagrams will give us a sense of what it will look like, how the output will appear. Make a page for your project (including a title) in the Midterm Projects section at the bottom of this page, upload the necessary materials and embed them in that page. This proposal is due in class next week where we will critique and workshop the ideas.
  • In class:
    • Workshop midterm project ideas. (45 minutes)
    • Work on midterm projects.
  • NOTE: Best of ICAM from Candy Harris. There will be an install in the annex here at Mandeville and presentations at the Experimental Theater in the CPMC (music building). They should come see what they are going to have to live up to for their final projects. Plus the keynote speakers (ICAM alumns) always have great info about career paths after graduation.

Week 6

In class work on midterms.

Week 7 - Midterm Critiques

In class critique of midterms.

Week 8

Due: Written response (1 page) to one of your classmate's projects.

In Class: Draft final project proposal and post to wiki by the end of class. In class discussion as needed.

Week 9

work on finals

Week 10 - Final Critiques

In-class critiques of finals.

Finals Week

Final documentation due.


To Be Scheduled

Performance for the camera, for the web

  • Discuss Chatroulette. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube. Attention in the social net.
  • ManyCam [13]
  • PS3 eye
  • jennicam wired
  • Lonelygirl15 youtube article
  • Discuss telematic perfromance.
  • [14]
  • Read: The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (excerpt). Erving Goffman. 1959.
  • Read: Performance: A Critical Introduction (excerpt). Richard Carlson. 2004.
  • Do: Intervention in social circuits. Chatroulette/Facebook/Youtube exercise.

Social Networks/Web 2.0

  • Read: Protocol, Control, and Networks by Alexander Galloway and Eugene Thacker. Grey Room 17, Fall 2004 p 6-29.
  • Read: DIGITAL MAOISM: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism. Jaron Lanier. 2006.
  • Watch: MediatedCultures @ Kansas State
  • Datamining/Complex Networks, node-edge graphing.

Digital Memory/Personal Media: Where do we exist and how do we remember?

  • Read: Mediated Memories in the Digital Age (excerpt). Jose van Dijck. 2007.
  • Read: Are you sure you want to do this? Matthias Fuchs 1994.
  • Read: Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age (excerpt). Viktor Mayer-Schonberger. 2009.
  •, Facebook
  • Discuss: My Pocket. Burak Arikan. 2008.

Cognition + Creativity

  • Generative Art vs. Computational Creativity
  • Casy Reas
  • Tom Shannon. [15]
  • Read: Triumph of the Cyborg Composer.
  • Read: How to draw three people in a garden. 1988.
  • Read: Shades of Computational Evocation and Meaning: The GRIOT System and Improvisational Poetry Generation. 2006.

Artificial Intelligence

  • Read: Expressive Processing (excerpt), Noah Wardrip Fruin, 2009.
  • Read: Elephants Don't Play Chess, Rodney Brooks, 1990.

Appropriation and Remix

  • Read: The Fiction of Memory. New York Times, March 12, 2010. Luc Sante
  • Read: Jonatham Lethem. The Ecstasy of Influence. Harpers Magazine. 2007.
  • Remix Culture. Lev.
  • God's Little Toys: Confessions of a cut & paste artist. William Gibson. 2005. *
  • Reality Hunger: A Manifesto. David Shields. 2010.

Materiality in the information age.

  • Tangible interfaces, haptic feedback.
  • Read: Evocative Objects: Things We Think With (excerpt). Sherry Turkle, 2007.
  • Read: New Media and the Forensic Imagination (excerpt). Matthew Kirschenbaum. 2008.
  • View: BIT Plane.
  • View: Garbage Cubes
  • Discuss techniques of markerless tracking, augmented reality, QR codes, etc. *Online/Offline Space.


  • Computing with bodies, engineered bodies
  • tactile media, haptic interface
  • embodied perception
  • Read: Stelarc.


Places to Find Art

Midterm Projects

Make pages here.

Final Projects

Student Pages

Click "edit" on the right to add your own page below.