Course Description:

(-Note: This is now a 2 semester long course. The Fall MPSM377 is followed in the Spring by MPSM311, which includes substantively the content of "Programming for Artists".)
The purpose of this studio course is to provide skills and information that will be useful for artists who use electrical devices in their artworks.
Essentially, this is a course for introducing artists to ways of working with electricity in their artwork. It covers AC/DC current and how to work with it safely. We start from scratch and show how to use components (like resistors, capacitors, transisitors and relays), read schematics and build electrical circuits. The ultimate goal is for artists to incorporate this knowledge in the production of a final project of their own design.
The second (digital) part of the course involves writing software (programming), especially programming microcontrollers. These may be used in sculptural installation, performance, robotics, wearable art, etc. Many examples will be shown. We're currently using the Atmel series of chips (microcontrollers), the same ones used in the popular "Arduino board". The idea is to process information about environmental conditions such as light, pressure and sound and to respond with controllable switches, timers, motors and sound devices. The course involves interfacing microcontrollers with interactive multimedia software environments including Processing, MAX/MSP/Jitter and pd.