Computational Thinking Meets Design Thinking: Technology and Arts Collaborations

Speaker:  Erik Brunvand – UT, United States
Topic(s):  Architecture, Embedded Systems and Electronics, Robotics


There seems to be an explosion of interest in exploring arts and technology connections: new media, digital media, kinetic art, new frontiers, emergent media, interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and transdisciplinary are only some of the terms used to describe this fusion of disciplines. A visit to the ACM SIGGRAPH Art Gallery or the ACM SIGCHI Interactivity sessions, for example, will showcase a wide variety of uses of computing, embedded control, sensors, and actuators in the service of art. This emerging arena for collaboration brings up a number of questions.  Are fine arts and technology compatible partners? Do these disciplines support each other or flinch when they are combined like oil and water? Do collaborative efforts provide interesting insights and opportunities for students? For practitioners?

In this talk I will start with some thoughts on the nature of combining arts and technology, and show some historical and contemporary examples specifically relating to kinetic art. Kinetic art using embedded control is a marriage of art and technology. Artistic sensibility and creativity are required for concept and planning, and computer science and engineering skills are required to realize the artistic vision. However, these different skills are often taught in extremely different parts of a university campus. To this end, I will also describe an ongoing collaborative course that involves Computer Science and Art students working together to design and create computer-controlled kinetic art. Students in the course explore interfacing of embedded computer systems with sensors and actuators of all sorts. They also explore physical and conceptual aspects of machine-making as a fine-art sculpture process. Our goal is to enhance the educational experience of both groups of students. We believe that both student groups gain significant and unusual benefits that they can apply in a variety of ways in their respective disciplines.

About this Lecture

Number of Slides:  62
Duration:  60 minutes
Languages Available:  English
Last Updated: 

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