Time: Monday and Wednesday, 6:30-9:20PM
Location: CFA 307 + CFA-318 (College of Fine Arts building, CMU)
Instructor: Paolo Pedercini – paolop andrew…
TA: Katie Rose Pipkin – katierosepipkin at gmail…
Office: CFA 419A – 4th Floor
Office hours: By appointment

Electronic Media Studio: Introduction to Interactivity (60-210) is an introduction to software programming within the context of the arts. In this course students develop the skills and confidence to produce interactive artworks. This section has an emphasis on game design.



What is “new media” art?
Assignment: Make a digital “self portrait” on Newhive using heterogeneous media.
Readings:Remix and Remixability, Lev Manovich (2005)

Electronic literature


Interactive stories
Hypertext, CYOA. Twine, elements of html and CSS.
Assignment: Using Twine, write a branching story with one or more of the following features: a) Non-human (or better, non-animal) main character b) Events out of chronological order c) Multiple characters.
Readings: The garden forking paths by Jorge Luis Borges (1941), various Twine works

Potential literature, from DADA to bots
Random generator. Context free grammar, CSS.
Assignment: Create a random text generator using the provided context free grammar engine.

Creative Coding


Drawing machines: from Tinguely to Cory Arcangel
Assignment:computer-less instructional drawings.
Readings: Program or be programmed – Introduction by Douglas Rushkoff. The Dads of Tech by Astra Taylor, Joanne McNeil

Drawing with code
Intro to p5.js. Elements of programming, Syntax, functions, arguments, states, static drawing, Coordinates, lines, primitives, colors.
Assignment: taking a non-digital artist or artwork for inspiration, create an abstract composition using more than 10 drawing functions.
Readings: What is code? Paul Ford 2015 (edited)

Dynamic drawing, setup and draw, mouse input, blocks, variables.
Assignment: Starting from the provided framework, draw a stylized face that responds to microphone and/or camera activity. Prepare a short skit to perform with the virtual mask.

20 GOTO 10:
Op art, Modularity, repetition, generative art.
Iteration: for loop, functions, scale, rotation, random. Mouse interaction.
Assignment: Create a dynamic sketch representing order vs. chaos.



Artificial life
Character design. The Eliza effect. sprites and animations.
Assignment: Create a simple virtual pet that responds to the user’s activity in a non deterministic way.

Game Luddites movements and collisions. Keyboard control.
Assignment: Modify one of the provided games, radically changing its gameplay and presentation.

Readings: Meaningful Play by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman
What to make a game about by Anna Anthropy.

Final Project

Assignment: Research a topic of your interest in digital culture and make a one-page website/webtoy inspired by it.

Learning Objectives:

  • To have an understanding of the underlying concepts of computing and their role in the arts.
  • To be proficient in creating basic computer programs capable of responding to user interaction.


*Plagiarism and “collaborations”: in programming the concept of plagiarism is somewhat elusive. We are working with open source tools and libraries, building upon the work of a multitude of people. You are encouraged and expected to tap into resources available online, copy-paste and tweak code you may not fully understand.
However it is categorically forbidden to outsource work to people outside the course (e.g. your friend from CS). Showing up to class with something made by others is the worst offense and is considered equivalent to plagiarism.

* Attendance: three or more unexcused absences result in the drop of a letter grade.

* Absences: you are responsible for what happens in class whether you’re here or not. Organize with your classmates to get class information and material that you have missed.

* Participation: you are invited, encouraged, and expected to engage actively in discussion, reflection and activities.

* Net addiction: you can exist for few hours without tweeting, facebooking, chatting, texting or emailing. Any device for mediated communication is banned during theory classes, crits and discussions. A 1% grade reduction will result from being found using them.
During the lab hours you will be allowed to network as long as your behaviour is not disruptive.

*Assignments: late assignments are only accepted with permission of instructor. You lose 10% of your points per day late up to a max of 7 days late.

*Tardiness: 1st tardy = free.
Less than 10 minutes late = 1% grade reduction.
Over 20 minutes late = absence (unless justified).

*Header image: remixed from Eric Frommelt

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