Digital Crafts Minor/Practice fall 2018

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Digital Crafts fall 2018

Q 9 & 10


Ivan, Shailoh, Javier


Welcome to Digital Crafts! From September to December, you will be introduced to a wide range of skills, issues, critical perspectives and concrete examples relevant to the emergent field. Classes are held on Thursdays and Fridays. The rest of the week is reserved for independent working on your projects (one self-directed project per workshop). Third and forth year students will be working on similar themes, but each have different deadlines and assignments.


Click here to join the Slack Channel for all communication for the different groups in 2018-19. Please join before the start of the first class to get important information about the schedule. Besides "general" and "#random", please join the appropriate group channel #thirdyears18-19 or #minor-graduation18-19.

Cybernetics: working with self-organizing systems

This year the theme is "cybernetics", so it is all about exploring regulatory systems — in biological organisms, in the political economy, and in networked technology. What do living creatures and complex systems have in common? How do organic and electronic feedback loops function? What kind of forms emerge from self-organized systems, and how can we use algorithms to generate forms, to make and break patterns? To what extent do we as humans have the potential to control systems? Cybernetics is a transdisciplinary approach for exploring regulatory systems — their structures, constraints, and possibilities. Norbert Wiener defined cybernetics in 1948 as "the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine." In the 21st century, the term is often used to imply "control of any system using technology." In this course, we will be exploring the complex relationships between humans and machines, nature and technology. In reference to the seminal article, Metadesign, by Chileans biologists and philosophers Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, the authors affirm that the solution is not the technology, but how it is designed.

We seek to challenge you to become critical of technology, and able to use technology to express critique. Every solution creates new problems: how will you position your work in a broader political, social and ecological context? How can you express critically the (use of) technology in your research and development?

Before the Christmas break, you will have developed a number of small group projects, and a final project in the form of a stand-alone presentation, with accompanying research documentation.


Each project will have a packaged wiki page with proper documentation/ contextualization of the project. During the mid-semester review, your will need to discuss your direction for the final quarter.

  • Project 1: Critical Making exercise

Reimagine an existing technology or platform using the provided sets of cards. Presentation 13 september.

  • Project 2: Cybernetic Prosthetics: in small groups, you will present a cluster of self-directed works as a prototype of a new relationships between a biological organism- and a machine, relating to our explorations on reimagining technology in the posthuman age. The prototypes should be materialized in 3D form, and simulate interactive feedback loops that generate emergent forms.

For 3 year students, this first project can be speculative and rudimentary. The technology doesn't have to fully work yet, but the idea should be communicated through the prototype and appropriate documentation. (max 5 people per group).

For 4th year students in the minor, you need to take the project to the next level as a fully functional work.

DEADLINE / presentations: 27 September

  • Project 3: From Devices to systems: sensors and sensitivity training. You will open the 'black box' of a technical device in an anatomical machine learning lesson, and you will also dissect and analyse a concrete instance of a complex system at work. How do devices and networked systems interact? Document and research all of the parts, how they work, where they come from. Redesign and add new circuits. Put it back together with a new function and added sensor feedback loops. The basic electronics should be fully functional.

DEADLINE: 11 October

  • Project 4: Cartography of Complex Systems & the Anthropocene: How is technology linked to economic, political and ecological wicked problems and human-made catastrophes? Where is a line out? How to break the feedback loops? How is the supply chain linked to the device you are working with? Pick a problem or issue to analyze and engage with a complex ecological system. This is a visual mapping assignment, which should be accompanied by a text of max 1000 words.

DEADLINE: 2 November

Final project you will present your research question, your planning, and a conceptual and technical experiment for a final project that will be included in a self-organized stand-alone presentation in December 2018. You will intensely explore and develop over the last 6 weeks to present in the end term exhibition.


Date 3rd years 4th years Content / Experimentations Related Reading Deliverables / Deadlines
Sept. 6 (Thurs) CLASS 13:30-17:00 Kick Off and Introduction, tour of Interaction Station, Make Groups groups of 5 + critical making prototyping exercise. CLASS 10:30-17:00 Kick Off Intro 4th year minor 10.30-12.30 (with Ivan): who are you? interests? skills? what would you like to learn? read Garnet Hertz - Making Critical Making
Sept. 7 (Fri) Independent work on Project 1 Independent work on Project 1 Donna Haraway, Cyborg Manifesto. Download here
WEEK 2 Sept. 13 (Thurs) CLASS 13.30-17.00 Ivan & Shailoh Lecture on feedback loops, machines, prothetics, autopoisis and bioart. Split then in Group A&B. 15.00-17.00 Text discussion // Critical Making exercise presentation & presentations and discussion on Donna Haraway, Cyborg Manifesto, 10.00 - 14.30 4th years portfolio, Critical Making exercise presentation & presentations and discussion on Donna Haraway, Cyborg Manifesto, 13.00-14.00 Lecture on feedback loops, machines, prothetics, autopoisis and bioart. biomimicry video []
Sept. 14 (Fri) Finalize prototypes Metadesign - H. Maturana & F. Varela here
WEEK 3 Sept. 20 (Thurs) work on project 2 work on project 2 Braidotti, Posthumanism []
Sept 21 (Fri) work on project 2 work on project 2 Norbert Wiener on Cybernetics
WEEK 4 Sept 27 (Thurs) Presentations Project 2 CLASS from 11.00 until 17.00 - WH.02.104.1 Presentations Project 2 + Workshop 1A: skills with Javier Have project 1 + 2 documented on the wiki (or send a PDF to the teachers), including process, prototyping and research.
Sept 28 (Fri) 10 - 15.00u: Eindhoven Maker Faire Fieldtrip
Oct 4 (Thurs) 10.00-13.00 Workshop 1B: skills with Javier/ 10.00-13.00 presentations project 2 13 - 17.00u: Interaction Station Lecture and work session for all Start project 3: Anatomical Machine Lesson: Open a 'black box': pick a machine and take it apart. Document and analyse all the parts.
Oct 5 (Fri) 10-17 Workshop Machine Choreography with Joana Chicau 10-17 Workshop Machine Choreography with Joana Chicau
Oct 11 (Thurs) 13 - 17:00u: Interaction Station Workshop 1C Skills 2 with Javier / Group B Presents Project 3 (Ivan/Shailoh)
Oct 12 (Fri) 10 - 13:00u: Interaction Station / Group A Presents Project 3 (Ivan/Shailoh)
Oct 18 (Thurs) 10 - 13:00u: Interaction Station / Workshop 1D: skills with Javier
Oct 17-19 Wed-Thurs-Fri PRESELECTED STUDENTS Unravel the Code: workshop with students from Baltimore
Nov 1 (Thurs) intro: Advise and tutoring 3rd & 4th years 10~16.00 presentations - follow up final assignment - Advise and tutoring 3rd & 4th years - for those from the 4th year that didn't present yet from 10~16.00 / the ones that presented 13~16.00
Nov 2 (Fri) full day: Interaction Station Presentations working on Projects
Nov 8 (Thurs) 13-14 lecture; 10-17 3rd years feedback in small groups, sign up here 13-14 lecture; 14-17 feedback in small groups, sign up here Intro to final projects all students 3rd & 4th year deadline essay draft - send your draft via email
Nov 9 (Fri) 10.00-17.00 working on final projects
Nov 15-16 NO CLASS NO CLASS Drive & Development week
Nov 22 (Thurs)
Nov 23 (Fri)
Nov 29 (Thurs) Sign up for feedback here Sign up for feedback here
Dec 6 (Thurs) Suprise: Unboxing video of someone's project.
Dec 7 (Fri) Suprise: Unboxing video of someone's project.
Dec 10 MONDAY presentation schedule Build-up Final Presentations
Dec 11-13 presentation schedule Final Stand-alone Presentations
Dec 14 (Fri) Clean Up 3rd year presentations
Dec 20 (Thurs) Feedback 17-21 December Stand-alone presentation 4th years


Written Assignment

+/- 1000 words answering #5. Please use 1-4 to jump start your writing process.

  1. What is your craft? (define your discipline, method or approach)
  2. What are the tools and media of your craft?
  3. What are the borders of this practice? (what new media technologies have arisen / what is its future of the field))
  4. Connect to a historical discourse and give concrete examples of contemporary practitioners
  5. Define your position of your practice in relation to newer technologies.

Discussion: Sept 27 1st Draft Due: Oct 11 Final uploaded on the wiki: Oct 24th




Due DATE 7 January 2019

Final +/- 1000 words Position Paper (defining the position of your practice in relation to newer technologies) uploaded to the wiki.

Presentation and Documentation of quarter work

The research document includes all of the deliverables and assignments, as well as detailed documentation of your final project.

Fourth Years: the research documentation also includes a research question, references to relevant literature, positioning your project in a cycle of question-process-experiments-reflection-conclusions.

Presentations 11&13 December

Questions for the presentation

  • Image 1: What did you make?

(Show one image of your semester work that was the most inspiring)

  • Image 2: What did you miss?

(What do you to connect to, bring in, or explore that is not covered by the curriculum)

  • Image 3: What is your topic of interest?

(Explain though a visual what area you wish to further explore)

  • Image 4: What is your medium?

(Explain what materials and tools you wish to use)

  • Image 5: What is your question?

(Try to formulate one (preliminary research) question that will guide your investigation)


Add your names with link to your wiki here



HeadgifR3.gif   Ricardo Abbaszadeh

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Graduation Meetings