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Unravel the Code 8: Current Issues — Unstable Energy. Unbounded Potential.


Current Issues — Context

The future generation is full of ups and downs. Some fear that it is too unreliable. Others call for massive behavioral change. As promising as total power generation from wind or solar may sound, its intermittency poses fundamental challenges to our current ways of living. But if constant, dispatchable, and incorruptible power is an idea of the past, then it’s high time we learn how to go with the flow.

The 8th Annual Unravel the Code Workshop, Current Issues, explores the potential of a more secure future with a less reliable power grid. It calls for an interdisciplinary group of artists, designers and makers to ponder how this might affect the way we both build and use technology. Can we build devices that brace for, or even embrace, service interruptions? For what will we use the watts we might harvest ourselves? Are there ways to effectively engineer demand in order to match peak supply? And how might we satiate our technological desires when the sun doesn’t shine? These are but a few of the questions that will be explored when students of the Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore), Saint Lucas (Antwerp), and the Willem De Kooning Academy (Rotterdam) combine their power in a 72 hour high-energy, low resistance international exchange.

Unravel the What??

Unravel the Code is an annual program that opens creative understandings of emerging technologies through intensive international workshops. By historically examining the making of technologies, as well as leveraging interdisciplinary, the goal is to foster students to reach out for new socio-technical perspectives, as well as build back concrete skills respective to the areas of their expertise.

About the Collaborating Progams

Unravel the Code WDKA is a project that brings students across the Commercial, Autonomous and Social Practices, it's heart and home is in the Stations, and it still abides by its original Manifesto.

Unravel the Code MICA is a course draws upon traditional crafts to explore emerging technologies of making. The UNRVL students come from a rich variety of majors and backgrounds, and the content of the class is also spans a tremendous range.

The premaster program of Sint Lucas Antwerpen focuses on the development of an art or design practice within the domain of digital technology. Alike MICA & WDKA, the approach of Saint Lucas program emphasises interdisciplinarity, encourages and research-driven work.


UnravelTheCode History2012-13.jpg UnravelTheCode History2014-2015.jpg UnravelTheCode History2016-2018.jpg

Current Issues — Current Challenges

Soft Powers - Fabric Station

How might small personal amounts of generated power manifest itself in personally powerful ways? Soft Powers explores the synergy of body gestures, e-textiles, and ‘just enough joules’ to enable one to take control of any situation. Skeptical of fashion-tech promises, this group has a power-it-yourself ethos, and believe that built in dynamos are on trend.

Bi-stable Publishing - Publication Station

How might spotty service and rolling blackouts shift the ubiquity of screen based media to more curious forms of dynamic display? Bi-stable Publishing explores new futures for current and antiquated display technologies that keep their mediation powers even when the power is out. How can you binge watch e-paper? And how do you flip-dot-booggie-woogie? The bistable publishers have ways…and they like it both ways…whether its on or off.

Juice & the City - Material Station

How might concepts of ’smart cities’ and ‘shared mobility’ be challenged by a public low on charge? Juice & the City considers the plethora of potential power sources parked idle in every street, and observes the emergent groups who ‘juice-up’ shared vehicles on the side. This group also speculates on the new feild of tension when the organised ’drainers’ arrive. How does this group siphon the street? and for what does it use its publicly collected energy for? On the flip-side, how might owners pre-empt and protect the precious batteries?

Behaviour Management - Interaction Station

How might we satiate our technological desires when the sun doesn’t shine? And are there ways to effectively engineer demand in order to match peak supply? The Behaviour Management group believes that our design of everyday life must to be better timed — they are busy beavers at high noon, and become more esoteric creatures with the moon. BMGer’s argue that in our current transition period, more energy needs to be spent on curbing old routines and creating new rituals than pumping money in overbuilt and inefficient infrastructure.

Workshop sign up

Please sign up for one of the workshops via this link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1swwoccn7qO0rqF3WjlUO6Xba_X_-1EysdrLYV7j4nxE/edit#gid=0

Note: each workshop should have a mix of students from the 3 participating academies: 4 WdKA , 4 MICA and 1 or 2 St LUCAS


Pre-Marathon Meeting A.K.A Awkward Skype Call

9/10 - 16/10 Bits of Antwerp - bits of Baltimore - bits of Rotterdam - through the magic of the internet
time and date student arranged transcontinental duos try to sustain a 5 min awkward conversation, acknowledging that it will make the week much smoother knowing at least one face and one name. There is a strict format for this talk, which can be found below.

Awkward Skype Call Format

  1. Identify your Skype partner [| here].
  2. Make sure your battery is at least 5% - unplug your phone/computer
  3. turn off all the lights, turn your screen on full brightness (awkward yet?)
  4. make the call
  5. share a love/hate about your current program
  6. share a memory of a power outage, or a your last experience of Nomophobia
  7. take your best screenshot of your screen lit faces and be prepared to share it on the project participant section
  8. feel free to chat further (if its not too awkward) until your battery dies

The purpose of this pre-meeting is to have the first exchange to be on a peer to peer basis, and break the ice before the marathon begins.  

Workshop Overview

D1 - Monday 28 October - The Meeting

Time / Place Activity
13:00 Willem de Kooning

Blaak Foyer + BL.00.4

Meet & Greet

Missed the awkward Skype?...don't worry, well make sure there is an awkward #ICEBREAKER

13:30 – 14:00 / Stations #WdKA #Highlights!!!

within your workshop groups, make a tour essentials: power outlets, snacking options, dutch bathroom graffiti, the rental, the cellar, that weird sleigh by the stairwell, and the stations - ending off with your dedicated workshop instructor.

D1 Monday 28 October - Technical Workshop

Time / Place Activity
14:00 – 18:00 Fabric Station


You say potato and I say potahto,
You say dynamo, and I say dynuhmo
... Let turn this weird thing on...
14:00 – 18:00 Publication Station


How do you actually flip-dot-boogie-woogie? Let's start with the electro-mechanical dots.
14:00 – 18:00 Material Station


Power your 3d printer from your teacher's parked car, you say? While we're at it, why not print some car dongles?
14:00 – 18:00 Interaction Station


You don't need electricity to look cool in a mo-cap suit, but to import it to Clo3d you do.

D1 Monday 28 October - Zes uur! Etenstijd!

Time / Place Activity
18:00 – 19:30 / VIP Pizza pizza across the street ([1])
after hours Bitterball’n? WDKA students happy to suggest any nighttime activities for whatever your scene may be.

D2 Tuesday 28 October - Strictly Business

Time / Place Activity
9:30 – 10:30 / Stations Dude, where's our project?

What happened yesterday afternoon? You have 1 hour to find it, fix-it, or at least make it look more interesting in pictures.

10:30 – 11:00

Blaak Foyer and/or BL.00.4

Ad-Hoc Exhibitionism

Find a plinth, borrow a screen, print a picture, and show your stuff in a semi-presentable manner.

11:00 – 11:30

Blaak Foyer and/or BL.00.4

Generale Repetitie

Present your workshop results to the whole group. In 48 Hours it’ll be the real deal.

11:30 – 12:15

Blaak Foyer and/or BL.00.4

Drawing Power

together with your group members, assess the energy levels, map out your different disciplines, interests, & hidden powers. Make a powerful exploded view and connection points of your team.

12:15 – 13:00

Blaak Foyer and/or BL.00.4

Dude, what’s our project?

Brainstorm Round 1

13:00 – 15:30 / ???? went to Holland and all you saw was the Markthall?

students break into mini excursion groups, lunch somewhere and visit a (better) ‘selfie’ worth place. #facesofrotterdam

15:30 – 16:30 / Stations

Available spaces: BL.00.4, WH.02.108, WH3.349

Dude, what’s our project???!!!!???

Brainstorm Round 2

16:30 – 17:30 / Stations

Available spaces: BL.00.4, WH.02.108, WH3.349

Connect the Mains

1 hour or fact checking, sketching, script writing, or resource scavenging with mentor or station staff before sourcing some refreshments.

17:30 – 19:00 - De Willem / School Cantine Lekker Borrelen

D3 Wednesday 30 October - High Energy, Low Resistance Marathon

Time / Place Activity
9:30 – 10:30 / De Willem Amp'n it up

students evaluate their concept, low tech prototype / sketch out a plan of action

10:00 – 11:00 / Stations

Available spaces: BL.00.10a, WH.02.108, WH3.349, Red Floor Gallery, WH.01.117 (tbc)

Face your Mentor

Students discussing concept, feasibly, required tech/materials with workshop mentors.

11:00 – 11:30 / Stations

Available spaces: BL.00.10a, WH.02.108, WH3.349, Red Floor Gallery, WH.01.117 (tbc)

Blow a fuse

Is the idea ideal? It's time for sensing the resistance, for doubting thomases, second thoughts and soliloquies.

11:30 – 12:00 / Station

Available spaces: BL.00.10a, WH.02.108, WH3.349, Red Floor Gallery, WH.01.117 (tbc)

No time for questioning

Tell us what your question is! Appoint a group member to write your central question and an 80 word project description

13:00 – 16:30 / Stations

Available spaces: BL.00.10a, WH.02.108, WH3.349, Red Floor Gallery, WH.01.117 (tbc)



16:30 – 17:30 / Red Floor Gallery Space Check out the venue

All groups come to check out the gallery space, see what is needed, who goes where, what works best, etc.

17:30 – 20:30 / Station

Available spaces: BL.00.10a, WH.02.108, WH3.349, Red Floor Gallery, WH.01.117 (tbc)

Laatste Loodjes
20:30 – 20:45 / Blaak Foyer & Basement Exhibition Space Project Delivery

bring your project to the exhibition space Red Floor Gallery

D4 Thursday 31 October - Document

Thursday 31/10 Blaak Foyer & Basement Exhibition Space
9:00 – 11:00 Photo/video documentation of results
11:00 – 12:00 Walk through of results to WDKA managers/coodinators

Participating Students

Find your Awkward Skype Partner! MICA 1-15, you have a Dutch Date with 1-15 from WDKA. MICA 16-19, theres a chance to also pick up some Flemish with St. Lucas 16-19. Please contact each other via email to set your own Skype time, or, a blind date at Dutch Design Week Eindhoven?

MICA Students

  1. Tyler Brunner        tbrunner@mica.edu
  2. Chen Ning        nchen03@mica.edu
  3. Yajing Huang        yhuang01@mica.edu
  4. Conglia Jin        cjin02@mica.edu
  5. Simon Knowler    sknowler@mica.edu
  6. Grace Kwon        gkwon@mica.edu
  7. Aasawari Kulkarni    akulkarni@mica.edu 
  8. Jia Le Lin         jling01@mica.edu
  9. Joy Li            jli07@mica.edu
  10. Tony Lugo        tlugo@mica.edu
  11. Cora McKenzie    cmckenzie@mica.edu
  12. Hanah Murphy    hmurphy01@mica.edu
  13. Anjali Nair        anair@mica.edu
  14. Katey Noone        knoone@mica.edu
  15. Gizem Oktay        goktay@mica.edu
  16. Samantha Vassor    svassor@mica.edu
  17. Lisa Weisdorf        lweisdorf@mica.edu
  18. Xi Yu            xyu01@mica.edu
  19. Sam Zanowski        szanowski@mica.edu

WDKA & St. Lucas Students

  1. Moniek Arends - 0923868@hr.nl (Minor: New Frontiers / Major: Lifestyle Transformation Design)
  2. Evie Koopmanschap - 0932086@hr.nl (Minor: New Frontiers / Major: Lifestyle Transformation Design)
  3. Maarten Baan - 0945272@hr.nl (Practice 3: Digital Craft / Major: Graphic Design)
  4. Ricardo Abbaszadeh - 0926948@hr.nl (Minor: Digital Craft / Major: Graphic Design)
  5. Jorijn de Jonge - 0935298@hr.nl (Minor: Digital Craft / Major: Graphic Design)
  6. Eva Schoren - 0924847@hr.nl (Minor: Digital Craft / Major: Graphic Design)
  7. Nikki Giesen - 0944380@hr.nl (Practice 3: Hacking / Major: Lifestyle Transformation Design)
  8. Sam Oazzouz - 0874273@hr.nl (Practice 3: Hacking / Major: Lifestyle Transformation Design)
  9. Soo Seng - 0941564@hr.nl (Practice 3: Data Design / Major: Lifestyle Transformation Design)
  10. Rodrigo de Almeida Garrett Viseu Cardoso - 0950419@hr.nl (Practice 3: Digital Craft / Major: Graphic Design)
  11. Jackie van Dijk(Practice 3: ? / Major: Fine Art)
  12. ...
  13. ...
  14. ...
  15. ...
  16. Iren Loontjes - iren.loontjens@student.kdg.be
  17. Ezra Babski - ezra.babski@student.kdg.be
  18. Ruben Van der Meirsch - ruben.vandermeirsch@student.kdg.be
  19. Nicolas Delechambre - nicolas.delechambre@student.kdg.be - Skype: nicolas.delechambre_1

Participating Faculty


  1. Alan Grover
  2. Ryan Hoover
  3. Annet Couwenberg


  1. Jon Stam > j.m.stam@hr.nl
  2. Gabrielle Marks > g.c.c.marks@hr.nl
  3. Beam van Waardenberg > b.van.waardenberg@hr.nl
  4. Mike Pelletier > m.j.pelletier@hr.nl
  5. Tim Knapen
  6. Teis de Greve
  7. Aldje van Meer


  1. Nathan Van Esbroeck - nathan.vanesbroeck@kdg.be

Tools & Tech

- To Be Updated-

Workshop Documentation

  • Group Image of the Students
  • Staged image of the technical instruction
  • In-process images / video
  • Code/design drawings or anything else you want to freely disseminate.
  • Project Poster Image (to be discussed with all groups)
  • Core Question
  • 80 - 100 word project description
  • Final documentation of presentation

A Google Doc for Unravel the Code has been created here:
Anyone with this link should be able to view and edit the files.

Each team has their own folder.
Please use your team folder to collect and organize visual documentation, sketches, texts etc.

Juice in the City - https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1sKZUq-jIBTC2zn5ICabZ4wdi5UYK7CCt?usp=sharing
Documentarian: Maarten Baan - https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1FJBdH8Du_eXF8ZgGOkmp0HdGNfifCxVP

Bistable Publishing - https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1DDUqZtZ_99jrCHagAAhns9HLbqggvDpq?usp=sharing
Documentarians: Cora McKenzie + Eva Schoren

Behavioral Management - https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1vPlo3eFvyXyV_RfefZ29112YcSHmHZ4x?usp=sharing
Documentarian: Monique Arends

Soft Powers - https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1TbqOdQZmRdWvorgF5fFWzQyRA9aJ7o7K?usp=sharing
Documentarian: Iren Loontjes

Posters can be printed at the Print Studio
Delivery as PDF to bring to Print Studio between 15.00 - 16.00 Wednesday Oct 30th
Size poster: B1 (70cm x 100cm)
Text to be included in poster will be added here asap.

"international workshop
Unstable Energy. Unbounded Potential.
+ name of your group"

The students responsible for making the posters meet at De Willem Cantine with Gabrielle @ 12.30.
Bring your first sketches, and ideas.
Keep an eye on this space!