Guest Post: Marcel W. Foster

Today’s guest blog post comes to us from Marcel W. Foster, one of the 6 new Unknown Territory Artist-In-Residents.

A group of six geeks. Six geeks who all have unique and impressive experiences working in the arts and engaging technologies:

    wiring “old” technologies to do new things (e.g., cassette players with arduinos)
    conversations about the actual brain wavelengths emitted during communications and various technologies that empirically measure this
    fermentation and sculpture
    Coding wearable fabric designs
    GPS-triggered apps that amplify sound experiences based on your location

And the list goes on.

I applied to be a Hacktory residency so that I could do what I love most: to creatively play with science. It’s comforting to know that in this city alone there are at least five others working in the same vein but in different disciplines; and get as excited as me when contemplating the interface of choreography, systems logic, and software coding. One month in feels like a kind of curated tree house club where we come to share stories on topics that only we could get excited about. In addition to this is the awesome resource of simply working and sitting at the Department of Making and Doing. I come here now instead of the coffee shop (1) because it’s free (2) because it has endless scientific tools and accoutrements that excite me just by looking at them (3) because after feeling so isolated as a choreography/science geek for years on end–it feels pretty damn validating to finally be a part of a tree house club of like-minded people.

In about two hours I’ll be presenting an informal workshop on “immersive games,” along with my partner-in-crime Don Xu of Philadelphia Game Lab. Our goal is to get other so-called art geeks in the room, play some sample games, and then give us feedback on the game we’re developing (here‘s a draft one trailer of the beta version, titled GPSBodies). It’s awesome to have a platform to openly and informally present our “blueprint” thoughts and get feedback so early in the process. What’s more–it’s awesome to know that really anyone is allowed in the tree house so long as they want to be there.



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Guest Post: Artist-In-Resident Tara Webb

This week we are featuring blog posts from our 6 Philly-based Unknown Territory Artist-In-Residents. Our second post comes from Tara Webb.-Lee T.

As a costume designer and theater tech, I see knowing how to work with sewing machines, looms, and even knitting needles as a technical skill. In my experience costume or fashion design is often considered a ‘soft’ technology, it’s easily dismissed as being technically uncomplicated. (Typically, costume designers even get paid much less in the industry than say, lighting, sound or video designers.) But I believe the construction and manufacture of clothing can be mathematical, chemical and I daresay, even a scientific design process. I like to ask my students if they can tell me how many equations might have gone into the design of a tshirt or a pair of jeans they might be wearing in class on any given day. I’ll admit, costume design was an easy place for me to land in the technical theater world, which was still largely a male-dominated industry when I was figuring those things out. I was lucky enough to have grown up with and worked around a lot of supportive computer nerds, however, so I have a parallel interest in not just the artistic design processes of art and tech, but also the technical aspects. All that to say, this first month at the Hacktory has been a long awaited convergence for me.

The use of technology in art is brain melting and exhilarating and I am still figuring out where I fit in in terms of what is practical and where it can be used in costumes. When I went to The Last Hope in New York in 2008 – the DIY world, Craft and Make, Myth Busting, 2600, science and technology were evolving and mingling. Hackers were making LED sex toys, cleaning bicycles with electrodes, picking locks, tracking movement with tiny cameras, everyone had badges with RFIDS and of course, there were costumed LARPers wandering around and tables where you could make blinky throwies. I thought to myself “How did I miss all this over the last 20 years?” and “Why didn’t I get into this sooner?”. Now I see all this processing and circuitry I’m learning about as an evolutionary drop in the bucket in some grand installation project that’s been swirling round my subconscious. I don’t even know if it will be a practical thing to wear in the end, but I’m enjoying the chaos of the upload of information into my brain. I keep thinking of Neal Stephenson’s “In the Beginning…was the Command Line”. What kind of car is this and did I know I’d be driving a hoverbus? Or maybe it’s really a submarine with Davinci wings? While perhaps not directly related to what do for day to day art making, it is nevertheless fascinating to be learning a new vocabulary and not unlike learning to write in some arcane poetic algorithm from my future self.

Also, here’s a picture of the my soft-circuit monster in overalls. His name is Garfoil.-Tara Webb
garfoil

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Guest post: Artist-In-Resident Max Lawrence

Our 6 Philly-based Unknown Territory Artist-In-Residents have been hard at work for the past 2 months. They are taking workshops, learning to code, and working toward building a larger art and technology project to present publicly in an exhibition in December. Our residents are all accomplished artists that want to expand their knowledge of and exploration of new technology. In the next week we’ll have guest blog posts from all of our artist-in-residents. The first comes from musician and artist Max Lawrence.-Lee T.

Max Lawrence face
HELLO WORLD!!!!

Its difficult to contain my enthusiasm for the opportunity the Hacktory has given me.

The Hacktory has really put together an excellent group of artists for this residency. The residents have quickly become a critical part of my learning process. The diversity of our artistic backgrounds has generated a large combined foundation of fundamentals skills for us to draw on. That, in conjunction with our individual project goals , allows us to cover a broad range of interests in our own explorations. Ultimately, though, the Hacktory’s ethos of communication without pretension is what has facilitated this super awesome exchange I’ve been experiencing.

The first challenge for me has been taking a computer coding class online. Its a completely new way of learning for me. Though initially intimidating , as well as incredibly skeptical , my reservation have quickly faded away. The course is excellent in its approachability as well as incorporation of excellent examples of artists utilizing coding successfully , exposing me to a better comprehension of the fine art of computer coding. It has also exposed a major whole in my understanding of basic Trigonometry functions. Geez….

It has been made apparent by taking this class that my ability to solve mathematical equations has absolutely nothing to do with my comprehension of mathematical equations. So enter the Twins, Sine and Cosine… and their parents Angle and Radian. Mostly a battle of attrition, my resolve has been unshakable and Processing 2.0 is allowing for me to explore the relationships between visual and aural arts like never before. It’s incredibly gratifying. I have included some sketchbook pages and code explorations. -Max Lawrence

Spiro deconstruct

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Intro To Processing begins Tuesday July 8

Several weeks ago we had a sell-out session for Intro To Programming For Artists, Musicians and Other Creatives! And now we are excited to host Intro To Processing beginning this Tuesday July 8.

Processing is an MIT-designed, free and open source programming language with a huge community of artists and musicians based around it. It is built on top of Java and is designed to be a “first programming language” but also a powerful one. Our class is a beginner-friendly tutorial and a great first step for artists interested in learning to program and explore what creative coding can do. No previous programming experience is required. In 3 sessions, we’ll review the basics of creating a program from scratch, do hands-on exercises, and be building our own programs and projects much quicker than you’d think possible.

Processing is used to create projected stage designs for dance and music performances; to generate images for music videos and film; to export images for posters, magazines, and books; and to create interactive installations in galleries, in museums, and on the street.

Our class will be taught by Tim Bieniosek, who teaches at The Hacktory and at Philadelphia University’s Digital Innovation Design program. Our last Processing classes in the fall were also taught by Tim and sold out. We currently have several spots available in Tuesday’s intro workshop. If you haven’t yet signed up, don’t miss it! Tickets can be purchased here.

-image by Andreas Schlegel
Processing example

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Immersive Game Night Wednesday July 2

Join the Hacktory Wed July 2nd, 7-9pm to learn, engage, and most importantly play with games. This two-hour free session will begin with a brief 101 on “immersive gaming” and then jump into two interactive and participatory games for you to play and dialogue about. Then learn about a new Philly game being developed for Philly Tech Week 2015 by collaborators Don Xu of Philadelphia Game Lab and Choreographer Marcel W. Foster, current Artist-In-Resident at The Hacktory, and have your say on what would make this game awesome.

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Intro To 21st Century Fabrication!

We have a great workshop coming up Tuesday June 10, 7-9PM, Intro To 21st Century Fabrication. Taught by The Hacktory’s expert Eric Manganaro, this single session class is an introductory workshop overview of how to go from idea to digital design to digitally fabricating a physical object prototype.

We’ll review a complete digital workflow. This class will provide an overview of tools and the process to creating your work. We’ll start with an introduction to tools like Google Sketchup, Adobe Illustrator, Autodesk123d, and sourcing from Thingaverse and Google3D. We’ll review fabrication techniques including the VersaCamm Vinyl Cutter, the CNControlled Laser Cutter (and engraver) as well as 3D printing.

The class is $25. Sign up here.
Hacktory logo lasercut

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Announcing The Hacktory’s Summer Classes

We have a ton of new classes this summer, and they start this Saturday!
They are so exciting that I think I’ll just list them!

Much more information on the classes can be found right here.

Soldering

DIY Traffic & Bike Counting Sat, May 31 2014 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
We’ve gotten our hands on a few Waycount traffic and a Hi-Viz bike counter. Come out with us this Saturday to learn how to use these tools and help measure the traffic.

Intro To 21st Century Fabrication Tue, Jun 10 2014 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
This single session class is an introductory workshop overview of how to go from idea to digital design to digitally fabricating a physical object prototype.

Intro To Programming For Artists, Musicians and Other Creatives Wed, Jun 18 2014 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
In this class, we’ll take a playful approach to learning the concepts of programming and then take our first beginner steps.

Intro to Soft Circuits – Sew a Felt Monster Sat, Jun 21 2014 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Our class is designed to give beginners a crash course in circuits and sewing and a practical guide to working with e-textiles.
Intro To Soft Circuits
Hacking the Gender Gap Tue, Jul 1 2014 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Hacking the Gender Gap is an interactive workshop in which we explore the gender ratio in tech fields, unpack the associations our culture has created between gender and technical ability, and share experiences of gender and technology.

Introduction to Processing 3 Dates from Tue, Jul 8 2014 – Tue, Jul 22 2014
This class is a beginner-friendly guide to Processing, the open-source programming language for visual artists, based on the Java language, and a great first step for artists interested in learning to program and exploring what creative coding can do.
Processing

Intro to Circuits Wed, Jul 9 2014 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
In this class, we’ll start with the very basics, exploring the fundamentals of circuits by building a lemon-cell battery.
Lemon Battery

Introduction to Max/MSP for music Sat, Jul 12 2014 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Learn to write your own digital music making software using Max/MSP!

Create Your Own Simple Game and Controller Sat, Jul 19 2014 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
In this workshop, participants will get introductory instruction and support to design their own simple video games using Scratch, a children’s computer programming language developed at MIT.

Live Video Mixing in Max/MSP Jitter Thu, Jul 24 2014 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Live Visuals for Performance and Installation: A Workshop in GPU Accelerated Graphics within Max MSP Jitter.

Bad Website Jam: How To Make a Vintage 1996-Style Website Wed, Jul 30 2014 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
In this 1-session workshop and jam we’ll review the early web and the era of geocities homepages before blogs and web 2.0.

Intro To Arduino 3 Dates from Tue, Aug 5 2014 – Tue, Aug 19 2014
In this class you can expect a fun crash course on everything you will need to get busy creating with your Arduino. We’ll cover all the key concepts, from learning the fundamental aspects of programming with the Arduino language, to the different types of materials you can use in your projects and prototypes.

Intro To Arduino
More info and sign up here!

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DIY Traffic and Bike Counting

street
As part of the Department of Making + Doing, we want to get to know the comings and goings of people in and around our space. We’re going to take an urban planning lens to this activity, and we’ve gotten our hands on a few Waycount traffic and a Hi-Viz bike counter. Come out with us this Saturday to learn how to use these tools and help measure the traffic. We’ll have some of the people who created these tools, and are part of Planning Corps in NYC. Afterwards we’ll take our counts back to The Hacktory/DM+D and explore how to visualize them and what further questions we want to ask.
All participants will then be able to deploy the traffic counters to take measurements in other locations throughout the city over the next few weeks. We’ll then meet up for a data jam later this summer to compile our data and make sense of it together.
This event is funded by a grant from Art Place America, so tickets are fee, but please register to help us get a head count beforehand.

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Announcing our inaugural Unknown Territory Fellows and Artist-In-Residents

The Hacktory is excited to announce it has selected 4 Fellowships and 6 Philadelphia-based Artists-In-Residence for our inaugural Unknown Territory Fellowship and Artist-In-Residency programs. Both programs offer the selected artists the opportunity to learn and explore at the edges of technology and art, literally in unchartered territory, to create new experiences and new possibilities with code, software, hardware and other forms of technology and creative expression. Unknown Territory is supported by a grant from the Knight Arts Foundation as well as from the public through a fall 2013 kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.

The Unknown Territory Fellowship allows Fellows the opportunity to focus on a specific project or avenue to explore in their work during a period of 2-4 weeks making use of the resources and knowledge base at The Hacktory. In addition to working on a specific project, fellows will teach a workshop and lead a program about their work.

Our 2014 Fellows are:

The Unknown Territory Artist-In-Residency is an extended 6-month residency for Philadelphia-based emerging and established artists with an art, music or performance practice but little or no new media, programming and technology experience that want to transform their current practice by exploring what’s possible with new technologies. Residents will receive customized training in software, hardware and other materials, mentorship from fellows and others in The Hacktory’s community, and will work on their own projects, culminating in a group exhibition of all residents’ work.

Our 2014 artist-in-residents are:

We’re excited for our new fellows and artist-in-residents, their explorations and projects. We’ll be posting updates on their work in the months to come. Thank you to everyone who applied to our first call for Unknown Territory, and to everyone that supported this new residency program.

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Live From Project Night

Greetings from Project Night! Makers were building sensors, working on immersive games, using 30 year old breadboards, creating cement geodesic planters, building a $75 raspberry pi-powered laptop, unpacking our new box of O’Reilly Media books and cataloguing them for the library. We’re here every Thursday evening 7-9PM. Bring your projects and come work with us.

Bevan Weissman

IMAG0714

Heathkit Breadboard

Cement planter

$75 raspberry pi laptop

new books from O’Reilly Media for The Hacktory

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