The Hacktory Blog

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Intro to Interactive Art Recap


Well, we’d like to report back that our inaugural Intro to Interactive Art class was a modest success. A good group of folks showed up, and the presenters did an awesome job talking about the pros and cons of using various software platforms to create interactive art, including Processing, OpenFrameworks, and Max/MSP/Jitter. The presenters included Matt Miller, an interactive designer and educator; Ben Farahmand, another designer, entrepreneur and artist; Paul Christian, a programmer and musician (link to his github here); and Kim Brickley and Sarah Zimmer, who form the team behind Create in Situ. (Thanks again to all of you, you really made the event a success). It was clear that the presenters had chops in their technology of choice, have spent significant time on their work, and have deep knowledge that they apply to it.

The point we wanted to get across, though, was that they way people make programs and learn in these mediums is by messing around on their own and seeing what works. To help get over some initial unknown vocabulary and learn more about communities making this work, we also made a pirate pad with helpful vocabulary and a ton of links. If you find it useful, please add your name and write a comment, or fill in more terms or links we missed (there’s bound to be quite a few). 

After the presentations we had a group discussion about what follow-up events people would be interested in. One of the goals of this class was to give people enough of a starting point to know what software to dive into for their purposes, give them the tools to start learning on their own, and then schedule a class that would be useful for when they hit the inevitable wall that arises when working on your own. I’m sure there’s many people out there who are frustrated at shelling out cash for an intro class (or maybe just investing time in it), only to find out everything covered in the class is covered in greater detail in free online tutorials. From what I can tell the information shared in this event was worth the $, though we have yet to collect all the evaluations.

Anyway, now that the foundation has been laid, there was interest expressed in formal classes in all of the software platforms mentioned above. We’re looking into that now, and hope to have some on the calendar soon. There was also suggestions for holding regular meetups, hack sessions, or the opportunity to present projects in particular platforms, which we are also looking into organizing. One idea the group suggested, which I personally thought was really interesting is to hold a hackathon where different teams working on different platforms all try to achieve the same results, or meet the same parameters. Seems like a great opportunity to learn exactly what works well and not so well with each platform. We’ll see about scheduling that in the coming months as well. Overall we couldn’t be more pleased at finding a way to start talking about Interactive Art here in Philly, and supporting a community of people who want to make stuff that would fit under that category.

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