AFK: Performative and Environmental Interfaces

Winter 2016
UCLA Department of Design Media Arts

Professor: Casey Reas (Office Hour: Monday, Broad 3224, noon to 1pm)
TA: Lee Tusman (Office Hour: Tuesday, Broad 4230, 11:00 to noon)

Monday & Wednesday
9:00–11:50 AM
Broad Art Center Room 4250


We will explore a range of interface techniques that go beyond the traditional mouse and keyboard and we will make software projects that use these exploratory interfaces. The class will start with two short projects that use webcams and environmental sensors as interfaces and we will then focus on longer individual or small-team final projects. Example projects include a minimal arcade-style video game with a camera as the interface and an audiovisual performance instrument with a custom sensor controller. We will build all projects with Processing, Arduino, or a Raspberry Pi board, with case-by-case exceptions possible. The class will require an Arduino board or Raspberry Pi and any interface devices that the student will want to use in a final project.


There are two introduction projects and a final project. The first two projects are clearly defined and the final project is self directed.


The % breakdown follows:
20% Project 1
20% Project 2
50% Project 3 (Final)
10% Participation

All projects are evaluated on their originality and aesthetic qualities. Feedback will be primarily qualitative and numeric scores will also be given for all work. Participation means punctuality, focus, articulation of your ideas, and contribution to class discussions.

More than two unexcused absences will lower your final grade by one unit (i.e. an A will become an B). With each additional unexcused absence, the grade will drop an additional unit.

Class starts at 9:00 AM. If you are over 10 minutes late, you will receive a tardy. Three tardies is equivalent to one absence.

If there is an emergency and you will be late or absent from the class, please email me to discuss the situation.

No cellphones in class. No checking personal e-mails, Facebook, IM, etc. during class.

Ask questions, make comments, contribute to discussions.
Learn from your peers; the class is a collaboration.

If you feel frustrated or you come across other problems please communicate with me directly and immediately.