Working with electronics opens new ways to connect the virtual and physical—from ephemeral representations on screens and networks to bodies in space and time. Through workshops, readings, lectures, critiques, and discussions, we will reevaluate the role desktop computers (and their mice, trackpads, keyboards, screens, and gamepads) play in forming our understanding of what is technically possible, sensible, logical, foolish, magical, and intuitive.
In this course, each participant will build an understanding of electricity, circuit design, mechanisms, sensors, actuators, micro-controller programming, custom interface design, and integrating electronics with software. For the first half of the quarter, we will focus on building our familiarity with these new tools through a series of short weekly and in-class assignments and workshops. The second half of the term will require developing, presenting, designing, and executing a large individual (or small-group) project.
- Critically engage the relationships between hardware, software, and interface.
- Become comfortable prototyping electronics projects.
- Work in a mixed physical-digital environment and laboratory.
- Make effective use of standard hardware and software tools.
- Gain skills in project planning and research.
- Learn techniques and methodologies for debugging projects
- Use digital fabrication tools to realize projects.
75% – Projects
25% – Attendance and engagement throughout the course (active participation and substantive contribution to the weekly critiques and discussions)
Projects grading takes into account the conceptual, technical, and formal development as well as rigor and creativity. Outstanding or exceptional work will receive As, good work will receive Bs, sufficient work that does nothing more than meet requirements will receive Cs.
Projects are due in-class on the date listed. In addition to being presented in class for critique, all projects must be thoroughly documented before being given a grade. Documentation must include photos and video where necessary, a title, and description of the work. Project documentation is due one week after the project is presented and may be turned in up to one week late for a one letter grade deduction off the project grade. Documentation that is more than one week late will not be accepted.
Participation & Attendance
Punctuality, focus, articulation of concepts, and contribution to class discussions are all part of class participation.
You get one unexcused absence, no questions asked. Each unexcused absence after that will result in one full letter grade deduction. Three unexcused absences will result in a failed grade in the class. If there is an emergency and you will be late or absent from the class, please email me and the TA before class. Absences will not be excused after the fact except in extreme circumstances. Illness requires a doctor’s note.
Classes start at 2:00 PM. If you arrive after 2:15 but before 3:00, you will receive a tardy. Three tardies will be marked as an unexcused absence. You will be marked absent if you arrive after 3pm without prior approval.
The Tangible Media is a 5 unit studio class, you are expected to work 6 hours a week in class and 9 hours a week outside of class. Every week we expect to see progress that reflects the 15 hours of weekly work for the class.
While all projects can be successfully realized using the parts in your kit, be aware that some ideas may require components not available in the FabLab. The instructor will be able to guide you to find the correct parts on a project-by-project basis.
Commitment to Equity and Diversity
We understand the classroom as a space for practicing freedom; where one may challenge psychic, social, and cultural borders and create meaningful artistic expressions. To do so we must acknowledge and embrace the different identities and backgrounds we inhabit. This means that we will use preferred pronouns, respect self-identifications, and be mindful of special needs. Disagreement is encouraged and supported, however our differences affect our conceptualization and experience of reality, and it is extremely important to remember that certain gender, race, sex, and class identities are more privileged while others are undermined and marginalized. Consequently, this makes some people feel more protected or vulnerable during debates and discussions. A collaborative effort between the students, TA, and instructor is needed to create a supportive learning environment. While everyone should feel free to experiment creatively and conceptually, if a class member points out that something you have said or shared with the group is offensive, avoid being defensive; instead approach the discussion as a valuable opportunity for us to grow and learn from one another. Alternatively if you feel that something said in discussion or included in a piece of work is harmful, you are encouraged to speak with the instructor or TA. (via voidlab)
Students with Special Needs
Students with a disability or health-related issue who need a class accommodation should make an appointment to speak with the instructor as soon as possible. It is University policy that students with documented disabilities receive reasonable accommodations through access to classroom information. If you have a physical, psychological/psychiatric or medical condition, or a learning disability that will make it difficult for you to carry out the work outlined in the syllabus, or that will require additional time for taking exams and completing assignments, please notify your faculty for this class and visit the UCLA Center for Accessible Education in the first two weeks of the quarter so that we may make appropriate arrangements. All information and documentation is confidential.
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