Prototyping NM Description

From XPUB & Lens-Based wiki


Prototyping is about conducting research through an iterative process of making, communicating & testing, and reflection. Prototyping asks you to combine practical technical knowledge with your own research questions linked to the thematic projects, and encourages producing designs that "work" not only in terms of the technology, but on a communicative level to explore particular ideas.

Through prototyping, fundamental concepts of programming will be explored in the context of tools and methods familiar to those with a design background. Graphical interfaces will be contrasted with command-line interfaces as a means of going beyond traditional "iconic" and "user-friendly" ways of working - for example with Graphical User Interfaces and What You See Is What You Get tools - toward the procedural and text-based . Effort will be placed at finding ways to bridge traditional top-down design tools with a code-oriented approach. You do not need to have a particular level of technical experience. What is expected of you is an active engagement with and willingness to explore networked digital media technology. Students of all levels and previous experience will be encouraged to stretch their ways of working and knowledge to hopefully explore previously unknown or uncomfortable territory and broaden their palette of tools.

During the prototyping sessions, you will develop skills in being able to demonstrate and communicate your work to different kinds of audiences and in a variety of situations (online, installation, writing, in-person). To achieve this you will be required to work on different stage of prototyping from proof-of-concepts works to fully functional objects. While the prototyping sessions will allow you to explore the different stage of technical production and communication, you should keep in mind that prototype works are not sufficient to pass a thematic project. See the thematic project section for the requirements.

Douglas Englebart's 'mother-of-all-demos'



Prototyping meetings are once a week with Michael on Tuesdays from 11-1. Tuesday afternoon is an open "studio" session for working on exercises in a group setting. In addition, scheduled one-on-one meetings with Michael will occur (on a rotating schedule) on Tuesday afternoons. You will be expected to present your work to the group in the following week's Tuesday meeting. Tutorial support for the prototyping exercises is provided by Aymeric and Stock (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays according to their schedules).

Exercises and assignments

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description of a typical day / exercise coming soon

Personal Plans

You will be asked to maintain a personal plan on the wiki. The personal plan acts allows you to track your progress, helps prioritize course work, and helps staff to coordinate support.

The personal plan is a place to evaluate your current position and to reflect on your progress. How do you learn best? What forms of instruction or information seem most effective for you? How can you collaborate with other students to aggregate skills and information? Use the personal plan as a way to define your learning strategies. Do not be "wiki-shy", make the platform yours and use it as a sandbox and research log to track your progress, collect ideas and share documents.

Technologies and topics covered

A example of the commonly covered topics:

  • Web: Python (Django), XHTML, CSS, Javascript (JQuery), SVG
  • Database: MySQL, SQLite
  • Hardware programming: C (Arduino)
  • Command-line interfaces and scripting: bash, ffmpeg, imagemagick, sox, timidity & midge
  • Plugins: inkscape, gimp, firefox
  • Distributed Version Control: git, gitorious


Suggested readings here...

Prototyping schedule

The schedule contains links organized by weekly meeting.