Monday, March 29, 2010

Art and Programming Workshops

Yesterday (2010-03-28) I finished teaching my second Processing at SESC. SESC is a chain of very active centers for culture where shows, plays, courses and lots of other activities happen.

Tony de Marco was my co-pilot in that workshop. Tony is an award-winning font designer, and the founder of Macmania and Magnet, two computer magazines to which I contributed many articles. He took the picture above.

Tony and I were students of Etienne Delacroix, the particle-physicist turned artist who taught PSI- 2615, Art and Programming Workshop, a full semester course at POLI/USP, a famous engineering school in Brazil. In the class each student had to build his own computer from discarded computer parts, and make it run some software with expressive intent. I wrote a sequencer in Tcl/Tk, originally intended to program a row of LEDs for a POV display, but it ended up being adapted to drive a little drum section made of cans and bottles.

Etienne taught me how JavaScript can be simple, that "which first language?" is a silly question because teaching several languages in parallel works, and that any technology starts as a fusion of science and handicraft. The engineering comes later. This last point he illustrated with this picture of the first transistor, the most important invention of the XX century:

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