Instructor: Wayne Madsen
Email: wmadsen(@)
Office: 204A Fine Arts Building
Office Hours: MW 1PM-3:30PM

ARTC 3000 Section 1001/1002
Spring 2012
244 - Wolfe Center
TTHU 6:00PM-8:20PM

Course Overview

In ARTC 3000, we will explore electronics and the use of circuitry and inputs in contemporary art practice, with the emphasis on digital art work as installation and system.

Students will dissect old computer parts and other electronics to create interactive and experiemental art. Instrution will include an exploration into public art space, interactivity and passive interactivity. Students will work with contemporary issues and problems in the arts and technology through the investigation into the digital nature of the computing object. Projects will focus on hardware and digital mashups to create artwork in a physical space.

The course emphasizes creative experimentation informed by contemporary research issues and critical theory. Class lectures will include demonstrations, discussions of readings, theory and artwork, and technical exploration. Class time will be available for exploring software and hardware tools and working on projects; outside work will also be required to complete assigned projects.

“Tool usage and extending bodies is a part of what is human,” despite the singularity mystique.


Students will learn to use the computer as a tool for creating artwork.

The focus of this class is to explore electronics, hardware design, human machine interface, etc. as a viable method and medium for art. The course will focus on learning the basics of electrical theory, design, hands-on learning through technology modification/adaptation and microntrollers. Student will additionally examine artists, works, and genres of New Media including physical computing, electronics, robotics, experimental music, HMI, and product design.

Learning Objectives (Skills Mastered)


Required Tools Additional Tools STRONGLY recommended

Multimeter for measuring current
Soldering Iron
Hemostat (or 2) for holding wires steady
Breadboards will be how you test a circuit before soldering it.

Additional purchases and information


Information presented in class lectures, discussions and demos is the responsibility of each student. General assignments are mandatory and must be completed on the required dates and in the proper format. Assigned readings are the responsibility of each student and will be required for class discussion and project completion. Each lecture and discussion requires the student's participation for which a grade will be given. The technical aspects of the class are demanding and require that students be self-motivated and independently solve problems. Unless defined by the calendar, Tuesdays will focus on lectures, discussions and demonstrations, while Thursdays will focus on time when students can research, work on assignments and request for help. Students will need to be able to competently write about their projects in a formal way.


This course assumes an interactive approach in its structure and in its presentation, which requires engaged participation from all members of the class. This class is a cumulative experience and necessitates your presence in lab time as well as lecture. Therefore, regular attendance is expected and considered mandatory. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility meet with a classmate or make an appointment with me to get the information.

Being 15 minutes or more late to class three times will count as one unexcused absence.

Assignments and Critiques

Required Texts

Clark, Andy. Natural-born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence. Oxford [u.a.: Oxford Univ., 2010. ISBN: 978-0195177510

Other readings on theory will be online; the URLs will be listed in the calendar and on the blog. For each reading, the student is required to write a multi-paragraph essay describing the core elements of the reading materials as well as any insights the student may have on the concepts.

Suggested additional text:
Mims, Forrest M. Getting Started in Electronics. Lincolnwood, Ill: Master, 2007. ISBN: 9780945053286.
Gibilisco, Stan. Electronics Demystified. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005.
Gibilisco, Stan. Concise Encyclopedia of Robotics. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.
Moravec, Hans P. Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind. New York: Oxford UP, 1999.
Dunne, Anthony. Hertzian Tales: Electronic Products, Aesthetic Experience, and Critical Design. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2005

Turning in Projects
All projects should be demonstrated in class for critiques. You will need to upload all documentation of your project to your personal web folder, as well as bring your project into class.

Extra Credit
Extra credit may be awarded to assignments that go well beyond what we cover in class and other alternative assignments may come up during the semester.

If you miss a regular critique, the project for that critique will be lowered by one letter grade. Late projects and papers will not be accepted without good reason determined on a case-by-case basis by the professor. This class is very dependent on having projects finished for the class critiques: if the student doesn't have the project done, they will not be able to completely participate. If the student has extenuating circumstances, please clear them with the instructor ahead of the due date. Medical emergencies are excused, per doctor’s note.

During critiques, I expect each student's full attention and respect. Monitors will be TURNED OFF during critiques. Critiques begin promptly at the beginning of the class.

Final Critique
Attendance at the Final critique is mandatory. Missing the final critique will result in an F for the Final Project. NO late Final Projects will be accepted!

Grades / Evaluation

All projects will be graded on the rubric chart attached to this syllabus. A grade for Participation will be calculated as a sum of the student's involvement in class and the general helpfulness that the student offers to fellow classmates. In-class Projects and Readings are graded on a pass or fail basis. A grade will be given to each of your main projects based on merit***. Your final grade will be calculated from these three scores.

A (100-90)
Excellent - Above and beyond, artistically AND technically

B (89-80)
Very Good - Beyond requirements, artistically OR technically

C (79-70)
Average - Met the basic requirements

D (69-60)
Did not meet requirements

F (59-0)
Project not turned in or completely insufficient

Grading Rubric

Digital Arts Department Rules

Student Projects

Projects created in any Digital Arts course may be used by the ART department for the purpose of promoting the student, the department and/or the university in general. These materials may also be used by the ART department for instructional purposes in future courses. Please inform the instructor if you do not want your projects used.


Any student who wishes to discuss accommodations on the basis of a disability, please come talk to me after class or during office hours. The goal of the Disability Services for Students Office is to help provide equal access and reasonable accommodations to BGSU students with disabilities. Students wishing to discuss their eligibility for such accommodations are encouraged to contact their office at 372-8495 (413 South Hall).

Academic Honesty

Students are expected to maintain the highest level of integrity in their academic work. From time to time, however, issues such as cheating, fabrication or plagiarism in an academic exercise arise. The original jurisdiction and penalty both vary depending on the offense and when it is discovered. Also, there are specific requirements for record-keeping and for notification of the student and academic dean. The complete policy is available in both the Student Handbook (Codes of Conduct) and the Faculty Handbook (Academic Charter).

Now that we have covered that, let me suggest some things that you can do to get the most from this course: Make the deadlines, yes it will be hard sometimes. Acknowledge that a ‘B’ means above average. Pay attention. Take your turn, let other’s take theirs. Be honest with one another and at the same time you offer suggestions and alternatives that help build up the work of everyone in this course. Help one another and trade favors: “I will take pictures of your project if you can record my piece.” Play: yes please participate. Let me know when you are unsure.


I reserve the right to change these rules as I see fit in order to facilitate a better learning environment.