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Summer Quarter

June 29 – August 23

Fall Quarter

September 19 – December 9

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Download Fall Catalog (PDF 2MB)

Kinetics and Electronics Faculty

The possibilities of integrating movement and sound with artwork are endless – from wind-powered mobiles to motorized robots, art cars, flaming sculptures and more. The Kinetics and Electronics Department focuses on mechanical and electronics-based movement to help you create dynamic and interactive artwork. Whether it is large-scale Rube Goldberg contraptions or tiny robots that literally have minds of their own, these classes will help you take your creations to the next level. Learn about motors, how to program microchips, where to find components, and how to (safely) set your work on fire!

Summer Quarter

Please see the Class Index page here.

Fall Quarter

Mechanical Sculpture I

Learn how to make your creations move! This course introduces such simple and complex mechanisms as gears, cams, pulleys and linkages. You’ll learn how to create, convert, and control movement, along with combining these elements to get the complex motion you desire. Hands-on labs using foam board, plastic and wood deepen your understanding of these concepts, which you can apply to other materials. Personal projects and interests are welcomed and encouraged.

Electromechanics for Everything

Use the simplest of electronic and mechanical components to make things spin, twitch, jump, bend, and wiggle. This class covers switches, buttons, relays, motors, servos, and solenoids. We’ll also explore some basic analog and digital control circuits, AC/DC current, and safety. The techniques taught in this class can be applied to almost any kind of project.

Arduino Microcontrollers: Building Smart Art

Give new meaning to intelligent design. Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It is perfect for artists, designers, hobbyists and anyone interested in making intelligent creations that can sense and act in the real world. The types of sensors and actuators possible are nearly limitless. Starting with the basics, we thoroughly review Arduino’s hardware and software features. Plenty of hands-on lab time deepens your understanding and enables you to create interactions of your own. A laptop computer is required- loaners may be available. Arduino board and accessories provided. *A laptop computer is required. Students take home all components that are part of their final project.

Youth Extreme Gizmos (ages 8-11)

Learn Kinetic techniques to design, engineer, and construct a mechanical sculpture, contraption, or gadget with lights and moving parts. Using new and salvaged components, you will learn how motors, lights, and switches work, how to create mechanical structures, how to make different types of motion and how to operate your very own fantastical contraption.

Future Quarters

Electronics for Artists

Do you dream of building interactive, animated sculpture with sensors, lights, and motors? Get an introduction to basic circuitry and the skills you will need to integrate electronics with your work in this beginner course. You will learn basic electronic theory, schematic reading, use of solderless breadboards for prototyping, and soldering. You will also learn how to scavenge components from old circuitboards, and where to source new parts and supplies. Each student will receive a kit including a solderless breadboard and parts for experimentation.

Arduino Microcontrollers: Building Smart Art

Give new meaning to intelligent design. Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It is perfect for artists, designers, hobbyists and anyone interested in making intelligent creations that can sense and act in the real world. The types of sensors and actuators possible are nearly limitless. Starting with the basics, we thoroughly review Arduino’s hardware and software features. Plenty of hands-on lab time deepens your understanding and enables you to create interactions of your own. A laptop computer is required- loaners may be available. Arduino board and accessories provided. *A laptop computer is required. Students take home all components that are part of their final project.

Intermediate Mechanics for Artists

Take your mechanical sculpture to the next level by delving into construction techniques, geometry, and problem solving for mechanisms and contraptions of all sorts. We will make gears, learn how to work with four-bar movements, and practice mapping out mechanisms on paper or using computer drafting. We will dissect machines to find out how they work, and build our own using the drill press, bandsaw, and simple hand tools. Work on an organized project, or bring your own design to work on. If you have basic metalworking skills and know a bit about mechanics, and want to get started constructing complex devices with interesting, reliable movements, this class is the place to start.

Handmade Electronic Music & Sound Design

If you’ve ever thought about integrating electronic music or sound art into your work, this course provides an engaging introduction to the craft of making—as well as creatively cannibalizing—electronic circuits for artistic purposes. This guided tour through the world of electronics teaches the inner workings of basic electronic devices so you can use them for your own creative ends. Covering basic electronic principles and practical circuitry from the artist’s point of view, this course will help you transcend any fear of electronic technology and experience the pleasure of working creatively with all kinds of analog circuitry.

Kinetics Immersion Program

Over the course of five days, you will learn theory, principles, and extensive techniques that will give you the necessary skills to work independently. Each day will consist of six hours of instruction with four hours of optional open lab time in the evening, with the exception of Friday which will be a full 8 hour lab day. Lunch and dinner will be provided. Come experience The Crucible in an intense learning program that will foster new skills and develop the artist in you. No experience is necessary to take this class.

Programming Interactive Art & Games With Processing

Get started with programming using Processing, a simple yet powerful graphic programming language targeted to artists and designers. In this hands-on course you will learn programming fundamentals by writing your own programs, from computer games to cutting-edge algorithmic art. Though it is simple to use, Processing is a full-featured language, not a toy: the concepts you will learn (variables, loops, functions and arrays) are fundamental and necessary for programming in any other language. In particular, the popular Arduino hardware platform is based on the Processing language; fundamentals learned in this course translate naturally to Arduino and beyond. A laptop computer is very helpful but not essential.