Art 511.01 Art and Emerging Technologies

FA 544   Tu/Th  9-12   Fall 2010

Professor Stephen Wilson
Fine Arts Annex 539, 338-2291, email:
Office hours  tu 12-2 (best to confirm)        Lab Fee: 0
Class web page:
Class Yahoo groups page -
CIA Blog - events in bay area

More information about Conceptual Information Arts (CIA) Program (

Required Text:  Stephen Wilson.  Art+Science Now.  Thames & Hudson. London, 2010.
Some copies of this book are available at the bookstore and at other bookstores in the city.
You can also buy it online at a discount, but be sure to order it early so you will have it for the semester.
For example you can get information about the book and order it via Steve Wilson website at:

Recommended  Text: Stephen
WilsonInformation Arts: Intersections of Art, Science, and Technology.  MIT Press.  Cambridge,MA 2002. (This text was written by the professor partially in response to this Art and Research course.  It is available at the SFSU bookstore, other bookstores, or via web book sellers - for example, see wilson's link to book information on Information Arts.)

Course Description and Prerequesites

This course aims to prepare artists and new media professionals to become innovators in the development of emerging technologies.  Students will study new developments in biology, body imaging, alternative interfaces (motion, gesture, voice, face, biosensors, etc) materials  science, gps, VR, nanotechnology, and other fields.  Students will learn how to discover what is going on in the research think tanks and develop conceptual art works and prototypes based on the technologies.  They also will study the patent system and develop a mock patent. Students will learn basic web authoring as a tool for mocking up concepts

Prerequisites: consent of instructor

Course Objectives

 1. to articulate the relevance of scientific research and emerging technology to art and media creation.

 2.  to develop critical perspectives about scientific and technology research processes and their relationship to contemporary culture.

 3.  to identify innovative artists working with research and technology and to articulate critical positions in regard to this work.

 4.   to become familiar with sources of information about current scientific and technology research including corporate and university research centers, scientific and trade journals, academic meetings, trade shows, world wide web sources, patent system, science museums, listservers, equipment catalogs, and vendor communication.

 5.  to develop literacy in interpreting scientific and technological sources.

 6. to be able to explain current research issues in the following scientific and technological areas:  biotechnology, bionics, brain functioning, artificial life, materials science, nanotechnology, rapid-prototyping, ubiquitous computing, information visualization, artificial intelligence, telepresence, gesture recognition,sonification, computer speech, GPS, surveillance technology.

7.  to develop art and media research proposals to build on emerging technologies

8 to develop the ability to identify particular researchers or developers with relevant information, to communicate with them about their research, and to gain access to resources.

9. to develop the ability to use the web search engines to gather information and web page creation to present ideas

Requirements, Attendance and Grading

-Attendance:  This course is run as a seminar.  The material is not available in a text.  Students are expected to miss no more than 3 sessions except for sickness.  Also class will begin promptly.  If students cannot meet these requirements, they should not take the course.  Students who fail to meet requirements will be asked to drop.

- Active participation: The seminar requires each student to make many presentations with adequate research.  All students are expected to be prepared for their presentations at the designated times.

- Requirements & Evaluation:  The assignment sheet lists the requirements for the course.  A grade of A will require extra effort project, attendance  at relevant community events, and reading a book related to course topics.  Students will be expected to write a self assessment paper at the end of the course documenting ideas pursued, work, completed, etc.  See details on assignments below.

Probation, ADA Accomodation, Health and Safety

Acadmic Probation

If you are on academic probation, make an appointment as soon as possible to work out what you need to do to meet the terms of your probation.

American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accomodation

The Disability Programs andResource Center provides university academic support services and specialized assistance to students with disabilities. Stiudents with disabilities who need reasonable accommodatons are encouraged to contact the instructor.  The Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC)  is available to facilitate the reasonable accommodations process.  The DPRC is located in the Student Service Building and can be reached by telephone (voice/TTY 415-338-2472) or by email (

Health and Saftey

Working with computers and electronic devices poses certain hazards to muscles, sight, posture.  Students need to be aware of these dangers and the precautions that can be taken.  Please consult the CIA safety guidelines.
CIA health and safety guide

Details of Assignments

Major Assignments:

Art Proposal 1:    Quick Study on Research Area or Phenomenon. Technology is changing both the physical and social landscape of the world in which we live, so much so that we are poised to inherit an arena of expression which quickly reaches beyond the range of traditional art media, contexts and approaches. With this notion in mind pick a natural phenomena or area of emerging research interest, briefly explain the current state of knowledge in this field and present how you would technically, conceptually, and creatively orchestate these features to develop an experimental art work.  Read the section of Information Arts and Art + Science Now most related to your idea.  This is a quick study project so the limitations of materials, cost, time, and scale are reduced, and focus is on the articulate transform of the basic idea (e.g. concepts in scientific research to art).  The presentation should include text and images to illustrate your ideas and background sources on the technology.  Include at least 8 annotated links to researchers and artists relevant to your idea.  

Create a web page to present you ideas, links, images.  Present orally to seminar.  Post the
web site (html pages and images) into the special sfsu server space on art 511_h.  Post the links in the relevant folder of Yahoo group site dedicated to this course.  (see details below).

Final Art Proposal 2:  Elegant proposal and plan for project based on research/phenomenon.  This project should be developed as far as possible.

New Invetion Proposal:  Propose a new invention that could be produced.?The idea should not be strictly utilitarian.  It should have some element of cultural commentary or artisitic or conceptual experimentation. Conduct a patent search for similar inventions.? Present a prototype patent application with text description, discussion of related inventions, and diagrams or mock up images done in the line drawing style of regular patents.?If you are not a good drawer, you can use photoshop filters to convert regular image into line drawing.  Create mini-web site to host your patent -eg patent and drawings.  Consider duplicating the standard patent format Post it to a web page in our Yahoo group.? Present orally to seminar. (see details below).   See Yasmin discussion of artists and patents 

You may find these Photoshop techniques useful for converting photographs to line drawings in order to approximate the drawing style used in patents

Lunacore  - Photo to Line Drawing s

MyJanee  -Making a Line Drawing from a Photo

Creating a photo-realistic line drawing  Deke McClellan


Mini-Tutorial for Web Authoring

A mini-tutorial on web authoring will be offered for students without web prior experience.  The tutorial will show how to use Komposer  as a web auhoring environment. Kompozer is an open source program available for the Mac, PC, and Linnux  Online tutorials are available at:

Kompozer - main site including download

Charles Cooke's User Guide

Background Reading on Artists and Patents

See the cia art/technology text pages

Background Assignments:

Artist Presentations 1 & 2:   Investigate artists working with new technology or scientific inquiry.  Pick one that specially interests you.  Study what they have done using the web and other sources if available.  Prepare a brief review of their work and what you find interesting and problematic.  Post link and brief summary of interest to the web.  Present longer oral presentation for the seminar.

Think Tank Presentation:  Pick a think tank that interests you. Review the way the center organizes its research.  Get a feel for the kinds of research they support. Identify one project they are working on that interests you.  Prepare a brief review of this project noting what you find interesting and problematic.  Post a brief review and link to the web using the class automatic update site.  Present longer oral presentation to present to the seminar.

Journal or magazine source presentation 1:  Browse the periodical collection.  Identify one that you have never seen that seems interesting.  Prepare a brief overview of its focus with examples of two articles you found noteworthy.  Post link and brief summary of interest to the web..  Present longer oral presentation to seminar.  Bring a copy of the journal back to the seminar.

Science museum project:  (Extra) Visit the Exploratorium.  Identify an area of inquiry treated in the exhibits that interests you.  Create a brief proposal of an art project based on that set of concerns.  Post it to the web.  Present longer oral presentation to seminar.

Reading- theory presentation 1,2  There are many theorists now writing about technoculture covering themes such as the impact of media and representation, the dissolution of the body, fluid identity, deconstruction of narratives of power, surveillance, control, progress, and scientific truth.  Identify two articles you find interesting and prepare reviews of the arguments and what you find interesting/problematic.  Post link and brief review to your web page and make oral presenations of 2 to the seminar.  Students will also be expected to read seveeral chapters from Art+Science Now and  Information Arts including  chapters on art & research ( 1.1;1.2); chapter on art theory (7.1) and the relevant sections related to their projects. 

Self Evaluation:   All students in the course will be required to write a self evaluation analyzing what projects were completed, what skills were learned, strong and weak points, effects on perspectives. Self Evaluation Guidelines are available on Infoarts web site.

Attend Bay Area Events in Art/Science/Technology:  Detals at CIA Events Blog

Symposium GLOBAL WARNING: Artists, Scientists and Environmental Activism. This two-day event will examine the interconnectedness of ideas and actions and the current relationships between art-making, science and ecology
Other art  exhibitions//performances that are part of San Jose's ZeroOne biennial
Energy Harvesting Art Show at UC Berkeley Worth Ryder Gallery (includes professor and several CIA student Teams)    Engery Harvesting Show Ryder Gallery info

Details for posting project 1, project 2, and patent, and other artist,thinktank,journal references

A special Yahoo web group account has been set aside to store the projects and links of this class.  It is the site called art511research10 Its web address is The web site will be a major resource for the course.  Several of the assignments ask you to find interesting resources on the web and upload a link and short summary (experimental artists, think tank, journals). 

Other assignments ask you to actually create a mini-web site to present your project proposals (project1, project 2, patent proposal).  For the first set all you have to upload is a link address and short summary attached to the link.  For the second more complex projects you will have to create some web pages and images.  The uploading is slightly more complex for those.


Uploading links and short summaries (experimental artists, think tank, journals, etc) to Yahoo

Uploading mini web-sites - html page and images (project 1, project 2, patent)

These assignments require 3 stages - 1. creating the web site; 2 uploading it to the SFSU special server and 3. uploading the link to the bookmarks page on Yahoo.

Details for  1. Creating Web Sites and 2. Uploading the Web Pages and Images

Uploading Pages & Sites

A special web account has been set aside to store the projects of this class.  It is the site called art511_h  In order to make this uploading work with several different people contributing, certain naming conventions must be followed.  Here are the steps:

If you follow these conventions it will be easy to create master indexes and to let this server function as an archive for the future.  Here is a rough diagram that illustrates.

3.  Uploading Links

Once you have uploaded your site into art511_h. then you are ready to put its link in the list of links on the Yahoo site.  All official postings of links  should be entered in the special Yahoo group for this course 'art511research10'.   Here are the steps for posting:

Join the group.  When you first sign on to the yahoo group link above it will ask you if you want to join.  You must join in order to post.  Its instructions are fairly straight forward. You will only need to join once.

Upload your pages:  Make sure your site has been uploaded to the art511_h site as indicated above.

Uploading links:  Once your site is loaded  you will need to upload the link to your entry page in the bookmarks area.  Get the link address of your entry page  Go to the book marks area.  Click into the folder that represents the particular assignment.  Choose the add bookmark option.  It will ask you for a tag line and the url.

Tentative Schedule - Fall, 2010  

Professor Stephen Wilson, Conceptual/Information Arts, SFSU
(*** Note - Details of the schedule and assignments are subject to change)

Aug 24
Survey of Research Fields
-Ass: Read Introduction Art + Science Now
(since some of you may not yet have the book the instructor will place a secret  pdf copy of the introduction on class serverIt is crucial you order the book immediately if you are buying online.)
- Read chapters in Art+Science Now on Biology 1,2,3 in preparation for visiting professor presentation on 9/9
- Ass  Background reading on Genetic Research
Survey of Research Fields

-Ass:  Art Proposal 1

- Supplementary -
Read "Information Arts: Art as Research"  "Chapters 1.1; 1.2"
Aug 26
Survey of Artists
- Ass:  Tech Artist 1
Introduction to Web Authoring
Brainstorming Techniques
Lab web authoring
Aug 31
Introduction Art + Science Now
Discussion  popular science/ wired articles
Introduction to technocultural theory

- Ass:  Reading Wilson, Art+Science Now, chapters 1 to 3
Lab/ Web Authoring

Sep 2
Discuss chapters from Art+Science Now
Survey of Artists
Review preliminary plans for project 1
Presentation/Discussion  Wilson - Art and Research chapters
Sept 7
Meet in class then will go to the library. 
Journal Search (Library)  Browse the collection: Meet at reserve desk at 10:30

Science Magazines
Presentation due: Interesting journal
Sept 9
Presentation due: Tech Artist 1
survey of artists - body
health and saftey
Visitor Presentation on Bioculture - Susan Connell
Sept 14
Discussions  Art+Science Now, chapters 1 to 3

Ass - Read Art+Science Now chapters 5-6
work on project 1 web sites

meet with professor

Sept 16
Introduction to think tanks
Sept 21
Introduction to Patents
-Ass:  Student Patent Project

Sept 23
Presentation due: Art Proposal 1 
Sept 28
Introduction to Patents  - Nina Hagiwara
   Library Presentation on patent searching
Continuation presentations
Sept 30
Consult on Patent Ideas
-Ass: Think tank
Oct 5
- Ass: Read Wilson "Dark & Light Visions"; Information Arts - ch 7.1
-Ass: Reading/theory 1
Oct 7
Presetation due:  Thnk tank
Lab to work on inventions

Oct 12
-Ass:  Project 2
Oct 14
Presentation due:  New invention
Oct 19  - No class
- Work on Project 2
Professor out of town
Oct 21 - No class
- Work on Project 2
Professor out of town
Oct 26
 Presentation due: Theory/Reading 1
continue presentations project 2
Oct 28
  Posting Due:  1st part of Project 2 - short description/links :oral presentation
Presentation due: Theory/Reading 1
Nov 2
Presentation due: Technology review from art proposal 2

Nov 4
Tech Artist 2
Nov 9
Individual Meetings With Professor
Nov 11
Individual Meetings With Professor
Nov 16
Class - finish pending items
Nov 18
Nov 23     -----------Thanksgiving Break ---------
Nov 25  ----------Thanksgiving Break -------------------
Nov 30  Visit to Exploratorium?
Individual Meetings With Professor
Preliminary versions of final web page due
Dec 2
Dec 7
Presentation due: Art proposal 2

Dec 9
Finish  proposal 2  presentations)
Final self evaluations due

Class Resources - Web Links

View 1999-2004, 2007-9 Projects

Art & Emerging Research - 2009 Project summaries

Art & Emerging Research - 2008 Project Summaries

Art & Emerging Research - 2007 Project Summaries

Art and Emerging Research - 2004 Project Summaries
2004 Projects  -  Genetically engineered miniature polar bears, suicide machine, energy machines, math fun house, celebrity surgery, strange projection surfaces, etc .  Also view links to tech artists, thinktanks, journals, etc

Art & Emerging Research  - 2003 Project Summaries
View projects summaries from Spring, 2003   (plants respond to emotions, images based on underlying mathematics of African village layout, fractal sculpture, bioluminescent sky writing, sound visualization, augmented reality, etc.)  Links to tech artists, think tanks, interresting journals, misc sites

Art & Emerging Research  - 2001 Project Summaries
Research Proposals #1
  • visit site Designer corporate logo butterflies. -james m
  • visit site A look at the future possibilities of chaos theory in control -  kerry l
  • *** An idea page about wiring your entire home, and putting your life on display to the internet via Web Cams. -Nathan Shelley
  • visit site  Dokodemo(Anywhere)Room- Ayumi Akasaka
  • visit site the IC room allows visitors to manipulate a musical composition using gesture and touch. - bela
  • visit site Interactive installation using biofeedback. -jonathan l 
  • visit site  Xenosex (capsules with celebrity sexual experiences. JONATHAN APOUR
  • visit site clothing goes beyond it's current function - changeable t-shirt logos (deadlink?) -mike p
  • visit siteLil' Scientist Micro Injection Lab - transgenteitc fish -Laura t
  • visit site  New kind of digital ink - andrew
  • visit site The disposable GPS diaper. Jeff l
  • visit site  Wearable computing out of control - mike o

  • visit site  Electronic dream catcher - dagmara
    Research Proposals #2
  • visit site The saga of Nikola Tesla and the student who couldn't type a link correctly!
  • visit siteSynesthesia - the mixing of senses link site -  DB
  • visit site 'Ware the stochastic sunusoidal reticulations! all books poltted - andrew wad
  • visit site AURA SHADES.pseudoscience at its finest. jon apour
  • visit site Call For Participants! Your chance to be part of an important study.swapping bodies -kl
  • visit site Teleportation-Ayumi
  • visit site An exploration of using hacking as a new medium for visual expression, protest and performance. -Nathan Shelley
  • visit site FEED - webcasting to a TV near you... bČla
  • visit site Surveillance Disruption - jeff L
  • visit site Perambulators roam the Earth... -Laura
  • Patent Proposals
  • visit site McTechnoGod - customizable spiritual interface - patent
  • visit site Monochromatic Viewing Device with Contrast Control - kl
  • ***Portable Lie Detector Patent -DB
  • ***Dream recorder and dream imagery reconstruction device. -Nathan
  • visit site A powerful electronic device which simulates a crowd so the neighbors don't have to know how lonely you really are.
  • visit site This is the ULTIMATE BATHROOM BUDDY... >>>>>JDA
  • visit site recently broke up? have an ex? send them a gift they'll never forget bad flower (dead link)... -mp
  • visit site Method and device for replication of behavior patterns - wad
  • visit site Eyeglass and belt buckel digital imaging system. Jeff
  • visit site 24 hours available secure vending system- Ayumi
  • visit site A lighted, enclosed shelving unit featuring electro-luminescent lighting panels!! -Laura
  • *** missing or dead link

    Art & Emerging Research - 2000 Project Summaries  -
    Index -
    Lillith Bailey-Kroll Project 1 - A system to make breath visible (for example in yoga or dance)

    patent - Projection system that allows people to see different projections based on position 

    Alex Streczyn Project 1 - System to bring down the Internet

    Project 2 - A visual cellular automata system

    Patent- evolving autonomous house

    Jeremy Ehling Project 1 - Virtual Labyrinth - a virtual and physical space that match exactly

    Project 2 - A videoconference optimized for international "cypher" rapping

    Heather Logas Project 2 - Autonomous bat robot

    Patent - a bicycle system to power personal electronics

    Laura McDonald Project 1 - system to generate 3-d image of your face based on DNA 

    Project 2 - A "safe" fire that burns cool

    Patent - rainbow fire system

    Lisa Husby Project 1 - Dream Home - techno house for women
    Kenric McDowell Project 1 - Immersive sound space

    Project 2 - Project for direct musicfrom seismic signals

    Project 3 - A 3-D system for displaying essays

    Rene Garcia Clone system for full range of traits -
    Jesse Jackson Project 1 A sculpture generating system

    Patent - dream recognition material 

    Mark Gretzinger Project 1 - how expensive would bionic man be today

    Project 2 - A personal "constellation" system of small satelites that can be controlled from earth

    Patent - bicycle shoulder attachment

    Art & Emerging Research - 1999 Project Summaries

    Index -
      1999 Projects
    Vincent deWitt Huberts Patent - Belly wheel for mobility of obese people   image 

    Project 1 - Holographic 3-D Words in Projection

    Joe Schecter Project 1 - night vision system 

    Project 2 - a variety of "hands" for prosthetic devices image1image2

    patent - bycycle security system

    Rachel Watson Project 1 - A computer system to draw a portrait of what a person would like to look like

    Project 2 - An artificial 3-D Audience that would follow the presenter and respond appropriately (eg laughter, applause)

    Patent - Invisible tattoo system

    Danny Lee Project 1 - A system to make large scale sculptures that look life feces

    Project 2 - A "Road Rage" system that sensed conditions that generate road rage and then generate billboard displays designed to calm the drivers

    Patent - LCD contact lens

    Isaiah Hirschfield Project 1 - Voice activated portable journal

    Project 2 - A healthy interface for the computer in which physical activity is necessary to get work done

    Steven Nobili Project 1 - genetic design

    Project 2 - VR system for working with phobias

    Patent - a fart freshener

    Jeff Pizzo Project 1 - art pain 

    Project 2 - A projection/x-ray system that lets you dance with your own skeleton in real time

    Patent - "Nanny Helmet" gives rewards and punishments to children based on their behavior

    Jenny West Project 2 - Hearing health - a system that detects and creates sonic signals related to the health status of a person's body systems

    patent - tampon dispenser 

    Mike Hiskey Project 1 - a system to record dreams

    project 2 - cybersex 

    Patent - battery operated heated bra

    Carmela Bacani Project 1 - Internal communication system in ears

    Project 2 - a system to simulate your appearance in 20 years based on your current lifestyle

    Patent - An internal communication system for direct playing and recording of music and text

    Jonathan Cross 3-d Sculpting - intuitive system for generating 3-d models

    Fluid document interface for deconstructing texts on the web

    Patent - a video surveillance disrupter 

    Gregory Fischer Project 1 - Home wired for verbal interface

    Project 2 - Sculpture built out of stem cells

    Dave D Project 1 - Genetic engineering company

    Project 2- Hyperbolic sound sculpture in space

    Patent - sexual stimulation telecommunication device

    Lindsay Jones Project 1 = Instant virtual reality glasses
     Laura McGough project 1 - blood & guts in cyberspace
    Naomi Project 1 - biofeedback automatic selection of MP3 files

    patent - heated garment

     (******Note  -  some links may be dead)
    View Links from spring,2000
  • View 00tech artist review1 pages
  • View 00tech artist review2 pages
  • View 00research journal review pages
  • View 00think tank project descriptions
  • View 00theory /article mini-reviews
  • View 00Miscellaneous Research Oriented Interesting Sites
  • View Links from spring,1999
  • View 99tech artist review1 pages
  • View 99tech artist review2 pages
  • View 99research journal review pages
  • View 99think tank project descriptions
  • View 99theory /article mini-reviews
  • View 99Miscellaneous Research Oriented Interesting Sites