Interactive Art (60-423/723) is an advanced studio course in interactive art, realtime arts-computing, and new media practice. This course has a special emphasis on non-traditional sensing technologies and experimental techniques for acquiring data about people and the world, through e.g. machine learning; gestural motion capture systems for the face, hands, eyes and body; and devices that sense beyond the limits of human perception. Our core objective is the creation of new culture through exploratory software development.

Topics surveyed in the course will be tailored to student interests, and may include: experimental interface design, game design, real-time audiovisuals, locative and mobile media, vision-based interactions, simulation, and other topics. Through a small number of exploratory assignments and a public capstone project, students will bolster interdisciplinary problem-solving abilities and explore computation as a medium for curiosity-driven experimentation. Students are expected to have demonstrable programming skills, without exception, beyond the level of an introductory class such as 15-112. Although the course will provide technical overviews of major arts-engineering toolkits, assignments may be executed (except where indicated) in the student’s preferred programming environment. Graduate students should register for section 60-723, which meets with the undergraduate section 60-423.


Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • Be proficient in creating computer programs capable of responding to user interaction, in a variety of different creative coding tools, such as p5.js, Processing, Arduino, and Unity3D.
  • Gain familiarity with the repertoire of artists, designers, works and activities around interactive art, generative form, and computational design.
  • Understand the role of computation in artworks that explore concepts of transmediality, connectivity, generativity, and immersivity.
  • Understand how to document and present creative work online, and in person.


This is a studio course, whose emphasis is the development of craft fluency through regular practice. This course expects students to produce weekly Deliverables, which consist of Projects and Looking Outwards reports. All Deliverables are to be posted (according to requested requirements) on the course WordPress website. Following two small “Warmup” exercises, there will be four main Projects due at approximately 3-week intervals, including a multiphase final project with a proposal, check-in, and public exhibition phase. In addition, students will write a number of “Looking Outwards” research reports based on Internet and/or library research.

The Deliverables for Spring 2019 are as follows. Note that this list (and its order) may be subject to change.

  1. Warmup 1 (2D Physics Software) — Due Wednesday, January 23
  2. Warmup 2 (Mask Software) — Due Wednesday, January 30
  3. Project A. Drawing Tool / Visual Instrument (Gesture Software) — Due Monday, February 18
  4. Project B. Cairn or Telegraph (Networked Communication System) — Due Wednesday, March 6
  5. Project C. Cohort-Voted Project (Tricorder, Manufactory, Visualization) — Due Wednesday, April 3
  6. Final Project — Due the week of April 29 and May 1

In addition to the above, students are also expected to write a number Looking Outwards reports. For these small assignments, you are asked to “look outwards” — to browse various resources in order to deepen your knowledge of the field. You are expected to report on your findings with a critical perspective. For some weeks, the “Looking Outwards” deliverables may be thematically oriented. After completing the sequence of Looking Outwards reports, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate familiarity with historic and/or contemporary new-media projects relevant to that student’s specific research interests; and
  • Demonstrate familiarity with new-media projects that exemplify cultural practice with widely-used arts-engineering toolkits and/or with specific technologies.