ITP is like a good buffet. There are so many food in the restaurant and I have a certain limited time.
If I try to different type of food, it could be good or bad experience, but it would be better when you focus on big main stream. If you try too many different food, you might taste many things, but will be full soon.
Being at ITP is an extraordinary experience in terms of inspiring and encouraging community as well as struggling with writing various types of codes during the semester. First of all, I will retrospect my original goal of attending ITP at the first place. I have studied Fine Art for years, focusing on staged photography, sculpture and installation. However, over the years of presenting works only in galleries space or institution, I felt limited in a way that I don’t have enough audience to talk about it and gallery show format did not satisfy me. In order to fulfill my desire of sharing thoughts and ideas, I decided to move forward to practical implementation such as building a social networking or developing web as well as not losing the interest of creating interactive installation.
My expectation before school and real life at ITP was being met in general, which I am so happy about it, yet there were a couple of things that I was not able to predict. At the time of writing, I can list at least three things that I have realized it hard. Above all, managing all different type of classes, and maintaining focus was not hard to manage. Taking 6 classes was so hard that I cannot maintain my focus on one thing. Even in a day, I had to move back and forth between classes to finish homework and there was not enough room to take a deep breadth on a subject matter. For instance, if I spent a few days with processing, I was getting to forget about the electronics circuit, vice versa. This happened very occasionally whenever I moved to the other subject, and it drove me crazy. I questioned myself whether I was capable of learning complex code or not. Although I found out that there was a group of people struggling with same issues, yet it is somehow hard to keep focusing at one subject matter and get depth of it at the first semester.
Secondarily, collaborating did not come easy to me in many ways. Because of the characteristic of my former majors, photography and sculpture, I got accustomed to work individually and it was hard for me to yield about the reason why we made work as I believe that is the essential part of creating things. I was not able to involve myself enough in a project if I couldn’t find a reason to do it. However, I am totally admitting that I did not put my full effort on communicating with others, convincing my thought and negotiating, which I felt regretful about it. Ironically, doing collaboration with others was the one of the drives that forced me to be in ITP, and I have realized that I need to have a mindset toward collaboration.
In contrast to collaboration perspective, I was also required to do individual work, especially writing code. However I found it very challenging for me to maintain full length of attention in the way that it is intangible media. My initial plan for the first semester was focusing on computational media instead of focusing on physical computing, but I found myself in the shop all the times as I love making things in tangible manner. Compared to the making things, writing code takes significant amount of time, and cannot see the outcome of the work right away unless my code works properly. Being stuck with broken code was terrible moment and could not stay with it for long time. So, I got inclinable to go to the shop to make tangible objects instead of debugging code, but time went by, I had started to feel guilt about not spending enough time on it. Long story short, my lesson of this semester is that the amount of the time I spend on code is proportional to my capabilities of writing code, and I am here not for staying in my comfortable zone, but for marching to new field regardless of how hard it is.
Lastly, I really want to say that this ITP community is truly inspiring community. Through the entire semester, every colleague and all professors are my biggest motivation of working all semester long.
Everyone on the floor is good source of others and is willing to help each other nevertheless they are in the busy mood. Additionally, by watching the progress of people here, I was able to keep maintaining myself focused and staying busier than ever in my life. Furthermore, all professors at ITP are very knowledgeable and accessible to answer our questions. To demonstrate this, I would like to share one of the story that I got impressed so much. For my final physical computing project, I am now working on automatic cat feeder that will be controlled by people over the extension of Internet. However, I was jammed with mechanism at the beginning as I had no idea of making motor controlled open rid, including locking system to prevent my cat to eat foot without permission. For the time being, I tried to figure out how to design a simple and efficient system all the time, even before I lied in my bed. Then, here comes the story. When I worked at the shop, Tom just came to the shop and gave a thing to me, and I did not know that what it was and why he gave that to me. I thought that that would be miscommunication with someone. Then, he explained it that the thing was his automatic cat feeder he had and it did not work with his cat. He thought it would be useful for me in terms of mechanism design built in the machine and would be a prototype for my future cat feeder. I know it is not a big action or something truly meaningful, but that meant something to me as I came from different culture of education.
Generally, I am so happy that I am here!