Computer media is not technology anymore, it is just the ordinary media of our times.   To be able to make rather than just use this media you have to learn to program it.  As always,  program or be programmed.   Programming traditional media just required deciding on a sequence of words or images.  The new capabilities of computational media to instantly rearrange things in time and space requires programming with repeat loops, variables and conditionals.

In this class we are going to work backwards from a very specific application of computational media that might interest dancers.  We are going program applications that show images or play sounds in reaction to movements in front of a Kinect depth sensing camera.  The hope is that by understanding this particular application of loops, variables and conditional that you will  begin to see their more general application.

I am sure you all have a million better examples but here are a couple of quick examples of projects that use this technology


The programming environment we will use is called p5.   Tools for programming computational media come in a continuum from low level to high level.   High level tools are easier to work with but only do a subset of the full capabilities of the computer.  For instance HTML can’t do much more than just print media

  • HTML
  • JAVA
  • C
  • C++

Your class has you trying tools a many different levels.  This segment will probably at the lowest level.  In Processing you will have to learn more programming but in return there will be fewer limits on what they can accomplish.

At whatever level you work, you will be doing the same things.  And only step three is specific to any particular language.

  1. Making and Algorithm
  2. Writing Psuedo Code
  3. Syntax
  4. Debugging

The Usual Stuff


  1. Learn how computational media is different from traditional media.
  2. Get a feeling for what computers can do.
  3. Get a feeling for how computers work.
  4. Learn about possibilites of 3D cameras
  5. Get something interesting to happen based on human movement.

Readings: There are couple of suggested readings if you prefer books but most of the material is online readings ,examples,  tutuorials or lectures and others.

Costs: You will need a laptop.  All the software is free and open source.

Work: Chances are you will work hard on this class.  It is not that conceptually difficult but debugging takes an unpredictable amount of time.  If you treat it like a puzzle it is pretty enjoyable.  Also as a beginner you should try to get satisfaction with small steps while keeping in mind and writing down your big dreams.


  • On-time Participation 20%
  • Blogging 20%
  • Assignments 40%
  • Final Project 20%

STATEMENT OF ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work as though it were your own.  More specifically, plagiarism is to present as your own: A sequence of words quoted without quotation marks from another writer or a paraphrased passage from another writer’s work or facts, ideas or images composed by someone else.

STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLE: The core of the educational experience at the Tisch School of the Arts is the creation of original academic and artistic work by students for the critical review of faculty members.  It is therefore of the utmost importance that students at all times provide their instructors with an accurate sense of their current abilities and knowledge in order to receive appropriate constructive criticism and advice.  Any attempt to evade that essential, transparent transaction between instructor and student through plagiarism or cheating is educationally self-defeating and a grave violation of Tisch School of the Arts community standards.   For all the details on plagiarism, please refer to page 10 of the Tisch School of the Arts, Policies and Procedures Handbook 2013-2014, which can be found online at: http://students.tisch.nyu.edu/page/home.html

ACCESSIBILITY: Academic accommodations are available for students with documented disabilities.  Please contact the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities at 212-998-4980 for further information.

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