About this project
Electronics and digital technology can infuse works of art with an element of magic. At The Hacktory we have literally put this magic in people’s hands, through classes and large public events. We want to do more though. We want to make our classes available to artists. We've found that they are usually the most excited to take our classes and play with technology, but usually the least able to pay for our classes.
The Hacktory is creating a program called T.E.R.A. Incognita: Tech Education and Residency for Artists. Our goal is to support artists who want to create new work and experiment with technology such as cameras, projectors, sensors, robots, software and circuits. The name “T.E.R.A Incognita” is part acronym, part vision for the program. We want to give these artists an opportunity to learn and explore at the edges of technology and art, literally in unchartered territory, to create new experiences and new possibilities with code, hardware and creative expression.
The project consists of several pieces:
- Planning/Application phase: We will be asking experienced new media artists what helped them the most in their process of learning technology. We will then use that information to design the call for artists and launch the application process.
- Workshop/ Residency Phase: With the artists selected, we will hold the workshops and the artists will begin the residency, receiving a stipend and space at our facility, with continued mentoring from our experienced artists. During this phase the artists in residence will also assist in after school classes for The Hacktory, to give us a bit of extra help, and to gain teaching experience.
- Exhibition Phase: The final phase of the project of course is to show the new work the artists have made to the public and celebrate it!
The Hacktory was formed in 2007 to provide classes in topics like circuits, programming, and robotics for personal development, and form a creative social group to collaborate with. Our mission is to inspire anyone to use technology for personal expression, and it involves two components. First: Education (circuits, electricity, radio-frequency, robots, computers, and the science and math behind them). Second: A respectful atmosphere where artists, scientists, and programmers alike can feel comfortable asking questions.
• Provide artists interested in electronic and digital art a stepping stone from learning on their own to becoming professional new media artists
• Utilize the expertise of Hacktory instructors and give them sustained forum to share their knowledge
• Provide art/tech enthusiasts with exciting new work
A Special Opportunity
To complete this project, we have been awarded a generous matching grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge. Our idea was selected with 34 finalists out of over more than 1200 applications, and was awarded a matching grant of $40,000. In order to get the matching funds though, we need to raise the same amount. For this campaign we are only looking for funds to get the project rolling, or $12,000. These funds will cover the following:
- $1500 for Advisors
- $2000 for Instructors
- $7000 for Parts and Supplies
- $1000 for Travel (for Advisors and Instructors)
- $1500 for Marketing
Katherine Bennett is an electronic artist with a background in interactive light environments. Her work explores the social relationships engendered when time is blurred, frozen, collapsed and expanded.
Katherine earned her MFA from The School of the Art Institiute of Chicago, in the Art & Technology Studies and Sound Department. She has a BFA in Sculpture from Wolverhampton University (UK) and a BA in Psychology from Ohio University. She has received grants from The Applied Research Labs (UArts), The Ohio Arts Council, the Puffin Foundation and The Illuminating and Engineering Society of North America. Currently, she is Assistant Professor in the Multimedia Department at The University of the Arts, in Philadelphia, PA, where she teaches physical computing, interactivity, sound, interface design and installation courses.
Wil Lindsay is an electronic media artist currently residing in Reading, PA. Lindsay actively exhibits in galleries and performing real-time digital media under the pseudonym VBLANK. Lindsay’s work focuses on the implications of re-contextualizing dead or forgotten technologies in contemporary culture and is presented through various modalities including installation, imaging, video, music, physical electronics and algorithmic processing. VBLANK live video is created entirely real-time with all source graphics produced directly from small custom circuits, micro-controllers and re-programmed video game systems. He received an MFA in the Integrated Electronic Arts program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is currently teaching Digital Media at Albright College.
Ashley John Pigford
Ashley John Pigford is an interaction designer applying design thinking to interrogate relationships between technology, materials and experience. Ashley operates his studio, Design is good for you, as a cooperative organization of collaborators able to meet the needs of a wide range of clients from non-profit organizations to municipalities. He is employed by the University of Delaware as Associate Professor of Visual Communications, in the Department of Art. He lectures widely about his pedagogy, which is based on “thinking through making,” where students are taught design processes in direct relation to physical media.
To say thanks to our backers, we have a great selection of rewards, all of which we've made or are made by other local Philly small businesses.
Reward #1: For $1 you will get a pdf of our report from our planning session with experienced artists named above, with a special thank you.
Reward #2: For $5 we have a special sticker for you to show you are a supporter of The Hacktory.
Reward #3: Special lasercut Thank You for $10, designed by Georgia Guthrie, signed by our first class of new artists.
Reward #4: Heart of a Maker Tshirt. Designed by Georgia Guthrie, printed by Magic Outlaw here in Philly. Mens' and womens' sizes S-XXL.
Reward #5: $25 will get you a special enclosure for your Raspberry Pi with The Hacktory's logo on it, cut and assembled by us.
Reward #6: $50 will get you one of our limited edition hand-printed posters, also designed by Georgia Guthrie and Abigail Seligsohn and printed by Magic Outlaw here in Philly. (Frame and mat not included).
Reward #7: $50 gift certificate to classes at The Hacktory. It helps if you are in the Philly area to redeem this award.
Reward #8: A oneString Controller Basic DIY Kit for $50. This is an Arduino based midi sensor kit to control audio and media over midi. Created by Wil Lindsay.
Reward #9: Arduino Firefly Kit. In this kit you'll get all the parts and instructions to assemble your own swarm of 3 arduino fireflies. Designed and programmed by Molly Baum and Tim Bieniosek. The fireflies "talk" to each other by blinking, so they don't like to be lonely!
Reward #10: Hacktory Thank You Kit! This kit includes a Tshirt, poster and sticker for $80.
Reward #11: For $120, you can get a set of 3 fully assembled Arduino fireflies.
Reward #11: A Fully Built oneString Controller for $140. This is an electronic instrument to control audio and media over midi, mounted on red oak and ready to play. Created by Wil Lindsay.
Reward #12: See Your Name in Lights! For $150 your name will be added to a special display screen that will run through the course of the residency and exhibition as a thank you. See our progress on constructing the display on our flickr page.
Reward #13: $300 DAEDSound.com Hard Drive Synth built by David Talento. A custom-designed synthesizer based on the Atari Punk Console circuit and housed in a re-purposed hard drive case. Utilizes a 556 dual timer integrated circuit to generate a square wave oscillator and pulse, which is controlled by two potentiometers, one for frequency modulation and one for pulse-width modulation. Includes photoresistor modulation, as well as an 1/8” jack for connecting to headphone and effects units. Runs on one 9V battery. Unit is 4 x 5¾”. Watch a cool demo of a similar unit here!
Reward #13: For $2500 you can get up to 10 hours of mentoring/debugging with one of our experts. They can help you troubleshoot with Arduino, circuits, Python, or can help with product design and fabrication.
About the video:
In the intro to the video, the blinking lights you see in the background are Arduino Fireflies that we made for a special project in September. The music is Creative-Commons licensed, by the artist rolemusic. The two tracks are "Another beek beep beer please" and "Beach Wedding Dance." Special thanks to Kevin Gotkin and Sarah Zimmer for helping out with the video.
Risks and challenges
We've already encountered several challenges in the face of this project, including moving our entire home base location, and conducting classes out of an interim space. Other unique challenges we face include managing a lot of different projects happening at once, due to winning several other grants since this one. As an organization we have already been through quite a bit, and are getting better and better at allocating our dedicated volunteers to manage different moving parts with everything going on. With any challenge, we think upfront clear communication is key to finding the best way to overcome it, and then follow through on the new plan, whatever it is.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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