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Art & Technology at Massey University

Thursday 9 July, 3.15 – 4.15pm

Words by Hayley Krippner, 2017 Alumna

The 72 participants of the 2020 Innovative Young Minds programme got the chance to experience what it is like to be a creative technologist during Massey University College of Creative Arts’ interactive creative technology session. Presenters Tristan Bunn, and Birgit Bachler, both lecturers at the School of Music and Creative Media Production, spoke with the students about the remarkable opportunities a creative technologist has and just how exciting their jobs are.

They discussed the courses the university offers for a creative media degree. They offer web development, prototyping for interactive projects and programming for interactive projects for first-year students. These expose the students to HTML, CSS, JavaScript, web design, basic electronics, Arduino programming, game controller design, creative coding, generative design, and Python. The degree combines aspects of computer science, design, and arts to fill in a niche for students who want to work at the intersection of these areas.

The students were thrilled to mix coding and art when they got a quick taster course of using p5js to code a simple interactive art piece. Tristan and Birgit carefully explained the meaning of the functions that were coded and what each line of code was used for. It was fascinating to see the development process for creating a piece of interactive art. The resulting product included sliders that the user could move to change the effects applied to the objects displayed. A similar technique is used for designing filters on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. Birgit explained that the exercise illustrated that we “need more women in this kind of space” and the participants can “change how [women] want to appear online”.

The amazing aspect of being at the meeting point of art and programming is that there are so many exciting projects and tools that can be built. “It’s mind-blowing”, said Birgit. The possibilities are limitless! What also appealed to the participants is that new jobs that do not currently exist are arising as time progresses. Another key message was that a mistake could lead to a product being successful. The participants experienced the joy and freedom of experimenting with different digital techniques and that there is no such thing as being wrong when making art.

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