Software studies: Programming for Artists 2013-2014


Course code:

25459 (Department of Media, Media Lab)


Matti Niinimäki

Teaching period:



Mon 9.9. 16-19 – Introduction, Processing Basics
Tue 10.9. 16-19 – Processing Basics
Wed 11.9. 16-19 – Processing – Text, images and videos
Thu 12.9. 16-19 – Processing
Mon 30.9 16-19 – 1st assignment Deadline, Arduino Basics
Tue 8.10. 16-19 – Arduino Basics, Inputs & Outputs
Wed 9.10. 16-9 – Arduino, Voltage Dividers, Servo Motors
Thu 10.10. 16-19 – Arduino + Processing
Fri 11.10. 16-19 – Arduino + Processing
Tue 15.10. 16-19 – Input (RFID, accelerometers, other more advanced sensors…)
Thu 17.10. 16-19 – Output (robotics, transistors, relays, DMX)
Tue 29.10. 16-19 – Computer Vision (Camera Tracking, Face Tracking etc.)
Thu 31.10. 16-19 – Computer Vision, Kinect, LEAP Motion etc.
Tue 5.11. 16-19 – Work on your 2nd assignment
Wed 6.11. 16-19 – Work on your 2nd assignment
Thu 7.11. 16-19 – 2nd Assignment Deadline
Tue 12.11. 17-19 – No actual lecture! Gallery/performance visits
Thu 14.11. 16-19 – Quartz Composer, Projection Mapping
Fri 15.11. 14:30 – A visit to the Open Innovation House in Otaniemi (the place where we will have the exhibition in December). Address: Otaniementie 19B
Wed 20.11. 16-19 – Tutoring
Thu 21.11. 16-19 – Tutoring
Tue 26.11. 16-19 – Quartz Composer
Thu 28.11. 16-19 – Working on Final Project
Tue 3.12. 16-19 – Working on Final Project
Thu 5.12. 16-19 – Working on Final Project
Thu 12.12. Final Project/Exhibition Opening

+ Additional tutoring times that will be scheduled later


Media Lab Paja, 3rd floor, ARTS, Arabia Campus


There will be two small assignments and a final project that all need to be completed in order to successfully pass the course. More information about the assignments here.

Learning outcomes

This is a basic course in programming for students with no or little previous programming experience. The course focuses on how to write simple programs and utilise existing code snippets and libraries to build interactive installations and other artworks with visual, auditive and physical interaction. The course provides the basics of Processing and Arduino programming environments, with some other additional tools as advanced options. Each student hase to complete 2 Mini Projects relating to the different themes and a Final Project where they explore a topic and technology of their choice. The projects should be seen as an opportunity for experimentation, prototyping and learning. You will have the opportunity to refine your concepts during the Media Art Installation course.


The course covers both the basics of programming and software design, and a variety of specific topic areas tailored for the needs of the Art and Technology minor subject programme. The chosen programming environments are Processing and Arduino for their relative ease, suitability for artistic work, and compatibility for both physical and screen-based computing. The use of sensors, actuators and various other devices for spatial interaction is covered, as well as the Microsoft Kinect sensor and other (simple) machine vision techniques.

Grading scale:




Further information

The course is part of the Art and Technology study module. It is also an optional course in DOM / Media Lab curriculum and replaces the Software studies for Media Designers course (3 ects) for students who prefer to take this course. The number of students on the course is limited to 15. Students of the minor subject programme have preference. The course is open for enrollment to any student of Aalto University.