Computational Practices Minor
Making art that matters increasingly requires interfacing with a rapidly-changing technological landscape; working at its frontier requires understanding technology's underlying principles and practices.
The Minor in Computational Practices provides students the opportunity to meld computational practice with studio practice as they develop and explore the possibilities of applying deep technology-creation skills to their work as artists and designers. Students will develop technical sophistication and a deep understanding of the role and context of technology in their discipline. The minor takes students beyond mere facility with the current technologies available to them as practitioners, enabling students to work with lower-level components than available to the typical consumer of technology, and to create new tools and reprogram and recombine existing tools, extending their creative abilities and advancing their disciplines.
What are Computational Practices?
Calling all artists and designers! The world is at a crossroads, and we need your help—while computer scientists and engineers are hard at work doing basic research and development for the technologies of the future, it's up to us as artists and designers to explore and imagine those futures before they are built.
At CCA, Computational Practices encompasses the whole of how humans use “computation” in the broadest sense, including both physical computing as well as screen and AI-based interactions. Across hardware that includes modern-day computers, tiny microcontrollers, mobile phones, and virtual servers in the cloud, interfacing with the physical world involves motors both small and large, sensors, buttons, cameras, microphones, screens and more.
That hardware fuels a variety of algorithms—traditional if-this-then-that algorithms as well as a new foundation of AI-based models—collecting data, analyzing, visualizing, and enabling powerful interpretation: finding the locations of objects and poses of people in live video streams to identify obstacles in a robot's path, for example, or reading a book and engaging in a conversation about its content or implications.
These computational systems are often made public through the web or in dedicated applications or devices, drawing upon myriad internet services and APIs offering an unprecedented capacity to interact with the people and built environments of our world. Individually and in combination, these technologies enable new ways of experimenting, probing, and designing—and it's up to us to use these technologies to design the future we want to live in.
If you have any questions about the minor or how it might fit into your CCA career, please feel free to reach out to:
- An academic advisor (for your major)
- J.D. Zamfirescu, Computational Practices faculty & minor coordinator
- Daniel Thomas, Program Manager for Academic Affairs
To declare the minor, download the Declare Your Minor Form »
Highlights of Student Work
Here are a few highlights from prior students' work from the courses in the minor: