ART3712 Machine Sculpture

Anthony Castronovo, Professor
The University of Florida
Fall Semester 2008
Meeting Times: T R 5-7 (11:45-2:45 PM)
Classroom: FAC B-8
Office: FAC B-3
Telephone: 392-0201 ext.?
Office Hours: T R 11-11:30 AM or by appointment


SCULPTURE: New Media/Machine Sculpture is an introduction to the area of Sculpture that uses motion, light and sound, and generally various other forms of technology to create meaning in the work of art. We will work in stages beginning with the basics of electrical theory, wiring, kinetics, various simple means to create motion, light, and sound and the engineering to accomplish. There are many different levels of the technical aspects of all of this, which will be appropriate or not depending on individual experience levels. We will address these individual levels and give each student the opportunity to delve as deeply into the technologies as they are interested in exploring. In addition, the course will survey the history of artists who have used technology in their work as well as contemporary artists. We will approach each project as a experiential laboratory that builds the students' understanding in preparation for the final project. Our goal is to experiment, take risks, and to use technology where appropriate, considering the necessity of this action and how it contributes to the meaning of the sculpture as a whole.


There is no set list of materials for the course. Early on we will take apart some things, so keep your eyes out for electro-mechanical toys and machines that we can hack and use for parts. Otherwise, materials are needed as per each individual project requires.

I have made a list of some basic TOOLS here. All are not required but if you need any of these tools this a good source for the basics.

We will use various online tutorials; you can gain a broad understanding by thoroughly studying the Arduino Notebook and the Arduino Tutorial from Limor.



ATTENDANCE is required at all classes, critiques, campus lectures, and field trips. More than three absences over the semester will result in a grade reduction of 1/2 of one letter grade from the semester average. Your letter grade will continue to drop with each accumulation of more than three absences. Three significantly late arrivals (15 minutes or more) or early departures (ditto) will constitute one absence. You are expected to work on projects during class time, which includes having materials needed. Working at home is not considered attendance. Attendance at all critiques is mandatory. If you are not present for critiques your work will not be critiqued by either the professor or the class as a group.

If you are absent for a valid reason (illness with documentation, military obligations, observations of religious holy days of your faith, participation in official university activities, or court imposed obligations) you must call or email the professor prior to your absence and you must contact the professor on the day you return to make-up missed assignments. Please be in class on time because all announcements, lectures, demonstrations and presentations will take place at the beginning of class.

PROJECTS must be completed by the due dates. Due dates will only be delayed for the class as a whole, not for individuals. Projects completed late will receive a grade reduction commensurate with the reason for the lateness and with the extent of the lateness. A schedule of due dates will be given out with each project.

CRITIQUES are an essential part of the practice of art and require a strong commitment on the part of all students and the professor. Critiques are exhausting but very beneficial. Critique is the educational equivalent of exhibition. Therefore, work must be ready for critique and you must be in attendance at critique. (See attendance above) ACTIVE AND THOUGHTFUL participation is required. Physical attendance alone does not constitute participation in critique. You will be graded on the quality of your participation in critique.

READINGS, slides and videos are required with each project and responses are due in writing or in presentation format on the date assigned. Since readings are selected because of their relationship to the concepts underlying each project, they are meant to be completed at the beginning of each project and, for that reason, written responses will not be accepted any later than one week after the deadline. Late responses will receive a reduced grade. In no case will late responses to readings be accepted after the project itself is due. Reading materials will be kept in the classroom for student use or packets will be available for purchase at Target. Books will be on reserve in the Fine Arts Library.


Your work will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria of requirements and expectations:

  1. Fulfillment of the project objectives as established with each Project
  2. Attention to craftsmanship
  3. A spirit of investigation and experimentation
  4. Conceptual rigor
  5. Material inventiveness
  6. Physical investment: The sweat factor
  7. Overall aesthetic and conceptual quality of the work


Official Breakdown:

FINAL SEMESTER EVALUATIONS will be averaged as follows:

CRITICAL DATES are provided with each project description. All projects are due on the due dates given in the project descriptions. Final critique will be held on the last day of class of the Fall semester.


The Department of Art and its faculty assume no responsibility for any materials or projects left in the classrooms. It is each student’s responsibility to remove all materials and projects from the classrooms after the course has concluded. If the student needs to make individual arrangements with the instructor to keep any materials after the class has ended, it is the student’s responsibility to make these arrangements, with the instructor’s approval. Student grades may be withheld for failure to do so. Any artwork, supplies, or other materials left in the classroom after the semester has concluded, without prior specific arrangements with the responsible faculty, will be disposed of.

Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation.

Turn off your cell phones upon entering the classroom. Absolutely no cell phone use in the classroom or sculpture shops. Please retreat to the hallways or outside for emergency calls. Student acknowledges the cell phone termination policy and accepts destruction by smashing of their cell phone in instances of repeat offenses.

University of Florida honesty policy regarding cheating and use of copyrighted materials applies. See student handbook.



Aug.26 Introduction to course. Schedule Shop Orientation with Brad Smith, maybe early next week. Locker and storage assignments.

Aug. 28 Technical lecture on basic electronics, gears, silver soldering; Listen and discuss Mcluhan; watch Arthur Ganson Video. Assignment for Tues. find something electrical/mechanical to take apart

Sep.2 Take things apart! Discuss first reading/listening on Marshall Mcluhan

Sept.4 Continuation of collaborative art hacking exercise. Must be completed today or outside of class prior to Sept. 9. Discussion of one Reading and slide viewing. Discussion of next project.

Sept. 9 Present group projects. Proposals due, this includes detailed drawing, scale, materials, sizes. Make a schematic or graphic map of the functional aspects, i.e. switches, sensors, what they trigger, where power will be sourced....Group discussion of proposals. Assignment for Thursday: review the work of Sabrina Raaf and Amy Youngs. View any video documentation, read the statements, take notes for discussion on Thursday.

Sept. 11 All materials must be with you and you must be ready to begin the first project. Discussion and viewing of Sabrina Raaf and Amy Youngs.

Sept. 16 Intense work in shop.

Sept. 18 Intense work in shop. Mid project review.

Sept. 23 Intense work in shop.

Sept. 25 Intense work in shop.

Sept. 30 Project Due. Critique. Mandatory attendance.

Oct. 2 Finish Critique. Go over sound project. Get started with Arduino. Solder Protoshield for Tuesday(tutorial).

Oct. 7
Half page responses due. Arduino(tutorial).

Oct. 9 Discuss Krauss, More Arduino!!!!

Oct. 14 Proposals due, these are to be typed and drawings included, scan them and print, i want one packet turned in to me. More Artists and Arduino!!!!

Oct. 16 Studio day

Oct. 21 Studio day

Oct. 23 Mid project review at beginning of class. Studio day.

Oct. 28 Studio day

Oct. 30
Skype Chat With Ola Stahl and Carl Lindh- and
Specifically: see video links under The "... presents…" Series (I) : Franklin's VDC Copy Centre towards the bottom of the page.

Nov. 4 


Nov. 13 Proposals due. Individual meetings with half of the class today, the other half Tuesday. Clean and prepare for ART BASH!!!

Nov. 18 Individual meetings with remaining students.



Nov. 20 Working studio day.

Nov. 25 Working studio day.

Nov. 27 No Class, Thanksgiving.

Dec. 2Working studio day.

Written responses to readings due.

Dec. 4 Working studio day.

Dec. 9 Working studio day.

Dec. 11
Working studio day.

Dec. 18
at 11:00 am - 3;00 pm Final Project Due. CRITIQUE.



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