01T:020:001(:002) Topics in Studio Arts: Art & Engineering

Semester: Spring 2014
Course Credit Hours: 3
Professor: Anthony Castronovo
Website: www.acastronovo.com
Office Hours: T/TH 3:00PM-5:00PM and by appointment
Office Location: SA 1417
Office Phone: (319) 335-1789
Contact: anthony-castronovo@uiowa.edu
Class Time, Location: T/TH 1:30PM - 3:20PM, 1610C SA
DEO: John Beldon Scott, jb-scott@uiowa.edu

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Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible. -Paul Klee

Creativity includes the ability to survive and survival needs creativity.-Cai Guo-Qiang

Art & Engineering is a collaborative, interdisciplinary, cutting-edge opportunity for students who want to gain real world engineering experience while learning to think creatively and analytically to create engaging works of art. The goal of this course is to stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration and to develop creative methodologies that will enhance the life-long creative practice of both artists and engineers. Students will learn basic electronics and the Arduino prototyping platform to create programmable, sensor-driven, responsive circuits. Teams will be formed based on equal ratios of Engineering and Art students who register for the course. These teams will propose and produce ambitious projects that use electronic devices in a functional yet creative way. Each team will work collaboratively to produce their project over the course of the semester. The semester will be broken into two sections: the first eight weeks will be heavy technique and technology oriented, while also reading about and discussing the work of contemporary artists. On the ninth week students will present proposals for their projects, which they will work on for the remainder of the semester. Students will be expected to be responsible and independently ambitious, and can expect to put in a minimum of 6 hours of work a week in addition to our meeting time. The IOWA Challenge applies to this course.

What Do Artists Know? |Frances Whitehead



There is currently no lab fee associated with this course. Students can expect to spend $65 for the basic robotics kit, which I will order and bill through UI, and $100 in addition for parts, materials, etc. depending on your project.




EZH2O | Jaume Plensa , +1 | Jana Sterbak Oasis | Tim Prentice | Tim Hawkinson | Ben Rubin/Mark Hansen Listening Post | Eduardo Kac | Nik Ramage | Rebecca Horn | Sabrina Raaf Grower | Microrobotics | Soft Robots | Paul Vanouse | Critical Art Ensemble | Graffiti Research Lab (laser tag, night writer) | Plastiki | Anouk Wipprecht +1| Institute for the Unstable Media | Natalie Jeremijenko | Theo Jansen | We Feel Fine | Golan Levin | Syn Labs | Jeremy Boyle | Wearable electronics , +1 , +1| MIT FabLab , +1 +1| Other Links.... | Lynne Bruning +1 | Haptic Radar | Amy Youngs | Cesar Harada |delicious |mischer'traxler | Tivon Rice | Matt Barton | Treia Studios | Shawn Decker | Stephen Wilson | Shih Chieh Huang | MIT High-Low Tech | Fernando Orellana | Rueben Margolin +1 | Shawn Sims |Leonel Moura +1 | 3D Carver +1 |Festo | Stupid Orchestra | U-Ram Choe | Daniel Wurtzel | Carl Pisaturo | Peter Eudenbach | Art+Com | Studio Roosegaarde | Devil Baby | Deceleration Helmet | Loop.pH | Solar Sinter | Roxy Paine | Lucy Mcrae | Bruce Munro | Paul Demarinis | Adrianna Salazar | Tim Knowles | John Powers | Bot&Dolly | Jonathan Schipper | Live Robots


SparkFun | LadyAda | Small Parts | Tiny Circuits | McMaster | SuperBright LEDs | Parallax | Electronics Express | Skycraft | Mouser | Digikey | Jameco | All Electronics | Arduino Comic Tutorial | gearmotors | Polulu | Arduino | LittleBird | Electronics Shop | Phidgets | Inventables | EvilMadScience | Spikenzielabs | How to Program


A key component to good education and to being an engaged, informed artist is your active engagement in community events and ability to experience unique opportunities. There will be lectures, visiting artist talks, and exhibitions that will be required throughout the semester. As these events will happen outside of class, it is understandable that they might not always fit your schedule and so an alternative assignement of research and writing will be optional.




Active participation, engagement, and respectful, critical dialogue in all phases of this course are imperative. The class dynamic dependson your energy, initiative, attitude, productivity, and willingness to get involved in group discussion and critiques. Participate actively during critique and discussion. Complete all assigned readings, make drawings of ideas that happen while reading, and take detailed notes so you can contribute to the discussion in class.

Make safe and considerate choices with equipment and facilities. Do your part to keep the facilities clean. DO NOT use your phone to text, chat, or e-mail during class time. DO NOT use computers to surf the web, check email, chat, watch videos.... during class time.

Ask questions and contribute answers. Offer constructive, respectful feedback during group discussions, class workdays, and critiques. Reflect on the comments you receive to gauge the effectiveness of your work. TAKE NOTES ON EVERYTHING!!! Use your sketchbook for research and development of ideas. Examine the way your ideas change, evolve, and influence formal and conceptual choices in your work.


Grades are meant to evaluate your effort, ideas, and execution. Your overall grade will be based on participation and projects (including creativity, critical thinking, engagement with course information, research, presentation, technical proficiency , and problem solving). Expectations will be explained in detail for each project when it is assigned. If anything seems unclear, you are responsible for asking the instructor for clarification far in advance of the due date. The most successful projects will be very ambitious and well executed technically, but must also exhibit thoughtful connections between concept and form.


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


Official Breakdown:

FINAL SEMESTER EVALUATIONS will be averaged as follows:

ATTENDANCE: Students must be in class every day. Your presence is critical for your own education but also for the group as a whole. Attendance is a major factor in your participation grade. Each absence lowers your grade by 3pts. Excused absences are exceptionss, but students should self-report illnesses using the form on the Registrar's website: (http://www.registrar.uiowa.edu/Student/FormsforStudents/tabid/79/Default.aspx).

This attendance policy is in accordance with the CLAS guidelines:

FINAL WORK must be working at time of exhibit. Teams who's projects are not functional at the exhibit will receive 30pts deduction from final grade.

FIELD TRIP: A field trip is possible during the semester and may require an extra fee to be paid by students.


SAFETY PROCEDURE: The goal of the School of Art and Art History is to create a safe working environment. You are required to take the appropriate ICON safety training for your area of course work. You will not be allowed access to certain areas in the studios until you have completed the appropriate ICON course for that area. Once you have completed the ICON course and provided the documentation to your primary instructor, you will then be given access. ICON

ADMINISTRATIVE HOME: The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is the administrative home of this course and governs matters such as the add/drop deadlines, the second-grade-only option, and other related issues. Different colleges may have different policies. Questions may be addressed to 120 Schaeffer Hall, or see the CLAS Student Academic Handbook.

ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION: University policy specifies that students are responsible for all official correspondences sent to their University of Iowa e-mail address (@uiowa.edu). Faculty and students should use this account for correspondences. (Operations Manual, III.15.2. Scroll down to k.11.)

HOMEWORK EXPECTATION: For each semester hour of credit that an Art and Art History course carries, students should expect to spend approximately two hours per week outside of class preparing for class sessions. That is, in a three-credit-hour course, instructors design course assignments on the assumption that students will spend six hours per week in out-of-class preparation.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES: Your responsibilities to this class -- and to your education as a whole -- include attendance and participation. This syllabus details specific expectations the instructor may have about attendance and participation. You have a responsibility to help create a classroom environment where all may learn. At the most basic level, this means you will respect the other members of the class and the instructor and treat them with the courtesy you hope to receive in return.

STUDENT CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR: The ability to learn is lessened when students engage in inappropriate classroom behavior, distracting others; such behaviors are a violation of the Code of Student Life. When disruptive activity occurs, a University instructor has the authority to determine classroom seating patterns and to request that a student exit the classroom, laboratory, or other area used for instruction immediately for the remainder of the period. One-day suspensions are reported to appropriate departmental, collegiate, and Student Services personnel (Office of the Vice President for Student Services and Dean of Students).

ACADEMIC FRAUD: Plagiarism and any other activities when students present work that is not their own are academic fraud. Academic fraud is a serious matter and is reported to the departmental DEO and to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Curriculum. Instructors and DEOs decide on appropriate consequences at the departmental level while the Associate Dean enforces additional consequences at the collegiate level. See the CLAS Academic Fraud section of the Student Academic Handbook. www.clas.uiowa.edu/students/handbook/x/#2

MAKING A SUGGESTION OR COMPLAINT: Students with a suggestion or complaint should first visit the instructor, then the course supervisor, and then the departmental DEO. Complaints must be made within six months of the incident. See the CLAS Student Academic Handbook.

ACCOMODATION FOR DISABILITIES: A student seeking academic accommodations should first register with Student Disability Services and then meet privately with the course instructor to make particular arrangements. For more information see Student Disability Services 

UNDERSATNDING SEXUAL HARASSMENT: Sexual harassment subverts the mission of the University and threatens the well-being of students, faculty, and staff. All members of the UI community have a responsibility to uphold this mission and to contribute to a safe environment that enhances learning. Incidents of sexual harassment should be reported immediately. See the UI Comprehensive Guide on Sexual Harassment for assistance, definitions, and the full University policy at http://www.uiowa.edu/~eod/policies/sexual-harassment-guide/index.html.

REACTING SAFELY TO SEVERE WEATHER: In severe weather, class members should seek appropriate shelter immediately, leaving the classroom if necessary. The class will continue if possible when the event is over. For more information on Hawk Alert and the siren warning system, visit the Public Safety web site.



Writing Center 110 English-Philosophy Building, 335-0188,

Speaking Center 12 English-Philosophy Building, 335-0205,

Mathematics Tutorial Laboratory 314 MacLean Hall, 335-0810, 

Referral Service Campus Information Center, Iowa Memorial Union, 335-3055


CLAS FINAL EXAM POLICIES: Final exams may be offered only during finals week. No exams of any kind are allowed during the last week of classes. Students should not ask their instructor to reschedule a final exam since the College does not permit rescheduling of a final exam once the semester has begun. Questions should be addressed to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Curriculum.

MISSED EXAM POLICY: University policy requires that students be permitted to make up examinations missed because of illness, mandatory religious obligations, certain University activities, or unavoidable circumstances. Excused absence forms are required and are available at the Registrar web site:www.registrar.uiowa.edu/forms/absence.pdf

UNIVERSITY EXAMINATION POLICY FINAL EXAMINATIONS: An undergraduate student who has two final examinations scheduled for the same period or more than three examinations scheduled for the same day may file a request for a change of schedule before the published deadline at the Registrar's Service Center, 17 Calvin Hall, 8-4:30 M-F, (384- 4300).

PLUS-MINUS GRADING: All the department's instructors can append plus or minus grades to the letter grades they assign for the course. If the instructor does not specifically indicate in the syllabus that he or she will not assign plusses or minuses, students should assume that this form of grading will be used.

WOODSHOP USE AND FEES: The School of Art and Art History Woodshop Is a common use facility for any student enrolled in a studio art class. The woodshop has a $25 per student per semester buy-back fee. All students who use the woodshop must pay this fee, which goes towards the replacement of consumables as well as equipment repairs, replacements and other shop related expenses. Students can opt to pay a one-time use fee of $5 to work for one day only. However if they come back in for further use they must pay the $25 lab fee at that time. This will mean that in total they will be charged $30.  The students will be U-Billed by the lab coordinator before they begin working. Students must also complete safety training and fill out a woodshop safety release form every semester to work in the shop. To do this they must see the Woodshop Lab Specialist, Adam Krueger. Woodshop open hours and schedules are posted on the door of the woodshop.  

Students enrolled in classes that require the use of woodshop as part of their class instruction will be U-billed at the time of use.


Jan 21• Intro to course and each other; 3D Design Area Safety Procedures & ICON . You must complete the 3D Design module and the Woodshop module; discuss parts and get order ready; discuss tools; survey for skills/strengths; look at what's going on contemp art/eng; HW research artists and links above, be ready to discuss three artists of your choice; reading for next week : Arthur Zajonc, Shawn Brixey

Jan 23• Begin discussion of Art & Engineering.

Jan 28• Discussion of readings & artists/engineers from HW. Skills survey.

Jan 30• Brainstorming exercise in teams. HW find other examples of projects thatpertain to art & engineering...Start thinking about what you want to make.

Feb 4• Basic Electronics and Lab.

Feb 6• Basic Electronics II and Lab II.

Feb 11• Discuss Microcontrollers and Arduino, Read Arduino Comic Tutorial. Look at Arduino site, Begin Arduino tutorials if time allows...

Feb 13• Continue with Arduino tutorials.

Feb 18• Students show one customized project example from tutorials. Students should have 3 questions about Arduino, programming, or electronics...Talk about projectrelated to Air Quality

HW Finish Arduino tutorials though lesson 6. Make sure you do each exercise in the turorials, take your time and ask questions when things don't make sense... Write down 3 questions about Arduino, something you want to know more about, and bring to class next week.


Feb 20• Rough Proposal Discussion- each group should present 2 ideas.

Feb 25• Look at Solar Artists. Group Work Day. Look over page on mechanics..

Feb 27• Demo Day: labs on peripherals, 2 different exercises: temperature, sound, motor. .

Mar 4• Proposals Due. Each group will present their idea; should be a ppt, pdf, or other digital format and should include: abstract, sketches/images, code example, parts list and budget, functional sketch/block diagram, timeline.

Mar 6• Shop orientation. Each student should have a copy of the woodshop safety proceedures. Individual group meetings with professor to discuss materials/parts for projects.

Mar 11• Studio work day.

Mar 13• Studio work day.

Mar 18 & 20• No Class...Spring Break.

Mar 25• Studio work day.

Mar 27• Studio work day.

Apr 1• Studio work day.

Apr 3• Studio work day.

Apr 8• Studio work day.

Apr 10• Studio work day.

Apr 15• Studio work day.

Apr 17• Studio work day.

Apr 22• Studio work day.

Apr 24• Studio work day.

Apr 29• Studio work day.

May 1• Studio work day.

May 8• Studio work day.

May 10• Final Critique.