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Nick Montfort (Digital Media, MIT)

Feb 20, 2016 @ 1:00 pm

Exploratory Programming Workshop

An MIGC workshop

This workshop introduces how to think with computation, focusing on how computing can be used with language and literature.

Programming is introduced as a way to iteratively design both artworks and humanities projects, in a process that allows the programmer to discover the direction of the project during programming. The idea of exploratory programming differs from the instrumental programming done to create an app or a banking system in compliance with a pre-determined specification. Exploratory programming is suitable for both creators of electronic literature and scholars seeking to use computation to analyze e-lit and texts. The workshop will offer experience in program modification and writing short Python functions from scratch.

No previous background in programming is required. A notebook computer is required (not a tablet or phone) with a true text editor (for instance, TextWrangler for Mac), iPython Notebook, and Processing 3 installed. (In a short version of the workshop, Processing will not be covered.) The outcome will be an understanding of programming fundamentals and preparation for futher exploration through programming, inside or outside a formal class.

Montfort has offered versions of this workshop in New York, Mexico City, Saint Petersburg, and Moscow. A semester-long course was offered at the New School, and a book to support individual or classroom study, Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities, will be published by MIT in March.

Nick Montfort, associate professor of digital media at MIT in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, develops computational poetry and art and has participated in dozens of literary and academic collaborations. His tenth book is #!, a collection of poems and programs. He has been involved in developing several new fields of study: platform studies, critical code studies, software studies, and electronic literature. Before #!, he organized and co-wrote (with nine other authors) 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10, and co-wrote (with Ian Bogost) Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System.

MIGC 2016 schedule

The Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference (MIGC) is an annual event held at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee that supports the sharing and collaboration of national and international graduate student research and art across the disciplines. The conference is organized entirely by graduate student efforts, who collectively decide on an annual theme that reflects current theoretical debates and trends across the humanities, sciences, and the arts.


Feb 20, 2016
1:00 pm
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Golda Meir Library, 2nd Floor, DH Lab
2311 E Hartford Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53211 United States
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