Kitchen Table Coders Presents: Learn to Code From an Artist Workshop

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Kitchen Table Coders Panel Discussion from Rhizome on Vimeo.

Last Friday, Rhizome hosted a panel discussion on code literacy in the arts including Amit Pitaru of Kitchen Table Coders; Vanessa Hurst of Girl Develop It and Developers for Good; Jer Thorpe, artist and educator; Sonali Sridhar of Hacker School; and moderated by Douglas Rushkoff, educator and author of Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age.

Kitchen Table Coders workshops in the New Museum Theater

Following the panel, Rhizome hosted five Kitchen Table Coders-style workshops Saturday afternoon in the New Museum Theater. Twenty-five eager coding novices came to get a crash course in Processing with some of New York City's most talented programmers; Amit Pitaru, t3db0t, David Nolen, Jer Thorp and Rob Seward. The Kitchen Table Coders host intimate workshops around a kitchen table in their Brooklyn studio on any topic the attendees choose. 

Jer Throp introducing Processing to his students

Participants learned the basics in Processing, an open source programming language for visual art.

t3db0t demonstrating Arduino

More advanced students had the opportunity to sit down with t3db0t to take their Processing skills to the next level with Arduino to create interactive electronic objects.

Thanks again to all the panelists, Vanessa Hurst (Developers for Good), Sonali Sridhar (HackerSchool), Amit Pitaru (Kitchen Table Coders) and Jer Throp (NYTimes and ITP), and our moderator codevangelist Douglas Rushkoff for a stimulating conversation about code literacy. And big thanks to Nick Hasty, Director of Technology for Rhizome, who was instrumental in making this event happen. I look forward to organizing more code and hacker workshops in the future!

 

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Connecting at ContactCon

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Last week, Douglas Rushkoff hosted ContactCon at the Angel Orensanz Foundation in the Lower East Side. This unconference model symposium, co-organized by Vanessa Miemis, aimed to put into action ideas that challenge censorship, corporate ownership, and other unfree aspects of internet technology. As Rushkoff explained to Alternet's Sarah Jaffe, the event hoped to "reify the 'net values of 1992 back up to 2012."

Douglas Rushkoff's Keynote at SXSW 2010

The event started with "provocations" from participants representing progressiving technology organizations like FreedomBox and Telecomix (videos), in addition to well known speakers like Eli Pariser and Laura Flanders. Afterward, participants organized into small groups discussing issues ranging from the highly technical — mesh networks and coownership of the physical layer — to a proposal to organize hacker spaces in libraries (which was well received by the audience, for, as Rushkoff pointed out, the idea is clear and actionable...

 

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RECOMMENDED READING: Douglas Rushkoff for Edge "THE INTERNET MAKES ME THINK IN THE PRESENT TENSE"

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How does the Internet change the way I think? It puts me in the present tense. It's as if my cognitive resources are shifted from my hard drive to my RAM. That which is happening right now is valued, and everything in the past or future becomes less relevant.

The Internet pushes us all toward the immediate. The now. Every inquiry is to be answered right away, and every fact or idea is only as fresh as the time it takes to refresh a page...

This is not a bias of the Internet itself, but of the way it has changed from an opt-in activity to an "always on" condition of my life. The bias of medium was never towards real-time activity, but towards time shifting. Unix, the operating system of the Net, doesn't work in real time. It sits and waits for human commands. Likewise, early Internet forums and bulletin boards were discussions users returned to at their convenience. I dropped in the conversation, then came back the next evening or next week to see how it had developed. I took the time to consider what I might say — to contemplate someone else's response. An Internet exchange was only as rich as the amount of time I allowed to pass between posts.

Once the Internet changed from a resource at my desk into an appendage chirping from my pocket and vibrating on my thigh, however, the value of depth was replaced by that of immediacy masquerading as relevancy. This is why Google is changing itself from a search engine to a "live" search engine, why email devolved to SMS and blogs devolved to tweets. It's why schoolchildren can no longer engage in linear arguments, why narrative structure collapsed into reality TV, why and why almost ...

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