joy to the world


long time no see! I haven’t forgotten you all, I’ve just been teaching 2 classes and also melting my brain a little with actually doing some real actual coding and art-making. it’s truly wild how braindead so much of commercial tech work can be, so that when you return to a world of having to think about stuff it’s… a lot.

anyway, so, in one of my classes this week we found it EXTREMELY easy to talk about the way that technology makes us feel bad. it worries us, it makes us feel trapped and out of control, it makes us feel overwhelmed and sad with information that we don’t feel like we can turn into actions. it felt like a real blocker in our ideation that the feelings we were having were all bad. it was like we were trying to speculate ideas for new technology and new solutions while stuck in a Skinner box. our ideas were about avoiding new pain or mitigating the pain we already had. how big can you think when you just don’t want to get shocked again?

capital-D Design likes to talk about this idea of “delight.” I am intrinsically opposed to any and all design buzzwords, but it’s worth noting to all you nerdlingers out there that even in the 90’s of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Delight had already been transformed by decay and abuse into Delirium. of the apps you use every day, are there any you can say delight you? if you exclude user created content about capybaras and relatable memes, I would bet it’s a number very close to 0.

3 comic panels from Sandman. in the first, Delirium asks her brother Dream, "Do you know why I stopped being Delight, my brother?". In the second she says, "I do. There are things not in your book. There are paths outside this garden. You would do well to remember that." In the final, he responds, "It is... refreshing to see you so collected." She replies, "Stick it. Coins have two sides Destruction told us that, when he told us he was leaving. But I knew it already. You did too."

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to mitigate pain, nor create “delight,” nor design for “users.” what I actually want is more capital-J Joy, and to figure out how to make more of that in the world. this is not like a “tune out the news and go to brunch” kind of superficial pleasure, but a desire to have actual, quality, meaningful moments that feel good. and I don’t know fully how to do that yet, but let’s keep trying.


a watercolor illustration of an ink pot that has spilled with cat paw prints in the ink.

Calico is a new interactive fiction engine for web games by Elliot Herriman that uses Inkle’s ink. it’s a work in progress, but it sounds like it has a lot of neat features and would be worth exploring! if you’re like me and love to hoard new tools, you can bookmark or download Calico here.

Julia Evans recently put all of her tech & coding-related comics freely online, with a new search feature! I highly recommend taking some time to browse through the whole stack here. in my brief foray into engineering management, I found her soft skills comics on topics like 1:1s and asking for feedback especially valuable to have bookmarked and ready to glance over before meetings.

Paolo Pedercini recently shared the course materials for his NO MORE VIDEOGAMES class! just because the world is inundated with video games doesn’t mean we can’t use game engines and game design principles to bring more play and interaction into more experimental spaces. you can check out all the content and get inspired here. while we’re on the subject, check out this write-up about Everest Pipkin‘s extremely out-of-the-box use of Roblox as a dream diary.

I know I could definitely use some hot tips on how to make my alt text better:

educational opportunities!

a bitmap illustration of a pen plotter with information about the Make Machines Draw event.

Bold Machines are hosting a 2-week introduction to turning images into machine commands in order to draw with pen plotters! you don’t need access to a pen plotter to take the class – the instructors will plot the work for you at their workshop in Peekskill, New York and mail it to you! cute! the sounds like a fun way to dive into machine operation and walk away with some art. learn more and get tix here. the first session is coming up on May 24!

open calls!

Culture² is launching a publishing platform for a peer & practitioner reviewed journal as well as an asynchronous conference this fall highlighting the practices of researchers within community science, creative biology, and ancestral knowledge. they have an open call for submissions for the journal and the conference, both due June 15:

submissions might include topics such as (but are also not limited to) environmental studies, food science, food systems, ancestral tool making, criticisms on the current landscape/ history of science and technology, biomaterials research, field research, short sci fi, open science hardware documentation, horticulture/ home gardening research and documentation of bio art + design projects

learn more and apply here!

a pile of cords and stuff with the Babycastles neon light logo

Babycastles’ _____-In-Residence open call is back for the summer! they welcome artists, scholars, musicians, researchers, engineers, community-builders and practitioners of any definition to apply. selected residents will be given a platform to work on and present their work, access to the Babycastles community and network, support, honoraria, and opportunities to teach and present their work in a public (online!) setting. this is a great opportunity to get connected with their community and makes and share some exciting things! applications are due by May 23, so hop to it! learn more here.

a video game cabinet covered in sick black light designs.

Wonderville has an open call for their new in-house arcade cabinet, the Wondercab. the cabinet extremely cool-looking, is built with digital joysticks that support 8-way movement, and can support up to 3 buttons per player. they’ll be showcasing games for 3-month residencies. learn more and submit an application here!

a purplish, distorted image of an open space with information about the Visualizing Bias open call.

Goethe-Institut, Gray Area, Fotomuseum Winterthur, and Artivive have extended their open call for artists, designers, and the general public to submit creative representations on the subject of bias that make use of AR until May 23. submissions may explore discriminatory, misrepresentational, and biased apparatuses or express thought-provoking ideas on how to deal with the perpetuation of bias by technology. finalists will receive $1000 and the opportunity to present their work to the public internationally via a live online event. learn more and apply here!

upcoming events!

Saturday, May 15! 2:00PM UTC-4! CyPurr Collective are hosting a special session this weekend on mobile security. when our devices are as intimate as our phones, it’s all the more reason to learn the right techniques for staying safe. learn more and register here.

A portrait of Rory Green with infr

Sunday, May 16! 10:30AM UTC+10! writer, editor, and digital media artist Rory Green will be facilitating a workshop on Monday on getting started with digital poetry! you’ll be introduced to the principles of digital poetry, learn some basic coding, and begin work on a web poem that is dynamic and interactive. this sounds like a great start to getting a lil more poetic with the space you take up on the internets. this is open to all levels, and tickets are sliding scale. learn more and register here! (P.S. if, like me, you are on a North America or South America timeline, this workshop is sometime on Saturday evening for you! what a nice way to spend your Saturday!)

promotional poster for ITP's spring show featuring a cool dude dancing near a laptop.

May 16-17! NYU’s ITP/IMA is having their Spring Show this Monday, and it’s always worth your time! there’s a few events over the course of the 2 days, including an interactive show in SpatialChat on Tuesday night, 8:00PM UTC-4. learn more and check out the schedule here!

an illustration of radiating browser windows, with information about the Gray Area Incubator Artist Salon

Wednesday, May 19! 5:00PM UTC-7! Gray Area’s 2021.1 incubator cohort will be sharing their projects in development via online presentations next week! this looks like an exciting chance to check out some new work and ask questions, as well as a good way to scope out the incubator for yourself (Gray Area is currently accepting applications for the 2021.2 cohort here). learn more and rsvp here!

Saturday, May 22! 3:30PM UTC-4! Tech Learning Collective will be hosting a beginner’s workshop on cybersecurity next weekend, offering a simple framework that anyone can use to understand what risks they might face and how to protect themselves. this is important shit! even if you think you know what’s up with your cybersecurity basics, it’s always good to make time for a thoughtful refresher. as always, TLC is offering reduced price workshop tickets for queer-identified, femme, and BIPOC people. learn more and get tix here.

just for lulz!

a weird chubby bishop baby with the text, "You can't spell Python without.... y tho"

* ~ housekeeping ~ *

if you have anything in the works that you are excited about (an event, a workshop, a new project), please send me all the details. if I didn’t respond to your email or did and nothing happened, I totally forgot and you can feel free to bug me again. if you wanna share links or chat, there is now a Discord server that you can use here. as always, becoming a member of an Artist’s Guide to Computation helps support me and my work directly.

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