For your midterm assignment, you will work towards developing a project proposal that will become your guiding plan towards realizing your final project at the end of the semester. Think of this proposal as prescriptive, in the sense that you will be asked to identify themes, ideas, materials, and forms you would like to explore, but also experimental, in the sense that your project may change as you develop it further, and workshop it through in-class and one-on-one critiques. It is a chance to “prototype” your final project. 


It is divided into multiple checkpoints. 

Due 2/14: Proposal and Project Sketch

A one to two-page (double-spaced, 12-point font, PDF) description of what it is you’re trying to achieve, including:
    • What you plan to make and why
    • Audience: What critical intervention you’re hoping the project will make, or what conversations it contributes to
    • Concepts & Materials: ideas and techniques you hope to explore during the making process
    • Three example media artworks that you’re drawing inspiration from, and why they speak to you. Draw from the class resource page, or anywhere else. Here is a list of artists included in Form and Code (Reas and McWilliams).
    • A preliminary map, flow or sketch, using some simple graphic icons or shapes: is the project sequential, non-linear or branching? Is it experiential? What kinds of interactions are you imagining? What is the project’s relationship to time? (use any format, for example, Sketchup, Google Drawings, hand sketching)


Instead of attempting to make the sketch look like a finished product, it is preferable to use that effort to try more layout variations and concepts: even ones that may be radically different from where you started. Quantity over quality. The point of the exercise is to be able generate them quickly and select the ones that work best for your purpose or aesthetic sensibility. 


Throughout the process, be mindful of the reasons the project is compelling to you. Struggles in planning often translate to struggles in implementation, so do what you can to think the ideas through to their conceptual and technical conclusions. This isn’t to say implementation struggles are a negative. Many times an idea can only go so far in planning and needs real iteration cycles to come to its full expression. The idea is to maintain a sense of the kinds of results would be interesting and compelling for you.

Due 2/21 2/23: Design Iteration and group critiques

Take your midterm proposal and start thinking about the real images, text, fonts, colors, sounds you are going to work with in Max/MSP. Work with actual content from your project archive: its important to move beyond abstract techniques and “get to the heart of the matter” at an early stage. However, you’ll have a brief deliverable that is consistent for everyone. This will be a prototype Max patch that you will show in class. It does not need to be functional or fully developed but should include some visual and/or sound elements, and you should be able to talk about how you hope to develop the patch. This is a chance for critical feedback and guidance on how to realize your project. 

Due 3/2: Midterm Project and in-class critique 

The midterm project is not limited to, but itself HAS to use the following:
  • Realtime Audio and/or video playback speed manipulation
  • Interactive user input
  • A fixed data source, or real-time data stream of some kind

Due 3/16: Written Peer Critiques

Everyone will give three brief written critiques post-midterm,-at least one page each (but no more than two), double-spaced, 12-point font. Each member of the groups of three will give two in-group and one out-of group, while the group of two will give one in-group and two out-of group. We’ll use a random generator to decide the out-of-group crits.
In your written critiques, you must address and comment on the following with regards to the three projects you are responsible for evaluating:
  • Aesthetics: what are your personal, embodied impressions, as a reader of the project, considering what you know about the project and the person making it, and what they are trying to communicate and/or accomplish? 
  • Audience: Given the project’s stated audience, what are you noticing it does well to reach that audience, how do you suppose it might impact that audience? 
  • Technique: Open the Max patch. Imagine you’re collaborating with the author. Is the technique clear? Can you understand what is being executed by looking at it? Are there comments that explain the intent of certain aspects? Do  variable and function names make sense in the context of their use? Are there techniques that surprise you, or that you didn’t know about being used? 
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