Programming for Artists

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Aalto University – School of Arts, Design and Architecture
Department of Media
Media Lab Helsinki


Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

What this course is about?

  • Beginner-friendly course for learning how to use code as a creative medium.
  • Learning how programming works on a basic level.
  • Understanding that you can do a lot with just a little bit of knowledge, lots of trial and error, and a bucketful of patience.
  • Thinking about the possibilities and limitations of programming as a form of art.
  • Learning how to find information and help.
  • You will be working on your own project where you implement the things we learn during the course. The project can be an interactive installation, generative artwork simple, game, data visualization etc. Pretty much anything goes as long as it implements programming in a creative fashion.

What this course is not about?

  • This is not a computer science course. We will be writing code, but on a level that is not so terribly concerned what is the most efficient way. If it works for the desired outcome, it works.
  • You will not become a software developer just by sitting through this course. So do not expect to be hired by Supercell next week.
  • Also do not expect to get all the information you need during the lectures. You have to spend time outside the classroom to really understand how things work. You will not learn how to write code by just passively listening.
  • We use a specific programming language (Processing), but it is not really about mastering that specific language. More important is to learn the logic of programming and give you the confidence to add it to your set of tools.
  • It is not about browsing Facebook while I try to explain how a for loop works. If you are bored, please use your time going through more advanced topics or example code.  A teacher’s secret: You would be surprised how accurately I can tell what you are doing on your computer just from the look on your face.


  • 3 Credits (81 hours of work)
  • 36 hours of lectures. 45 hours of personal work.
  • A couple of small exercises that you must post to OpenProcessing or send via MyCourses
  • A final project that you present on the last day of the course

Suggested Reading & Resources