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Accommodation in McKenna's (if required) 25 euros per night

A 3-day in-depth workshop for artists looking to use interactive digital media as part of an arts practice.

Art has always used technology. Whether the technology is a paintbrush or a smartphone, artists throughout history have sought to push the limits of technologies by experimenting, critiquing and breaking the rules around the tools that we all use.

This workshop will offer challenging ideas for professional visual artists through theory and practical skills developed over three days in an intensive workshop. A background to technology in art will be presented, including an introduction to unusual, atypical, obsolete and nonwestern technologies. Some examples will be given of artists and practitioners who use interactive technologies in their work. An outline of “open source” technology will be given, including an exploration of hacker culture, and a look at how the internet came to exist as it does.

There are many programming languages that artists use to make work such as procedural animations, interactive installations, light and sensor based artworks and more. We will focus first on building an understanding of the structure and rules of a programming language, learning the open source language Processing. This language was developed in 2001 by researches at MIT to be a high-level language for artists and designers who want to code. Processing is a useful way to learn to understand the rules of programming and how it can be useful for an artist. We will explore other DIY, free and open source technologies (FOSS), including hardware like Raspberry Pi microcomputers.

Once the theoretical and practical side of art and technology are established, we will have the skills to build new works using computer programs. Attendees will be encouraged to write new computer programs as artworks, either individually or collaboratively with other attendees. We will explore other programming languages and the possibilities of sensor technologies and Arduino and how they can be used in installations, and will consider how to select the right languages and technologies for a work.

No previous experience with computer programming is necessary, but note that this is a workshop for experienced visual artists who are seeking to expand an existing practice. The workshop will be collaborative and the attendees will be encouraged to learn from one another, guided by a holistic and open teaching method. Attendees will need access to their own computer. We can provide computer access but would recommend attendees bring a laptop if possible.


1) Computer programming for interactive artworks: (masterclass) in programming languages Python, Processing, and web languages HTML/CSS/JavaScript for web-based programs, using Raspberry Pi mcrocomputers if desired.

2) DIY electronics using sensors and Arduino: For interactive artworks using sensor input from visitors such as sound, touch, proximity, light or other avilable sensors

3) Critical technologies and FOSS in Art: An introduction to using “FOSS” (Free and Open Source) technologies to develop and share new work, and entry level introductions to using these technologies for networking and finding collaborators. These technologies are free alternatives to corporate technologies like Google, Facebook, Twitter etc. and are a useful arsenal in critical and cultural theory of artistic development.

There will be a maximum of 6 people on this course.

Shane Finan

Shane Finan assembles objects into artworks, including electronics, interactive digital technologies, timber and painting. He holds a BA in Fine Art (IT Sligo 2008) and an Msc in Interactive Digital Media (Trinity College Dublin 2013). His work explores the impact of technology on human and nonhuman behaviour. He creates interactive art installations that encourage audiences to be part of the works that they encounter. He has completed residencies with Simularr at the University of Music and Performing Arts, (Graz, Austria 2022), Leitrim Sculpture Centre (2021), FIELD (University of Lincoln/Wellcome Trust, UK 2020-21) and VARC Visual Arts in Rural Communities (UK, 2021). HIs work has exhibited at Reboot Me Softly 19th annual Piksel Festival for Electronic Art and Free Technologies (Bergen, Norway 2021), Púca in the Machine (Blessington Library, Wicklow 2022), VARC and Newcastle Arts Centre (2021), tactus the 17th Athens Digital Arts Festival (2021). He has received funding from the Arts Council of Ireland (2020, 2021), Culture Ireland (2021), Wicklow Arts Office (2021, 2022) and Creative Ireland (2020).