– New Electronic Art Programs at the MCA
The MCA has launched new workshop programs that use littleBits electronics to bring new media and electronic art practices into the hands of kids as young as 8.
It’s almost impossible to talk about littleBits without mentioning the brilliant woman responsible for bringing them into existence; Ayah Bdier. Bdier who is both an artist and electrical engineer wanted to create a new resource for creative projects that is modular in the same way that Lego is and accessible for kids as young as 8. The resulting littleBits are an expanding library of small electrical components that connect together with magnets – so no soldering required and they can be combined and recombined again and again. This allows for iterative development processes, i.e. experimentation and learning. Prior to the arrival of littleBits, designing and testing electronics generally meant models were thrown-away and parts were wasted. With littleBits magnets – mistakes can be made without clumsy waste.
Another strong motivator for Bdier was to create something that is gender neutral, and encourages both sexes to engage and create. The colours that are used to denote functions as well as the examples and designs showcased on the littleBits website are deliberately chosen to actively encourage girls to get involved with technology as makers.
Electronics have brought many new possibilities to artists in the past century. The current ‘maker revolution’ that is bringing design and production capacity into the hands of the ordinary citizen through technologies such as 3D printing, Arduino, IFTTT is expanding the possibilities for artists to utilise electronic and digital materials exponentially. By utilising littleBits, MCA learning programs are able to make many of these possibilities accessible to a broad range of ages and abilities.
MCA programs using littleBits:
Junior Art School – Machine Art
Build moving, glowing sculptures inspired by the Annette Messager: motion / emotion exhibiton in this day long school holliday workshop for ages 8 – 12.
More on Ayah Bdier – watch the TED Talk
– Digital Learning Producer
Alex’s interest for intersections between technology, community and culture has drawn him to leadership roles in projects like Tele Visions, Serial Space, Electrofringe, Liquid Architecture Sydney, High Reflections, Lion Mountain Studio and Moduluxxx where he has directed, produced and curated.
Alongside these largely volunteer positions his professional activities have drawn out parallel themes around skills development and community empowerment via technology at the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, Marrickville Youth Resource Centre and his current position as Digital Learning Producer at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia.
Alex produces sound, video and installations working with both custom software patches and hardware based modular synthesis systems.
Alex also performs as Nadir with Ben Byrne.