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.
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
Alex’s interest for intersections between creativity, technology and community has drawn him to roles in community broadcasting, community development, and cultural sectors. He has a long history of organising and curating experimental music and art through projects like; Tele Visions, Serial Space, Electrofringe, High Reflections, Lion Mountain Studio and Liquid Architecture.
Alex currently works as the Digital Learning Producer for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. He is passionate about the possibilities for art and creativity to change lives both for audiences and creators. Alex also produces and performs sound, video and installations working with both customised software systems and hardware based modular synthesis systems.