Creative Computing

The Division of Humanities and Fine Arts at UC Santa Barbara is proud to announce a set of summer courses under the Creative Computing Initiative, generously supported by alumnus Ross Dowd (Class of 1994, English and Political Science). The initiative encourages undergraduate students to develop more technical literacy in an increasingly computerized world but also to forge more personal, imaginative, and critical connections to computationally based media and technology. Through this new initiative, students are invited to explore a series of connected courses focused on digital technologies and their contexts. Scholarships of $1,000 are also available to help offset the unit fees, with the potential for more for those students in need. To apply, please fill out this Google form by June 10 (for Session A) or July 1 (for Session B). Students may also be eligible to receive more than one scholarship when taking more than one Creative Computing course. 

Art 122CD Computational Design through Responsive Architecture
Instructor: Yin Yu
Session B

In the creative industries, 3D modeling is essential for project development. This course begins with a grounding in computational design and digital prototyping. It offers a historical and practical introduction to responsive architecture – an emerging field in architecture that integrates computing power and intelligent systems into built space. Students learn to apply parametric workflows to 3D computational design using Rhino Grasshopper, a visual programming language. Through a series of hands-on exercises, students will learn digital art and architecture, parametric modeling, digital prototyping, generative design, and rendering. By the end of the course, students will design and build a digital work of art/architecture that embodies the skills and principles learned in this course.

English 148RD Reading Data: A Humanist’s Guide to Information Culture
Instructor: Alanna Bartolini
Session B

To live in an information culture is to live in a world where knowledge is often a currency for power. This course undertakes to examine the role of data in our society’s past, present, and future. We must, to quote Thomas Richards, work back from our world, “a world in which armies fund universities, corporations run laboratories, banks sponsor the arts,” a world where “power draws its breath from knowledge.” Data is frequently assumed to be synonymous with the objective fact, endowed with positivist authority and scientific certitude. Yet, all data are necessarily abstractions, and are meaningless without the external imposition of a structuring system. Facts can stand alone, but data points need a framework; without it, interpretive work cannot be performed. The important thing, then, is to understand that any system of ordering information constitutes a mediation – that is to say, the framework necessarily constitutes an interpretation. This course is designed to equip the thinking humanist with tools to analyze and evaluate data, metadata, and modes of data structuration and mediation. The class is specifically aimed at students in the humanities and other non-STEM majors, with the goal of imparting technical skills and literacy that are relevant and important in our current cultural climate. No previous technical skills are required – an open mind is the only prerequisite!

Linguistics 135 Memes: When Language and Culture Go Viral
Instructor: Kevin Whitesides
Session B

While digital life these days is often dominated by an ocean of Internet memes, fake news, and social media discourse, “memetic” processes more broadly (i.e. the diffusion of linguistic and cultural elements through populations by means of communicative acts) have a much longer history beyond the digital era. This course offers a range of perspectives, skills, and techniques to aid in the analysis of memetic processes occurring across a range of online and offline media. Students will explore current theory about linguistic and cultural diffusion, develop the skills to apply these concepts to both online and offline discourse, and acquire hands-on training with a range of software tools designed to track and analyze social media discourse, discourse in naturally occuring conversations, as well as cultural fads and traditions. The course explores the power and meaning of memes in digital culture and beyond, introducing theories and methods that aid in understanding how and why memes work, including memetics, correspondence, intertextuality, dialogicality, resonance, affordances, genre, branding, stance, voice, identity, network effects, and culture. Students do hands-on web-based research on memes, virality, and related phenomena.

Music 109CA Introduction to Creative Audio Production
Instructors: Kramer Elwell and Raphael Radna
Session B

Interested in electronic music? Podcasting? Sound design? Production for film or games? Wherever your passion may lie, this course will teach you the skills required to work with digital audio. Through practical work with specific software tools, you will learn to record, edit, and manipulate sound with computers, culminating in a final project. By the end of the course, you will be empowered to tackle your own digital audio projects, or pursue internships in audio production. Additionally, we present the history and theory of digital audio through lectures, readings, and listening assignments that trace the major trends and topics in the field from its origins in the early 20th century to the present day. Compositional and creative aspects are emphasized. No prior knowledge of digital audio or programming is required.  

Spanish 157 Latinx Identities in Digital Publishing
Instructors: Jovana Gómez and Lale Stefkova 
Session A

This course intertwines literary and creative studies with a focus on U.S. Latinx Identities, and the principles of digital media, through the practice of digital desktop publishing with Adobe InDesign. The course offers a critical perspective on identity, language, media, and power dynamics surrounding contemporary U.S. Latinx communities. At the same time, it introduces students to a variety of emerging genres and media through which identity can be narrated, described, commented and debated. It aims to create awareness of issues like diversity and representation while teaching them to use hybrid media for creative expression and literary research. Rather than offering a panoramic and exhaustive overview of the different communities within the country, the class will offer students an in-depth perspective of the experiences of individuals and their communities. The course develops the idea that U.S. Latinx identities are fluid and constantly negotiated, as national debates redefine concepts and categories such as race, ethnicity, sexuality, citizenship, political and media representation, and public discourse.