Unravel the Code IV - Core Memory Marathon
What kind of memories can can be stored in 64 bits? Who knows! For this group of Digital Craftsmen, the memory is all in the making.
For the fourth consecutive year of Unravel the Code, students of Baltimore’s Maryland Institute College of Art and students of the Digital Craft programme at the Willem de Kooning Academy will join forces in Rotterdam for a week of lectures, workshops, and exchange. The workshop challenge for this years group of collaborators is perhaps the most ambitious: to literally craft computational memory. The type of memory to be made is a curious and obsolete mid-20th century technology where computation and weaving handwork intersects. Called Magnetic Core Memory, the principle behind the technology relies on an array of woven bead-like rings (cores) that can be magnetised in either a clockwise or counter clockwise direction. This binary differentiation enables each core to be readable/writable as either a 1 or 0. Each magnetic core/bead makes a bit, 8 cores make a byte, and our 64 core system is will be able 1/billionth of what you can store on a 8GB usb stick. It is for a very selective memory.
The goal of the workshop is to build from scratch two complete and working memory systems. The participants with be split into three groups, each with a ‘core’ task. The Drivers will build the driving hardware to send and sense electrical its pulses; Etchers & Weavers will create copper print plates that will serve for the circuitry/carrier of the magnetic memory and sew together the magnetic rings that will carry and store data; and the Dreamers will speculate the revival of core memory by exploring its artistic application. At the end of the day the teams will regroup into the respective institutions. The MICA students will write a memory in one of the (hopefully) working systems for the WDKA, and the WDKA students will write a memory for MICA. The moment of truth will come when the memory attempted to be retrieved.
Aside from the practical experience of building computational memory, the peculiarities of the medium will hopefully bring many conceptual discussions around the workshop tables. From a distructive reading process can draw some parallels to contemporary concepts of human “working memory”, to the mere marvel that hand woven beads-on-threads ran some of the worlds first super computers. Considering the tiny amount of storable data and the fact that there is no guarantee that the reading and writing of the the core memory will be without failure, the practical functions will have to be displaced by more poetic matter. Nonetheless it will be a memorable experience.
In a 5 min Skype session, introduce the Unravel the Code / Digital Craft programme (what are the themes/style/skills of the course) and share a memorable photograph of your past that fits under the title “ the moment I knew what I wanted to do”. The purpose of this pre-meeting is to have the first exchange to be on a peer to peer basis and break the ice before the marathon begins.
Anna Brancaccio firstname.lastname@example.org Arthur Boer email@example.com
Caroline Kim firstname.lastname@example.org Boris Smeenk email@example.com
Catie Buhler firstname.lastname@example.org Brice Ammar Khodja email@example.com
Emma Whitlock firstname.lastname@example.org Carly Muller email@example.com
Esther Kim firstname.lastname@example.org Emma Rijk & Eun Yang Lee email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Jake O'Hagan email@example.com Floor Steinz firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie Rose email@example.com Judith vd Heiden firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Cook email@example.com Julia Rahliff firstname.lastname@example.org
Linka Lin email@example.com Kars vd Heuvel firstname.lastname@example.org
Mai Toyoshima email@example.com Kelly Fober firstname.lastname@example.org
Ryan Griffin email@example.com Lars Noback firstname.lastname@example.org
Sanskruta Chakravarthy email@example.com Laura Egger-Karlegger & Laura Lang firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Stella Lee firstname.lastname@example.org Leontien van Hattem email@example.com
Akane Bessho firstname.lastname@example.org Lisa Vermeer email@example.com
Ece Hoboo Maevanwy Mcavoy firstname.lastname@example.org
Hieu Tran email@example.com Marjolein Stassen firstname.lastname@example.org
Hitesh Singhal email@example.com Stijn v Aardenne firstname.lastname@example.org
Jake Lazovick email@example.com Max Kowalski firstname.lastname@example.org
Maya Ragazzo email@example.com Meike Brand firstname.lastname@example.org
Ran Zheng email@example.com Nora Mabrouki firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Whelton email@example.com Pascalle deJager firstname.lastname@example.org
Selina Doroshenko email@example.com Pip Passchier firstname.lastname@example.org
Sydney Spann email@example.com Rens van Pinxteren firstname.lastname@example.org
Yinan Wang email@example.com Stan Haanappel firstname.lastname@example.org
Yu Sheng email@example.com Zina Burgers firstname.lastname@example.org
Memory Marathon Presentations
On Wednesday afternoon all students will have 3 minutes to share their interests and approach to their practice. Considering collaboration can continue well beyond the project week it could be interesting to see on what basis can students connect. Please prepare a short 5 slide presentation on the following format and have it ready as a pdf.
- Slide 1: A memorable photograph of your past.
(That fits under the title “ the moment I knew what I wanted to do”)
- Slide 2: What do you make?
(Tell us in one image and one slide about creative background)
- Slide 3: What is your topic of interest?
(Explain a past/current Q9 project topic or what you wish to research in Q10)
- Slide 4: What is your medium?
(Explain what materials and tools you wish to use)
Side 5: What is your question?
Schedule (subject to change)
Wednesday October 14 – Sharing Interests / Sharing Approaches
|Wednesday 14/10||Interaction Station (2nd Floor Wijnhaven)|
|12:00-12:30||Welcoming students, brief discussion on course approaches, gathering presentations|
|12:30 – 13:30||MICA presentations|
|13:30 – 13:45||Coffee Break|
|13:45 – 14:45||WDKA presentations|
|15:00 – 17:00||Mini Rotterdam Excursion|
|17:00 – 17:45||Core Memory Marathon Briefing|
|18:00||Dinner in the Willem|
Thursday October 15 – Core Memory Marathon
|Thursday 15/10||Interaction Station (2nd Floor Wijnhaven)|
|9:30 – 10:00||Recapping workshop challenge / division into groups
- The Drivers – Building driving hardware
|10:00 – 18:00||Soldering, Etching, Weaving, Sketching Marathon|
|19:00-19:30||Regrouping, bringing parts together and making/writing the memory|
|19:30-20:00||Moment of truth – reading the memory|
Workshop Reading Material / Resources
Media:Byte-1976-07.pdf Byte Magazine article on Ferrite Core Memory and adding currents
Media:Corememoryshield_report.pdf Report on the Core Memory Arduino shield we will try to build
The core memory shield website
The WDKA GitHub with all files and arduino code