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Unravel the Code 8: Current Issues — Unstable Energy. Unbounded Potential.


The future generation is full of ups and downs. Some fear that it is too unreliable. Others call for massive behavioral change. As promising as total power generation from wind or solar may sound, its intermittency poses fundamental challenges to our current ways of living. But if constant, dispatchable, and incorruptible power is an idea of the past, then it’s high time we learn how to go with the flow.

The 8th Annual Unravel the Code Workshop, Current Issues, explores the potential of a more secure future with a less reliable power grid. It calls for an interdisciplinary group of artists, designers and makers to ponder how this might affect the way we both build and use technology. Can we build devices that brace for, or even embrace, service interruptions? For what will we use the watts we might harvest ourselves? Are there ways to effectively engineer demand in order to match peak supply? And how might we satiate our technological desires when the sun doesn’t shine? These are but a few of the questions that will be explored when students of the Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore), Saint Lukas (Antwerp), and the Willem De Kooning Academy (Rotterdam) combine their power in a 72 hour high-energy, low resistance international exchange.

Unravel the Code is an annual program that opens creative understandings of emerging technologies through intensive international workshops. By historically examining the making of technologies, as well as leveraging interdisciplinary, the goal is to foster students to reach out for new socio-technical perspectives, as well as build back concrete skills respective to the areas of their expertise.

About the Collaborating Progams

MICA http://unrvl.net

WDKA Digital Craft

Workshop Challenges

Soft Powers - Fabric Station

How might small personal amounts of generated power manifest itself in personally powerful ways? Soft Powers explores the synergy of body gestures, e-textiles, and ‘just enough joules’ to enable one to take control of any situation. Skeptical of fashion-tech promises, this group has a power-it-yourself ethos, and believe that built in dynamos are on trend.

Bistable Publishing - Publication Station

How might spotty service and rolling blackouts shift the ubiquity of screen based media to more curious forms of dynamic display? Bistable Publishing explores new futures for current and antiquated display technologies that keep their mediation powers even when the power is out. How can you binge watch e-paper? And how do you flip-dot-booggie-woogie? The bistable publishers have ways…and they like it both ways…whether its on or off.

Juice & the City - Material Station

How might concepts of ’smart cities’ and ‘shared mobility’ be challenged by a public low on charge? Juice & the City considers the plethora of potential power sources parked idle in every street, and observes the emergent groups who ‘juice-up’ shared vehicles on the side. This group also speculates on the new feild of tension when the organised ’drainers’ arrive. How does this group siphon the street? and for what does it use its publicly collected energy for? On the flip-side, how might owners pre-empt and protect the precious batteries?

Behaviour Management - Interaction Station

How might we satiate our technological desires when the sun doesn’t shine? And are there ways to effectively engineer demand in order to match peak supply? The Behaviour Management group believes that our design of everyday life must to be better timed — they are busy beavers at high noon, and become more esoteric creatures with the moon. BMGer’s argue that in our current transition period, more energy needs to be spent on curbing old routines and creating new rituals than pumping money in an overbuilt and inefficient infrastructure.


Awkward FaceTime

5/10 - 11/10 Bits of Rotterdam - bits of Baltimore - through the magic of the internet
time and date student arranged MICA and WDKA Digital Craft students try to sustain a 5 min awkward conversation, knowing that it will make the week much smoother knowing at least one partner student on a face to face basis. There is a strict format for this talk, which can be found below.

FaceTime Format

To identify your FaceTime partner, please sign up for one of the four projects (as participant 1-6) and contact the corresponding student (i.e if your #1 in Its Complicated on the MICA list, find out who is #1 on the Its Complicated WDKA list…..its a bit complicated, i know).

Please prepare the following to discuss:

  1. share a love/hate about your current program (of course no bad talking about UTC ;)
  2. share a memorable photograph where the look on your face fits under the title  “ the moment I knew what I wanted to do”.
  3. show via the webcam a distinguishing facial featured
  4. take a screenshot of each others faces and upload it to project participant lists on the wiki

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.  

Monday 23 October - Meet, Greet, Eat, Show, Tell

Time / Place Activity
~17:00 (exact TBC) / Blaak Station / Markthall Entrance Show your face WdKA Students meet MICA
17:00 – 17:30 / de Appie BYOB WdKA students have brought the food. MICA brings the drinks? For those of you who want check if non-imported Heineken still tastes horrible, its advised to conceal your bottles “American Style” upon entry to the school (ask WdKA students for advice).
17:30 – 18:00 / 3e Inberieding Word of Welcome / A Few Works Jeroen (our super chatty / semi-professinal tap dancing / Digital Craft student) says a few words of welcome, talks briefly about the the Digital Crafters have been doing and show a few mini-projects from this semester.
18:00 – 19:00 / 4e Inberieding (or in case of a warm sunny miracle — the roof top terrace) Zes uur! Etenstijd! Vera’s in the kitchen and better not be late
19:00 – 19:30 WdKA tour within your workshop groups, explore the school's stations
after hours Bitterball’n? Tap-dancing Jeroen also happens to be registered party planner (many talents). He’d be happy to suggest any nighttime activities whatever your scene may be.

Tuesday 24 October - Strictly Business

Time / Place Activity
9:30 – 9:45 / De Willem COFFEEEEEEEEE
10:00 – 10:30 / Interaction Station The Briefing Jon what we are doing and why he’s so happy about it.
10:30 – 11:15 / Interaction Station Brainstorm Round 1
11:15 – 12:00 / Interaction Station Brainstorm Round 2
12:00 – 14:00 / ???? Mini-Excursion WDKA & MICA students break into groups, lunch somewhere in Rotterdam, and visit a ‘selfie’ worth place. #facesofrotterdam
14:00 – 14:30 Interaction Station 20 min foreshadowing w/ Javi - explaining the ins and outs of what comes next
14:30 – 15:30 / Interaction Station 20min Foreplay - round-robin practical/unpractical instruction
  • Sensitivity Training w/Mike or Ryan
  • Face-Inter-Facing w/Javi
  • Micro-controling w/Ryan or Yoana
  • Photo-Boothing w/Tim
15:30 – 18:00 / Interaction Station Confidence Building - production of a pre-marathon proof of concpet
18:00 – 19:00 - De Willem / School Cantine Lekker Borrelen

Wednesday 25 October - The Face of Things Marathon

Time / Place Activity
9:30 – 10:30 / De Willem Upping the Anti students evaluate their concept prototype sketch out a plan of action
10:00 – 11:00 / Interaction Station Face your Mentor Students discussing concept, feasibly, required tech/materials with workshop mentors.
11:00 – 12:00 / Interaction Station Facing the Facts Is the idea ideal? Are all parts of your plan ready for production? 1 hour or fact checking, script writing, or resource finding before lunch.
11:00 – 12:00 / Interaction Station About Face? A working lunch dedicated to the second thoughts and the doubting thomases.
13:00 – 16:30 / Interaction Station FACE OFF MAKE MAKE MAKE MAKE MAKE MAKE MAKE
16:30 – 17:30 / Blaak Foyer Drawn out Critique draw out your process, critique your current outcomes, plan for the last push
17:30 – 20:30 / Interactionstation Laatste Loodjes
20:30 – 20:45 / Blaak Foyer & Basement Exhibition Space Project Delivery bring your project to the exhibition space

Thursday 26 October - Document

Thursday 26/10 Blaak Foyer & Basement Exhibition Space
9:00 – 11:00 Photo/video documentation of results
11:00 – 12:00 Walk through of results to WDKA managers/coodinators

Participating Students

MICA Students

  • Chase - cbody@mica.edu 314507@edu.nl - qfodk
  • Claire - ccho02@mica.edu - 314506@edu.nl - eafdt
  • Jihae - jchoe@mica.edu - 314505@edu.nl - ktflh
  • Wan-Ting - wkao@mica.edu - 314504@edu.nl - njgad
  • Stefon - skelly05@mica.edu - 314503@edu.nl - umwne
  • Catherine - ckhamnouane@mica.edu - 314502@edu.nl - mabwp
  • So-Hee - skim17@mica.edu - 314501@edu.nl - yefll
  • Jenna Lane - jklein01@mica.edu - 314500@edu.nl - dtqdd
  • Dione - dlee04@mica.edu - 314499@edu.nl - hkitq
  • Yunzi - yliu03@mica.edu - 314498@edu.nl - jhmwg
  • Emary - eparisi@mica.edu - 314497@edu.nl - ccwle
  • Rachel - rrusk@mica.edu - 314496@edu.nl - wixsb
  • Durba - dsamanta@mica.edu - 314495@edu.nl - jckwk
  • Nilam - nsari@mica.edu - 314493@edu.nl - ujgtm
  • Sydney - ssiehtakata@mica.edu - 314494@edu.nl - rejir
  • Daniel - dspurgin@mica.edu - 314492@edu.nl - mjkdm
  • Sallie - lxu01@mica.edu - 314491@edu.nl - jdylh
  • Huijun - hzhu02@mica.edu - 314490@edu.nl - lxchl
  • Miles - mbarnett01@mica.edu - 314489@edu.nl - utfwy
  • Taylor - tpestorius@mica.edu - 314488@edu.nl - wvbvg
  • Margeaux - mabeyta@mica.edu - 314487@edu.nl - chtlb

WDKA Minor Digital Craft

  • Kenah - 0851671@hr.nl
  • Jeroen - 0873511@hr.nl
  • Jeanine - 0889920@hr.nl
  • Jochem - 0891362@hr.nl
  • Suzanne - 0891866@hr.nl
  • Tim - 0891980@hr.nl
  • Sanne - 0894723@hr.nl
  • Timoteo - timoteocarbone@gmail.com
  • Vera - 0901062@hr.nl
  • Alexander - 0901319@hr.nl
  • Tharim - 0901344@hr.nl

WDKA 3rd Year Digital Craft

  • Chiara - 0883941@hr.nl
  • Laura - 0889852@hr.nl
  • Pepijn - 0894710@hr.nl
  • Stephanie - 0900998@hr.nl
  • Mans - 0901281@hr.nl
  • Sjoerd - 0902887@hr.nl
  • Koen - 0910747@hr.nl
  • Tom - 0912919@hr.nl
  • Thijs - 0917912@hr.nl
  • Nomi - 0919394@hr.nl
  • Dieke - 0919883@hr.nl
  • Marielle - 0919897@hr.nl
  • Tutu - 0921248@hr.nl
  • Daniela -0925857@hr.nl
  • Emanuela - 0956193@hr.nl

Participating Faculty


  1. Alan Grover, awgrover@gmail.com, technical assistant volunteer - 314508@edu.nl - rmzja
  2. Ryan Hoover, rhoover@mica.edu, instructor - 314509@edu.nl - bhiqj
  3. Annet Couwenberg, acouwenb@mica.edu, instructor - 314510@edu.nl - zisxw


  1. Tim Knapen, tim@indianen.be, digital craft practice mentor
  2. Jon Stam, jon@commonplace.nl, digital craft research mentor
  3. Javi Lloret Pardo, j.a.lloret.pardo@hr.nl, interaction station
  4. Mike 'MJ' Pelletier, m.j.pelletier@hr.nl, canuk
  5. Yoana Buzova, yoanabuzova@gmail.com, interaction station
  6. Brigit Lichtenegger, b.lichtenegger@hr.nl, station chief

Workshop Projects

Group 1 - Anthropomaterials

What if a crafted material could show its true face and react in reciprocity to yours? This group of students explore how to animate the inanimate and how materials might move to human emotions.


MICA Students (sign up below)

1. Claire Cho

2. Nilam Sari

3. Durba Samanta

4. Rachel Rusk

5. Stefon Kelly

6. Miles Barnett

WDKA Students (sign up below)

1. Tim Reuser

2. Koen Dekker

3. Jochem Walboomers

4. Vera Castelijns

5. Jeroen Rijnart

6. Sanne Schilder


Group 2 - Keeping Up Appearances

What if materials and objects impose social standards from their users? This set of students explore the issues of presentation culture in a world of pre-programmed interactions.


MICA Students (sign up below)

1. Jenna Klein

2. Dione Lee

3. Daniel Spurgin

4. Sydney Sieh-Takata

5. So Hee Kim

6. Catherine Khamnouane

WDKA Students (sign up below)

1. Suzanne Guitjens

2. Jeanine Verloop

3. Timoteo Carbone

4. Chiara Ermers




Group 3 - Discriminant by Nature

What would it mean if more things could accept or reject you based on the image it sees. This group of students explore recognition from the object’s point of view.


MICA Students (sign up below)

1. Wan Ting Kao

2. Huijun Cynthia Zhu

3. Jihae Choe

4. Yunzi Liu

5. Luying (Sallie) Xu

WDKA Students (sign up below)


2.hizkia pepijn





Group 4 - It’s Complicated

What if you and your objects formed deeper relationships by learning how to deal with each other?  This group of students explore the concept of user unfriendly human computer interaction.

MICA Students (sign up below)

1. Chase Body

2. Margeaux Abeyta

3. Taylor Pestorius

4.Emary Parisi

WDKA Students (sign up below)

1. Dieke Berkhuizen

2. Alkenah Wansing

3. Tharim Cornelisse

4. AlexLaman

Tools & Tech

- To Be Updated-

Workshop Documentation

Fill me with images!!!!!!!