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artsy fartsy entertainment software school?

hi
i've been doing software for about 8 years professionally, the whole gamut from windows desktop apps to web apps and now i'm doing cell phone applications. i'm also into art, i actually got into computers in 8th grade from my art teacher who had an amiga lab that he let us mess around with. 

what i want to do is create artsy fartsy stuff like robotic installation type things. and i also have a couple of product ideas that i would like to work on. i'd like to cool off for a couple years with a graduate program that combined artsy fartsy stuff with programming and electronics.

the one place i've noticed that combines these things is the MIT media lab. so i am applying there. but i was wondering if there are any other places people would suggest?  I know that NYU has the interactive telecommunications program, and that CMU has a game design lab, but the NYU program looks like too many "visualizing your concept" style classes and i'm not really into standard video games. this is probably the wrong forum but i troll around here a lot so i just thought i'd check to see if anyone had any ideas.  inside or outside of the USA would be fine.

art nerd
Monday, October 13, 2003

Everybody who I know who's done stuff like that generally has some sort of a background in arts or engineering and has gone out on their own and taught it to themselves.  There's community colleges to teach things like metalworking, which helps.  In some areas (i.e. LA, NYC, SF bay, etc) there are some measure of artist's establishments where you can learn slightly more specilized stuff.

But, really, your best bet is to read enough engineering texts to know how to, at the very least, have an open-casket funeral when you screw up and just do it all yourself.  This is art, so degrees are optional and often times a distraction, not the requirement like they are with engineering.

It always helps to find some artists who do that sort of stuff and ask them one-on-one for advice.  If not, move to the sort of area where people who do the art you find interesting are.

Also, let it be known that, currently, there's very little money to be made on that sort of a thing because you are an artist, not an engineer.  And the galleries aren't too interested in this, so generally you are renting the space and creating a spectacle.  It is definately a lot less interesting than you think, unless you are driven to do it.  Metalworking isn't just about welding, it's mostly about grinding and cutting metal, with little bits of welding here and there to attach stuff.  Building a robot is not about making your own personal android friend, it's about machining pieces so that they work properly.  You will be lucky to even have the time to work on the software, with all of the engineering tasks.  Building a flamethrower is not about huge jets of fire, it's about making sure that the damn thing lights and that you survive the experience.

w.h.
Monday, October 13, 2003

Cornell does a lot of robotics.
You might want to sign up to do coops at places that uses lots of animatronics.

Li-fan Chen
Monday, October 13, 2003

Sorry got my Uni wrong, CMU, not Cornell. Cornell is a good engineering school, but I think it's CMU that does all the robotics work.

Li-fan Chen
Monday, October 13, 2003

If you really want to "cool off for a couple years," don't apply to the MIT media lab through EECS, because you still have to do the core comp sci curriculum... apply through the architectural school (visual arts & architecture) is your best bet.

Mortimer Snerd
Monday, October 13, 2003

i exist in a weird inverse reality where my 2 best friends from high school are both professional artists, easily making 2 or 3 times as much money as i do. :) (it seems you just need to team up with the right advertising firms) granted they toiled for the past 8 years making art for no money and now make a bundle, whereas i toiled for the past 8 years making software and still make the same mediocre middle class salary i always have, and always will, if i keep on this path. so i guess it evens out over time, salary wise. i don't really think there are many other options other than media lab, or teach myself everything, but i thought i would check to see if anyone else had any ideas.

art nerd
Monday, October 13, 2003

CMU has been kicking ass for the past couple (at least) of years in the annual robot soccer competion.

Prakash S
Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Kicking ass?

Sounds like soccer robot AI is rather inadvertently painful to work on (and perhaps in need of a little tweaking).

Burninator
Tuesday, October 14, 2003

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