How to code a sound charcoal drawing

Winter holidays brought junior high school students to art and science workshop at the Otaniemi campus.
Kasperi Mäki-Reinikka instructs Suvi Sossa with Arduino electronics.

The new Aalto University Junior gathered a group of junior high school students, in the middle of their winter holidays, to a workshop of exciting combinations of art and science. The workshop was held at the newly opened Aalto University Junior laboratory space. During the workshop students created for example a sound drawing, an interactive poster, and other exciting projects.

”The best thing about the course for me has been when we put charcoal and ink drawing under a microscope”, says 11-year old course participant Suvi Sossa. Electron microscope revealed for example the atomic composition of ink and charcoal drawings. Creating a sound drawing required a charcoal pen that conducts electricity, which was connected to Arduino electronics environment and programmed with Arduino’s C++ based programming language. Course works are exhibited at the lobby at the end of the course.

”We wanted to create a phenomenon-based learning course, where we would start with some common phenomenon – in this case charcoal pen – with which we would be able to create course content both on electronics and visual arts”, reveals LUMA Coordinator Kasperi Mäki-Reinikka, one of the course instructors, who is in charge of the course with his colleague Heta Närhi. Mäki-Reinikka is also a doctoral student at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. “We wanted to try how to bring artistic innovation to science, and on the other hand how to bring science to art”, says Heta Närhi.

Aalto University Junior is activity aimed at youngsters and located at the Otaniemi campus in the School of Chemical Technology premises. The same laboratory space is also shared with Biofilia, a research and teaching unit for biological art within School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Aalto University Junior is part of the national LUMA Center Finland.

Text and Photos: Mikko Raskinen

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