Archive for the ‘Academics’ Category

Creating the Music For “Driven,” the Newest Project X Film

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Recording session for "Driven" at Stanford with Stanford Orchestra and Cogswell College doing the recording.

Memorial Day marked a new opportunity for the Digital Audio Technology (DAT) Department at Cogswell College. Instead of spending their holiday on the beach, several faculty and audio students spent their time on the Stanford University campus along with a 32-piece orchestra of Stanford students recording the score for Driven. This collaboration between the two institutions is a first for both Cogswell and Stanford and provided new learning experiences for everyone involved.

Driven is also the first Project X film where the production incorporated a musical score, soundtrack and sound effects created by Cogswell students and faculty. Dr. Timothy Duncan, director of the DAT program, and an award-winning composer in his own right, composed the rich, high-energy score then worked with Stanford graduate student, Michael Repper, who conducted the orchestra, to create an exciting recorded performance.

The Memorial Day recording was set to a click-track, which allowed multiple takes of the session to be recorded at the exact same tempo so that in post-production the clips needed would fit seamlessly into the film. Robert Kirby, an undergraduate DAT student at Cogswell, recorded the live orchestra session with the help of other students.

DAT student, Robert Kirby, during the recording session at Stanford.

Julius Dobos, Distinguished Lecturer, brought an internationally-acclaimed background in music production to the project. Dobos directed DAT students in the process of creating original, organic sounds recorded in a real-world environment, such as a motorcycle and a car driving at high speed. The team chose not to rely on a sound library—a shortcut often used by major film studios to save time and production costs—and instead captured and modified most of their own sounds to include subtle desert ambiance, dramatic engine revving, high-intensity racing sounds and others.

DAT faculty, Anthony Dias, has been chronicling the project both in video and still photography. A behind-the-scenes documentary will be released with the new animated short detailing the scope of teamwork and collaboration between Cogswell students, faculty, the Stanford music department and its student orchestra.

A preliminary version of Driven had a surprise preview at the Stanford music department’s 2013 commencement ceremony. The film was met with audible gasps, laughter and resounding applause from the crowd of nearly 300 attendees.

The film’s animation and sound are currently being perfected by Cogswell students and the final mixing of the soundtrack is in process. Driven is the third Project X animation short to be released under the direction of Michael Zachary Huber. The film’s expected release date is mid-July.

Recording session for "Driven" at Stanford with Stanford Orchestra. Film was showing on the screen so Orchestra Conductor could see the progress.

Worlds Apart is Now on YouTube

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

For all of you who have not had the opportunity to see the second film produced by Cogswell’s Project X studio class, Worlds Apart, it is now on YouTube.  With an amazingly successful film festival run completed in late May, we are happy to make the film available to a wider audience.

By the way here are the results of the film festivals:

  • Official Selection = 46 festivals
  • Best Animation or Audience Choice Awards = 16
  • Screened in 20 different states including 17 different cities in California
  • Screened in 4 International locations including 3 different festivals in England
  • Congratulations to everyone involved in creating this outstanding piece!

Check out the video.

Digital Media Management – Program Spotlight

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Meet Digital Media Management Program Director, Bret Sweet

Bret Alexander Sweet was born in San Francisco, California. He was raised between Oakland and Sacramento, settling in San Francisco in 1997. Bret graduated from Berkeley High School in 1995. He is the son of prominent Bay Area civil rights attorney and social entrepreneur, Clifford Charles Sweet.

Bret combined his passion for music and entrepreneurship at a young age by earning himself an internship at PolyGram Group Distribution’s San Francisco office in the summer of 1995. Three months later he was an artist development rep focusing on the company’s urban division associated with Island Def Jam artists. He left PolyGram shortly after the merger to focus more on his college career at San Francisco State University and open his own label. Throughout his studies, Bret invested his time working in various community development organizations as well as running his own independent record label, House Kemetic Suns. Although House Kemetic Suns never reached platinum status with its artists, Bret had established the first online music distribution channel when he was 19; 6 years before Steve Jobs would bring iTunes to market.

In 2002, Bret began teaching entrepreneurship to youth and young adults from under-developed communities. In 2003, he signed on as Lead Entrepreneurship Instructor at BUILD, a non-profit organization in Menlo Park that uses entrepreneurship as vehicle for college admission for first generation students. In 2004, Bret was awarded Certified Teacher of the Year by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship. In fall of 2007, Bret retired from teaching to pursue his life-long dream of an MBA at the University of San Francisco. In 2008, Bret began certifying new cohorts of future NFTE instructor as a NFTE CETI (Certified Entrepreneurship Teacher Instructor). Bret graduated from the University of San Francisco in May 2009 with his Master’s of Business Administration with a dual emphasis in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. In December 2008, he received the USF School of Management’s Dean Circle Scholarship for exemplary service in his community.

In 2007, Bret founded the Dualism Group which is early stage venture capitalism firm and consulting arm geared toward helping underserved entrepreneurs launch and expand their companies in order to bring jobs to lower income communities. One of his clients is Robert Simpson of Back A Yard Corporation which led to Bret being instrumental in the founding of Coconuts Palo Alto and the expansion of Back A Yard into San Jose. In addition he established his own property management firm called Sweet Rentality which creates tech innovations for the property rental market. Bret is currently the director of Digital Media Management programs at Cogswell College.

Q & A About the Program

Cogswell:     Managing an entrepreneurial business that manufactures or provides a service probably does not pose the same challenges as managing a digital arts venture. Can you provide a definition of ‘entrepreneur’ as it applies to the expanded Digital Media Management Program?

Sweet:          I think the term entrepreneur has become really co-opted over the last 10 or 20 years. In regards to the Digital Media Management Program here at Cogswell, it’s really the fusion of creative thinking, business systems and self-awareness within four concentrations: audio artist management, entertainment media management, game design and business modeling, and finally, interactive marketing.

Cogswell:     I’d like to know if this program is designed just for people who want to go out on their own after graduating?

Sweet:          This program is for those who want to work both independently and for those who want to be prepared to work for companies like Disney, Sony and EA. We’re teaching them the fundamentals of how to have a larger position in business, whether it’s starting their own business or working in a high level position at a global company.

Cogswell:     That’s great, because not everyone wants to go out on their own right after graduating and even the ones that do usually work for a larger company before making that jump.

Sweet           That’s right. ‘Fundamentals for the digital arts’ is a key descriptive here. Let me give you an example. We had a Dean of a business school speaking to us recently. His brother had gone to an Ivy League school, was a practicing attorney, but wanted to get into the animation field.  He had to go back and make coffee at the animation company for four years before he got hired into management because he knew nothing about animation. Imagine if he attended a law school integrated with digital arts. I don’t believe he would have been making coffee.

Cogswell:     Sounds like he needed our Digital Arts Management program, he could have probably secured a degree in less than four years.

Sweet:          Indeed, but what’s really going on out there is that you have a generation of individuals who are running media companies, largely a result of consolidation and mergers, who don’t know the fundamentals of the digital arts business. You have the artists who work in these companies who don’t know business because it’s out of their comfort zone, and then business managers who don’t know anything about where the art comes from.

Cogswell:     What specific sets of skills will digital artists learn in this program that will help them be more successful?

Sweet:          Digital arts students understand how content is created, but they may not understand how to monetize it, create a working business model around it, protect it, keep it legally viable, market it, or determine who the target customer is. It’s not like there’s a How to Run a Studio for Dummies out there. We provide the core skills of what is needed to run a digital arts enterprise and present the information in the context of the arts, where our students are most comfortable.

Cogswell:     Aren’t some skills universal, don’t all businesses need some of the same core skills regardless of what the industry is?

Sweet:          Yes, but the digital arts have a unique core skill set. If you talk to most of our students and you ask them why they’re at Cogswell, what they are not going to say is ‘I want to be a business person.’ The students look at the business world and say, ‘that’s not something I am good at.’ Cogswell’s Digital Media Management program places students at the intersection of business and the digital arts. We use the term ‘entrepreneurship’ as a vehicle to teach business to our students. The irony here is that the attitude of a game designer or someone who wants to manage musical artists is decidedly anti-business, but many of our graduates have gone on to work at Pixar, which is owned by Disney, one of the largest companies in the world. They end up with most of the same skills, but learned in a very different environment. They find out that the business skills they used to fear actually come quite natural to them.

Cogswell:     Can you share a specific example of this?

Sweet:          Sure. This summer we are offering Hip Hop: America’s Narrative Platform. It’s a humanities class, but the idea is to teach students how to do a S.W.O.T. analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) by looking at urban music. We’re teaching a core business skill through an art form.

Cogswell:     What you’ve described certainly demonstrates a larger need in the industry for this broader base of education in the digital arts community.

Sweet:          Absolutely. Just imagine that you work for an entertainment company, but the person who signs your checks worked at a television network for 20 years selling soap ads. They were great selling ads, but when the network bought your record label, they got moved, placed above you on the ladder and do not know anything about music. To them, everything is business and corporate culture. To the recording artists, everything is music and culture. The Cogswell Digital Media Management graduate becomes the conduit in between. We’re finding that there has to be a happy medium between the people who are creating the content and the people who are monetizing it. This is what our program is all about.

A Day in the Life of an Audio Engineer

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Spliggityfidge Studio

Want a quick peek into what an audio engineer does? Then watch this short video by Kevin Weber, owner of Spliggityfidge in Emeryville, CA as he walks you through some of the things you need to know to enter this profession.

So much of what Kevin says is mirrored in the coursework and teaching approach of Cogswell College’s Digital Audio Technology degree program.

He talks about the importance of working in a fun and aesthetically pleasing environment. Cogswell’s studios and classes are designed around these principles.

His background in engineering was key to his success since it emphasized problem-solving. Cogswell focuses on giving students the tools they need to tackle any challenge.

He also discussed the need for a technical education but also just jumping in taking on some recording projects. His advice meshes well with Cogswell’s emphasis on providing project-based learning experiences.

All of the changes in the audio industry have opened up a lot of opportunities for skilled audio engineers.

Jump Start Your Animation Mojo

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Cogswell College knows what it takes to take your talent from beginner to pro – but here’s a helpful article in 3D World Magazine with a few tips to help you decide if animation is the right path for you.

Their 10 tips include: the best use of your time (don’t waste time playblasting), how to approach each scene (treat each phrase like it’s own shot), dealing with facial expressions (it’s about motion not poses) and troubleshooting (bookend trouble spots).

It’s a challenge for artists to step back from their work and keep moving forward before each shot is perfect.

Check out the trailer from “Worlds Apart” an award-winning, short animation produced by Cogswell’s Project X class.

More Summer Classes to Put the ‘Wow’ in Your Education

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Classes start on May 20.

BB Sketchbook (DAA499ST) A general storyline or previously published manuscript will be assigned at the start of the semester and students will work to develop everything that will go into a world which suits that storyline.  Over the semester, students will also be given intensive observational assignments to assist in the learning and development process.  These assignments will force the students to intensely observe figures, plants, machines and other items which will then allow for a complete understanding of real-world subject matter that can be later turned into confidently imagined characters, environments, vehicles, props or whatever  is needed as a conceptual step forward in designing to the given storyline. Ideas will be generated and changed and turned into something new, all chronicled in sketchbook form.  The end result of the semester will be a compilation of this development process.

“As the name ‘Sketchbook’ implies, this course is intended to be a ‘behind-the-scenes’ approach to developing ideas and imagery for character and creature design, environments, vehicles, props and anything students can imagine.  For every great concept, there is a paper trail of hard work, discarded and unseen ideas and drawings – the dirty laundry of concept development – this will be the focus of this Summer 2013 Sketchbook.”  -David Perry, Faculty

Theory and Practice of Sound Work (DAT 302) Have you ever wonder how and why music and sound impacts our moods and emotions? If your answer is yes, then Cogswell’s audio department is offering a class this summer that lets you examine the ways that sound and music interact with body and mind states. Sound Work takes a critical look at the issue from both a music theory standpoint and from a body/mind perspective. Explore multiple Sound Work practices, representative musical examples and take part in exercises and experiments to accompany the reading and discussion.

“Doing Sound Work frames music and sound in a different way. It often is as much energetic as it is sonic. Sound Work is successful if a listener or subject experiences some beneficial change, such as better concentration, a decrease in compulsive urges or deep relaxation. Engaging with the practice of Sound Work can be life-changing in its effect on a musician or audio specialist.”  -Tim Duncan, Faculty

“I’ve seen research that shows how certain sounds can induce states of healing, reduce stress or induce sleep. I think this is a very understudied field and would like to be part of research projects. It’s fascinating how frequencies affect the brain and can be embedded in musical works to promote different states.”  -Brahmanya Ananda, Student

Ultimate Electronic Music Production (DAT 499) lets you spend your summer immersed in every aspect of electronic music. Start with the history of and then move on to an analysis of groundbreaking works, focusing on an examination of the evolution and expansion of music production technologies in electronic music.  Take a behind-the-scenes look at famous synthesizers. Explore the use of MIDI/synch in the studio and concentrate on the elements of advanced sound design by (re)creating sonic textures and incorporating stylistic analysis and (re)production.  Best of all, the class features a synthesizer workshop.  With more than two decades of experience and passion, platinum-album electronic music composer, Julius Dobos, looks forward to sharing the techniques, sonic discoveries and future possibilities electronic music holds for dedicated students.

“Electronic music is an expansive and ever-evolving field within music composition & production, stylistically much more diverse than most would think. It has influenced countless genres and it presents an inexhaustible number of ways to communicate musical ideas.”  -Julius Dobos, Faculty

“Given the wide variety of distinguished professionals teaching at Cogswell, the best thing a student can do for his/her education is to take advantage of a teacher’s experienced wisdom on a subject. Ultimate Electronic Music Production is a great opportunity to hone my skills at electronic beatmaking, learn how to use heady gear in creative and efficient ways, and receive invaluable instruction and advice from a seasoned producer with a familiar passion for electronic music.”  -Daniel McFarren, Student

Technology & Culture (HUM 199 B) is an introduction to contemporary thinking about the nature and significance of technology as a dynamic element in human society and an embodiment of cultural values. Does technology work for us – or do we work for technology? Through the exploration of important – and widely divergent – theories of technology, you will be asked to think critically and creatively about the technologies that impact the work you plan to do upon graduation and the culture in which we live.

“Technology is the lens through which we view our work, our relationships with others, and even ourselves. It’s really important to develop a conscious approach to thinking about and discussing technology – so that we don’t mindlessly accept what the media tells us, or sleepwalk through our interactions. I’m excited to present this fascinating and challenging material to Cogswell students who engage every day with big questions about technology and culture.”  -Susan Harvey, Faculty

Apocalypse & the American Imagination (ENG 499) is taught in a seminar setting giving students ample time to delve into American’s obsession with zombies, cyborgs and the end of the world.  Why are we so fascinated with the apocalypse? Students will be asked to isolate and analyze memes and tropes in popular culture and media, and develop a deeper understanding of our culture in the process.

“I think it’s important because it teaches young artists how artists use culture to build and create something original.  The better your understanding of culture, the more informed your creations are.  I came up with the class because I was fascinated with how resilient zombies, cyborgs, and apocalypse are in our media.  I wanted to know more about it, and I do learn more each semester with the students in this seminar.”  -Richard Schimpf, Faculty

“I would like to take this class because I have an open-minded opinion on the possibility that our species will ruin this planet and make it uninhabitable.”  -William Collins, Student

These Summer Classes Will Put the ‘Wow’ in Your Education

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Classes start on May 20.

Hip Hop: America’s Narrative Platform (HUM 199 C) is an exploration of the historical context of hip hop culture as the first interactive media platform in America. Walk through history from the slave narratives to the beginnings of Hip Hop and finally into its maturity. Along the way you will explore the Blues, ‘yardie’ culture and Chicano protest murals.

“As a digital media campus, we constantly discuss and learn about platforms. The first platform I learned was the elements of the hip hop culture so I wanted to share it with Cogswell students as a way to increase innovation using a culture the students already acknowledge and love.”  -Bret Sweet, Faculty

“I want to take the Hip Hop class because it is a chance for me to learn or begin to grasp everything surrounding the hip hop movement and all its forms.”  -Troy Sinclair, Student

Game Animation (DAA 499) focuses on game specific animations such as Prototypes, In-Game cycles, Paired Animations and Combat. You will use the Unity Game Engine to dig deeper into the animation pipeline, tools and associated physics. Learn to speed up your animation workflow and capture character personality and aesthetics according to direction given and delve into basic techniques like idles, hits, attacks, chain attacks and reacts.

“As a Video Game Animator working across different Genres, I feel the need for students to learn about the Game pipeline before they get out of school. The Game Animation class is designed to give students the unique opportunity to test their skills, as in an internship at a Video Game company. Students will create assets (animations) and test them in a Game engine. By working with strict directions and time constraints, they will understand the technicalities that are necessary in a Game pipeline.”  -Jonali Bhattacharyya, Faculty

“Animation for film is wonderful, but learning to animate for games involves a whole other world of techniques that animators need to employ to be successful. I wanted to take Game Animation, not only to better myself as an animator, but to expand my skill-set, learn to pose characters that need to look good from all angles of viewing and perform specific actions with a limited frame count. At the end of the semester, I look forward to making some really cool character actions that can be used in games!”  -Robert Mariazeta, Student

“Games boast interesting and inventive characters and enemies, so the challenge of understanding how to animate how each acts and reacts intrigues me.  I’m also intrigued by game animation because it is so different from animation for film and television.  There needs to be several animations to accommodate the large variety of commands a player can have over a character. I am looking forward to game animation because it will open new opportunities for me as I prepare to look for jobs and internships.”  -Amanda Martinez, Student

Audio Theater (DAT 498) If you have ever wanted to tell a story using only sound, here is your chance. During Cogswell’s summer term immerse yourself in the production and recording of short dramas and narratives using only audio tools. Along with your classmates you will be given the opportunity to develop your skills in script creation, voice acting, sound effects, background music and dialog editing. An exciting medium in itself, it is also an effective test bed for developing soundtrack skills for animation and video games.

“Audio theater is a perfect test bed for learning all types of sound track skills (dialog recording and editing, foley, sound effects and theme and background music) without the overhead of developing a visual track. Whereas a 3 – 4 minute animation might take 1 – 2 years to develop, a 3 – 4 minute audio theater piece of comparable narrative quality can be done in a month. And it must be done correctly, because there are no visuals to distract from production errors and poor quality audio content. Audio theater can be even more vivid and immersive than film or animation because everything takes place in the listener’s mind. Orson Welles’ radio performance of H. G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds” caused major panic when it premiered.  Listeners who tuned in after the start did not understand that it was fiction.”  -Timothy Duncan, Faculty

“When I heard ‘War of the Worlds’ for the first time, I was amazed by the way the piece impacted people. They really got caught up in the story. I thought this is how I want to present stories like the classic radio decades of the 1950s to 1980s. I can see this class becoming the Project X of the Audio Department.”  -Nick Connors, Student

International Political Relations (SSC 399) brings you up close and personal with world’s political scene and how it affects your life. Anyone who has paid any attention to current world affairs, knows that the world is changing. The class seeks to answer such questions as; how do other nations operate, why do they make the decisions they do and what responses are available to states and the international community. The class will focus on five general areas: politics and society, the linkage between society and government, policy decisions, defense and security and international law.

“The world today is interconnected in ways that human history could not have imagined even 50 years ago. Right this minute, a student could live video conference with a friend in Moscow, close a web business deal in Buenos Aires and transfer source code and funds instantly, and that same student could fly to Beijing and arrive in less than 14 hours. Our growing closeness as ‘citizens of the world’ makes it vital that we understand the world beyond our borders because as technology advances the concept of borders becomes less and less of a significant distinction – what happens abroad, happens here.”  -Michael D. Lee, Faculty

Cogswell Commencement 2013 is a Wrap

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2013

Cogswell College held its 2013 Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 11. Participants processed into the hall to stirring strains of the Stewart Highlands Pipe Band of Menlo Park.

The ceremony took place at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View in the second floor in the Hahn Auditorium. Cogswell individually recognized each of the 36 graduates participating in the ceremony as they received their diplomas onstage.

Presiding Officials included: Ms. Janis Paulson, President; Dr. Deborah Snyder, Provost; Mr. Michael Martin, Dean of the College, Dr. Kathleen Broome Williams, representing the Cogswell College Faculty Senate.

Before the diploma presentations began, outstanding students, faculty and staff received well-deserved recognition. Award presenters included: Ms. Janis Paulson for the Staff award, Dr. Deborah Snyder for the Faculty awards, Mr. Michael Huber for Digital Art and Animation, Dr. Kathleen Broome Williams for General Education, Dr. Timothy Duncan for Digital Audio Technology, Mr. Bret Sweet for Entrepreneurship, Dr. Younes Mourchid for Fire Science, Ms. Josie Alexander for Student Life and Mr. Nirmal Singh for the Legacy Award.

Faculty Award Recipients, Group L to R, Susan Harby received the John & Ginnie Chin Excellence in Teaching Award; Karen Keister, Director DAA program; Jonali Bhattacharyya, received the Dorothy Scholten Award for Excellence in Teaching; Deborah Synder, Provost; and Janis Paulson, Cogswell President

  • Student Award Recipients:
    • 2013 Outstanding Student, Digital Art and Animation – Taylor Hodgson-Scott
    • 2013 Outstanding Student, Digital Audio Technology – Kaleb Grace and Francesco Grieco
    • 2013 Outstanding Student, Entrepreneurship – Eric Tran and Zachary Irwin
    • 2013 Outstanding Student, General Education – Jessica Burgoyne
    • 2013 Outstanding Student, Student Life – Aaron Weingarten
    • 2013 National Fire Academy Achievement Award – James Bryla
    • 2013 National Fire Academy Achievement Award – Alfredo Estrada
    • 2013 National Fire Academy Achievement Award – Harry Higgins
    • 2013 National Fire Academy Achievement Award – Mark Walker
    • 2013 Henry Cogswell Legacy Award – Marialuisa Yazar
  • Faculty Award Recipients:
    • 2013 Dorothy Scholten Award for Excellence in Teaching – Jonali Bhattacharyya
    • 2013 John & Ginnie Chin Excellence in Teaching Award – Susan Harby
  • Staff Award Recipient: 2013 President’s Award for Outstanding Staff – Milla Zlatanov

For their high academic achievement, graduates Mark Walker, Degrees at a Distance/Fire Science and Jeannette Thomas, Digital Art and Animation and Kaleb Grace, Digital Audio Technology were selected to speak to the estimated 350 graduates, family, friends, faculty and staff in attendance.

Former Cogswell Chancellor, Chuck House. Mr. House sits on the Board of the Computer History Museum and helped arrange hosting Cogswell's commencement there.

Joel Slayton, Executive Director of ZERO1 delivered the Commencement Address.

Commencement Keynote Speaker, Joel Slayton, Executive Director of ZERO1

About the Commencement Speaker: Mr. Slayton took the helm of ZERO1 in June of 2008 after serving as a both a board member for the organization and chairperson of ISEA2006, which was held in conjunction with the inaugural 01SJ Biennial. An artist, writer and researcher, Mr. Slayton is a full tenured professor at San Jose State University where he served as Director of the CADRE Laboratory for New Media from 1988 to 2008. Established in 1984 CADRE is one of the oldest and most prestigious centers in the United States dedicated to the development of experimental applications involving information technology and art.

Joel Slayton Delivers 2013 Cogswell College Commencement Address

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Cogswell College is pleased to announce that Joel Slayton will provide the keynote address at its upcoming Commencement. The ceremony takes place at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View on Saturday, May 11, beginning at 11:00am.

Mr. Slayton took the helm of ZERO1 in June of 2008 after serving as a both a board member for the organization and chairperson of ISEA2006, which was held in conjunction with the inaugural 01SJ Biennial. An artist, writer and researcher, Mr. Slayton is a full tenured professor at San Jose State University where he served as Director of the CADRE Laboratory for New Media from 1988 to 2008. Established in 1984 CADRE is one of the oldest and most prestigious centers in the United States dedicated to the development of experimental applications involving information technology and art.

Mr. Slayton has also served on the Board of Directors of Leonardo/ISAST (International Society for Art, Science and Technology) from 1999 to 2008, and was Editor and Chief of the Leonardo-MIT Press Book. Most recently, he served as a member of the National Advisory Committee for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Selected as the first recipient of the Pick-Laudati Award by the Department of Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University, Mr. Slayton is considered a pioneer in the field of art and technology. As an artist, his artworks, which engage with a wide range of media technology, including information mapping, networks and interactive visualization, have been featured in over one hundred exhibitions internationally. An original member of the Visible Language Workshop at MIT in the mid 1970s, he received a National Endowment for the Arts award for his public art spectacles, and was selected for the Xerox Parc Pair Artists in Residence Program. His research explores social software, cooperation models and network visualization. His published academic papers include “Social Software,” “Entailment Mesh,” “The Re= Purpose of Information” and “The Ontology of Organization as System.”

In addition to his artistic practice, from 1998 to 2007, Mr. Slayton was president and founder of C5 Corporation. C5 is a hybrid form of authorship intersecting research, corporate culture and artistic enterprise. C5 research explores issues of visualization involving large data sets and social networks. Begun in 1996, C5 projects have been featured at SF Camerawork, Museo de Belle Artes, II International Bienale Buenos-Aires, Walker Art Center, Cantor Center for the Arts, Transmediale, Ars Electronica, The New Museum, San Jose Museum of Art, ASU Center for Creative Inquiry, and AUT in New Zealand. Joel’s robotic tele-present works have been exhibited at the Krannert Museum of Art and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was selected for participation in Alternating Currents: American Art in the Age of Technology co-curated by San Jose Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

In 2011, Mr. Slayton was the keynote speaker at the Creative Cities/Global Economy conference in Tokyo and was invited to participate in the Aspen Institute World Art Summit in Muscat, Oman. He has presented at the Singapore Art Museum and was a keynote speaker at the ACE Conference on Advances in Computing Entertainment Technology in Los Angeles and at the Urban Games and Mobile Computing conference hosted by the Nabi Art Center in Seoul.

Most recently, Mr. Slayton was been invited to present his work involving ZERO1 at the Swissnex in conjunction with the San Francisco Art Institute Artists in Labs exhibition.

Steve Blank on Why a Lean Start-up Changes Everything

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Why do so many start-ups fail? Entrepreneur and educator, Steve Blank, has developed a method called, the Lean Start-up, that sets the traditional launch of a business on its head. At Cogswell College we’re a big proponent of Mr. Blank’s method.

One of the key tactics he suggests is that start-up founders should actually ask their potential customers whether the proposed product or service is something they actually want. Seems logical but many start-up founders launch their companies based on their vision and not solid market research.

A second mistake that many entrepreneurs make is to create elaborate business plans and assume that the business plan tells them everything they need to know. Blank suggests that entrepreneurs get into more of an iteration and pivot mode.

This comprehensive write-up in the Harvard Business Review about Steve Blank’s method is a must-read for every entrepreneur.