Tech Tuesdays in Emergent Digital Practices


Tech Tuesday’s are a 45-minute meeting hosted through the Emergent Digital Practices department at DU. These meeting serve as a brief introduction to a variety of things which vary from the simple to the complex.

The meetings typically have around 10-15 students depending on the topic for the day and how interesting it seems. Dan Wilcox and Chris Coleman, both professors within the EDP program, try to select only topics which they themselves find interesting and they understand as valuable knowledge.

Now what does Emergent Digital Practices even mean? Emergent Digital practices or EDP is a program for artists creating across new mediums. Emergent stands for these new mediums which constantly emerge, like how the evolution of film brought about directors and various professionals, the birth of new technologies creates new professionals as well as artists. Insert Dan quote about science and engineering.

Previous Tech Tuesday’s have included 3D scanning, pure data, Open Source, commandline on OSX, and installing open source apps & libraries in Terminal. Dan thinks of each of these classes as a practical introduction to an area of interest. As these are only 45-minute long classes- students do not get to start using and practicing the knowledge they gain. This is for after class on their own time, for this classes provide the tools to build with.

In Dan’s opinion, “This is an art program”, and all of the technical aspects taught are to broaden student’s abilities and imagination. Students of EDP learn what’s possible, the fastest way in which to accomplish this, and then are ready to begin creating their own works.

There are lots of codes already out there which can drastically limit the amount of work which goes into a project. As a teacher Dan recommends understanding all the elements in your work and also going back and making it completely for yourself. But as an artist and programmer Dan knows how much work goes into just making some little thing work, when really the focus should be on the project as a whole, and making it work. He says, “What’s important there? Is it making perfect software? No. Is it like making a really interesting experience and getting your ideas to work? Yes.”

Similar to how a traditional artist in say painting, must learn about historical works and different art movements as well as technical methods. An emergent artist must learn about important works in various mediums, understand different mediums well, as well as the technical side. Mediums like video art, interactive art, generative art and others, are very new and very rapidly changing. In order to keep up with their development artists must have a firm grasp of what is possible. With a computer one can be extremely limited in their ability or almost limitless it just depends on their understanding of its simpler workings. Also similar to traditional art/design, everything is built upon, added to, and made one’s own.

The big art side of EDP comes from once this knowledge is gained, an artist needs the creativity and vision to create something new as well as stunning. So the EDP program revolves around teaching its students the basics of creation as well as introducing them and helping them with the more complex.



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