When scrolling down the homepage of Mission Bit’s website, it doesn’t take long before readers come across a list of core values, the first of which is social justice. Mission Bit defines social justice as,
“Providing equal opportunities for the underrepresented & under-resourced.”
This value was on full display this summer when the team at Mission Bit asked students Alyssa Wu and Natalie Huang, two members of the Student Advisory Board, to lead their very own coding workshop. Alyssa and Natalie opted to teach their workshop participants about the ways in which coding can be used to make art, which can in turn be used to make a positive change.
When asked about the inspiration behind their choice to teach coding for digital art, Alyssa said,
“We were inspired after learning about the concept of creative coding and seeing some of the artwork created by Nettrice Gaskins. We wanted to be able to combine the technical and creative aspects of coding.”
Nettrice Gaskins is a digital artist, activist, and educator whose work focuses on what she calls “techno-vernacular creativity,” encouraging the use of technology as both an art form and a method of communicating experience in a way that is unique to the individual. She believes in utilizing technology to open doors; teaching computing skills allows students to assert themselves in the tech industry while also creating spaces for their own cultural representation within it.
Using Deep Dream
The SAB students focused on two modes of creation for their workshop: Processing and Deep Dream. Processing is a digital art medium that allows users to utilize algorithms to create designs. Deep Dream is an AI program that was originally developed to create digital representations of how the human mind interprets images, but today, it is also used by many artists to transform images into art.
Nettrice Gaskins often combines both media in her artwork, and Alyssa and Natalie wanted to show their workshop participants how to do the same.
The Deep Dream Workshop
Before teaching their workshop, the SAB students had to familiarize themselves with the programs they would be demonstrating.
“We both had a little experience with using Processing already,” said Alyssa, “so the process of creating the workshop involved testing and playing around with Deep Dream a lot.”
The workshop itself focused on teaching participants the fundamentals of these programs and allowing them to create their very own artwork to put on display online. Some students even used the workshop as a chance to represent details, big and small, from their own lives.
Mission Bit provides students with leadership opportunities that help them grow in a multitude of ways beyond just tech and coding. By demonstrating the use of coding as a medium for art and expression, SAB students Alyssa and Natalie were able to expand their participants’ horizons and even incorporate Mission Bit’s core value of social justice into the outcome of their workshop.
“Seeing the final projects is super cool and satisfying!” Alyssa said.
The participants’ digital art pieces can be viewed here.
Students, become a part of our growing community of leaders when you sign up for a 90-minute workshop here! Adults, fund a future workshop when you donate to Mission Bit today. Can’t donate? Share this post instead.