Good Artists Torrent, Great Artists Fork A workshop introducing the tools needed to fabricate an program printed circuit boards for creative purposes

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Taylor Hokanson
Nick Bontrager


In this workshop, Professors Nick Bontrager and Taylor Hokanson introduce the tools and services required to fabricate printed circuit boards, or PCBs. The process is more accessible than ever before, and is cheap enough to allow individuals to obtain functional prototypes, in small quantities, that are indistinguishable from similar PCBs that might be produced in the hundreds of thousands for industry or commercial applications. Using an “unpopulated” demonstration board designed by the workshop co-chairs, participants walk through all the steps needed to assemble and solder surface-mount components, finishing the event with a battery-operated, wearable, LED light display.

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Author Biographies

Taylor Hokanson, Columbia College Chicago

Taylor Hokanson is an artist, academic, podcast producer, open hardware advocate, and noted tall person. As a longtime participant in the “maker" movement, Hokanson investigates the impact of technology consumption in the post-digital landscape. Examples include human-computer interaction, computer-aided fabrication, and new models for collaborative authorship and content distribution. Though technical in origin, these research avenues demonstrate how omnipresent computing is rapidly eroding traditional notions of value, creativity, and craftsmanship. Hokanson directs our attention to this cultural inflection point with multimedia artworks that blend technology with absurdity, producing social commentary that is intriguing, accessible, and fun.

Nick Bontrager, TCU

Nick Bontrager is an interdisciplinary artist whose work and research explores the physical and conceptual nature of the moving image, game-based interactions and exchanges, and the idea of replicas or facsimiles as tools of preservation or understanding.

Nick received his MFA from The Ohio State University for studies in Art & Technology and his BFA at the University of Houston in Photography & Digital Media. His artwork has been exhibited internationally in film festivals, museums, and galleries with a recent focus on interactive electronics workshops for underrepresented and underserved groups.

Nick is currently an Associate Professor of New Media Art at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas where he resides with partner, Jessica, and their two cats, five chickens, and one turtle.