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SUNY Purchase (DES3800) ︎ Design for Web & Screens

Coding as Cooties


Use (or purposely misuse) an existing social platform or related tool, leveraging the power of its existing tools, plug-ins, or audience.


Coding is a powerful tool. It is also a harsh mistress. Although we’ll still be discussing the possibilities of code and coding platforms while this project is happening, it’s important to put our fingers to the wind and examine where the clouds of the zeitgeist is blowing. Michael Bloomberg paid many millions of dollars to make memes promoting(?) his campaign. Facebook has face recognition technology built into it that, only a couple of years prior was the domain of doctoral engineering theses.


  • You are not allowed to use any code. You will lose points for adding code or using the scripting component of a given program for your piece. Additionally, this project is about exploring the possibilities and platforms you can use without code, or code-adjacent platforms. So this includes things like Scratch or vvvv or other similar “graphical” or “nodal” coding tools.
  • Your project must interact with, or utilize, platforms or related plugins/tools on the internet. We’ll look at more examples below to clarify this. 
  • You must provide a presentation or video for your piece and examine the efficacy of its outcome(s).


Your finances ︎ You can complete this project quite easily for relatively cheaper, or if you are interested in dedicating more money to this project, that’s your choice.
Promotion︎ If your project is concerned with virality it all make sure you are promoting it on a relevant subreddit for example. 

Dates (This project is 4-ish weeks)

03/05/2020 ︎ Introduction!

03/19/2020 ︎

In-class check-in on state of the project,  knitting circle on Spark AR

03/26/2020 ︎

In-class knitting circle on Spark AR

04/02/2020 ︎Critique!

No Shuriken Mode Challenges

These are not necessarily things I am encouraging, but I see this project as a conceptual one, and one that potentially intercepts with ethics. The extent to which you examine those issues is worthwhile. What does it mean if you presented work from fiverr as part of your own “studio” in another class? Who controls the platforms we are allowed to make projects like this with? How can we, simply and elegantly exploit the holes in surveillance or otherwise potentially nefarious technology? The other route you can “challenge” the assignment is largely by paying more money for stuff, but I also can’t make reccomend or “order” you to do that.

Examples/Suggestions for Platforms and Tools

  • Use Amazon Mechanical Turk︎ to explore the ultimate side hustles of late capitalism, or to complete a menial task for you

  • Use Fiverr︎ to create an impromptu design studio

  • Use Spark AR︎ to make a face filter on Instagram
  • Use Cameo︎ to record a celebrity or celebrities reading a message for the class. This can be expensive, however there are many affordable “celebrities” depending on what you’re into. Here are some Example cheap celebrities
  • Use Polls on Instagram to determine your actions for the day︎
  • Do some freaky shit on TikTok
  • (I can’t recommend or endorse the below video completely they probably make some fucked up jokes I’m forgetting at the expense of the people featured in them, just sayin’

    Kind of related, one of my friends in grad school used to make these videos that were kind of amazing, and then she’d re-edit them with the weird comments.

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