UCLA Arts Conditional Studio

The UCLA Arts Conditional Studio aims to address the technological, political, social, and artistic consequences of our computational moment by bringing together committed and engaged practitioners to teach and learn, collaborate and comprehend, use and misuse, the technology that surrounds us.

Speed and change are two central elements of digital computer technology. New developments in software spur new advances in hardware, and vice versa.

As a consequence of sheer velocity, it is impossible for any individual to develop deep enough expertise to comprehend the technological, political, social, and artistic consequences of our computational moment.

The UCLA Arts Conditional Studio aims to address the technological, political, social, and artistic consequences of our computational moment by bringing together committed and engaged practitioners to teach and learn, collaborate and comprehend, use and misuse, the technology that surrounds us.

We are committed to social, epistemic, technological, and environmental justice. We strive to create an inclusive environment that supports vulnerability, criticality, and anti-hierarchical pedagogy.

  • We believe students should learn how to create software, beyond learning how to use software.
  • We believe software and the tools to create software should be accessible to everyone.
  • We believe in technology as a pathway into the arts and the arts as a pathway into technology.


Processing Community Day @ Los Angeles

PCD @ Los Angeles is an inclusive event that will bring together people of all ages to celebrate and explore art, code, and activism. The day-long event features four themed-tracks — Accessibility, Disability, and Care, Radical Pedagogy, Under the Silicon, the Beach!, and Epic Play!. Each themed track contains lightning talks and sessions presented by conference guests we invite through an open call.

In addition to a full day of programming, we want to make space for anyone to share ideas and projects with the community. We will set up Show & Tell Stations, a Processing Community Cafe, and a Community Open Mic Session for participants to sign-up on the day of the event. The program will wrap up with an after party consists of performances, food, and drinks.

A woman giving a presentation to a full room in front of a screen that reads 'Radical Pedagogy.'


CC Fest is an opportunity for students and teachers to engage in creative coding. Come spend a day making interactive and engaging digital art, animation, games. Teachers will work on bringing coding projects to their classes. Students will be introduced to projects that will help build their creative portfolios.

High schoolers looking at a laptop screen.

Scope Lab

Scope Lab is a workshop series focused on exploring code as a creative medium with which to understand and represent diverse perspectives. These studies are framed by the questions: “Whose perspectives are represented?”, “Who has access to the tools to learn and express themselves?”, and “How do we design tools and projects that are more inclusive?”. Each workshop will consist of hands-on programming exercises, a lecture and discussion, and projects developed collaboratively. We will be using a software platform called p5.js, which is an open source JavaScript framework that makes creating visual media with code on the web accessible to artists, designers, educators, and beginners.

A woman giving a presentation in front of a TV. The presentation on the screen reads 'Technology serves people best when they participate in its design.'


Impure Functions

Day for Night is a current snapshot of popular music as well as a showcase for trailblazers who continue to cross over from the fringes to become influencers. Eschewing the idea of musical genres, Day for Night focuses instead on acts that specialize in an inventive and highly visual approach to performing.

The Conditional Studio created a playful space for participants to engage algorithms common in computation and computer graphics. A particular challenge was to thread the needle of being pedagogically potent without undermining the mood and atmosphere of the event. In other words, how can you teach people about code while having fun at a concert at 2am?

Seven people looking at a filtered projection of themselves on a screen.

Impure Functions (Refactor)

At Google I/O, we created an installation for two 10’x15’ LED screens. Each screen featured a commissioned work by an alumnx of the UCLA Design Media Arts MFA program. The installation focused on algorithms and technologies that have been used or developed by Google, but highlighted the potentially threatening aspects of those technologies through play, generative imagery, and data visualization.

Two large LED screens.


Chandler McWilliams

Chandler McWilliams is an artist living and working in Los Angeles. He has studied film, photography, and political science; and completed graduate work in philosophy at The New School For Social Research in New York City. In 2013, McWilliams received an MFA in the Program in Art at the California Institute of the Arts.

Chandler has taught at schools and workshops around the world including the School of Visual Arts and The Cooper Union and has published numerous pieces for magazines, academic journals, and conferences. He is the co-author of “Form + Code in Design, Art, and Architecture” (Princeton Architectural Press, 2010).

Casey Reas

Reas’ software, prints, and installations have been featured in solo and group exhibitions at museums and galleries in the United States, Europe, and Asia. His work ranges from small works on paper to urban-scale installations, and he balances solo work in the studio with collaborations with architects and musicians. Reas’ work is in a range of private and public collections, including the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He holds a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Media Arts and Sciences and a bachelor’s degree from the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati. With Ben Fry, Reas initiated Processing in 2001; Processing is an open-source programming language and environment for the visual arts.

Lauren McCarthy

Lauren Lee McCarthy is an LA-based artist examining social relationships in the midst of surveillance, automation, and algorithmic living. She is the creator of p5.js, an open source JavaScript platform that aims to make creative expression and coding on the web accessible and inclusive for artists, designers, educators, and beginners. She is an Associate Professor at UCLA Design Media Arts. Lauren’s work has been exhibited internationally, at places such as Ars Electronica, Barbican Centre, Fotomuseum Winterthur, SIGGRAPH, IDFA DocLab, Science Gallery Dublin, Seoul Museum of Art, and the Japan Media Arts Festival. She’s a 2019 Creative Capital Grantee, ZERO1 Arts Incubator Resident, and has previously held residencies with Sundance New Frontiers, Eyebeam, CMU STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, Autodesk, NYU ITP, and Ars Electronica, among others.


The UCLA Arts Conditional Studio is comprised of graduate and undergraduate students within the UCLA School of Arts and Architecture. If you’re a current student, please write to Chandler to inquire about participation. If you’d like to apply to UCLA, please write to your prospective department. The School of Arts and Architecture is the departments of Architecture and Urban Design, Art, Design Media Arts, and World Arts and Culture/Dance.

If you have questions about the UCLA Arts Software Studio, please write to Chandler.