STEMarts Curriculum Tool

Parker Jennings

PUSH PULL TURN operates with a simple hand crank. The crank turns a potentiometer which outputs a string of numbers. These numbers are mapped to a series of photographs that, when viewed in a series, create a motion video effect. All of this happens with one sensor, an arduino, and a simple computer program. Students will be engaged with my demo because the interactive interface is both technological and mechanical. This piece shows how a basic program can create a very satisfying effect.

About the artist

Parker studied classical techniques in drawing, painting and sculpture in Italy where he began experimenting with photography and printmaking. His explorations into technology and its role in art-making have led to the creation of pieces that utilize the capabilities of radio. Parker’s radio pieces have been aired at the Baltimore Contemporary museum and his installations have been exhibited at the Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Fe. Parker's current works are social experiments through community participation and communication. As a Meow Wolf artist, he is interested in how technology can support the arts and how art can transform and propel technology. He finds this relationship very exciting.

Learn More

  • Global Nomadic Radio Dialogue 
    Quick Art
    Radio Confessional: Rachel Cox  
    Radio Confessional: Joe Hayes

skills applied

  • Data Mining
  • Programming languages
  • Satellite Technology
  • Communication Technologies


Technology has always fascinated me and seemed almost magical. I am no scientist and have relatively little tech savvy. This may sound surprising coming from a STEAM featured artist. However I feel it is important and valuable for us "non tech" people to explore the ever expanding field of art and technology in order to lessen the gap between the two.

Even though the science of radio transmission has been easily understood for over a century, turning on the car radio and tuning in to instantaneous and wireless communication leaves me with a sense of wonder and amazement. Multimedia artists such as Lee Montgomery and Tetsuo Kagawa introduced me to the world of radio transmission by providing resources for building simple radio transmitters. Experiencing the simplicity and satisfaction of working with technology, I began exploring other aspects and avenues of this field. Technology does not equal complicated.

I am always trying to find the simplest solution to accomplish the desired effect - the path of least resistance. I apply this principle to my design process and tech integration. I recommend subscribing to the MAKE youtube channel or go old school and get a magazine subscription.  MAKE has a ton of simple and satisfying projects perfect for artists interested in integrating technology into their work. Also Instructables is chock-full of useful resources with step by step instructions to just about any project you can imagine. Finally the Graffiti Research Lab has been a handy source of inspiration for me. Check out the STEAM Wiki below for some ideas to get you started.

STEMarts Design Tool

The Stemarts Design Tool provides a step-by-step tool to show you how to engage with the Pollinator Concentrator, a site specific interspecies installation at the Rio Fernando Park created by BioSTEAM Lab artist, Ana MacArthur. Explore the artist page to learn about the installation, to understand its purpose and how it works. Research the science and technology behind the art. Experiment with the hands-on STEAM activities to understand the artist process before coming to visit the installation at Rio Fernando Park. Take a field trip to experience the Pollinator Concentrator in person! And finally, when you go back to your classroom, create art inspired by the artist's installation and contribute to the related citizen science projects to be a part of Taos Land Trust's ongoing efforts to restore the watershed and pollinator communities at Rio Fernando Park. This tool will take you through each stage of the process. Just click on Explore to get started!

Explore interspecies site specific installations.

Andy Wagener creates innovative installations that raise awareness to social and environmental challenges. He does this through the use of unique materials and technologies, but also because he chooses topics that he connects with personally. For this activity you will design an installation concept to explore an environmental issue that you are passionate about. For ideas you can visit the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Discuss the issues with your team until you find an environmental challenge that you all agree on.

Research the science and technology behind the work.

Once you have identified the environmental challenge, it is time to research the facts about your topic. Check out the STEAM wiki below to get you started. Explore pros and cons, investigate any controversies, and have discussions with experts in the field until you have a strong grasp of the topic. It is also important to start researching materials and tools that can be used to communicate your ideas. Review the artist’s work on this page to learn about how he created the CLOUDNET installation to raise awareness about the dangers of ghost fishing. What can you learn from his process? The research will continue as you progress with the design but you should have enough information to start exploring how to communicate these ideas through art.

Experiment to see what’s possible.

Now that you have done the research on your topic and tools you can start brainstorming on ideas for an art installation and testing out some materials and techniques. Even if you are not going to build the installation in this phase you still need to play around with materials to see what is possible. Explore all the STEAM wikis below which include some fun technology tools that the artist used. Start sketching out concepts and jotting down notes with ideas for an installation. Don’t try to edit at this point. Start a sketchbook just for this project and write or draw anything that comes to mind. This is where you let your imagination run wild!

Visit the Rio Fernando Park.

The next step is to do a final drawing that communicates your design concept for an installation. This could be done by hand or on a computer. The design should show what it will look like and the materials you would use. It would consider possible sites and how people would interact with it. It can include diagrams, text, photos or anything you like. Most importantly it would show how the installation serves to raise awareness to the environmental issue that you chose. Since an installation is multidimensional you will have to find a unique and creative way to communicate your installation concept.

STEAM wiki

The STEAM-Wiki is a place to get started with your artist research. You will find links to articles, images, video, and tutorials that relate to Parker Jenning's work.

You can search by clicking on the links below or you can click on the topic words in the word cloud for specific areas of interest. For example, GPS to learn about using GPS technology for art or RASBERRY PI or ARDUINO for ideas on creating interactive installations. If you are looking for STEM + Art activities type in STEAM Activities.  To view all options, use the keyword ALL.

Remember the resource is an open forum sharing links and ideas that others have found – always check your sources and give credit where credit is due. The open source movement generously shares its knowledge and relies on user feedback – so if there’s something really good or doesn’t work let others know.


Other Artists

Espacio La Nube
Projecting Particles Collective
Victoria Vesna
Cory Metcalf
Reilly Donovan
Parker Jennings
Cristopher Cichocki
Taos Youth Ballet

Next Generation Science Standards

Core Idea PS4: Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer

PS4.A: Wave Properties
PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation
PS4.C: Information Technologies and Instrumentation.