The Plug-In Studio logo collaborations in art and technology
The Plug-In Studio collaborates with young people and adults
in Chicago communities.
plug-in graphic
As the sun set, the games were visible on the side of the building and on the 2nd floor video projections.
A student demonstrates her Dancing Doll kinetic sculpture.
Exploring Squishy Circuits at an ArtMakerSpace event.
A participant in an ArtMakerSpace event.
A teen artist discusses his game with his father.
A student adds color to orignal artwork for his video game.
A young neighbor tries out a game.
Background artwork for a video game.
A young participant explores the rgb LED.
Two students discuss the code for their video games.
Teens check out the games at the Street Arcade, 2015.
Visitors play videogames at the Street Arcade. Photo courtesy Robert Banke.
Exploring littleBits.
A paper monster.
An artist-teacher assists a young participant at an ArtMakerSpace event.
An artist-teacher discusses game design with a student.
Later in the evening at the Street Arcade. Photo courtesy Robert Banke.
A young participant adjusts a littleBit.
Two students demonstrate their interactive sound sculpture.
Passersby tried their hands at the consoles.
Exploring electronics through Squishy Circuits.
A student demonstrates an interactive kinetic sculpture incorporating found objects.
A student builds an interactive kinetic sculpture.
Exploring Squishy Circuits.
An artist-teacher consults with a student on his video game.
Visitors played the games on custom-made arcade-style consoles.
A student programs a PicoCricket.
An interactive kinetic sculpture.
Artwork for a video game.
A student shows off her turtle.
A explores inputs and outputs with littleBits.
Students created a collaborative piece using the IR capability of the PicoCrickets.
Exploring electrical circuits with Squishy Circuits.
A student refines his character design for a video game.
A Squishy Circuit fish.

About The Plug-In Studio

Collaborations in art + technology

The Plug-In Studio is a socially engaged new media artist collective. We collaborate with youth and families in diverse Chicago communities to make video games, interactive kinetic sculpture, augmented reality graffiti, soft circuits and other art with technology. Our projects incorporate programming, engineering, and design in a critical context. See past projects here.

Tactical pedagogy

The Plug-In Studio regularly offers free classes and workshops in partnership with several Chicago nonprofits. Our programming serves as an incubator for contemporary art curriculum at the same time it provides experiences that most Chicago Public Schools students do not have in their K-12 classrooms. We use Scratch, Arduino, littleBits, and Squishy Circuits as art-making tools, rooting them firmly in the contemporary practices of art & technology and new media art. We hope to redefine the art curriculum as technological, critical, contemporary, and--in this time of intense economic pressure on our schools--relevant.

A mentoring program for artist-teachers

We provide opportunities for socially engaged artists to develop their teaching practice in alternative learning spaces through our community partnerships. Our Artist-Teachers encourage students to create and manipulate media, experiment with form, and explore audience and interactivity. We emphasize criticality; our teachers and students both consider not just the how of making, but also the what and the why. We have also consulted in K-12 schools and provided professional development for teachers.

An advocacy initiative

We introduce creative computing, programming and robotics to laypeople, children and adolescents so that they can become critical producers of programmable media (apps, video games, digital animations and electronic toys) rather than passive consumers.

Awards and recognition

The Plug-In Studio received a 2020 Fellowship Award in Interdisciplinary / Computer-Based Arts from the Illinois Arts Council.

The Plug-In Studio were named 2015 Fellows by A Blade of Grass Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art.

The warGames Tactical Media Collective was named Core Residents at Chicago Art Department. We were selected under the theme of CONTEMPORARY CONVERSATIONS.

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