Hack #1: Play

Our first hack uses a Makey Makey, which replaces typical computer inputs (mouse, arrows, keyboard controls) with any object that conducts electricity. Bananas, paperclips, ice cream, aluminum foil, the human body. The web abounds in videos of Makey Makey pianos made with fruit or Pac-Man games playable with forks and knives. Your task is twofold:

  1. Create a hack that goes beyond these surface-level uses of the Makey Makey. Push the limits of what a Makey Makey can do, or find unexpected interventions for the Makey Makey.
  2. Your Makey Makey-powered experiment should evoke some of the concepts of play that arise in Huizinga and Caillois’s essays—or in the upcoming readings on play.

This is a playful hack in more ways than one. Makey Makey’s are inherently playful and this assignment is meant to be playful. But your work also must serve as a contemplation upon play itself.


You can work alone or with a partner for this hack. Regardless of whether you work alone or with a partner, each person must share (via their domain) their own artist statement of about 1,000 words. In this statement you’ll delve into the more philosophical elements of your hack, drawing out your meditation on play. It might help to think of your hack as an answer to a “What if” speculative question. I encourage you to take advantage of resources in Studio M as you work on this project.

In addition to the artifact itself and the artist statement, you should also document the development of your hack. Post still images, short videos, sketches, etc. onto your domain. The material related to this hack will make up the first exhibit for your end-of-the-semester portfolio.


I’ll approach your hack using the following criteria:

  • Unexpectedness (the extent to which the project defies expectations or produces surprising results or reactions)
  • Craft (the degree of mastery of the mode of physical composition and digital representation)
  • Intention (the sense of intentionality and deliberateness of the work)
  • Theme (the level of engagement with the various dimensions of play)
  • Argument (the degree to which your project answers a question or makes a claim about the world, both implicitly and explicitly—especially in the artist statement)

Makey Makey Resources: