sign uplog in

Digital Alchemy

An experimental course on understanding low level representation of information. By exploring how to transmute data; and by playing around with boundaries of creation & representation.

CurriculumAll CohortsFacilitators

Course Goals

This is an experimental course on understanding low level representation of information without requiring a formal computer-science background.

We will be exploring transmutation of data and playing around with boundaries of creation&representation. For example: If we write poetry, but we are creating visual art and that is the final piece. Are we writers? Are we visual artists?

Why? Interpretation of information plays a central role in making sense of the world. What if there were different ways of decoding the data around us?

How? By having awareness of what data is; understanding file formats; and using algorithms!


We 're gonna meet once a week with sessions of 1.5 hours for 5 weeks.

Each session will have:

  • Discussion section: we will be using a pad for collaborative brainstorming. Material written will be used for updating “Digital Alchemy Zine”, and settling down our reflections.

  • Conceptual section: introduce theoretic concepts.

  • Explorative section: learning by doing.


  • Week 1: Creating Matter - Caring about files An introduction to file formats, we will deeply explore .BMP and .JPEG to understand images. Play around with them. And create the first polyglots, multi-formats files.

  • Week 2: Creating Matter: the Unseen Encryption systems are another way to merge different files into one. We are gonna dive into LSB(least significant bits) algorithm; see and explore different examples

  • Week 3: Altering Matter: Text -> Img We are going to be using different techniques and esoteric languages for creating images based on simple text input.

  • Week 4: Altering Matter: Text -> Sound For exploring transmutation from text to sound: we will explore Solfa Cipher Algorithm and the LangoRythm prototype for genreating music.

  • Week 5: Showdown of work - Digital Alchemist Ritual We will be sharing thoughts; showing works; reveal own circle of transmutation; showing what you learnt and what would like to learn.


All discussions on live documents will be used for documenting online zine. Check out last cohort's zine ‼️

So you can share what we've learned through the course! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

And you would become a Digital Alchemist with your own pieces of data; and techniques for manipulating bits ❤️

Who Should Sign Up

Curious minds that:

  • wants to bring light on how computers work
  • realized that never questioned what data is | files are
  • would like to know more about alchemy techniques and applied them for creative practices
  • wants to know how files can be corrupted
  • Question why as users we rely on the data as we are shown, but do not audit it. For example: we can remove meta-data from all of our images
  • Just want to have fun and wants to create a polyglot (multi format file)

Though programming is not a necessary skill, it is recommended to have seen scripts before.

Anything Else…

Here are the slides of the course preview presentation in case you wanna know more about the course.

If you are super interested in attending but can not join us because of timezone, just send me an email.

5 weeksUp to 15 learners
Looks like there aren't any cohorts planned :(

Want emails on new cohorts?