Presenting your work

Developing skill and creativity in your craft of choice is only the first step of artistic practice - you must also be able to disseminate your ideas to your audience. The medium through which you present your work is itself a creative act. This is especially true in the domain of embedded systems, as your devices and installations are physically limited in the distribution. In order to reach a wider audience, you will need to capture a record of your work. Rather than considering this record as a lesser representation of the original, think of this record as a creative act in and of itself.

Documenting a work

We consider two types of records of a creative work. The first, documentation, is generally a more technical style, where the primary purpose is to ensure the work is reproducible. On the other hand, what we call Artistic records, attempt to capture the artistic side of the work.

As an example of the highest quality documentation, see the NSynth project. While this is not a reasonable standard to hold yourself to for every project, this is a good demonstration of what documenting work looks like at its best.


The majority of documentation for a creative embedded system will be similar to documenting any other embedded system. Provide as much detail as possible on the hardware setup (through, for example, circuit diagrams) as well as software requirements, such as library dependencies. If your system has some server side functionality, using Continuous Integration tools can help to ensure reproducibility of the system. Virtual machines, or their lighter weight cousin Docker files, are also an effective way to ensure reproducibility.

Artistic Records

Generating a record of the artistic ethos of your work is a more subjective task. In the space of embedded systems, one of the most effective ways to do this is through video demos. While a video with high production quality does present a more polished view of your work, even a video taking with your smartphone is often sufficient to capture the basic idea. There is a vast difference in how well an audience can understand between a work between a smartphone video and no video at all.

Building a portfolio

As you are documenting your work, it is important to keep all of these records in a single space. As you build more projects, this single space will become your digital portfolio. If you are planning to work on creative systems in a professional capacity, this portfolio can be a valuable resource to communicate to potential patrons your capabilities and style. One place to easily collect your work in on GitHub Pages, a way to host a free static website through GitHub. We will cover the matter of producing a personal digital portfolio in class.