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ArtsFusion lecture to explore the creative process as a computational tool


JoAnn Kuchera-Morin JoAnn Kuchera-Morin

BLACKSBURG, Va., Jan. 24, 2013 – Imagine if a researcher could process complex sets of data in the same way a composer creates and performs a piece of music. JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, director of the Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology (CREATE) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her team of researchers are making this a reality.

Kuchera-Morin will highlight this work on Feb. 5 at 5 p.m. in room 117A of the Surge Building on the Virginia Tech campus. The event is part of the ArtsFusion lecture series, which is presented by the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology. Kuchera-Morin’s talk is co-presented by Virginia Tech’s Center for Human-Computer Interaction.

Kuchera-Morin, who is also director of the AlloSphere Research Facility, will discuss the computational framework her team is developing. Her talk, “Composing in N-Dimensions: Using the Creative Process as a Computational Framework for Unfolding Complex Systems,” will detail the work that would enable the transformation of complex quantum information and multidimensional scientific and mathematical data in the same way an artist would unfold a work of art or a designer would draft  a system. This would allow researchers to generate, control, and transform complex information using all senses intuitively, as if second nature.

Kuchera-Morin is a composer, researcher, and professor of media arts and technology and music at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her years of experience in digital media research led to the creation of the Digital Media Innovation Program, a multimillion-dollar sponsored research program at the University of California. The culmination of Kuchera-Morin’s creativity and research is the AlloSphere, one of the largest scientific and artistic instruments in the world. The AlloSphere, a metal sphere 30 feet in diameter and three stories high that lives inside an echo-free cube, and its 3-D immersive theater maps complex data in time and space. It is designed for immersive, interactive, scientific, and artistic investigation of multidimensional data sets.

Scientifically, the AlloSphere is an instrument for gaining insight and developing bodily intuition about environments where the body cannot venture — abstract higher-dimensional information spaces, the worlds of the very small or very large, and the realms of the very fast or very slow.  Artistically, it is an instrument for the creation and performance of avant-garde new works and the development of new modes and genres of expression and forms of immersion-based entertainment.

A university-level research institute sitting at the nexus of the arts, design, engineering, and science, the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology is uniquely partnered with the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech. By forging a pathway between transdisciplinary research and art, educational innovation, and scientific and commercial discovery, the institute works to foster the creative process to create new possibilities for exploration and expression through learning, discovery, and engagement. This includes preparing students in kindergarten through 12th grade and higher education environments to succeed in a world that demands teamwork and collaboration of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines; promoting new research domains that transcend institutionalized boundaries; and participating with people of all ages in the process of co-creation.

Collaborative project provides new perspective of Center for the Arts

    A rendering of the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech, taken from the fly through animation.

With help from two of his students, Associate Professor Dane Webster used models and single-frame renderings from architecture firms Snohetta and STV to create a virtual fly through of the new Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech.

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