Reflecting California Institute of the Arts’ (CalArts) experimental ethos, the Institute’s Digital Arts and Technology Expo rolls out its latest projects integrating cutting-edge engineering and computer science with visual and performing arts.
(Photo, right) Gr1d an interactive light display with forty low-density pixels, is responsive to interactions with mobile devices (both iOS and Android). Visitors are prompted to scan a QR code which brings them to a local server hosting Netpixl interfaces. Photo: Dimitri Diakopoulos
On May 11, the public is invited to an exhibition and concert on CalArts’ campus featuring creatively adventurous and technologically imaginative new work from across all disciplines of the Institute.
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“The work is insane,” comments Director of Music Technology, Ajay Kapur. “Students are coming up with ideas and projects for things I’ve never seen before. They view technology as another tool for artists—and are reinventing uses for existing devices and creating completely new applications to create the projects they imagine.”
Highlighting new student and faculty projects made over this last academic year, the Expo’s exhibitions and demonstrations run from 6 pm to 8 pm in the lobby of the Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts. Permanent Visiting Artist Perry R. Cook, founder of the Princeton University Sound Lab, will perform as part of the concert held in CalArts’ Roy O. Disney Theater from 8 pm to 10 pm. Admission is free.
The Expo reflects the latest practices in technologically sophisticated arts—involving viewers in interactive audio-visual experiences, bringing artists’ perspectives to computer games, forecasting future directions of digital performance, and exploring new applications of projection mapping.
Not to be missed projects include: a light installation (inspired by low-rez video ’70’s video games) that viewers control with their mobile devices; a responsive cat with motion sensitive hot pink fur; and a performance by dancers costumed in motion tracking costumes made on a knitting machine using conductive thread. See videos of the cat in progress and a demonstration of the motion sensitive fabric here.
CalArts has long been at the forefront of arts and technology practice, and is uniquely positioned to develop such a curriculum. The Institute’s Music Technology curriculum is unique in the world, engaging students in custom software design, circuit design for human-computer interfacing, and the use of robotic mechanical systems and artificial intelligence in musical and artistic practice. CalArts’ School of Film/Video, with its renowned animation program, has been a global leader in innovations in computer graphics and advanced digital media technologies.
CalArts has a multidisciplinary approach to the studies of the arts through six schools: Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music and Theater. CalArts encourages students to explore and recognize the complexity of the many aspects of the arts. It is supported by a distinguished faculty of practicing artists and provides its Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts students with the hands-on training and exposure necessary for artistic growth. CalArts was founded in 1961 and opened in 1970 as the first institution of higher learning in the United States specifically for students interested in the pursuit of degrees in all areas of visual and performing arts; and later media and literary arts. CalArts also operates the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in Downtown Los Angeles.
For more information about the Music Technology program at CalArts: