Art and digital media enthusiasts came out to the Centre for Digital Media’s Installation Art Show last Thursday night. Students from the Master of Digital Media program, Emily Carr University of Art and Design and SFU’s School of Interactive Arts + Technology (SIAT), were all showcasing their work.
The art show displayed work from the students’ Installation Art & Contemporary Digital Practices course, an elective course open to all 4 of our partner institutions that Master of Digital Media students can choose to take for their elective credit.
The course explores how to create art using digital media tools. Master of Digital Media student installations included a gesture-controlled pottery wheel, an augmented reality installation that looked at how landmarks can be viewed and photographed, and an installation that explored your digital footprint by creating a portrait of you from images found of you on the web.
Haig Armen with his installation Re:self.
Haig Armen, a Master of Digital Media student and Assistant Professor of Design and Dynamic Media at Emily Carr University, explains his installation:
After many interesting discussions about the role of art in society and how digital media is perceived by the art world I came to a concept for my final installation piece.
Re:self is an installation that strives to create a moment for its participants to reflect on the way that the digital world sees us— what kind of picture does it form of us? Is it flattering or diminutive? Accurate or abstract? Current or antiquated? Re:self engages participants to enter their names and then are prompted to have their portraits taken. The installation then scours the web for images and websites based on the participant's name. Re:self then creates a programmatically-abstracted portrait poster—choosing between a number of different image abstracting algorithms based on the results of scraping the web for data.
A student trying out Cindy Cao and Wenguang Xu’s augmented reality installation.
Our project, Breaking the Cliché is an augmented reality and image recognition installation that explores the different ways in which famous landmarks can be viewed and photographed. We combined art and technology into a project that leverages the strengths of both to augment the audiences’ experience and engagement.
In addition, we saw an opportunity to develop something sustainable that has the potential for future development and applications. We are currently thinking about expanding our project to include the use of wearable devices.
What makes the course and, subsequently, the show, interesting is how students from different universities and programs and different backgrounds, all work together. When Haig was asked about his experiences in the course, he replied,
Taking the Installation Art and Contemporary Digital Practices was a way to force me out of my usual pragmatic designer headspace into a more conceptual art mindset. The class consisted of an amazing mixture of people from SIAT, Emily Carr and of course, the Master of Digital Media program. There was huge range of diverse voices within our class, which created a balanced form of discourse when our conversations addressed world issues, which they almost always tended to do.
Faculty member Larry Bafia and MDM student Emmy Jiang with one of the installations.
Overall, students and faculty were very pleased with the show. "It was a great opportunity to showcase the hard work everyone put into each of the pieces and connect with people within the art community. It was a great experience," Cindy said.
Haig adds, "Seeing people engaging with our classes' works and the dialogues that ensued showed me how important digital art can be to our ever-growing creative community. I was thrilled to be part of it."
All photos by Robert Huang.