ATEC Alum Speaks at TEDxSMU Salon 2012


Arts and Technology alumnus Willie Baronet recently spoke at TEDxSMU, an all-day event ranging from personal discussions of physical and mental journeys to demonstrations of high-tech gadgetry.

Willie Baronet is an artist, professor, and life coach in Dallas. For 15 years he owned and managed an advertising design firm, which he sold in 2006. He graduated in 2011 with an MFA in Arts and Technology from UT Dallas. He currently teaches full time in the Temerlin Advertising Institute at SMU.

Willie has been buying and collecting signs from the homeless since 1993, beginning with his discomfort over dealing with people on street corners asking for money.

What transpired was a personal journey that changed the way he felt about the homeless, as he began to get to know them as people. While getting his MFA, he began creating art utilizing these signs (video, installation, interventionist performances and other mixed media), and has now participated in several group and solo exhibitions. The process of collecting the signs and of making art with them continues to transform him.

New Courses, Faculty for Spring 2013

As the Arts and Technology program continues to grow, three new faculty will join the program in spring 2013. A variety of new courses will be offered. View the full listing of ATEC and EMAC courses on CourseBook.

New Courses

A variety of new courses will be offered at the undergraduate and graduate level.

ATEC 4370 Topics in ATEC: Visual Evidence
Maximilian Schich

Visual Evidence is a multidisciplinary course, where we will look at exemplary visualizations in the broadest sense – from classic artworks, such as Altdorfer’s Battle of Alexander, to the latest scientific plots and info-graphics. Besides analyzing visualizations much like art historians traditionally do with artworks, the course will also include some practical exercise in producing and criticizing visualizations, ideally based on examples from the student’s original focus of study.

Participants will acquire essential skills of critical seeing, enabling them to persuade with better visualizations by applying the principle of creative destruction in a cognitive way.

Integrating visualization and visual studies, the course will include introductory lectures, multidisciplinary guest speakers from ATEC and beyond, as well as collaborative projects and talks by the students.

Students from ATEC, EMAC as well as Arts and Humanities will bring in their specific skills and are encouraged to learn from each other. We will cross-fertilize literature work, critical seeing, as well as data science skills (such as acquisition, cleaning, analysis, and visualization). Programming and math skills are not necessary but very useful.

ATEC 6389 Ecology of Complex Networks
Maximilian Schich

The Ecology of Complex Networks is a fundamental phenomenon that permeates data across multiple disciplines. This course will provide an introduction to this multidisciplinary phenomenon with a (non-exclusive) focus on the arts, humanities and culture. The course will provide an overview of the emerging state of the field and it’s connections to other relevant areas, such as biology, computer science, economics, engineering, math, physics, social science, technology, and others.
Participants will acquire a basic understanding of complex network phenomena in a variety of fields, including what is currently known as data science and digital humanities.

In addition to introductory lectures and multidisciplinary guest speakers from ATEC and beyond, students will form small teams to analyze, visualize and interpret complex network data. Students from ATEC, EMACS as well as Arts & Humanities will bring in their specific skills and are encouraged to collaborate and learn from each other. We will cross-fertilize literature work, critical seeing, as well as data skills (such as acquisition, cleaning, analysis, and visualization). Basic to advanced skills in programming, statistics and math are not a requirement but very useful. Requires permission of instructor.

ATEC 6389 Virtual Analog Computing
Paul Fishwick

How would you represent computer data (big and small), equations, and code if you were told to build rather than to write software? This is the question we will explore in this seminar. Most computing has been analog until fairly recently, and our representations of software artifacts has been limited by cost of deployment.

A Petri net machine encoded in the game of Minecraft

While our computers are digital, we are analog. Recent research in neuroscience and embodied cognition indicates that we “simulate” when we read and think. This suggests a new approach to software design where we evolve new embodied media to design and build software. This media includes 3D games, mixed reality, physical computing, and 3D printing. The idea is to explore new machines in virtual spaces, and to re- envision “software” by making it analog, more accessible, and engaging, for a wide audience.

The course will involve instructor lectures, invited lectures, student talks and projects. Both ATEC and Engineering (especially Computer Science) students are encouraged to take the class. The main prerequisites are a knowledge of at least one programming language, and an interest in arts-based design.

More information about this course

ATEC 6389 Translation of Spaces and Time
Frank Dufour and Rainer Schulte

The conceptual frame of the seminar will be based on the paradigm of translation. Together with the students, the instructors plan to build the vocabulary necessary to perform complex descriptions and analyses of representations of space and time in films, poems, music, novels, plays, and interactive narratives. George Steiner’s statement that all acts of interpretation and communication are acts of translation can serve as an entrance into the study of time and space.

By its very nature, translation establishes dynamic interactions from texts to texts and cultures to cultures. Thus, students will be able to identify and describe specific aspects of representations of space and time as they relate to cultural and artistic contexts. Furthermore, the instructors will make students aware of the existence of digital tools and techniques specially designed for the analysis of textual and multimedia contents. In addition, students will gain experience in the use of such tools to build models for the recording of the representation of time and space in literature, film, music, and theater. The seminar should be of particular interest to students in arts and technology, aesthetic studies, arts and performance, and world literature.

The ultimate goal of the seminar will be the work toward recommendations for digital software that would facilitate the dynamic representations of time and space in multimedia environments.

New Faculty

Three new faculty members will be joining Arts and Technology in spring 2013: Paul Fischwick, Maximilian Schich and Scott Swearingen.

Paul Fishwick
Distinguished Endowed Chair of Arts and Technology and Professor of Computer Science

Paul FischwickPaul Fishwick is joining the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) in January 2013. He will be Distinguished Endowed Chair of Arts and Technology (ATEC) and Professor of Computer Science. Paul has six years of industry experience as a systems analyst working at Newport News Shipbuilding and at NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia.

He has been on the faculty at the University of Florida since 1986, and is Director of the Digital Arts and Sciences Programs there. His PhD was in Computer and Information Science from the University of Pennsylvania. Fishwick is active in modeling and simulation, as well as in the bridge areas spanning art, science, and engineering. He pioneered the area of aesthetic computing, resulting in an MIT Press edited volume in 2006.

He is a Fellow of the Society for Computer Simulation, served as General Chair of the Winter Simulation Conference (WSC), was a WSC Titan Speaker in 2009, and has delivered over fifteen keynote addresses at international conferences. He is Chair of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group in Simulation (SIGSIM). Fishwick has over 200 technical papers and has served on all major archival journal editorial boards related to simulation, including ACM Transactions on Modeling and Simulation (TOMACS) where he was a founding area editor of modeling methodology in 1990.

Maximilian Schich
Associate Professor

Maximilian SchichDr. Maximilian Schich is an art historian, joining The University of Texas at Dallas as an Associate Professor for Art and Technology in January 2013. He works to converge hermeneutics, information visualization, computer science, and physics to understand art, history, and culture.

Recently, Maximilian worked on complex networks in the arts and humanities with Dirk Helbing, FuturICT coordinator at ETH Zurich (2012), and Albert-László Barabási, complex network physicist at Northeastern University in Boston (2008-2012). He was a DFG Research Fellow (2009-2012) and received funding from the Special Innovation Fund of the President of Max-Planck-Society (2008).

Previously, Max obtained his PhD in Art History from Humboldt-University in Berlin (2007), and his MA in Art History, Classic Archaeology, and Psychology from Ludwig Maximilians University Munich (2001). Besides, he looks back at over a decade of consulting experience, working with (graph) data in libraries, museums, and large research projects (1996-2008).

Maximilian is the organizing chair of the ongoing NetSci symposia series on Arts, Humanities, and Complex Networks, as well as an Editorial Advisor at Leonardo Journal (MIT-Press). He publishes in multiple disciplines and is a prolific speaker, translating his ideas to diverse audiences across academia and industry.

Teaching at UT Dallas, Maximilian Schich aims to raise visual literacy (Visual Evidence) and provide students with a multidisciplinary perspective (Ecology of Complex Networks in Arts, Culture, and Beyond). Both aspects count on Art and Technology as key ingredients to further our understanding of our increasingly complex world.

Scott Swearingen
Associate Professor

Scott Swearingen is an artist, developer, and educator who creates interactive multimedia spaces that blur the boundaries between the virtual and practical. He has been working at the intersection of art and technology for nearly 20 years specializing in the categories of digital imaging, kinetic sculpture, video games, and virtual environments.

His work has been widely published and has garnered recognition from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences as well as the Game Developers Choice Awards. He has collaborated on several award-winning franchises including Medal of HonorThe SimpsonsDead Space and The Sims.

As a professional designer, Scott is responsible for deploying game systems, prototyping mechanics, and crafting the overall user experience. He has partnered with and been featured by such notable companies as CompuServe, Electronic Arts, and MAXIS.

Scott has also instructed on Game Design and Virtual Environments at The University of Texas at Dallas as an Assistant Professor. Since then, many of his former students have gone to excel in academia and at various industry studios including iD Software, Gearbox Software, and DreamWorks Animation SKG.

His personal interests bridge installation art with short-form game design. While Scott’s early work embodied this in spaces contextually bound to themes of navigation, his art is becoming increasingly haptic-driven in concept.

Fashioning a Brighter Future: Amy Pickup

After taking Dr. Kim Knight’s Fashioning Circuits course, Amy Pickup BS’09, MS’12 knew she wanted to use her knowledge of art and technology to make a positive impact on the world.

Amy Pickup, a graduate of the EMAC program, teaches campers.

At the heart of Pickup’s inspiration was a LilyPad Arduino, a microcontroller board used in class that can create electronic fashion when sewn to fabric using conductive thread. She recognized the LilyPad as more than a means to a fashionable ending. Pickup saw it as a perfect opportunity to get young women interested in programming, coding, circuits and, ultimately, in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers via fashion.

After teaching 20 fourth- and-fifth-grade girls how to use the LilyPad Arduino alongside her Emerging Media and Communications’ colleagues at the Design Your World Conference in Arlington this summer, Pickup was ready to take her passion to the next level. Following the conference, she founded Etiquette Creative, a community of engineers, technologists, artists, and media experts working to “empower girls with the ability to make an informed choice about their future by exposing them to new technologies that interest them.”

Tapping their personal and professional contacts, as well as those from the Design Your World Conference and UT Dallas, the women of Etiquette Creative spent their summer planning a three-day camp that would encourage girls to explore opportunities in both fashion and STEM fields.

Twenty-four girls from the ages of 10 to 14 registered for the camp, half of whom were sponsored through Etiquette Creative’s partnerships with local engineering companies. Hosted at Oil & Cotton, a public art studio in the Bishop Arts district of Dallas, the camp introduced the group to LilyPad Arduino and allowed each girl to create her own electronic fashion project under the careful instruction of arts and technology professionals. The girls also benefitted from the expertise of UT Dallas students like Julie Strickland, a current mechanical engineering graduate student and senior mechanical engineer at Raytheon.

“Through Etiquette Creative, we have established an amazing community of women in technology, media, and fashion,” Pickup said. “I hope to build upon the camp’s curriculum and make it an annual event where young girls can learn to love technology like I do.”

Professor’s Work Examines How Art, Technology and Science Interact

John Pomara, professor of visual arts in the School of Arts and Humanities, produces art that is unique to the digital age. His most recent work is on display at the Barry Whistler Galleryin Dallas until Nov. 24.

John Pomara, professor of visual arts, UT Dallas
John Pomara

The exhibit, titled off-Key2, showcases Pomara’s artistic approach fusing art, science and technology – a style that has developed over time.
In 1998, Pomara was a newly-hired professor who didn’t want anyone to see what he was working on. After dark, when no one was around, he returned to the Visual Arts Building to use the copy machine.

For months, Pomara photocopied paint drips patterned to resemble microbiology photographs of cell structures.

“I collected dozens of biology books, anything that had any kind of microphotography or DNA gene scan,” Pomara recalled. “I wanted to make these images into 6-foot hand-painted images – I wanted to make 6-foot photocopies.”

Pomara’s late-night project led to an exhibition of large-scale paintings and photographs that appeared as photocopies at the Dallas Museum of Art, and to a deeper investigation of how art, technology and science interact.

Today, Pomara is lauded for his ability to blend technology and traditional art. Some call him a “new media artist.”

Mis-aligned, 2009 by John Pomara, UT Dallas
Mis-aligned

The University’s Arts and Technology program is a good fit for him, he said, because his interactions with students who use video, digital photography and painting make him approach art differently. And his collaborations with faculty sometimes force him to re-examine his work.

“My work explores the tension between mechanical detachment and personal engagement,” Pomara said. “I’m investigating the link between abstract paintings and photography, printing and digital imaging.”

Pomara’s artwork currently involves making computer stencils of magnified digital images, which he then paints by hand, pulling industrial enamel across aluminum surfaces. The finished paintings look like an electronic screen, with a cool reflective surface, blurred as if the forms are moving rapidly or hovering like a photographic ghost.

“The work is a visual dialogue about the intimacy of touch and how it’s evolving in an ever-increasingly faster world of electronic imaging,” Pomara said. “Maybe I’m just a new media artist who keeps on painting.

Popular Mechanics by John Pomara, UT Dallas
Popular Mechanics

In some of his most recent work, Pomara manipulates technology to produce art. He calls it “capturing glitches” and he learned this new medium quite serendipitously. In a design class, a printer malfunctioned on one of the professor’s students. Instead of throwing the print away, Pomara scanned the image back into the computer and started working with it.

“I magnified, distorted and remade the glitch. And, I realized I could even glitch the images myself, intentionally,” Pomara said. “I’ve broken a few printers.”

Artist Talks: Next Topic with Paula Gaetano Adi

CentralTrak, UT Dallas’ artists residency in Deep Ellum, has launched a bi-weekly talk series titled Next Topic. Each session features an artist and culminate with an in-depth discussions between artists, art enthusiasts, and art students and educators from across the Metroplex.

This fall, Next Topic will examine new media art.

Please join us this upcoming Thursday, Oct. 25 for a talk by new media artist Paula Gaetano Adi. Gaetano Adi is an artist and researcher working in sculpture, performance, interactive installation and robotic agents. Using the human and nonhuman body as a point of departure, her work deals with different cultural studies of technoscience, particularly in regard to human subjectivity and how they can be reflected through art. Gaetano Adi holds a MFA with emphasis in Arts & Technology from The Ohio State University. She is currently Assistant Professor of New Media in the University of North Texas – College of Visual Arts and Design.

Upcoming talks scheduled for this fall include:
  • Nov 8: Alejandro Borsani
  • Nov 29: Brittany Ransom
The CentralTrak gallery and residency are both located at 800 Exposition Ave. in the historic neighborhood of Deep Ellum, near downtown Dallas. For more information, check the CentralTrak website or call (214) 824-9302. These events are free and open to the public.

Ken Maruyama Presents: Five Key Job Categories in Sony’s Pipeline

Ken Maruyama
Ken Maruyama

Arts and Technology

Guest Presentation

Ken Maruyama Vice President of Recruiting and Academic Relations of Sony Pictures Imageworks will present “Five Key Job Categories in Sony’s Pipeline: What They Are, What They Do, and What We Look For in Reels.”

Wednesday, November 7th. 1 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Multipurpose Room.
UT Dallas Residence Hall North 2F.

Image Works

UT Dallas to Honor Faculty in Endowed Chairs, Professorships in Investiture Ceremony

Arts and Technology faculty Drs. Thomas Linehan and Mihai Nadin will be among 14 faculty honored by the University with an Investiture Ceremony on Monday, Oct. 22.

Dr. Thomas Linehan
Dr. Thomas Linehan

A chair or professorship is among the highest academic honors that the University can bestow on a faculty member, and it lasts as long as the University exists.

It is also an enduring tribute to the donor who establishes it. Endowed chairs and professorships are filled by faculty members who are recognized industry leaders, perform groundbreaking research, mentor PhD candidates and junior faculty, and attract talented undergraduates.

Dr. Mihai Nadin

“The endowed professorships and chairs are important to the entire community and crucial to the success of the University,” said UT Dallas President David E. Daniel. “It’s all about discovery, change and innovation. The very best scholars want to be at those institutions where they’re constantly re-inventing the future. The endowed professorships and chairs are crucial to attracting and retaining the best talent.”

Linehan is director of the Institute for Interactive Arts and Engineering as well as Arts and Humanities Distinguished Chair. He has a background in both corporate management and educational administration. He has served as a college president, a corporate vice president, an associate dean, a research laboratory director, a professor and a public school teacher.

“UT Dallas students are the smartest I’ve taught,” Linehan said. “Most of them write very well, so it gives me great hope that the stories of the future will come out of this generation. They’ve got good, fresh ideas. This university is a university for this century.”

Nadin is Professor of Computer Science and Interactive Media and Ashbel Smith Professor. He is credited with introducing various terms and phrases that have found wide usage throughout society, including “semiotic machine,” “the civilization of illiteracy” and “anticipatory computing.”

“I am teaching because it gives me a chance to continue learning, and boy, do I learn at UT Dallas,” said Nadin.

The Investiture Ceremony will be held on Monday, Oct. 22 at 2:30 p.m. in Naveen Jindal SOM Davidson’s Auditorium.

Professor Evaluates Importance, Strategy of Twitter in Elections

Running for president in the digital age has brought a new requirement to the job: knowing how to work the Twittersphere.

Dr. Janet Johnson
Dr. Janet Johnson

That is the analysis of Dr. Janet Johnson, who teaches in the Emerging Media and Communications (EMAC) program at UT Dallas. Johnson has recently published an article in the Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric about the role of social media in presidential campaigns.

Johnson says that in 2008, President Barack Obama revolutionized the digital campaign with Twitter and blogs.

“Obama created a social networking website that allowed supporters and potential voters to participate in creating content as well as communicate with the campaign and with each other. Obama’s campaign helped the audience members feel like they produced change by participating in the election.”

To combat a digitally savvy incumbent Democrat, Republican candidate Mitt Romney spearheaded a comprehensive social media campaign. Johnson studied all of Romney’s 161 tweets from Feb. 1 to May 31, 2012, to evaluate how effective his Twitter campaign has been.

“Romney’s tweets referred to Obama 55 times, and tweeted expression of thanks to the audience 20 times. Most tweets included a link back to the campaign site, and to infographics about U.S. citizens, videos, or a written speech or opinion editorial submitted to a national newspaper,” she wrote.

Johnson discusses the different rhetorical tools, situations and motivations behind specific tweets. She examines how tweets correlate with national news stories and how Romney aims to build credibility with undecided voters.

The Romney and Obama campaigns both have made extensive use of Twitter and other social media in their campaigns.

In the article, Johnson also cites the overall importance of using what she calls “Twitter bites.”

“The candidates who use Twitter, Facebook, and blog can expand sound bites and ensure that the sound bites are accurate presentations of what the candidates want to present.

“Using Twitter bites rather than sound bites chosen by the media middleman allows politicians to give their readers a first-hand experience that other media cannot accomplish.”

In addition to Twitter, Johnson is working on a new study about Facebook and how people feel about the 2012 candidates’ Facebook pages. She’s named the study Exposure or Rhetoric: Fan Politics on Facebook.

Johnson has a master’s degree in journalism and a PhD in rhetoric.  Her dissertation was titled Blogs and Dialogism in the 2008 United States Presidential Campaign.

CentralTrak Series to Bring Artists, Students Together for Talks

CentralTrak, UT Dallas’ artists residency and gallery in Deep Ellum, is launching a series of talks among artists, art enthusiasts, and art students and educators from across the Dallas area.

Not So Indifferent is a multi-media collaboration between Arts and Humanities faculty members Frank Dufour and Thomas Riccio.

This year’s series, which is titled Next Topic, will examine new digital media art. The series opens Thursday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. with UT Dallas School of Arts and Humanities professors Frank Dufour and Thomas Riccio. They will be discussing their collaborative multi-media exhibition Not So Indifferent, which is currently on display in the CentralTrak gallery. The exhibit combines digital media with site-specific design to create an existential drama – a performance that features the viewing public as lead actors in the projected video.

“The exhibit can be experienced as an interactive multimedia poem. A film is continuously read and analyzed by a program installed on three computers. Each computer generates sounds extracted from the film, or inspired by it, and displays images from a large database of clips that represent our collective visual and televisual memory,” said Dufour.

The bi-weekly art talks scheduled for this fall also include:

  • Oct 25: Paula Gaetano Adi, an artist and researcher working in sculpture, performance, interactive installation and robotic agents. Using the human and nonhuman body as a point of departure, her work deals with different cultural studies of technoscience, particularly in regard to human subjectivity and how they can be reflected through art. Gaetano Adi holds a master of fine arts (MFA) with emphasis in arts and technology from Ohio State University.
  • Nov 8: Alejandro Borsani,  a new media artist whose work explores the nature of perception and media representation. He holds a MFA in electronic arts from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and a MFA in electronic visualization from the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Nov 29: Brittany Ransom, an artist and educator working in interactive installations, electronic art objects, and site-specific interventions that probe the lines separating human, animal, and environmental relations while exploring emergent technologies. She received her MFA with a focus in new media arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

CentralTrak is located at 800 Exposition Ave. in the historic Deep Ellum neighborhood near downtown Dallas. For more information, check the CentralTrak website or call (214) 824-9302. These events are free and open to the public.