Dr. Roger Malina’s panel discussion with artist Nancy Hairston and Dallas Museum of Art Deputy Director Robert Stein won Best Panel Discussion of 2013. The Best of Dallas® is presented annually by the Dallas Observer.
Malina, Hairston and Stein addressed the dichotomous relationship between the creativity of art and the innovations of technology.
The panel discussion was part of The Dallas Museum of Art’s States of the Arts Lecture Series, now in its fourth series. KERA host and executive producerJeff Whittingtonmoderates dynamic discussions with artists and artistic leaders—including visual artists, musicians, dancers, and filmmakers—to explore the creative process and the current cultural landscape.
Explore sound design behind musicscapes of the Perot Museum and the technical and creative process sonification of scientific data with Dr. Frank Dufour, Associate Director for Doctoral Program and Scot Gresham-Lancaster, Sound Design from ATEC at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Auditory Representations of Scientific Thinking with Dr. Frank Dufour and Scot Gresham-Lancaster
October 4, 9:30pm │ Level 1 The Hoglund Foundation Theater
Perot Social Science: Sound
Curious about the effect of sound on your brain? Find out at our next Social Science, a night for adults 21+ to play in the museum with signature cocktails, friends, or even bring a date. There is something for everyone on October 4, including experimental music, a live band, a silent disco, and even improv dance performances. Try mixing your own music, create an instrument, and meet our guest neuroscientist and musicians.
Dr. Paul Fishwick, who holds dual appointments as the Distinguished Endowed Chair of Arts and Technology and as a professor of computer science, will lead a lab aimed at bringing human elements to the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
Fishwick builds models that show what abstract concepts and complex equations really represent.
“I am bringing a human interaction to the STEM fields by creating physical representations of mathematical formulas and computer software to help us better understand how these abstract artifacts work,” Fishwick said.
Fishwick’s lab is called the “Creative Automata Lab,” which challenges students to create models to illustrate difficult concepts in science and mathematics.
“Models are common to all disciplines within the University. They are designed and constructed to help us understand a breadth of subjects from extreme weather to business trends. And, creating a model is really an artistic process, so what we’re doing in the lab fully embodies the spirit of the Arts and Technology (ATEC) program,” Fishwick said.
This semester, Fishwick is teaching a class that is listed as both an arts and technology and computer science course called “Modeling and Simulation.”
“UT Dallas is unique in its ambition to bridge computing and engineering with the arts and humanities. There are a lot of possibilities here,” Fishwick said.
Fishwick has six years of industry experience as a programmer analyst working at Newport News Shipbuilding, as the sole designer, builder and refueler of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, and as a systems analyst at the NASA Langley Research Center. He served on the faculty at the University of Florida beginning in 1986, and was director of the digital arts and sciences programs there.
Fishwick earned his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and is a fellow of the Society for Computer Simulation International. He chairs the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Simulation and Modeling (ACM SIGSIM), an international organization.
Bill Fahle BS’88, MSCS’05, PhD’12 writes system code. Dustin Nulf BS’95 engineers audio for voice-overs and animations. Karin Khoo BS’09, MFA’12 works with artists to bring animations to life. And Jeremy Roden, a UT Dallas PhD student, produces videos to promote products.
Sandra Thomas is president and COO of Istation, and Jeremy Roden is director of media production and visual communications. Thomas also serves as chair of the UT Dallas Center for Vital Longevity’s Advisory Council.
All four are spokes in the wheel of Istation, an educational technology company in which more than 10 percent of the workforce is made up of University graduates or students. With degrees in arts and technology (ATEC), computer science and business, these alumni are part of a 100-member team that creates interactive games and technology for K-12 students struggling with math and reading.
Located on two floors of the landmark gold-clad Campbell Centre office tower in Dallas, Istation headquarters were quiet on a recent afternoon. In a glassed-in room aptly called the “fishbowl,” 20 or so employees train their eyes on multiple screens, noodling over animations like Justin Time, an Indiana Jones-looking character who uses science to lead students through reading lessons.
What does Justin do when a student pushes the button on his belt? How does he convincingly move through his time portal? These are questions that challenge Khoo, 26, as she programs Istation’s game-like lessons in math, reading and Spanish.
With customers like the Texas Education Agency, which recently contracted with Istation to provide free access of its reading program to all Texas students in third through eighth grades, Khoo’s solutions must be spot on. But the demands don’t bother her: She cut her teeth at UT Dallas.
“The ATEC program is really broad,” Khoo said. “When I was in it, we had different skill sets as designers, programmers, artists and animators. Our game development section was also excellent.”
Nulf, 40, watches new grads like Khoo with interest. “It’s pretty cool to see them jump right into the production pipeline without worry.” Though his background is programming, it’s his management degree that the audio engineer relies on much of the time. A video game designer, he chose the Naveen Jindal School of Management to learn how to market and sell his wares. He also learned the art of collaboration there, a skill he applies when working with actors on character voices and with writers on music to pair with their scripts. “Everything we do in the company is in a team. Everyone is connected to everyone.”
Where Nulf concentrates on audio, 37-year-old Roden’s focus is strictly visual. He and his creative team executed a marketing strategy for Istation’s messaging and branding last year. Roden’s creative juices began flowing years ago as a lighting technical director on the movie Jimmy Neutron. After teaching high school art and animation for the Dallas Independent School District, he helped build the game design program at Richland Community College. Then he enrolled in ATEC and joined Istation.
I’ve been a student at UT Dallas off and on for 20 years. The school has grown from being a really good school to a top-notch school.
Bill Fahle BS’88, MSCS’05, PhD’12
When Bill Fahle, senior vice president of development research at Istation, taught in ATEC at UT Dallas, Karin Khoo was his student. She is now a multimedia programmer at Istation.
“UT Dallas has been paying attention to the trends. They know what Dallas-Fort Worth needs,” Roden said. “A lot of people from California are coming to Dallas. Several studios have gone out of business so DFW has a lot of potential for businesses coming this way. UT Dallas will be a great resource for them.”
Among the newer Istation recruits, Fahle, 50, is a bit of a legend—not only because he taught at UT Dallas, has three degrees from the University or is the father of a new graduate — but because Fahle is one of the four engineers who developed the proprietary platform that launched Istation’s original software. His doctorate now also allows him to perform research and seek grants that may help the company fund its developments.
“I’ve been a student at UT Dallas off and on for 20 years,” Fahle said. “The school has grown from being a really good school to a top-notch school.”
And that’s why Istation continues to recruit alumni. “They come in with a high level of education and training and are excited to learn,” said Sandra Thomas, Istation’s president and COO. “They quickly become valuable assets to our workforce.”