Fashioning Circuits Introduced to Prospective Students at Richland’s Digital Arts Festival

KimFashioning Circuits (EMAC 3328), an EMAC course taught by Assistant Professor Kim Knight, is gaining attention due to its unique subject matter. On Monday, April 21 Knight gave a lecture to potential UT Dallas students at Richland Community College about the course and its approach to exploring digital divides and identity.

Kim discussed these issues and showcased student work as part of Richland’s 2014 Digital Arts Festival, an annual event planned by the Multimedia Learning Center. Students from the school’s Arts and Technology programs were in attendance. The talk was followed by an FC2informal discussion session with students from Richland Collegiate High School.

Fashioning Circuits is an open platform for the students and professor to explore digital literacy through discussion and coding of wearable technology they create together in this diverse learning environment. By pairing technology and fabric she and her students collaboratively engage with the similarities of identity explored by participants of fashion and various digital media.

Fashioning Circuits has various events coming up this summer. Stay tuned for more information at, or follow @fashioncircuits on Twitter.

What Kim is teaching in the fall:

EMAC 3328 – Fashioning Circuits

EMAC 6372 – Approaches to Emerging Media and Communication

The Dallas Contemporary Features Student Installations

New Media is the topic for The Dallas Contemporary’s upcoming exhibition featuring student work from UNT, SMU, and UTD. The Contemporary is featuring two UT Dallas student pieces in its Student New Media exhibition that will be presented on Friday, April 25.

Arts and Technology MFA student Spencer Brown-Pearn is one of the students whose work is featured in the exhibit. His Apparatus for Synthesis of Digital Gesture attempts to entirely remove the artist’s hand from the historically emotive mark-making process, synthesizing gesture through a purely digital means. Using simple sensors and algorithms to generate gesture from environmental cues, like sound or motion, these apparatuses strive to question the process of digital mediation and the role of gesture in anDSC_0511 increasinglytechno-centric culture.

Spencer Brown-Pearn is a new-media artist who uses a combination of traditional media and technology: scanners, printers and projection, to create two-dimensional works, multi-media installations and interactive sculpture.

Jay Ray (EMAC) and William Broderick’s (Arts & Technology) ‘Self vs Other’ installation incorporates thoughts that are submitted anonymously and are attached to participants through a technique called projection mapping. William, who came up with the concept of the piece, was originally inspired to construct ‘Self vs Other’ based on Sartre and Camus and their examination of the self versus the other – more specifically, influence that others have on an individual’s sense of identity.


“Our mixed media piece incorporates user-submitted, anonymous thoughts that are attached to participants in 3D space through projection mapping.  The thoughts are randomly assigned to participants from a collection stored in the website’s database as they interact with the piece by walking through the mapped space.”

ATEC Clinical Assistant Professor Cassini Nazir has been working closely with Will and Jay over these last couple of months on the development of the piece and as an advisor for ‘Self vs Other’.

“This project allows a deeper exploration of emerging media due to the nature of the students’ philosophical approach.”

Jay Ray, an EMAC student who is graduating this May,  was given the opportunity to work on ‘Self vs Other’ for his capstone project.

“What interested me the most about the project was the opportunity to make something that is subjective, but provides a platform to gather objective information. Through user submissions, we are collecting innocuous data—browser type, device type, operating system, etc.—that allows us to make absolute observations. Contemplation on thesignificance of the data will be subjective, but there should be some interesting patterns.”


While studying EMAC at UTD, Jay credits the program for allowing him to explore his passion while equipping him with the tools necessary to evolve that passion into a relevant application of skills useful for his desired career in web design.

“There is such a diverse pool of talent in EMAC; I see it as a program where students of various interests—writers, graphic designers, fine artists, etc.—learn how to apply their talents to new media. This is interesting because we can become equipped with skills that are in demand, while still pursuing the things we are passionate about— and also pursue opportunities that might never have occurred to us.  It’s like being an artist without the starving part.”

Through this experience, Jay has been able to explore more complex programming languages and technologies that have structured the technical aspects of ‘Self vs Other’.

While I’ll never be a gifted back-end developer, I think the extended exposure and struggles have made me a better front-end web designer.”

Through this exhibit, the Dallas Contemporary seeks to introduce North Texas to the growing diversity in art mixed with technology.

If you would like to attend, please visit the Dallas Contemporary site for more information on the upcoming exhibition.

Related Courses offered at EMAC:

EMAC 4325 – Digital Writing

ATEC 3363 – Basic Interaction Design

ATEC 3361 – Internet Studio I

PSY 3331 – Mass Communication and Behavior

ATEC 4361 – Internet Studio II

ATEC Professor Releases New Work of Net Art

Associate Professor Scot Gresham-Lancaster and media artist Tim Perkis have completed a new online project released on the website as part of a network art grant provided by the NEA.


iLib Shakespeare (the perturbed sonnet project) is a social media mashup that uses the dynamic input of users to continuously rewrite a sonnet of William Shakespeare. The user must phonetically rhyme a word or short phrase, which is added to the database of variations available to other users. For example: “unhappily forsworn” can be rhymed as “so snappily untorn” or “captain” becomes “napkin” etc. These rhymes that are offered by users dynamically replace the original text of the sonnet. Each time the page is loaded, a different selection of user-defined substitutions will be used.

The inspiration for this piece derives from a sound text work developed by Scot Gresham-Lancaster in 1975 with the piece “Met Iceberg a Mess” which is a rhyming of Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech, the Gettysburg Address. “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal” was transformed by rhyming one syllable at a time, so it became “Door floor and heaven tears to know, our door bother not north, up on this stocking, askew ration, deceived in puberty and instigated “screw the opposition” fat doll car related sequel.”

A transposed midi version of Lachrimae, or Seven Tears by John Dowland (1563-1626), can be heard as well, with “perturbations” that increase as the sonnet text becomes more modified. The user can choose to hear Dowland variation playback or just read the “perturbed sonnet”.

Astronaut and Champion of Science Education to Speak

Dr. Mae Jemison
Dr. Mae Jemison

Dr. Mae Jemison — whose many career titles have included astronaut, chemical engineer, physician, entrepreneur and teacher — will speak Wednesday in the final installment of the inaugural ATEC Distinguished Lecture Series.

Her presentation begins at 7 p.m. in the Edith O’Donnell ATEC Building’s lecture hall.

Jemison, the first minority woman to go into space, served six years as a NASA astronaut. She flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour for the STS-47 Spacelab J mission in 1992. She was NASA’s first science mission specialist, and performed experiments in materials science, life science and human adaptation to weightlessness.

Jemison is currently leading 100 Year Starship (100YSS), an initiative funded by the Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) to ensure that space travel to another star is possible within the next 100 years.

She also is founder of The Jemison Group Inc., a  technology consulting firm that integrates the impact of socio-cultural issues in technology designs, such as projects using satellite technology for health care delivery in West Africa.

The Jemison Group also explores and develops stand-alone science and technology programs and companies, like BioSentient Corp., a medical technology device and service company focused on improving health and human performance through physiologic awareness and self-regulation.

 atec-bugDr. Mae Jemison
Wednesday, April 16, 7 p.m.

Edith O’Donnell ATEC Building lecture hall.Tickets
Tickets are $15 for seats on the lower level of the lecture hall and $10 for the upper level. A limited number of complimentary tickets are available for students, faculty and staff who register.

Guests should park in Parking Structure I. Check the online map for details.

A voice for science literacy, Jemison founded the international science camp The Earth We Share for students ages 12-16. She also developed Reality Leads Fantasy — Celebrating Women of Color in Flight to highlight women in aviation and space from around the world.

As an environmental studies professor at Dartmouth College, Jemison taught sustainable development and technology design and ran The Jemison Institute for Advancing Technologies in Developing Countries. She was an A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University.

Jemison is a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine and the Board of National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

She is an inductee of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the National Medical Association Hall of Fame and the Texas Science Hall of Fame. She also received the National Organization for Women’s Intrepid Award and the Kilby International Award.

Jemison was an Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia for more than two years. Jemison has worked internationally, including in a Cambodian refugee camp and with the Flying Doctors of East Africa.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and met the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in African and Afro-American Studies at Stanford University. Her M.D. is from Cornell University.

Jemison is a speaker on issues of health care, social responsibility, technology and motivation, and has provided commentary for the BBC, McNeil Lehrer Report, ABC Nightline, NPR and CNN.

In her autobiography, Find Where the Wind Goes, she writes for teenagers about growing up on the south side of Chicago, cultivating her aspiration to be a scientist, her experiences as a medical student in Africa and her history-making journey into space.

Jemison appeared on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, hosted the Discovery Channel seriesWorld of Wonder and was chosen one of People magazine’s “World’s 50 Most Beautiful People” in 1993.

ATEC Building Gallery Hosts Opening Exhibition

Through his art, photographer Ken Light has documented an array of social issues for more than 40 years. Light will discuss some of his work on Thursday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Davidson Auditorium, which currently appears in the campus exhibit “Physical Labor: Photographs of Workers, 1940 to the Present.”

Light’s work in the exhibit features workers from across the United States, from the California fields, south to the Mississippi Delta, and across to the Appalachian coal mining country.

“The physicality of labor can be understood in these photographs, which use the documentary approach to raise awareness through social activism, while at the same time serve as vehicles of artistic expression. The hands, faces and feet of the manual laborer often reveal the full effects of the labor left behind on the body,” said PhD student Lupita Murillo Tinnen, who is curating the exhibit.

Currently on display in the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building Gallery, “Physical Labor” features photographs by Light, but is also complemented by a range of works from the Comer Collection. The exhibition includes photographs by Sebastião Salgado, Joel Leivick, Marcus Bleasdale, George “Elfie” Ballis, Ernest Lowe, Arthur Leipzig, Gordon Parks and Luis Mallo.

“Feet of the campesino,” Oaxaca, Mexico, 1986.

This exhibition marks the first decade of the Comer Collection in the School of Arts and Humanities at UT Dallas; the collection was initiated in 2004 through a donation from Marilyn and Jerry Comer. This wide-ranging archive, made up of more than 300 photographs and hundreds of books and journals, serves as a resource for graduate students pursuing research in the area of photographic practice and contemporary art.  Documentation of exhibitions organized from the collection is available at

Light has been published in eight books. He is also the author of Witness in Our Time: Lives of Working Documentary Photographers, now in its second edition. His work has been in numerous photo essays in magazines, newspapers and a variety of media, and presented in exhibitions worldwide including a one person show at the International Center for Photography in New York City. He is the Reva and David Logan professor of photojournalism at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley and director of the University’s Center for Photography.

“Gathering la leña (firewood) for cooking,” Michoacán, Mexico, 1985.

Tinnen holds a master’s of fine arts in photography from the University of North Texas and a bachelor’s in photography from Texas A&M University-Commerce. Tinnen serves on the National Board of Directors for the Society for Photographic Education. As an artist, her work deals primarily with cultural and personal issues stemming from her background as a first-generation MexicanAmerican and has been exhibited throughout the United States

To celebrate the opening of the exhibition, there will be a reception before Light’s talk from 6-7 p.m. in the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building Gallery. Both Light and Tinnen will attend.

Google Vice President Talks Old, New Technology at ATEC Lecture

As a crowd filled the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building’s lecture hall, the lights glowing around the walls of the room were a bright blue, red, yellow and green.

The multicolored arrangement was a tribute to the third speaker in the inaugural ATEC Distinguished Lecture Series, Google’s vice president and chief Internet evangelist Vinton G. Cerf.

“Typically we give our guest speakers a gift to remember their campus visit, but what do you give the person who created the Internet?” joked Aaron Conley, vice president for development and alumni relations, as he introduced Cerf. “This is our gift to him, the Google-logo-colored lights.”

Cerf is recognized as one of the “fathers of the Internet” due to his work with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, in the ’70s and ’80s. Fittingly, his lecture on the Internet was just days after the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web.

When Cerf took the stage, he began by recognizing the forward-thinking nature of the University.


“This is my first time here, and today has been a real gift. There is some tremendous research happening at this University that is pushing the boundaries.

“I look forward to returning often,” Cerf said.

In his talk, Cerf spoke about his early years working on the architecture of the Internet, but also about new technologies Google is creating, likeGoogle Glass and a self-driving car. He spoke at length about the “Internet of Things” and the potential for billions of everyday devices connected to the Internet, like a refrigerator that can search the Web to find recipes based on ingredients it contains.

Cerf also expressed his concerns about bit rot — data that is inaccessible due to the evolution of software.

“We can save bits, but we have a problem interpreting them due to bit rot,” Cerf said about files created today that will not be readable in the future. “What will our descendants know about the 21st century if data isn’t readable?”

He also spoke about his role as chief Internet evangelist and how he is trying to bring the Internet to populations without access.

“What is so striking about Cerf is his global radar,” said Dr. Roger Malina, who is the Distinguished Professor of Arts and Technology and professor of physics. “He is not a pioneer in the historical sense — he is still creating the future and clearly thinking of what comes next.”

Cerf finished the evening by fielding a series of questions from the audience. When asked what he’s working on now, he described some of his current projects, including his role in the100 Year Starship — a DARPA project to make human travel beyond our solar system a reality within the next 100 years.

When time ran out and the crowd gave him a long, gracious applause, he volunteered to stick around and meet those who wanted to talk more. Dozens of audience members lined up for the opportunity.

Before his lecture, Cerf spent the day touring labs and meeting with faculty and students in the Edith O’Donnell ATEC Building. Among the many labs that Cerf visited was the Virtual Humans and Synthetic Societies Lab, where PhD student Gary Hardee is among those working on creating game-based simulations that provide cultural-based communications training.

“It was great to see someone of Dr. Cerf’s experience and stature take such an interest in our lab. He offered thoughtful observations and expressed encouragement on the genuine need for virtual environments and Web-based simulation as means for improving distance-learning education,” Hardee said. “When he started his evening lecture, it was gratifying to hear him recognize the research that is going on here. We are trying to push the limits in many areas, and he acknowledged how well we are doing that.”

Even after touring the labs, meeting students and faculty members, giving his lecture and fielding questions, Cerf’s time on campus was not done. The next day, he gave the keynote address at the 2014 Global IPv6 Forum Summit, a conference for computing and business professionals, students and educators to better understand the coming changes in Internet Protocol.

“Dr. Cerf is an Internet pioneer, and a source of inspiration for all networking scientists and engineers,” said Dr. Ravi Prakash, professor of computer science in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. “It was a privilege to have him on campus to participate in the IPv6 summit. His keynote speech was both very informative and highly entertaining.”

New 3D Film Celebrates Tricks and Treats

With Halloween still months away,  Arts and Technology faculty member Todd Fechter’s new animated film honors both the trick and the treat of the annual celebration.

Rigg R Reet is a 3D animated film about a little, candy-obsessed girl who stumbles onto a trick-or-treat jackpot. The film combines a unique, hand-sketched look with a streamlined production workflow. The final look of the film is meant to closely resemble the original 2D concept sketches.

Rigg R Reet recently played in the Cleveland International Film Festival and will show at the Athens International Film Festival.

“Beyond just telling a story, this short focused on new production methods which allow for highly stylized visual looks in extremely reduced economic ways,” said Fechter. “The goal was to enable small teams and individuals to create 3D animations containing recognizable, signature elements of their own artistic styles to break away from the current standard 3D look.”

The film was produced and directed by Todd Fechter with contributions in the areas of rigging and animation from fellow ATEC faculty members Eric Farrar and Sean McComber.

Follow the production online.

Director of User Experience at projekt202 to Speak at Upcoming UX Session

User experience expert Jeremy Johnson will speak at the upcoming UX Club meeting, discussing his experience in the UX industry and what makes a good designer.

jeremy-johnsonThe session will be held Wednesday, April 9 at 6:30 in ATC 1.305.

About Jeremy

Jeremy is currently the Director of User Experience at projekt202. He has over 10 years of experience in the industry and has also led UX teams at Travelocity, GameStop and Sabre Holdings. Learn more about Jeremy on his site,

ATEC Game Wins First Place at Medical Simulation Conference

A collaborative game-based simulation project between UT Dallas, UT Arlington and Baylor Scott & White Health that seeks to improve physician-nurse communication received first place at a serious games competition at the 14th Annual International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH).

GLIMPSE offers situational learning through conversations with the game's characters. Its players role play as medical professionals and must select appropriate responses to other nurses or physicians.
GLIMPSE offers situational learning through conversations with the game’s characters. Its players role play as medical professionals and must select appropriate responses to other nurses or physicians.

The project also won fourth place overall out of approximately 60 entries in the Technology Innovations Abstract Category at the conference.

A panel of judges selected GLIMPSE (A Game to Learn Important Communications Methods for Patient Safety Enhancement) for top honors in the Faculty Category of the IMSH Serious Games and Virtual Environments Showcase and Arcade, the world’s largest conference on simulation in health care.

Dr. Marjorie Zielke
Dr. Marjorie Zielke

A UT Dallas team led by Dr. Marjorie Zielke, assistant professor of Arts and Technology and director of ATEC’s Virtual Humans and Synthetic Societies Lab, developed the game in collaboration with Dr. Mary E Mancini, associate dean and chair for undergraduate nursing programs at UT Arlington; Dr. Yan Xiao, Baylor’s director of patient safety research; and Dr. Susan Houston, Baylor’s director of nursing research.

“The overall track record we have with our game-based simulations and the international recognition we are receiving is very gratifying, particularly when the subject matter is as challenging as it is in GLIMPSE,” Zielke said. “As always, we owe our continuing success to the project team and the great faculty, staff and students involved in these important research projects. The encouragement and support we get from our administration is also critical.”

Mancini is the project’s principal investigator.

“Our hope is that this project will enhance patient safety and, ultimately, improve patient outcomes,” Mancini said. “Being honored by the judges at this year’s International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare tells us that the virtual learning environment we’ve built is among the very best in terms of content and design.”

Dr. Katie White, secretary for the Serious Games and Virtual Environments Interest Group that organizes the IMSH competition, praised the quality of the entries.

“The entries for this year’s arcade were technologically sophisticated and innovative in the way that they combined gaming concepts and clinical teaching,” White said. “It’s great to see the game developers improve their products from year to year and to see the growth of the arcade into a fun place for IMSH attendees to be introduced to serious games as a teaching tool.”

The overall track record we have with our game-based simulations and the international recognition we are receiving is very gratifying, particularly when the subject matter is as challenging as it is in GLIMPSE.

Dr. Marjorie Zielke,
assistant professor of Arts and Technology and director of ATEC’s Virtual Humans and Synthetic Societies Lab

The project, funded by a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, started with the development of a communications curriculum based on a research study involving physicians and nurses at two Baylor Scott & White hospitals. The goal is to improve the patient experience by improving communication between physicians and nurses. Results of evaluation of the game will be made available later this year when insights and effects of the game are analyzed on a deeper level for education, behavioral changes and improved learning potential.

“A great deal of health care errors are due to miscommunication between physicians and nurses, which can present patient safety issues,” said Houston. “The nurses and physicians who played the game were extremely supportive. Overall, the collegiality and collaboration has been wonderful in an effort to pull off this three-year project. Ideally, we will see the long-term effects, not only just in the results of this study, but through a marked decrease in health care errors that occur due to miscommunication.”

GLIMPSE also was selected in December 2013 as a finalist in another serious games contest at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC), the world’s largest modeling and simulation conference. Game-based simulations developed in the VHSS Lab have been recognized with nine major awards since 2010.