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