ATEC Team’s Creation to Add Interactive Harmony to Jazz Artist’s Show

ATEC sculpture for jazz show
The relief sculpture, constructed by ATEC Professor Andrew F. Scott and his students, depicts a modified peace sign emblazoned in between a set of eyes.

By now, visitors to the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building have grown used to seeing an alternating set of distinctive, cardboard sculptures strewn across all corners of the first floor.

Angular renderings of mermaids, chess knights, masks and an array of abstract forms provide a jolt of creative panache for passers-by. It’s all courtesy of the 3-D Studio and Digital Fabrication Lab led by Professor Andrew F. Scott at UT Dallas.

Stepping into the lab, visitors are met with a workspace in constant motion. At the moment, graduate students are buckling down — weaving their way through a series of tall, steel frames and multiple piles of broad cardboard panels. Scott and his team are in the homestretch of wrapping up a massive undertaking: a relief sculpture that will serve as the interactive backdrop for an upcoming Terence Blanchard concert.

The final work — flat and tall — will stand at a little over 15 feet high and 31 feet wide.

“Think of it as a canvas that we’ll be projecting light onto,” Scott said. “It’s going to be synchronized dynamically to the musical performance, so the music is going to drive the visual performance. In many ways, I see our role as being the sixth member of Terence’s group.”

Members of Scott’s team started with a model a fourth of the size of the final product, giving them an opportunity to test the visual projections they’ve been developing. Another model — half the size — followed suit.

“This model was built in a way that mimicked how we were going to create the full-scale version,” Scott said. “We sort of look at it as skeleton, muscle and skin. We have a steel framework that forms the skeleton of the piece. This carries the loads used to lift it. Attached to that, we have a 2-ply cardboard grillage muscle system that ties into the skeleton. That supports the thin cardboard skin, which is the face of the work.”

While Scott has been working in the realm of 3-D-fabricated art since he was a graduate student at The Ohio State University, his work in projection mapping is relatively new — a product of his appointment to the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication in 2015.

“The biggest shift to my move here and the way it informed my work is that, heretofore, I’d been really concentrating on object making,” he said. “Upon my arrival here, I began to incorporate all the constituent aspects of ATEC into my creative process. I started to do work with light, work with animated content in it and work driven by music. All of these things came together and marked a really dramatic shift in my artistic practice.”

He began projecting photos of people on to his 3-D sculptures. His work became a metaphor for the ways in which society projects certain images and ideas onto them, particularly African-American men.

Shortly after that, he showed his first projection-mapped piece, “Reliquary,” at the PULSE Art and Technology festival in Georgia. The piece caught the eye of his longtime friend and Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Terence Blanchard.

“We have a very long history; we’ve been friends for many years, and we were trying to find ways that we could collaborate,” Scott said.

He ended up working with Blanchard to create the cover art for the musician’s 2015 album “Breathless.” The piece he created for the album, part of Scott’s Black Man Grove series, depicts a sole fist raised in the air with mangrove roots growing out of the wrist.

Blanchard and Scott will continue their creative partnership with this upcoming concert. It’ll be the first time that Scott’s work interacts with a live performance.

Over the final 20 days before their deadline, Scott and his team will focus on the visual elements that will be projected on to the sculpture’s façade. Referencing music taken from Blanchard’s live performances, the students are developing visuals of different textures and styles.

This is ATEC graduate student Vic Simon’s first foray into the field of projection mapping.

“I spent a whole lot of time over the winter break doing preparation — learning about projection mapping and MadMapper,” he said. “It’s been a wild ride, but it’s a really cool piece of creative technology, and I’m very excited about it.”

Students in the course — Topics in Arts and Technology: Projection Mapping — become well-versed in an array of programs used to realize the finished product. Software such as MadMapper and MODUL8 are used to manipulate and edit video in real time.

ATEC graduate student Michael Bradley has split his time between building the sculpture and writing software to help create visualizations for the show.

Bradley said that unlike other courses he’s taken, Scott invites students to combine their individual — and often vastly differing — skills in pursuit of a common goal.

“We have media specialists, fabrication specialists, 3-D modelers, programmers, engineers,” Bradley said. “It’s hard, if not impossible, to work so closely with people like this for 15 or so weeks and not pick up a thing or two from them. I’m learning about new software like in other classes sure, but in this case, when we have a problem to solve or a hole to fill everyone steps up with their own experiences, and Scott composites all the ideas we have into a working solution.”

Next week, the sculpture will be moved to the lecture hall in the ATEC building, where the team will add the final touches.

Scott often likens the way his team has worked this semester to Blanchard’s jazz ensemble — seemingly disparate creative parts coming together to create harmony. The students in the lab work in time, synchronizing the rhythm of their workflow.

“The whole is a manifestation of the interaction between the parts, and a lot of the times, you don’t know how the parts are going to come together dynamically until you’re in a live, improvisational creative process,” Scott said. “It’s going to be alive and animated. It raises a lot of artistic questions, and it raises a lot of artistic directions that could probably keep me busy for the next 20 years. It makes teaching very exciting because I can often look at some of the ways my students approach those elements, and they approach it in a way I never would. It gives me an opportunity to learn from them and edify my artistic growth.”


Terence Blanchard Live

Terence Blanchard

American jazz trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard will perform alongside his quintet the E-Collective at UT Dallas. A five-time Grammy winner, Blanchard has been one of the world’s leading jazz artists since his debut in the 1980s. He has released 20 albums and has composed the scores for films such as “Malcolm X,” “Love & Basketball,” “Cadillac Records” and “Chi-Raq.”

The performance is made possible by the School of Arts & Humanities and the School of Arts, Technology, & Emerging Communication (ATEC).

When: Friday, April 21, 8 p.m.

Where: Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building Lecture Hall

Buy tickets

ATEC Professor Joins International Artists in an Exhibition on the Art of Resistance

The work of ATEC professor Andrew Scott is featured alongside the work of nearly 100 of the boldest artists working today in a New York exhibition connecting visual arts with political, cultural and social movements.

“Reliquary” is on display from Sept. 25 to Nov. 8 as a part of the “Power, Protest, and Resistance: The Art of Revolution” exhibition in the Skylight Gallery in Brooklyn, New York .

Artist Statement:

scottA reliquary is a receptacle used to hold, display and keep sacred relics. The form and spirit of this work is directly informed by the reliquary figures of the Kota People in Gabon. This reliquary is dedicated to African American men who lost their lives in tragic encounters with the police in 2014.

John Coltrane’s “Alabama,” a song written in response to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing on September 15, 1963, provides the framework and structure for the video that is projected onto the surface of the laser cut and polychromed relief sculpture.

The work uses projected video footage to bear witness to the tragic interactions with police that led to their death juxtaposed against portraits that contain the basic humanity of these people whose lives were cut short all too soon. The choice of projection mapping as a process serves as a metaphor for the many ways that images are projected onto African American boys and men in American society in particular.

The artwork was created at the University of Texas at Dallas where Andrew F. Scott is an Associate Professor of Art and Technology in the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication.

-Andrew Scott

View Reliquary on Youtube


 

PPR-FINAL-FOR-PRESS-RELEASE-“Power, Protest, and Resistance: The Art of Revolution, is an exhibition designed to push the viewers to not only engage the work but to engage what is beneath the surface. Why is there such a growing rift among people and the forces that seek to impose governing on them? How do we change or remove an authority that is not responsive to the needs of the people? What is power? Who has it? And how is it used to change things for the better for everyone? With nearly 100 artists participating, this exhibition will act as a call to action. As we use these works of art to grapple with this subject matter, we will create a dialogue on how as a people we can change this world. Change starts in the spirits, minds, and hearts of the people and art is one of the most potent ways I know to reach those areas.”

Danny Simmons
Co-curator POWER, PROTEST, AND RESISTANCE | THE ART OF REVOLUTION
Sept 24th – Oct 31, 2015

 

Power, Protest, and Resistance: The Art of Revolution is a program of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Russell Simmons, Danny Simmons and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons in 1995 to provide meaningful arts education experiences for underserved youth, and professional support to underrepresented contemporary artists.

New Hires Help Further Arts and Humanities’ Interdisciplinary Aims

Whether by studying the intersections of medicine and technology or by creating art that fuses the digital and analog, new faculty who have joined UT Dallas’ School of Arts and Humanities this fall add to the breadth of expertise housed in the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building.

Seven tenure or tenure-track faculty members are among the new additions to the Arts and Technology (ATEC) and Emerging Media and Communication (EMAC) programs.

“Building an adventurous and groundbreaking academic program like EMAC can be a daunting task. We are fortunate to have attracted three talented and committed scholars, each of whom complements the program in a different way, to UT Dallas. I am confident that EMAC — guided by our returning, new and future faculty members — will become truly a Tier One academic jewel,” said Dr. Dennis M. Kratz, dean of the school and the Ignacy and Celina Rockover Professor of Humanities.

In addition to the growing number of faculty, the ATEC building continues to inspire interdisciplinary collaboration and research. Recent work includes student animations like the short “Sticky,” and Dr. Maximilian Schich’s recent project that brought massive amounts of data to life and became a viral sensation on YouTube, garnering nearly 900,000 views.

The new hires include:

Dr. Olivia Banner

Dr. Olivia Banner, assistant professor of emerging media and communication

Previously: Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, the Humanities Research Center, Rice University

Research Interests: Intersections of medicine, new media, and health and illness, with a specific focus on how race, gender and disability are refracted within these intersections

Quote: “The EMAC program, combined with UT Dallas’ strong pre-med programs, student creativity, and connections to a wider community of medical and technology professionals, is the perfect place to foster new thinking and projects that address our ongoing challenges to human health and well-being.”


Dr. Rosanne Guadagno

Dr. Rosanna Guadagno, associate professor of emerging media and communication; associate professor of psychology

Previously: Program director, Social Psychology, the Science of Learning Centers, and Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC), National Science Foundation

Research Interests: Social influence in mediated contexts, psychological processes in social media, video games and virtual environments; gender roles

Quote: “I was drawn to UT Dallas by the exciting promise of building a new program. EMAC is just a few years old, and with our current growth rate, program faculty all have an opportunity to collaborate on a much larger scale than is typical in academia. Together, my colleagues and I get to build our program. In addition, as a social psychologist who studies media effects — a topic typically addressed by communication scholars — I found the interdisciplinary nature of UT Dallas to be very appealing. That I can study what I am interested in, yet maintain a presence in my primary field, is exactly what I was looking for. I am pleased to have found it at UT Dallas.”


Dr. Angela Lee

Dr. Angela Lee, assistant professor of emerging media and communication

Previously: PhD graduate, The University of Texas at Austin

Research Interests: Audience analysis, news consumption, media effects, behavior prediction, journalism routines, ethics

Quote: “I’m drawn to UT Dallas’ intellectual vibrancy, and believe that EMAC’s youthful energy and ambition is at the forefront of research and teaching in ways that not only encourage asking new questions but also challenge the applicability of old answers in today’s emerging media landscape. I’m very happy to be a part of UTD and wish to make a lasting impact on how my students see, understand and challenge the world through theoretical and empirical lenses.”


Andrew ScottAndrew F. Scott, associate professor of arts and technology

Previously: Professor of sculpture, coordinator of sculpture, Savannah College of Art and Design

Research Interests: His artwork serves as a bridge though which he can reconcile and communicate collective cultural ideals; his artwork and teaching combine digital fabrication processes and traditional fine arts practices.

Quote: “I hope to build on the strong foundations established at ATEC by providing students with an opportunity to explore the relationship between electronic media and contemporary artistic practice. In my own work, I am excited about the influence that working in a major research environment will have on my artistic practice.”


Sean McComberSean McComber, assistant professor of animation in arts and technology

Previously: Master of Fine Arts graduate, UT Dallas; senior cinematics animator, Sucker Punch Productions

Research Interests: Character animation, animation studio


Kyoung Lee Swearingen, assistant professor of arts and technology

Previously: Technical director of lighting at Pixar Animation Studios

Research Interests: Visual storytelling, mood, look development through lighting


Scott Swearingen, assistant professor of arts and technology

Previously: Designer at TKO Software, Gearbox Software, Electronic Arts Inc. and Maxis

Research Interests: Game design, level design, virtual environments, kinetic sculpture and radio

New Hires Help Further Arts and Humanities’ Interdisciplinary Aims

Whether by studying the intersections of medicine and technology or by creating art that fuses the digital and analog, new faculty who have joined UT Dallas’ School of Arts and Humanities this fall add to the breadth of expertise housed in the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building.

Seven tenure or tenure-track faculty members are among the new additions to the Arts and Technology (ATEC) and Emerging Media and Communication (EMAC) programs.

“Building an adventurous and groundbreaking academic program like EMAC can be a daunting task. We are fortunate to have attracted three talented and committed scholars, each of whom complements the program in a different way, to UT Dallas. I am confident that EMAC — guided by our returning, new and future faculty members — will become truly a Tier One academic jewel,” said Dr. Dennis M. Kratz, dean of the school and the Ignacy and Celina Rockover Professor of Humanities.

In addition to the growing number of faculty, the ATEC building continues to inspire interdisciplinary collaboration and research. Recent work includes student animations like the short “Sticky,” and Dr. Maximilian Schich’s recent project that brought massive amounts of data to life and became a viral sensation on YouTube, garnering nearly 900,000 views.

The new hires include:

Dr. Olivia Banner

Dr. Olivia Banner, assistant professor of emerging media and communication

Previously: Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, the Humanities Research Center, Rice University

Research Interests: Intersections of medicine, new media, and health and illness, with a specific focus on how race, gender and disability are refracted within these intersections

Quote: “The EMAC program, combined with UT Dallas’ strong pre-med programs, student creativity, and connections to a wider community of medical and technology professionals, is the perfect place to foster new thinking and projects that address our ongoing challenges to human health and well-being.”


Dr. Rosanne Guadagno

Dr. Rosanna Guadagno, associate professor of emerging media and communication; associate professor of psychology

Previously: Program director, Social Psychology, the Science of Learning Centers, and Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC), National Science Foundation

Research Interests: Social influence in mediated contexts, psychological processes in social media, video games and virtual environments; gender roles

Quote: “I was drawn to UT Dallas by the exciting promise of building a new program. EMAC is just a few years old, and with our current growth rate, program faculty all have an opportunity to collaborate on a much larger scale than is typical in academia. Together, my colleagues and I get to build our program. In addition, as a social psychologist who studies media effects — a topic typically addressed by communication scholars — I found the interdisciplinary nature of UT Dallas to be very appealing. That I can study what I am interested in, yet maintain a presence in my primary field, is exactly what I was looking for. I am pleased to have found it at UT Dallas.”


Dr. Angela Lee

Dr. Angela Lee, assistant professor of emerging media and communication

Previously: PhD graduate, The University of Texas at Austin

Research Interests: Audience analysis, news consumption, media effects, behavior prediction, journalism routines, ethics

Quote: “I’m drawn to UT Dallas’ intellectual vibrancy, and believe that EMAC’s youthful energy and ambition is at the forefront of research and teaching in ways that not only encourage asking new questions but also challenge the applicability of old answers in today’s emerging media landscape. I’m very happy to be a part of UTD and wish to make a lasting impact on how my students see, understand and challenge the world through theoretical and empirical lenses.”


Andrew ScottAndrew F. Scott, associate professor of arts and technology

Previously: Professor of sculpture, coordinator of sculpture, Savannah College of Art and Design

Research Interests: His artwork serves as a bridge though which he can reconcile and communicate collective cultural ideals; his artwork and teaching combine digital fabrication processes and traditional fine arts practices.

Quote: “I hope to build on the strong foundations established at ATEC by providing students with an opportunity to explore the relationship between electronic media and contemporary artistic practice. In my own work, I am excited about the influence that working in a major research environment will have on my artistic practice.”


Sean McComberSean McComber, assistant professor of animation in arts and technology

Previously: Master of Fine Arts graduate, UT Dallas; senior cinematics animator, Sucker Punch Productions

Research Interests: Character animation, animation studio


Kyoung Lee Swearingen, assistant professor of arts and technology

Previously: Technical director of lighting at Pixar Animation Studios

Research Interests: Visual storytelling, mood, look development through lighting


Scott Swearingen, assistant professor of arts and technology

Previously: Designer at TKO Software, Gearbox Software, Electronic Arts Inc. and Maxis

Research Interests: Game design, level design, virtual environments, kinetic sculpture and radio