Emergent Art, a new digital media course

Feature Article »
By Scott Meador, Professor of Art, Digital »

Scott Meador’s Emergent Art studio course is underway for the first time this spring semester. Emergent Art provides a cross-disciplinary exploration of emergent digital practices of technologies or methods for making. Students research and analyze the use of technologies from multiple disciplines as a way to expand their practice of making, and discuss the ethical and legal issues surrounding the use of new technology.

We discuss innovation in the arts and arts education. The class researches how artists are using technology in various ways, such as machine learning, digital fabrication, and augmented reality. After students individually research interesting applications of technology and art, they present their findings and the class votes on five topics they want to research more. Small groups research and present on the five topics and two are chosen to implement during the rest of the semester. This semester, data-driven art, and lighting-based wearables were the two topics chosen. The students interpreted data-driven art in various ways, including using large datasets to inspire a series of abstract paintings; digital media pieces driven by motion and audio; data visualization in the form of 3D animation and 3D printing; using machine learning to visually interpret descriptions of dreams; visualizing the history of 2D character animation; and animation telling a story about waste and sustainability.

After spring break, the class will move onto the lighting-based wearables project and construct or augment garments or objects to include light as a material using LED’s, EL wire, and similar technologies.