As a graduate student at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, I’m constantly surrounded with astounding creativity from my fellow students, who come from a wide array of disciplines. I’m working among musicians, architects, archeologists, lawyers, designers, physicists, and much more. Our commonality is that we all want to use technology in creative ways.
Twice a year, ITP opens its doors to the public for a gallery-style showing of the best student work from the semester. It’s a chance for non-ITP’ers to get a small taste of our flavor of creativity and a feeling for what we’re all about. The ITP Spring Show wrapped last week and was a huge success. Before the show opened, I ran around the floor and took photos of a few projects that give a good idea of what the program is about.
I’m sure a rocking chair is not what you’d expect to see from a technology program. But Chairish, Annelie Berner’s rocking chair for two is the work product for a class called Design for Digital Fabrication. Using CAD software, Annelie went through many design and prototyping iterations. Eventually, she cut the design out of plywood with a computer-controlled (CNC) router. The pieces are held together with threaded rod and nuts to make a chair for sharing.
Hanging from the ceiling was an interactive piece called “Swings” by Claire Mitchell, Engin Ayaz, and Patrick Muth. The person swinging wears a set of headphones and hears audio tracks which are layered according to the swinging patterns of the user. I asked Patrick how show-goers reacted to such a fun installation: "We were attracted to working with a swing because of its potential to be both an exhilarating and calming experience and the feedback we received suggested we created one. The users I spoke to really appreciated that every design choice we made (the site-specific sounds, creating the seat with wood from a sewing machine crate, minimizing the visible technology by using an iPhone as a sensor) was done with the concept in mind and that it really enhanced the experience."
Philip Groman and Robbie Tilton were showing off Rehuddle, a dead-simple conference calling site that reminds me a lot of Turntable.fm. It was created for a class called “Re-dial” which uses Asterisk to “explore the use of the telephone in interactive art, performance, social networking, and multimedia applications.”
Based on a Korean cultural ritual for memorializing the dead, Bona Kim and Hanna Kang-Brown created Jesa. As the user moves the vessels of food onto the large table, RFID sensors trigger videos related to the deceased to appear on the screen.
Matt Richardson is a Brooklyn-based creative technologist, MAKE video producer, and Master's Candidate at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program. His work can be found at mattrichardson.com.