Meet the IRC: Xavier Harris

March 2nd, 2015


Sophomore Xavier Harris joined the IRC this semester as a programming intern. He’s working on developing a website for UMBC alumni to share their school experiences with current students as part of the upcoming 50th anniversary celebration. Drawn by his interest in math and physics, Xavier has declared a major in Computer Engineering. He’s originally from West Orange, New Jersey, and when he’s not studying or coding, Xavier likes to relax by playing computer games, particularly multiplayer games.

A Visit from Lights, Camera, Shoot

February 25th, 2015


On Monday, February 16th, the IRC received a visit from Axel Kabundji and the Lights, Camera, Shoot film production group at Wheaton High School. These 9-12 graders toured the campus, visited UMBC’s Cinematic Arts program, and then came to the IRC for a look at our facilities and a demonstration of past and present IRC projects, hosted by director Dan Bailey. Technical directors Ryan Zuber and Mark Jarzynski demonstrated 3D modeling in Maya and basic game-control programming with Unity. Then the kids were let loose in the digital world, trying out what they’d learned with some DIY gaming. It was a great time, and we hope to see some of Monday’s guests back at UMBC full-time in a few years.

Dedicated filmmakers, the LCS students captured video all through their day at UMBC and in the IRC, and created a short video about their visit, which you can watch by clicking here.

Liz Lerman and Paul Rucker at Creative Alliance

February 9th, 2015

The UMBC team working with Liz Lerman to put her great creative and social interaction tools online recently got to see those tools in action. On Saturday, February 7th, students and faculty took production gear to visit Baltimore’s Creative Alliance and the work of artist and musician, Paul Rucker around his exhibition entitled, Rewind. (On another project, Paul is helping the IRC create media about socially engaged art practice.) The public was also invited to participate in a structured session of interaction, facilitated by Liz, culminating in a critique of the artist’s work.

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A “Tools of Artistic Practice” Convening

February 4th, 2015


The IRC recently hosted a convening of innovative arts professionals, invited by visiting scholar Liz Lerman to help clarify and shape the goals of our Surdna Foundation-funded toolbox project.

The group included:

* Anne Basting, director of the TimeSlips Creative Storytelling Project;

* Jan Cohen-Cruz, editor of Public: A Journal of Imagining America;

* Marjani Forté-Saunders, dancer/choreographer and co-founder of LOVE/FORTÉ A COLLECTIVE;

E. Ethelbert Miller, writer, literary activist, and director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University;

* Gail Mukaihata Hannemann, consultant for the advancement of STEAM education, healthcare, and youth leadership, and former CEO of the Girl Scouts of Hawai’i;

* Mark Valdez, executive director of the Network of Ensemble Theaters;

and they gathered around the conference room table for two days to discuss their various experiences in the interdisciplinary world of contemporary creativity, and to imagine what an online toolbox for creative professionals might be like.


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Meet the IRC: Jason Hughes

January 30th, 2015


Jason Hughes is a third-year graduate student in Intermedia and Digital Art. He divides his graduate assistantship time between working in the IRC, where he creates digital animations for projects like Brick Gardens, and managing the graduate studios in the Raleigh Industrial Center downtown.

Jason’s studio work in drawing, print media, and sculpture investigates issues of labor, value, and self-worth, examining the relationship between consumer culture and mental health. His work has been exhibited around the US, including recent exhibitions curated by Mera Rubell and Donald Kuspit, and has been featured in The New York Times. Jason is the RTKL fellow for his thesis class, and became a father last year.

Meet the IRC: Jaclin Paul

January 23rd, 2015


Born in New Hampshire, graduate assistant Jaclin Paul moved to North Carolina at 9, and lived there until she went to Chicago to earn her BFA in photography and painting at SAIC. After graduation, she stayed in the windy city for a few years as artist-in-residence and photographer at Elevarte, before joining the Peace Corps and shipping out to Ghana. In west Africa, Jaclin taught art to high-schoolers and built an art studio capable of accommodating 100 students.

In her first year in the IMDA MFA program at UMBC, Jaclin divides her research assistantship time between the IRC, where she has worked on time-lapse photography and the NAS Dome Explorer project, and teaching with SUCCESS for her Shriver Peaceworker fellowship. Her studio photographs explore identity, especially as it relates to phenotypes. Jaclin is also, it should be noted, a sharp and stylish dresser.

Meet the IRC: Cliff Evans

January 16th, 2015


Cliff Evans is in his second year of the MFA program in Intermedia and Digital Art. In addition to working with time-lapse photography and digital animation in the IRC, he spends some of his research assistant hours each week in the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture. Cliff was born in Australia, grew up in East Texas, and earned his BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Cliff’s own digital animations, video installations, and sculptures create fantastic narrative spaces, map abstract systems of social and technological control, and reflect on the nostalgia still felt for unrealized utopian futures. His work has been exhibited extensively across the country and around the world, including recent shows in Brooklyn, Venezuela, London, and Prague.

Meet the IRC: Wes Stitt

January 9th, 2015


Graduate research assistant Wes Stitt is a second year student in UMBC’s Intermedia and Digital Arts MFA program. He has worked in the IRC since he came to UMBC from a position in communications and marketing at Penland School of Crafts in August, 2013. Wes regularly writes for the IRC’s website, blog, and annual reports, which he describes as “trying to get myself to understand what exactly the IRC is doing in each project so that I can then explain it to an outside audience who might not understand it yet themselves.” He also writes, takes photographs, and shoots, logs, and edits video footage for various IRC projects, including the NAS Dome Explorer and Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process.

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NAS Dome Explorer Phase 2: Interviewing the Top Scientists

December 1st, 2014

Phase 2 of the NAS Dome Explorer project, which aims to update the classically illustrated dome of the NAS’s Great Hall with a media experience intended both to describe, and to give people a sense of, the current state of the sciences, presents significant challenges, conceptual as well as technological. In the minute or two that a visitor to the NAS might spend interacting with an iPad app, what can be said about the enterprise of science? The application, currently in development, will provide visitors with an experiential snapshot of the nature of science today that is compelling, thoughtful, and accurate.


Lee Boot and J.D. Talasek prepare for an interview.


As a starting point, the IRC’s Lee Boot and J.D. Talasek, Director of Cultural Programs at NAS, have spent the last year interviewing some of the nation’s top scientists, asking them how their disciplines, and the sciences in general, have changed since 1924 when the original NAS building on the National Mall in DC was completed, and its now famous ceiling was painted. How would they characterize science’s grand challenges and triumphs? This ethnographic process, utilizing a survey drafted collaboratively by Lee and J.D., fielded exciting, eye-opening, sobering responses. Science and mathematics are no longer the static, discreet, and orderly taxonomy of disciplines depicted in Hildreth Meiere’s 1924 dome painting. The “action” in contemporary science is happening almost entirely at the intersections and dynamically shifting edges of disciplines.

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A Room-Sized 3D Scanner

November 11th, 2014


The IRC will soon be home to a new room-sized 3D scanner, made possible by a Major Research Instrumentation grant from the National Science Foundation. The scanner will use 90 digital cameras to capture an object photographically from many angles, while information about each camera’s placement in space will enable the scanner’s software to stitch the images together into a 3D model. This relatively recent development in 3D scanning allows the creation of virtual models with accurate surface texture and color, which older laser-scanning techniques couldn’t do, and has so far been used most prominently in Hollywood for CGI special effects. Dan Bailey, director of the IRC, and Principal Investigator Professor Marc Olano, of the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, intend for the scanner to be used by investigators and researchers from many disciplines across the university. You can read more about the project in the University’s official announcement here.

The scanner will be large enough to capture a horse, but sensitive and detailed enough for objects down to the size of a quarter. This is a very exciting development for us here in the IRC. We’ll keep you posted as the parts arrive and assembly begins!