Category Archives: Art

AR & VR Technology

By Nijesh Upreti

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are a buzz words these days; literally every magazine and newspaper has articles boasting the AR/VR craze. But where do we really stand on the AR/VR development? What are its implications? And what sort of applications should we really seek? These are questions troubling the scientists and developers alike who delve deeper into their disciplines to invent and design technologies that are on par with current technological needs.

Just as a brief overview: VR is a interactive technology generated within a simulated environment that embraces the elements of real world but limits interactions within the digital. AR on the other hand is a technology that allows the augmentation of our everyday interaction with real world with various sensory modalities such haptics, auditory or visual. We are going to alternate between both technological sides to post mixed finding on the subject matter. 

How is the art world benefited by the recent advances in VR/AR technology?
Recently a digital museum opened in Tokyo, Japan. This museum is a collaborative work of individuals from various disciplines including computer science, art, and human-computer interaction to name a few. The museum, hosted in a space of 10,000 square meter, is operated by using the about 520 computers and 470 projectors working in sync to create amazing visual experience for the visitors.

VR as an Art Medium
Recent advances in VR technology has paved ways for exploring the art domain with mediums that are far from the traditional. One such technological breakthrough is the idea of art in 3D digital space. Google’s Tilt brush technology combined with commercially available VR headsets like HTC VIVE and OCULUS RIFT could equip artists with an entirely new way to explore the art world.

Makerspace Assignments for Existing Courses

At a presentation to our faculty over the summer, we had the opportunity to share some of the awesome ways our makerspace and its tools and equipment can be integrated into a wide range of academic disciplines. Some of what we talked about is on our assignments by subject page.  We were a little worried that all of the new project ideas could be overwhelming, however, especially when many faculty are interested in working with existing courses. In an effort to make things a little easier to digest, we came up with the following:

How to Integrate the Makerspace into your Courses:

  • Look at your courses and think about how a creative assignment or visualization might help in the understanding of a concept, event, place, etc.
  • Think about times during the course when many students had a difficult time understanding or staying engaged with the content and may have benefited from hands-on work or a change of scenery.
  • Do a library database search to find articles about different ways 3D printing & other makerspace tools have been integrated into your discipline.
  • Do a web search to find content about different ways 3D printing & other makerspace tools have been integrated into your discipline.
  • Contact your friendly makerspace coordinators. We have tons of ideas and are happy to chat about them!

It’s even available as an image, if you’d prefer! We know assignment design is a complex process, but we hope these tips can at least make it a little easier for faculty of all academic disciplines to provide high-tech, hands-on coursework for their students.

Studio Art Student Use of the Makerspace

We’ve had lots of interesting uses of our makerspace by Studio Art students for both senior exhibits and assignments. Here are some examples:

3D printed face connected to a long row of stairs in white

Quantified Actualization by Penn Ryan

Penn Ryan ’18 spent a lot of time in the makerspace meticulously designing  and 3D printing stairs for his piece, “Quantified Actualization”. The top part of this piece was designed using a 3D scan of his face, scanned and printed in the makerspace. In his artist statement, he describes this work as a commentary on fitness tracking,

…”This staircase is the combined product of 5 months of tracking. Fitness tracking is often an obsessive practice. Quantifying one’s accomplishments gives someone a feeling of control over their body. Users feel that technology can give them insights into how well they are taking care of their body and therefore meeting their goals. These goals are often initially physical but become mental and occupational and all encompassing. Whether or not one is striving for improvement and accomplishing it becomes a moral judgement. Self-actualization is the ultimate goal.”

More photos, and a complete artist statement can be found in the 2018 Senior Exhibit Gallery.

The Lost Man’s Fortune by Alison Smith

Alison Smith ’17 created an installation that spread across the exterior of the Wriston Art Center and inside the senior gallery exhibit. Alison used vinyl decals to create 8-bit video game inspired art scenes, as well as used the Silhouette cutter to create paper items and treasures, also inspired by video games. Her statement explains, “this installation gives physical forms to video game objects and environments in order to change the way we interact with them through the completion of a real-life, video game inspired quest.”

More photos of installation of The Lost Man’s Fortune can be found in the 2017 Senior Exhibit Gallery.

Installation View of Mystery Ocean by Noah Gunther

Noah Gunther ’17 used the makerspace to 3D print objects for both his junior show and senior show. In both, he created virtual worlds, and brought the virtual to physical using the 3D printers. For his senior show, he integrated a virtual reality headset to let the viewer further immerse themselves in the world he created. We asked Noah to tell us a little about using 3D printers as an artist- here’s what he had to say,

“…I’ve been interested in the intersection of what we think of as “real life” and the world of computer simulation for a long time. Having access to 3D printers has been an excellent way for me to explore this connection — I build 3D models on the computer, which I then add to a computer simulation where a user can virtually interact with them. I then also 3d print the models in the same colors I display the virtual models, allowing for a direct connection between the virtual objects and the 3D printed ones. Being able to 3D print these items allows me to explore the connection between virtual and real interaction in a way I otherwise wouldn’t be able to!”

Alice Parker painting and installation by Aedan Gardill

Innovating a Legacy: Alice Parker by Aedan Gardill

Aedan R. Gardill ’18 painted a series of African American women inventors and innovators and created representational installations to accompany each painting. For Alice Parker, Aedan used the Silhouette cutter to create a vinyl display to represent her contributions to modern thermostats. He describes his series of paintings and installations as, “Sharing the stories of these women and increasing the visual representation of non-male, non-white scientists is a step forward to changing the negative cultural perspective of women in the sciences.”

More selections from the installation, Innovating a Legacy can be found in the 2018 Senior Exhibit Gallery.

Installation and paintings by Nina Sultan

Nina Sultan ’17 included interviews by portrait subjects with her paintings on display for her senior show. The interviews were played on iPads on loan from the makerspace. In her artist statement, Nina describes her works as, “Inspired by people from the Appleton community, through painting, photography, and audio documentation, the work seeks to create thoughtful narratives to unmask, appreciate, and better understand our personal connections on a deeper level.”

More photos of the installation can be found in the 2017 Senior Exhibit Gallery.

Speaking of these many student shows in the Wriston Galleries, gallery curators uses the makerspace’s Silhouette Cameo electronic cutter to create titles for their exhibits. It saves a great deal of money compared to requesting to have them made by an outside sign shop.

Word Art by Sara Morrison

Many other students have used the makerspace tools and equipment for projects related to art course assignments. Here are just a few:

Sara Morrison ’18 created a series of word art that she displayed around campus for her New Media in Art assignment. She used the 3D printer and electronic cutter to create letters from PLA filament and vinyl.

Sara encouraged members of the Lawrence University community to take photos of the word art (as she left it, and as it had been changed by others) and post them to her Tumblr page, LU Word Art.

Stencil by Malcolm Lunn-Craft

Malcolm Lunn-Craft ’17 used the electronic cutter to create stencils for his painting class. The adhesive vinyl helped with his assignment medium of spray paint.

While not created in the makerspace, Malcolm’s powerful photographs from his senior exhibit are available to view in the  2017 Senior Exhibit Gallery (content warning: visual allusion to violence).

See more uses of the makerspace by Studio Art students and faculty on our Makerspace Assignments at LU page, as well as on our Instagram and Twitter.

3D Printing and Ceramics

The final product.

Printing Meghan’s face.

It’s always exciting to see 3D printing and scanning in use with a new discipline on campus, so we were so happy to help Meghan Sullivan, Uihlein Fellow of Studio Art, try out a new project in the makerspace. Meghan had the idea of creating a 3D image of her face to use in ceramic design. The process in the makerspace was pretty straightforward once we figured out the nuances of our 3D scanner and software.

  1. Scanned Meghan’s face (we used the Scanify 3D scanner)
  2. Exported an STL file that could be 3D printed from the Studio 3D software. The Advanced version of the software is required to do this, since the option to volumize the file is necessary.
  3. Sliced the file in Cura, then printed it in the Ultimaker 2+.
  4. After it was printed, Meghan used the 3D printed object to create a mold.
  5. The mold was used to create a clay object.
  6. The clay object was then fired, painted, and glazed.

Meghan plans to have her ceramics students replicate this assignment in the future.