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Visualizing Science initiatives

(Currently in progress)

John C. Hench - DADA students participate as artists in residence at the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies every semester and summer. As part of the residency graduates work with the Biological Science professors and students to help visualize their research using animation and digital media.

Every Fall Professor Kathy Smith's class CTAN 524 travel to Wrigley to participate in a series of lectures and science based projects. In 2005 we received a USC 125th grant to help us take additional CNTV students, staff and faculty. We successfully gathered together 38 people including students, faculty and staff to participate in a weekend long conference on Catalina Island where the institute is located.

Visual Effects initiatives

Under the guidance of VFX lecturer Eric Hanson, Hench-DADA students have already built a three-dimensional panoramic environment of Catalina Island and have been working together with Director Tony Michaels and Wrigley Staff to develop accurate elevation maps of the island environment and sub level sea floor.

The outcome of the research from CNTV and Wrigley will be a body of work that firstly enables the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies to show compelling visualizations that explore the dynamic and often unseen interactions that occur within complex biological systems, both marine and terrestrial. Secondly, it can provide a rich medium for animation and visual effects students to enhance their narrative and technical development as artists.

Based upon this, the students of CTAN 524, CTAN 463, and CTAN 501 animation courses will collaborate together to build more elements for this new virtual island world, and this will continue to be updated and explored via the research taking place with the Biological Sciences in the long-term future.

Proposed Science Visualization class

Both Hench-DADA and Wrigley hope to continue to build future research projects and establish an interdisciplinary class between the two schools. The outline is to design a biological science class that can utilize the faculty of the College and CNTV to help visualize basic science principles.

Scientists and naturalists in earlier centuries were also artists who could depict detailed drawings and studies of biological life; we feel this could be a good starting point to re-invent the immediate understanding of natural world through digital media and animation.

Lastly, it creates a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary research and collaboration between otherwise disparate but related departments.

Experimental Animation initiatives

(Currently in progress)

DADA has formed a partner by design relationship with Adobe Systems Inc. This connection provides us with software and hardware to help in our education environment. It also involves an Adobe scholar whereby a Hench-DADA student is trained in the latest technology and brings this back to the classroom where he/she can assist fellow students in understanding the latest techniques and mentor in a flexible learning environment.

CTAN 579 Expanded Animation has for the past five years utilized the Adobe software as part of the creative structuring process for making short animated/digital films in the class. Last year Adobe wrote an article about the class and published the content on their website as a way to encourage other universities and programs to develop new pedagogical approaches for utilizing digital media.

Performance at the Getty (with the Slavic Languages Department)

Two Hench-DADA students Matt Clausen and Geer DuBois collaborated with Professor John Bowlt of the Slavic Studies department at USC to create an interactive animated sequence that was installed at the Getty research institute as part of a live performance/play entitled 'The Chant of the Universal Flowering'.

Faculty research in progress

  • Professor Panushka
    Newtown Arts Initiative
    "Spoken Word"
  • Professor Kathy Smith
    Individual Zumberge Research Grant Award

Documentary Animation initiatives

(Currently in progress)

Corrie Francis Hench-DADA thesis students is currently working under a Fulbright Scholarship and a Harvey Fellows Scholarship in collaboration with the University of Auckland to develop her animation about the communities in rural New Zealand and their spiritual relationship to the landscape. Corrie lived and worked for a year on location in New Zealand to research this work in progress.

Corrie's animation has its foundation in drawing and painting and she views the computer as another visual tool to enhance these techniques without dominating them. Her current thematic interests include the integration of digital imagery and traditional artwork and the different ways people experience the outdoors.