ATEC Professor Brings New Dimensions to Art Displays at Events
For Andrew Scott, art becomes much more multidimensional when digital and technical elements overlay it. And he and his students at The University of Texas at Dallas are doing just that at outdoor events and music concerts throughout the Dallas area.
Scott, associate professor of arts and technology in the School of Arts, Technology and Emerging Communication, teaches his students that digital fabrication technologies and traditional fine art practices can merge to create works that can be appreciated by a variety of audiences.
“Digital fabrication processes and technologies can be used to explore artistic expression as well as practical solutions,” Scott said. “We have a studio that makes things and solves problems.”
In Scott’s studio at UT Dallas, students use solid art structures and digital images to impact large community audiences.
One such recent project was “Caravan: A Revolution on the Road,” a multidisciplinary collaboration by Grammy Award-winning jazz artist Terence Blanchard, choreographer Rennie Harris and his hip-hop dance theater company, and Scott. The April event, commissioned by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Soluna music festival, at Dallas’ Majestic Theatre combined musical performance, choreography and Scott’s visual projections, sculpture and projection mapping.
Terence Blanchard performs in Dallas at an event called Caravan: A Revolution on the Road. Assisted by his students, Scott produced the video content, theatrical props and the visual control system for the concert.
“We designed control systems to relate the visual content to the music through video editing, computer graphics and modeling. The pieces were responsive to the music,” Scott said.
Projection mapping is a technology used to turn objects, often irregularly shaped, into a display surface for video projection. These objects may be complex industrial landscapes, such as buildings, small indoor objects or theatrical stages.
In the case of the Caravan project, Scott and his students displayed the images onto a 3D sculpture.
Senior Pablo Hafid Reyes was one of the students who assisted Scott in the Caravan project. He said the combination of animations, colors and textures created a strong message that fit perfectly with the theme of the program.
“The music, the dancing and the visuals shared the common theme of raising awareness against discrimination against minorities and against police brutality,” he said. “It was powerful.”
“It’s really important that what we do here not only stands on this campus, but also gets out into the community and the world. It gives our students opportunities to engage in real-world projects because that’s what they’re going to be doing for the rest of their lives.”
Other recent projects included an LED display on the exterior of the Omni Dallas Hotel. For three nights in January, animations from students were compiled into a 40-minute program that was looped during the evening hours.
Scott and his students also used projection mapping for a project for the Plano ArtFest. The team created a 100-foot-long sculptured piece where projections were displayed that told the story of Plano.
“I try to provide students with opportunities to work on projects that have real clients, real deadlines and a real public that will engage them,” Scott said. “If you want to have your work displayed on one of the biggest campuses in the city or in public settings, there are design constraints regarding the content, file delivery or paperwork that must be dealt with.”
Scott said he is fortunate to work in an area that has a lot of practical applications.
“Some of it is sexy, and some of it is just practical,” he said. “It’s really important that what we do here not only stands on this campus, but also gets out into the community and the world. It gives our students opportunities to engage in real-world projects because that’s what they’re going to be doing for the rest of their lives.”