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Discovery Lab hosts First Friday event

Submitted by Stefani Schruf
Phone: 907-450-8677


The Arctic Region Supercomputing Center's Discovery Lab is not often open as an art gallery, but on Nov. 2 it will be just that, displaying four computer-generated exhibits from 5 - 8 p.m. From 3-D digital art to virtual tours of Mars and historic Fairbanks to an interactive exhibit that translates physical space into music, this event will not be a typical art gallery experience.

The featured artist is Tokyo-born Miho Aoki, who began teaching digital art at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2001. She is a joint faculty member with ARSC and the UAF College of Liberal Arts. Aoki has exhibited at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, University of Alaska Museum of the North and other galleries. Most recently, she was invited to display some of her geophysical animations of the effects of tsunamis at the Chicago Field Museum's planned spring exhibition "Nature Unleashed," animations that have also aired on the PBS show "NOVA." Aoki's Discovery Lab exhibit "Virtual Gallery 3 in 3-D'" will showcase art derived from her two-dimensional "Parties" series which took the top prize in the 2006 international Digital Creation Awards. First Friday viewers, however, will be able to experience the art in 3-D by using special liquid crystal glasses provided during the presentation.

Discovery Lab-goers will also have the chance to experience computer-generated artistic works by Aoki's students. "Fairbanks 1912-1916 Model in 3-D" uses photographs obtained from Alaska's Digital Images Archives and is presented by ARSC graduate student Chao Peng, who is pursuing a master's degree in computer art. UAF computer art student Siyuan Wang, also an ARSC graduate student, assisted with developing earlier versions of the 3-D walk-through of historic Fairbanks. "DAVE2" is a hands-free sound manipulation program presented by UAF computer science graduate student Dave Krnavek with the help of local dance troupe Cold Fusion Tribal Dance. "Virtual Mars Model in 3-D" is an exploration of the surface of Mars presented by Kevin Galloway, an undergraduate student in computer science. Krnavek and Galloway also work at ARSC.

The exhibits will be cycled in three rotations of one hour each beginning at 5 p.m. Each exhibit is allotted 15 minutes and rotations will begin at the top of the hour with "Fairbanks 1912-1916 Model in 3-D" followed by "Virtual Gallery 3 in 3-D" and then "DAVE2." "Virtual Mars Model in 3-D" rounds out the hour.

Presenters will be available for conversation and questions during the 45-minute break between their presentations. For those looking for a less talkative counterpart, the reception area will be set up with computers that allow participants to create their own art. Computer users at the Discovery Lab will guide remote controlled devices outfitted with markers and located in the West Ridge Research Building to contribute to a telerobotic art masterpiece.

During typical operations, the Discovery Lab meets the data visualization needs of scientists and researchers who require the highly sophisticated and super-fast computational resources of ARSC to study and analyze geophysical phenomena like tsunamis, global climate change and movement of ash from volcanic eruptions. However, for First Friday, the Discovery Lab's three-dimensional, immersive, virtual reality environment will be experienced by a group of people wanting to partake in a unique art event. At the Discovery Lab, passively experienced art is not common, so be prepared to interact with the exhibits.

Visitors meet at the back loading dock of the library (see map at www.arsc.edu/images/discovery_map.gif) . From the Taku visitor lot, walk up the path and veer right on Tanana Loop. Cross at the first crosswalk, take an immediate right. First loading dock on the left.

For more information about the DLab visit www.arsc.edu/resources/dlab.html.

NOTE TO EDITORS: High-resolution images of Aoki's "Parties" are available at www.uaf.edu/news/download/releasephotos/07/parties/. Please contact Debra Damron at (907) 450-8662 or via email at damron@arsc.edu for more available images.

CONTACT: Miho Aoki, assistant art professor at 907-474-5425 or via e-mail at aoki@arsc.edu or Stefani Schruf, ARSC media student, at 907-450-8677 or via e-mail at schruf@arsc.edu.