Joanne Lee – Looking Outward 01

Guests can enter a portal to where another moon orbits.

Lunar Surface is a collaboration between photographer Eunyoung Kim and artists Elliot Woods and Mimi Son. They have created multiple projects already in the past by combining code, form, material, concept, and mechanism. This particular project was created and put on display for two years (2014-15). The artists worked inside the Bucheon city Incinerator, which is a processing plant that was decommissioned back in 2010.

This project is brought to life by blowing 50 tonnes of air onto a 20 meter flag of silk, representing the fabric of a flag. The fabric is tracked by a 3D camera and a digital light is projected onto the fabric based on its constantly evolving shape. This project in particular inspires me because I have always wondered what it would be like to be out in space and thus started looking for interactive exhibits. This exhibit provides a unique, but essential experience to guests by having them observe the moon up close. As the studio says, it makes your question reality versus virtuality. Although I can no longer visit this exhibit, I feel that I can still explore the exhibit through videos such as the one below.

Susie Lee – Looking Outwards- 01

A few years ago, a classmate of mine created this project that took the words of individuals and compiled them into a book. Called “Something Kind” by Marisa Lu, she collected the responses of Amazon Turk workers when asked to “write about something unexpectedly nice that someone did” for them. In order to highlight and inspire readers to take action, the book emphasizes the action words in the stories, highlighting a greater focus of “go & do”. The project utilized human computation through Amazon Mechanical Turk, several short programs in Processing, and Basil.js. I was really impressed and inspired by this project because how humanistic the approach was even thought it was one focused on computation. I also appreciated the small design details such as the heart form in the corner and sides of the book! In the post about the project, she mentioned how Maeda @ media was one of her inspirations during this project! This project really points out the opportunity of mixing in human emotion and responses to something that is generally more considered mechanical/ robotic. It is possible to mix in interaction with computation and I am excited to explore that!


Something Kind
Marisa Lu

Liz Maday-Looking Outwards-1

Alumni Concert Hall transformed into a dream-like environment through lighting and inflatable structures.

A project that has really intrigued and inspired me was CMU’s “Snoozefest”, something that I was able to experience in person. Snoozefest was an all night concert meant to be experienced while asleep, a project spearheaded by Professor Golan Levin (of Carnegie Mellon) and created in collaboration with CMU’s Exploded Ensemble and Soft Sculpture and Inflatables course. It took place in Alumni Concert Hall, which was converted into a strange dreamlike environment, complete with a huge inflatable structure that filled the entire room in addition to eerie but mesmerizing lighting. The music was primarily electronic and of the more experimental variety, and it was performed throughout the entire night by students in CMU’s Exploded Ensemble (one student’s set consisted of chord progressions produced through machine learning).

Prof. Jesse Stiles mentioned in this article that he was partially inspired by his time studying classical music in India, where he would attend peaceful overnight concerts. I hope that Snoozefest will happen again, perhaps in a new or altered environment. I felt that this event resulted in an amazing experience like I had never had before, one where everyone was experimenting with new ideas of what music and performance could be, something that I am always excited by and always looking to find more of.

Xindi Lyu-Looking Outwards-1

There’s one remarkable project that I find the obligation to introduce in my blog, that is the on-going construction, or rather completion of The Basilica of Sagrada Família, the true master piece designed by Antoni Gaudí, one of the greatest architects of all time. In 1926, Gaudí was strucked by a passing number 30 tram and soon died while his greatest work Sgrada Familia was still under construction, less than a quarter finished. Since then the project was progressed solely under the support of public donations and personal foundings, and after 144 years, the progress of the construction was finally greatly accelerated with the help of computer aided design and computerized numerical control, and will soon be completed in year of 2026.

The 3D model of Sagrada Família.

One of the schemes that was put into use is a virtual reality pilot program, helping the building department to understand the building and its surroundings and also functioning as a useful aid for field architects. Another computational technology is computer animations, giving people better visualizations of the fields and future developments.

This project really did inspire me because that showed me how computation can hugely benefit for us, and the beauty we can construct with it.

Sophie Chen-Looking Outward 01

RELOOP –  La Mercè Festival in Barcelona (2016)

“Reloop” is an interactive installation that allowed the audience to compose the audio and generate the video content that was being projected onto the Castell dels Tres Dragons (Castle of the Three Dragons) in Barcelona with an armband device, a laser, and a projector. The audience is in control by activating different video loops and sounds with their hand motions/gestures.

A brief but comprehensive video that captured the installation.

I think it’s impressive that this is a large scale installation and yet it’s still able to create meaningful interactions with every individual. Pre-programmed, synchronized wristbands are already widely popular and common at concerts. The Myo armbands used in this installation have great potential for being used at music festivals, concerts, and other large-scale events and get the audience even more involved. If the creators of this project did this installation in different locations, it will create completely different experiences (ex: an enclosed room would make it more immersive, a narrow hallway would create a linear progression/journey, etc).

Myo armbands used in the installation.

Adam He – Looking Outward – 01

I first encountered Pixar when I just got into elementary school. I had watched a lot of two dimensional cartoons. Animations were not really a special thing. But when I saw a Pixar movie, I was astonished. How can people make an animation in such realistic forms and movements. It seemed to be a magic to me that designers and computer scientists could generate such realistic and stylistic animation on computers.

Pixar began in 1979 under a group of talented people. Edwin Catmull and Steve Jobs, two of the most important figures, changed the whole animation  industry as well as the film industry. The GCI animations were just as realistic and complex as real man actings. With its unique concepts and messages hidden in each film, Pixar’s animations immediately became well-known starting from the masterpiece Toy Story (1995).

I am currently learning a lot about three dimensional modeling and renderings, and I started to formerly understand the complexity and difficulties behind just creating one three dimensional rendering. Pixar invented its own rendering software, Renderman, and contributed greatly to the virtual computer graphics in the recent decades. Pixar appeared to be a magic when I was little, but now, I am starting to grasp the tricks behind those magics.

Toy Story (1995) The quality of the computer graphics animation created by Pixar changed the whole perceptions toward film making at the time



Rebecca Kim-Looking Outwards-01

Individuals behind the control hold Owen’s fate in their hands.

Titled “Owen” after the main character and his experiences, this Virtual Reality video game juxtaposes two unlikely fields: technological advances and mental health. Pitched and developed by my friend, Pauline Yang, along with her team at the Stanford Clinical Neuroscience Immersion Experience, Owen aims to humanize those with mental illness through real-life scenarios and a pick-your-fate style inspired largely by TellTale Games. It initially began with a concentration in schizophrenia, but due to its complexity, it was changed to depression (which nonetheless demands attention and awareness). The idea proved a finalist at Stanford Brainstorm Lab, and since them, her team has been working to bring Owen to life and mental health to light; however, they have not yet working with software and programming.

“Owen” inspires me because, coming from San Francisco, near the Silicon Valley, it’s easy to associate technology with privilege. However, using (or planning to use) programming skills to promote mental health awareness makes me feel hopeful for the generations who will be met with an abundance of resources in years.


Japan holds technological fascinations that are perhaps years ahead of US day-to-day technology. That’s why it’s no wonder why the world’s first digital art museum (by digital art collective teamLab and Mori Building)  opened in Tokyo, opening up a world that projects fantasy onto an immersive setting. The environment reflects child-like imagination and wonders, and although this does attract many children, it also engorges adults with elicited feelings of nostalgia.

A colorful and interactive light show

The exhibits also elicit feelings of awe and innocence due to the sheer beauty of the many colors that are on display. I thought that this is truly the most immersive work of art that I could ever encounter and that because the works requires and reacts to human interaction, that the art is truly an experience more than a medium. Perhaps it was the artists’ intentions to throw the audience’s visuals and to promote “thinking out of the box”.


Original Source:

Alessandra Fleck – Looking Outwards – 01

One project that I think communicates effective interaction between the user and program, while still maintaining a prominent message, is the “Funky Forest” installation in the Singapore Art Museum. Funky Forest is an interactive ecosystem that grows and moves to the motions of those who visit and interact with it. It is part of a series of interactive play spaces that has been developed over the course of a couple of years. The installation utilizes projections and animations, then takes it to the next step by allowing the visitor have a kinetic impact on the projections movement. Those who interact with the installation have the chance to impact the forest by planting seeds, and direct water with some of the tangible items on set such as pillow logs.

The interactive projection begins to insert itself onto the floor, as children play with the flow of the water coming off the waterfall. 

Created by Design/IO, Funky Forest utilizes a stereoscopic camera/ kinect to detect the movements of those visiting the installation and send the information to a software program the firm developed that translates the action of the visitor to the motion of the animation.

In the image above, children play with the projection on the wall. As they wave their arms, trees begin to grow. 

Beyond just being an installation that is whimsical and intriguing for those who visit it, the design and bright animations seek to bring to light the idea of environmental conservation and growth. I think that this project hold much potential in transforming the concept of the modern day classroom, into a 360 degree interactive space, where the interactivity and responsiveness of the program influence/teach the student.

Find out more about the project at the link below:



Sean McGadden Looking Outward – 01

Sean McGadden

Looking Outwards – 01

SpaceX – Making Life Multiplanetary

I have recently read up and seen on the news some of the amazing things that SpaceX is currently doing with privatized space launch. Although this topic is not completely related to the field of Computer Science, I think it is clear the applications and uses on a small scale at the very least. Launching a rocket in to space requires many hours of planning and coordination among a large team of engineers, programmers, designers, mathematicians and I’m sure there or more people involved than just these.

So far, SpaceX has launched 56 missions into space. Something very much unheard of from a private agency. Nearly all missions besides satellite launches have been from government agencies around the world. SpaceX is making strides in many ways to making space flight cheaper, more reliable and more frequent. Elon Musk, in his initial presentation explaining some of the work SpaceX had been involved in, showcased the success of previous flights. He also his exposed his intent on making one of the largest rockets ever made.  It is called the BFR and will weigh over 1500 tons. He plans to launch this rocket capable of carrying over 1000 tons of supplies and being able to house over 100 passengers within the next few years. The reality of commercial space flight seems far closer than I might’ve ever imagined.

This topic is very inspirational to me because I’ve always looked at the stars with awe and even the ability to go to space excites me. I once even thought of being an astronaut. SpaceX was founded in 2009 and since then has implemented many new techniques for space flight. They have developed countless new computer programs to autonomously land and take off reusable fuselages. These programs are industry leading and innovative in terms of space flight. They are exciting and new discoveries for humanity and space travel.


Looking Outward – 01