The Center for Immersive Media (CIM)

The CIM at University of the Arts is a place where students and faculty can explore the opportunities and implications of what it means for ourselves to be immersed in data, simulations, stories, performances and digital communities.

This creative research facility is dedicated to the fields of virtual and mixed reality, performance motion-capture and human-computer interaction, through collaboration across visual and performing arts disciplines.

 

Following CDC guidance to reduce community spread of COVID-19, all in-person UArts events and programs will be postponed, canceled or moved to a virtual format until further notice.

Learn more about UArts’ response to coronavirus. 

Courses at the Center for Immersive Media

The Center for Immersive Media offers course topics in the areas of emerging and immersive technologies, concepts and applications. These courses often reflect contemporary trends, collaborative and cross-disciplinary approaches, and the creative research and practice of faculty, staff, and visiting artists. Course are open to all disciplines.

In-person courses are not being offered for Fall 2020, in compliance with the UArts response to COVID-19. Check back here for announcements for upcoming courses in future semesters.


Spring 2020

Projection, Body and Storytelling class with Miwa Matreyek

Projection, Body and Storytelling
Instructor: Miwa Matreyek, Visiting Assistant Professor
3 credits - Tuesday 1:00-5:30
With a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, this class will explore approaches to storytelling through combining projected moving image with live performance, objects, and space. Students will work collaboratively to create several iterative projects growing in complexity and scale, leading to completed short-form performance pieces to be showcased at the end of the semester. The class will highlight the production process of projects, from equipment, tools, and software, as well as practice the skill sets needed for the exhibition or touring of their work.
Students must have intermediate to advanced experience in their major discipline, and a strong desire to apply those skills in a collaborative, cross-disciplinary environment.
Learn more.

 

Art Making in VR class with Erik Van Horn

Art Making in VR 
Instructor: Erik VanHorn
3 credits - Wednesday 1:00-5:30
This class explores the range of Digital Content Creation (DCC) tools available to the artist in Virtual Reality. Utilizing current VR headset and interaction systems, we will survey digital sculpting, painting, design and animation apps in the service of personal expression and room-sized virtual art creation.

 

 

Spatial Audio Composition class with JP Beattie

Spatial Audio Composition
Instructor: JohnPaul Beattie
1.5 credits - Friday afternoon 1:00-3:20
A study of new techniques and technologies for composing immersive, spatial audio and music experiences. Designed to expose the student to new and cutting edge spatialization, including higher-order ambisonics, quadrophonic, surround sound, and binaural/transaural, through hands-on and project based recordings, installations, performance, or virtual environments.


Contact the CIM at cim@uarts.edu

Alan Price gives a demo on VR hardware to faculty and staff.

The 5,600-square-foot facility is dedicated to exploring the fields of virtual and mixed reality, performance motion-capture and human-computer interaction. The facilities include:

  • 40' x 40' square, 14' high truss and open floor area, including:
    • optical motion capture system for full body performance capture and location-based VR applications
    • multiple video projectors
    • lighting instruments with adjustable zoom and color
    • four channel audio system
    • station with control surfaces for all of the above
    • blackout curtains surrounding the truss
  • 16 station computing classroom with PCs optimized for real time computer graphics rendering.
  • Two large project rooms with ceiling grids for development of installations and virtual environments.
Spatial Audio Composition class with JP Beattie

Production equipment in the facilities will expand as the center takes shape, but currently includes:

  • Multiple VR Head Mount Display systems (Vive Pro, Oculus Rift S, Quest, Go).
  • Additional trackers for Vive Pro.
  • Insta360 Camera capable of 360 degree VR video, stereoscopic and live streaming capabilities.
  • Multiple short-throw and standard-throw video projectors.

Contact the CIM at cim@uarts.edu

Mission Statement       Advisory Committee      About the Director     FAQ

Mission Statement

The mission of the center is to connect, engage and be a catalyst for creativity with

  • faculty, through creative research, collaboration, teaching and grant partnerships.
  • students, through learning, team projects and production internship experience.
  • the professional community, through collaboration, projects and grant partnerships.
  • research and development, through continuous adoption of, and training on, new technologies.

Immersive media not only refers to current trends in consumer-based virtual reality headsets and the history of immersive installations, but is also descriptive of our increasingly mediated society and lifestyles in entertainment, social interaction and professions. Designing for media experiences and consumption must accommodate increasingly mobile, integrated and networked systems. 

The center is a place to explore opportunities and implications of what it means for ourselves to be immersed in data, simulations, stories, performances and digital communities. 

Technologies that become more integrated with our senses, our bodies and identity must be humane, and artists, authors, composers and choreographers have creative and critical sensibilities that can anticipate and illuminate meaningful ways of engaging with emerging and future media technologies.

 

Advisory Committee

  • Michael Attie, assistant professor, School of Film 
  • John Paul Beattie, master sound engineer, School of Music
  • Stephen Cirino, senior lecturer, School of Music
  • Curt Haworth, modern dance coordinator and professor, School of Dance
  • Micah Jones, associate professor, School of Music
  • Jung-eun Kim, adjunct associate, School of Dance
  • Neil Kleinman, director, The Corzo Center for the Creative Economy
  • Justin Lujan, assistant professor, School of Theater 
  • Juan Parada, associate professor, Game Art
  • Natalie Robin, assistant professor, School of Theater 
  • Erik VanHorn, program director, Game Art, and associate professor, School of Film
  • Shelton Walker, assistant vice president for special projects

 

About the Director

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Alan Price has been creating work in the area of virtual and immersive environments for over 20 years. He has previously served as associate director of the Imaging Research Center at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and affiliate research faculty and acting director of the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design at The Ohio State University. He was a visiting fellow at the iCinema Centre for Interactive Cinema Research at the University of New South Wales; visiting associate professor at the Centre for Applied Computing and Interactive Media at the City University of Hong Kong; and a visiting associate professor at the School of Art, Design and Media at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He is a recipient of international awards in interactive media including Prix Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria; SIGGRAPH conference Art Gallery exhibitions; and a MUSE Award—which celebrates international achievement in galleries, libraries, archives and museums—for technology in museums.

Alan's creative work includes collaborations with composers, choreographers and other media artists, often in the form of live performances with interactive computer graphics and large-scale immersive installations that combine multiple projections and networked mobile applications for participants to interact with, or contribute to, the works. His applied research includes collaborations and sponsored research projects funded by Honda; the Federal Agency for Health Care Research and Quality; the National Science Foundation; the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science; the Baltimore Museum of Art; La Panacée Center for Contemporary Culture in Montpellier, France; and other institutions.

Alan’s background as an animator and filmmaker emphasizes narrative and cinematic structure in his works with immersive and interactive storytelling. His animation and film work has been awarded and exhibited at numerous film festivals including Black Maria, Transmediale, Humboldt, Anima Mundi and Ann Arbor, among others. Utilizing real-time computer graphics technology and a combination of ready-made and custom hardware, Alan creates virtual environments, interactive performances, mobile apps and responsive spaces that  are used to explore alternative forms of personal expression in time-based digital media.

Alan comes to the University of the Arts as founding director of the new Center for Immersive Media, bringing prior experience in the facilities design of other centers with a focus on advanced real-time computer graphics systems, motion capture, alternative display and interaction systems, and the cultivation of a creative community working to advance the use of novel and emerging technology in the visual and performing arts.

Contact the CIM at cim@uarts.edu

 

FAQ

Q: Can I declare a major at the CIM?  
A:
The CIM is not a degree program, and does not have a structured curriculum that provides the necessary foundations and skills to pursue a career or specialization. Immersive media, and specifically VR, is not a discipline in itself, but is a format, genre, or technology that can be applied in many different disciplines. If you are an aspiring designer, artist, choreographer, composer, or performer, UArts offers degree programs in which you can develop the expertise to be successful in those fields, and by incorporating opportunities that the CIM provides to everyone, you have the ability to include VR and immersive media in your creative toolset.

 

Q: How can I get involved with the CIM?
A:
The easiest and most direct way is to take a course offered at the CIM. This can lead to opportunities including work-study positions and internships working on CIM projects sponsored by the university and through external grants and partnerships, and can help advance your professional experience. Advanced undergraduate and graduate students may submit proposals for independent or collaborative work fullfing your degree requirements. Ask your program director or faculty that you work with about integrating technology available at the CIM and how it can support your academic work.

 

Q: Who can take a CIM course?
A:
CIM courses are open to students in any discipline without prerequisites; however, we recommend that you spend your freshman year studying in your degree program before taking a CIM course. This will allow you to connect to your creative practice, and to make sure that you find relevance to your work so that you can effectively explore and challenge the boundaries of your medium. Students should have a clear understanding of concepts and project ideas in order to take full advantage of opportunities available at the CIM.

 

Q: What are CIM courses like?  
A:
Most courses are studios with students from a range of disciplines and interests. Courses typically meet in the computer lab at the CIM and explore new technologies requiring an aptitude for learning new software, hardware and techniques. Team projects in the courses can provide invaluable experience for collaborating with students in other disciplines. While you learn new technologies and concepts, you will be asked to explore how it relates to your chosen degree and disciplines of interest. See current and past course offerings

 

Q: Who teaches courses at the CIM?
A:
Courses are taught by faculty and visiting artists who relate or connect their own artistic research and practice to immersive media. Topics and concepts are driven by interests that augment or explore boundaries of traditional or conventional practices. CIM courses are an opportunity for both students and faculty to explore new ways of thinking and making.

 

Q: Can I book or rent the facilities at the CIM?
A:
In general, the facilities are not available for individual or group performance or exhibition that is not a direct outcome of work developed at the CIM. As a research center, the facilities are dedicated to ongoing production. Public events occuring at the CIM are part of the center's programming and is curated to represent the mission and activities of the CIM, and opportunities to include work in events are through a process of calls for participation and invitation.

The center is located in University of the Arts' Juniper Hall.
The main entrance for guests is on the east side of the building through a small parking lot.
Students and guests may also enter by way of the CIM classroom through the Juniper Hall residential lobby entrance.

Contact the Center for Immersive Media at cim@uarts.edu

Street address:
310 S 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107