The Texas A&M College of Architecture’s Visualization Department will showcase Oscar-winning animation, educational gaming and digital enhancements for therapeutics, among other “zones of engagement” that live at the intersection of art and science, during South-by-Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Week. The multidisciplinary exhibits in “The Collision of Art and Technology” will be open to conference-goers Saturday–Tuesday, March 11–14, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., in the Meriwether Ballroom at the Hotel Van Zandt in Austin.
For four days, the Meriwether Ballroom at the Hotel Van Zandt will become a realm of innovative and creative collaboration conducted by artists, scientists, designers and engineers from Texas A&M. At the door, animation created by former and current visualization students, for Oscar-winning films “Zootopia” and “Piper,” among other works produced for Pixar, DreamWorks, and Walt Disney Animation Studios, will greet visitors. Another installation will provide opportunities for guests to
explore student-created educational gaming that hundreds of universities have already adopted. They can play “Variant,” a tool for teaching advanced math, which requires users to help an avatar overcome obstacles on a planet governed by calculus principles. Or they can investigate “Arté Mecenas,” an art-history aid that challenges students to learn about Renaissance art while navigating that era’s tumultuous political, social and economic environments.
In a display of student ingenuity and digital expertise, an exhibit will feature ordinary objects digitally enhanced to create therapeutic tools. Conference-goers can hold a stuffed toy that vibrates gently and makes soft sounds that was designed to lessen the fear of social touching in children with autism. Or they can experience house plants wired with sparkling lights and pleasant sounds of birdsongs or running water that were created to facilitate relaxation and meditation—particularly for those no longer able to enjoy the great outdoors. Another zone of engagement will provide virtual reality headsets that visitors can don to assemble and manipulate a dog skeleton and its muscles—a virtual teaching tool being developed in collaboration with the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
Throughout SXSW Interactive Week, March 10-15, the Hotel Van Zandt will be called “The Texas A&M House,” a stage for the groundbreaking discovery and innovation conducted at Texas A&M, a tier-one research institution.
SXSW is historically known for bringing together global professionals, brands and cutting-edge vendors from a diverse group of industries, and Texas A&M is one of just a handful of universities showcasing at Interactive Week.
About Texas A&M University: Texas A&M, established in 1876 as the first public university in Texas, is one of the nation’s largest universities with more than 66,000 students and more than 440,000 living alumni residing in over 150 countries around the world. A tier-one university, Texas A&M holds the rare triple land-, sea- and space-grant designation. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $892.7 million in fiscal year 2016. Texas A&M’s research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting, in many cases, in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. The school’s Lead by Example campaign is a comprehensive effort to raise $4 billion by the year 2020, making it the largest higher education campaign in Texas history and the second largest conducted nationally by a public university. Aggies are known for their deep commitment to the success of each other and a strong desire to serve.