I believe strongly in the intersection of art-making, theory, and professional practice and development for students interested in fields like interactive arts, game design, and media art. These fields are about more than the technologies used; there are philosophical, psychological, and historical reasons that humans crave interaction with each other and with objects and other media. My art practice revolves around interactive non-digital media, like board and tabletop games, and bridges the gap between commercial gameplay and art experiences. I believe that students in these fields need to have a strong conceptual background, as well as programming and other technical knowledge, in order to explore their ideas and produce portfolio-ready work.
Interaction is at the core of my classroom. Students are asked to actively participate in class - and not just by answering questions, but by moving around, working in groups, and observing their surroundings to engage in the materials. For a class on narrative aspects of interaction, students worked together on an interactive story. They created a fictional villain together, and split into groups to write stories about that villain. The groups switched stories at intervals, allowing them to participate in every group’s narrative. When this activity was paired with a small lecture on mythology and the hero’s journey, students were able to directly apply concepts into their projects, and discover for themselves how interaction and narrative can work together - all while having a bit of fun defeating an evil dentist with walrus tusks.
By leading classes where students are asked to think critically about interaction, I believe that they will begin to produce works that are conceptually engaging as well as technically proficient. With a fine arts background, I can bring in a perspective to students that speaks to a professional world that emphasizes creativity and artistic ingenuity that can be incorporated into technical classes and portfolio development. Simply put, I love art not just because I love creating aesthetically pleasing pieces; I love art because it allows me to foster creativity in all subjects, not just making, and I believe surrounding yourself with passionate individuals and helping students to shine by sharing your passions with them. By sharing my passion for art and games with students, I hope to not just help them become better artists, but to use their own passions in their daily lives.
I strive to work with my students as an advocate of their creative development, and allow them to explore elements of interactive media such as storytelling, character development, and human-human and computer-human interactions. By encouraging students to work conceptually within their individual interests, I hope to expand their definition of art and develop them into well-rounded individuals who will be successful gaining employment in their field of study. Through this, they will be good representatives of my program.
Interactive Culture Final Project
For a final in Interactive Culture, students were asked to create interactive pieces that addressed stereotypes that society might have based on their personal lives, with factors such as race, gender, and socio-economic status as starting points. In this clip, students are working together to test their prototypes.