The 2020 IDM Showcase took virtual to the next level
If you ever wanted to view New York City from a rat’s perspective, watch a raucous group of robots do the limbo, explore the secret life of yeast, or learn how to foil intrusive facial recognition software, the 2020 IDM Showcase was a must-see.
The Integrated Digital Media (IDM) program at NYU Tandon aims to foster creative practice, design research, and multidisciplinary experimentation with emerging media technologies, and each year the program’s students showcase their work at a gala event that draws hundreds of members of the NYU community as well as the general public.
This year, for the first time ever, the event was held virtually; while that change of plans was necessitated by the COVID-19 crisis, few people are more prepared to make a leap of that type than IDM students, who, after all, possess talents ideally suited to an electronic arena.
More than 100 works employing video, audio, software programming, VR/AR/XR, motion capture, animation, and wearables were shown via two live-streams over the course of the day — an undertaking that took visiting industry assistant professor and IDM Showcase organizer Kat Sullivan, IDM Studio Research Coordinator Gabriella Cammarata; and a cadre of faculty members and student committees months to plan and pull off.
At various times of the day, viewers could watch panel discussions that provided more in-depth insight into the projects and their themes, many of which, not surprisingly, touched upon social distance, isolation, and the nature of intimacy.
It would be difficult to name the standouts in such a rich field, but, luckily, all are available on the IDM Showcase website.
To get started, however, you might want to try Kasper Chou's animation Chicken. “It did some heavy lifting while we fixed a technical issue in theater two and looped for quite some time,” Cammarata explained. “It's now our unofficial IDM mascot.”
If you’re interested in ...
- Social justice, try Life Like Mine, a narrative game by Brittney Mc
- Photography, try Squish’s World, a portfolio by Angie Li
- Urban history, try Metro ARchive, an app created by Sammy Levin and McCoy Zhu
- Children’s literacy, try ABCs of the Galaxy, an AR experience by Lauren Owen
- Dancing robots, try Robot Limbo, animation by Linda Kamau
Student committee heads
The long-awaited annual event is always student-run, and as it moved to a virtual format, student committee heads, themselves uprooted, were vital. “We simply could not have held the Showcase, in any format,” Sullivan said.
- Ari Bennett, Curation Committee
- Clara Gilligan, Exhibition Committee
- Danna Jaime, Graphics Committee
- Omar Faleh, Web Committee
Jaime said: “This was my first time being involved so I knew nothing coming in or what to expect. There were many tough times, especially when things changed so quickly with COVID-19. It really helped me learn how to deal with change effectively without giving up. I enjoyed creating the designs, and when May 12 came, I was so proud. A lot of people were not sure that the show would even be possible, but we did it! I feel thankful I was there for the first-ever virtual Showcase.