Reality and Illusion Collide at NYU Tandon Integrated Digital Media Showcase

More than 120 Student Projects Probe the Boundaries of Perception in Optics-Themed Exhibit

Facial Perception and the Uncanny Valley artificial eyes

Among this year's projects at the IDM Showcase is "Facial Perception and the Uncanny Valley" in which NYU Tandon student Acacia Judge explores the eerie discomfort that humans feel as the line between human and machine blurs.

BROOKLYN, New York – Themes of perception, illusion, and tricks of the eye and mind will dominate the annual Integrated Digital Media (IDM) Student Showcase, a multisensory exhibit of projects from undergraduate students in the IDM program at NYU Tandon. The event is free and open to the public on Friday, May 4, 2018, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the NYU Media and Games Network (MAGNET) at 2 MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn.

This year’s showcase, titled Optics, includes multimedia, interactive installations encompassing generative art, film, photography, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), human-computer interfaces, motion capture, game development, and more, all designed to challenge viewers’ notions of how biases, mass media, illusions, perception, and imagined realities collide to influence our understanding of the world.

“The artists, designers, programmers, and engineers in the IDM program have an incredible range of talents, and this showcase brings together some of the most powerful work of the year, said Katherine Bennett, visiting assistant professor and IDM Showcase organizer. “Technology opens up new gateways in which to experience, perceive, and understand the complexities we face daily, and it’s fascinating to see how our students are developing new technologies as well as using emerging techniques to probe issues that are as old as humans themselves. It gives us new insight.”

Among this year’s projects are:

  • Anxious, Teresa Lang’s installation exploring social anxiety through the interaction between imagery and spaces. Viewers have the power to influence the “emotion” and “mind” of the installation.
  • Nocturnal, a workshop by Shelby Firebaugh in which participants build their own solar-powered star projector and develop a personal connection to a natural phenomenon.
  • Facial Perception and the Uncanny Valley, Acacia Judge’s exploration of the eerie discomfort that is felt as people view images that blur the line between human and machine and challenge their ability to distinguish between them.
  • Contrapasso VR by Mayukh Goswami and Siyuan Qiu is a virtual reality experience — a journey into the psyche of a person struggling with the influence of mass media.
  • No One Is an Outsider, a post-apocalyptic survival board game created by Kelly Chang in which players attempt to resolve disastrous world events and witness the impact of political apathy.

Launched in 2004, NYU Tandon’s IDM program fosters creative practice, design research, and multidisciplinary experimentation with emerging media technologies. Located within the Department of Technology, Culture, and Society (TCS), IDM is a “STEAM” program, combining artistic inquiry with scientific research and technological practice to explore the social, cultural, and ethical potentials of emerging technologies.

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 ​​​​​​About the New York University Tandon School of Engineering

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, the founding date for both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly). A January 2014 merger created a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention and entrepreneurship and dedicated to furthering technology in service to society. In addition to its main location in Brooklyn, NYU Tandon collaborates with other schools within NYU, one of the country’s foremost private research universities, and is closely connected to engineering programs at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. It operates Future Labs focused on start-up businesses in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn and an award-winning online graduate program. For more information, visit