Thursday, April 7-Saturday, May 14, 2022

Francis T. Eck Exhibition Corridor and Miles C. Horton Jr. Gallery



ICAT: Open (at the) Source presents pioneering approaches to public exhibits that use technology to deliver immersive and interactive experiences.

Projects use augmented or virtual reality environments, allowing visitors to explore historical datasets and interact with digitized skeletons of extinct animals, while a multi-sensory art installation uses video, sound, and sculpture to explore the socio-ecological impacts of invasive plant species in Appalachia. A mobile spatial audio system transforms data into immersive sound. Visitors can listen to spatialized audio representations of brain activity and cybersecurity attacks.


Miles C. Horton Jr. Gallery

The Tesseract brings art and data together by technological advances which enable spatial audio to be presented almost anywhere in a social setting. This mobile spatial audio system presents immersive audio for several listeners at one time with a process called sonification, which turns data into audio. What does data sound like? Close your eyes and listen to sounds in front, behind, and all around you. 

The Tesseract was designed by Tanner Upthegrove after collaborating with artists Stephen Vitiello (whether there was a bell or whether I knocked, 2018, Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University) and Trey Spruance (Auragami, 2017, Cube Fest, Virginia Tech), and finding a need to present multichannel audio at places outside the Cube's 140-channel spatial audio array. This work is supported by the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative and the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology.

Cybersecurity Data Study I (2021)

Brandon Hale

Hale turns a Deadly Denial of Service Attack (DDoS) data into sound. Percussion instruments represent computers attacking a victim. Changes in the percussion instruments represent the type and size of data used in the attack.

Cybersecurity Data Study II (2021)

Brandon Hale

For another perspective on the same data, Hale uses the same dataset as Cybersecurity Data Study I with different instrumentation. Synthesizers represent computers attacking a victim. Changes in the tambre represent the type and size of data used in the attack.

Neuroscience Study I (2022)

Brandon Hale

Using real electroencephalography (EEG) data measured during a musical therapy session, Hale turns brain activity into sound. The sonification of EEG data is spatialized to represent the physical locations of EEG sensors on the head. Special thanks to Jo Culligan.

Lily's Magic Box

Caleb Flood

Lily's Magic Box is a composition with field recordings of rain and tree frogs in the Merrimac area of Blacksburg. Also heard is a chime box, homemade bamboo tubes, whistling, and piano.

Venn's Diaphragm

Caleb Flood and Zach Duer

Venn Diagram is a multichannel tone drone experiment, composed for the Tesseract.

 A collage of images from the ICAT-funded project Transforming Public Engagement with Underrepresented Stories, which focuses on the experiences of Black soldiers who served in a segregated Army during World War II.

Transforming Public Engagement with Underrepresented Stories

Francis T. Eck Exhibition Corridor

Ed Gitre, project lead

Chris North, Doug Bowman, and Phyllis Newbill

Our intention is to introduce new audiences to the National Endowment for the Humanities-funded digital history project, The American Soldiers in World War II. This crowdsource project comprises some 65,000 pages of uncensored reflections on the war and military service handwritten by service personnel. Overcoming the limitations of bounded screen and printed page, augmented and virtual reality opens up creative possibilities for exhibiting and exploring large documentary collections, such as this one. With ICAT SEAD grant funding, we retooled the AR/VR platform, Immersive Space to Think, designed by members of Center for Human-Computer Interaction (CHCI) with the goal of creating an immersive museum exhibit that mixes artefacts with digital objects to help tell the story of the American GI. We focused on the experiences of Black soldiers who served in a segregated Army and were denied the rights and privileges of their white comrades, even as the U.S. and its allies were waging a war in defense of democracy.

 In the foreground, archaeologists work at a dig site on a sunny day. In the background is rolling mountains and the image of an animated dinosaur skeleton walking on the top of the mountain ridge.

The Modern Skeleton

Francis T. Eck Exhibition Corridor

Sterling Nesbitt, project lead

Jonathan Bradley, Max Ofsa, Michelle Stocker, Phyllis Newbill, Scott Fralin, Thomas Tucker, and Todd Ogle

Although inspiring, the public interaction between a skeleton of an extinct animal is largely passive, even with associated museum exhibit information panels. This project is a "living exhibit," created from a skeleton of extinct animals by digitizing a skeleton of an important dinosaur relative and creating a unique interactive learning environment through a combination of the latest paleontological information, augmented reality (AR), and interactive information.

 A projection mapping project highlighting invasive plant species in our area. Projectors are aimed on a tree with other equipment nearby.

Invasive Exegesis

Francis T. Eck Exhibition Corridor

David Franusich and Jacob Barney

Invasive Exegesis is an in-progress multi-sensory art installation to illuminate the socioecological impacts of invasive plant species in Appalachia, exploring both the connection between people and invasive plants and the consequences of the unchecked spread of these species. As part of the first phase of the project, an implementation of the Cellular Automata model was projected onto three invasive species in-situ: Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima; Japanese Barberry, Berberis thunbergii; and the Callery (Bradford) pear, Pyrus calleryana. The second phase will use the documentation of the projections (seen here) as part of a mobile art installation to help educate the public about invasive plants in our region. This project was funded in part by the Center for Communicating Science.

 Two people wear white body suits and homemade opossum masks. One pushes a wheelbarrow, while the other sits in it, reading a book. They are in a wooded, leaf-strewn area. Overlaid on the image is blue mathematical-looking symbols.

The Story of Dirk and Chip: Sir Teddy Ruxpin's Revenge

Francis T. Eck Exhibition Corridor

Eric Shoenborn and Caleb Flood

The Story of Dirk and Chip is an award-winning film series about two young innovative opossums from the holler of Brush Mountain in Blacksburg. In this collage of footage from the second installment of the project, we see two animatronic opossums from the future who travel back in time to ask the original innovators some questions about their origins. They discover that their creator, Teddy Ruxpin, was ritually invented by the original Dirk and Chip and deemed an abomination after several talks that he gave, which radicalized the forest inhabitants. Made possible with funding from the Institute for Creativity and Technology (ICAT).

Header Image:
David Franusich and Jacob Barney
Invasive Exegesis, 2014-2024
Video and audio
Courtesy of the artists

This year, Virginia Tech marks its 150th year with an ongoing celebration of its impact and engagement. The arts are woven throughout the university's history and are a critically important part of its future. This event is part of a range of special performances, exhibitions, and experiences happening throughout the month of April that demonstrate the incredible value the arts and creative experiences have at Virginia Tech.

 Virginia Tech's sesquicentennial logo, a maroom 150 in a serif font with an orange ribbon coming out of the zero, that reads 1872-2022 in white text.