CCA Biennial Exhibit explores best of humanity

Pause screen

“I want to create a wow experience in the built environment,” explains So-Yeon Yoon, associate professor in the Department of Human Centered Design (HCD) and one of two HCD faculty-members participating in the 2022 Cornell Council for the Arts (CCA) Biennial: Futurities Uncertain.

Immersive Portraits of COVID: Pause, is a multi-sensory 3D exhibition using both augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) to artistically interpret data. Yoon collaborated with Jintae Kim, a new media installation artist in Seoul, Korea. The exhibition aims to make people pause and reflect on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected our lives, how the world’s health and other frontline workers displayed the best of humanity and how we cope with daily challenges.

Yoon uses AR in her Design-User Experience-Technology (DUET) lab and she hopes to demonstrate that AR is a dynamic, interactive and affordable design intervention for boosting wellness.

“We know plants and windows can improve health and well-being in a space. Fancy office buildings may have wall-size video screens or green walls. These are costly to install. With this exhibit, I want to demonstrate the accessibility of AR—even small spaces with sharp angles can provide an immersive experience,” said Yoon.

Geometric images and rays of color generated by COVID data that has been interpreted using aesthetic considerations e.g. color and shape move across the walls. Using Notch, Touchdesigner and Madmapper software, Yoon explores using data in novel visual ways.

Visitors become part of the exhibit using Microsoft Kinect, a motion sensing device typically used in gaming. Kim designed the audience movement to represent a glowing aura rather than a more anatomical representation.

The exhibit soundtrack, created with Avia, an AI program that composes original pieces using user-selected inputs completes the experience.

“If I can demonstrate that a wow experience is possible using minimal resources, then I can try to replicate it anywhere,” said Yoon.

Come to the MVR Gallery and pause, through September 30.