July 18, 2016

Students find creativity at intersection of art and engineering

mother womb

“Mother Womb,” created by students Helen Lin, Kathleen Ma, and Mariah Wilson. Photo by David Kelly Crow for the Office of Engineering Communications

A group of faculty and students explored the intersection of arts and engineering while testing the limits of their imaginations in a new course offered this past spring called “Transformations in Engineering and the Arts.” A partnership between the Lewis Center for the Arts, the Council on Science and Technology, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Department of Music made the course possible.

The class, which had 11 students from departments across the University, was organized around four modules in the first half of the semester: visuals, sound, structure and movement. The modules included lectures, hands-on activities, discussions of aesthetics in pieces everyone watched or heard, mini-design challenges, and tutorials on tools and resources available in a newly created teaching space called StudioLab.

Lewis Center faculty members Jane Cox, Martha Friedman, A.M. Homes, Aynsley Vandenbroucke, and Jeff Whetstone led class modules in their respective disciplines.

“It’s thrilling because students are often forced to decide to go with science or art when they’re choosing their majors. We need to think of the world differently to see the bigger picture and I hope this class will help facilitate that.”
—Jane Cox, Director of the Program in Theater

One group of students created an armband device that allows a wearer without the ability to see to interpret color; another developed a system that captures the movements of a person’s hands, interprets them, and portrays them in stylized computer graphics settings. Lewis Center visual arts major Helen Lin collaborated with two other students to create “Mother Womb,” a portable tent that envelops the user with calming visual, auditory, and tactile sensations.

“This was a literal transformation of synthetic materials used for the ‘womb’ to create a natural environment. As a visual artist, I don’t normally work with physical things. So I learned a lot by working on this physical environment, figuring out what works and what doesn’t.”
—Visual Arts major Helen Lin

Read more about the other projects created in the feature story written by Catherine Shen on the University homepage…

Press Contact

Steve Runk
Director of Communications