Tuesday, April 30, 2013

UAB gets creative for “Light Dreams," with giant Pac-Man game, 3-D virtual reality & sounds made by touch

This week UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center (ASC) will present “Lux Somnia: Light Dreams,” a free digital art, light and music festival for the entire community. More than a year and a half in the making, the festival will feature the works of more than two dozen Birmingham artists, with a creative team of nearly 60 people involved from start to finish. Featured are live music, visual art installations, interactive fun and mind-blowing digital projections on the side of the building, plus food trucks, drinks and more.

Light Dreams Promotional Video from AlysStephensPerformingArtsCenter on Vimeo.

This festival is special because it is the first time the ASC has created and curated an arts event featuring only local artists. Plus, amazing artistic works created by teams of UAB students and faculty from across campus will be on show.

Among the amazing digital works of art which will be projected onto the Southern fa├žade of the ASC building is a giant, interactive video game, “Pacman Revisited,” created by students and faculty in UAB’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences. Audience members will get to play the game during the event.

A team of students in UAB’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and  Enabling Technology Laboratory (ETLab) are creating a 3-D virtual-reality “Light Dream,” featuring a jet that will “fly” out of the building and back in (as seen in the promo video above). Established in 2002, the ETLab researches the application of virtual reality technologies to the problems of communication, visualization and training. This research guides development of software for large-scale, immersive virtual reality systems, advanced medical image processing, 3-D image acquisition and high-performance computing.

Festival-goers can play with “Touch Tone,” from the innovative young minds in UAB’s Time Based Media course in the Department of Art and Art History. “Touch Tone” is an interactive musical/visual project that incorporates human touch via the Makey Makey, which is billed as “an invention kit for everyone.” Participants will hold hands or touch to create sounds and projected visuals, centered on the festival’s theme of light. See this video to learn more on Makey Makey.

The festival is set for 7:30 p.m. each night, Thursday May 2, and Friday, May 3, with a rain date of Saturday, May 4. The festival is free and open to everyone. Visit www.alysstephens.org for more details. When the sun goes down, the light dreams begin!

Shannon Thomason, Thomason@uab.edu, is a media specialist in the UAB Office of Media Relations. Her beat covers the arts at UAB.

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