SHU Exhibit Takes Unusual Approach to Traditional & Digital Art

FAIRFIELD, Conn.— Sacred Heart University’s art & design department has an exciting new exhibit in its gallery focusing on augmented reality (AR or [AR]T) curated by Jon Walker, associate professor. The exhibit, entitled The Augmentists, presents a new art form and mass medium that combines various media to augment a work and deliver an experience impossible through traditional design, art and media.

AR is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated animated experience on a user's view of the real world. AR is forming an entirely new medium, providing a composite view previously unseen. Associate Professor Mary Treschitta, chair of the art & design department, calls it a new way to look at art.

“AR combines design, fine art, technology, motion graphics and poetry, with a big dose of creativity, for a unique educational experience. We are able to bring it into the curriculum and use it as a classroom teaching tool,” she said.  SHU is making the integration of these new paradigms a priority, Treschitta added.

A portion of the exhibit, The Danger Tree, features two internationally renowned augmentists, Scarlett Raven and Marc Marot, whose works combine traditional painting and digital media. The Danger Tree commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and tells the story of WWI soldiers in their own words, narrated by some of Britain’s finest actors. Through the use of Artivive, an AR app, the experiences of the soldiers in one of the bloodiest battles in human history provide a revelatory visual, aural and emotional experience. The exhibit also covers a range of topics including space exploration, health science, portfolios, sports, history and cutting-edge technology that allows the viewer to experience AR.

Viewers download apps that bring the AR experiences to life through smartphones or tablets. While looking at works on display, viewers open the apps and hold phones or tablets up to the art or design pieces. These then come to life in poetic animations, combining traditional art with digital expression through time and motion.

“I am excited that we were able to bring this type of exhibit to Sacred Heart. There is a large opportunity to share information through art with AR. It is a paradigm change that makes learning more effective as well as engaging, exciting and fun,” said Treschitta.

In conjunction with the exhibit, Marc Marot discussed AR and his experience as an augmentist as part of art & design’s graphic design IV course. True to the digital emphasis of the department, Marot spoke by means of a FaceTime video conference from London to SHU students in Fairfield. The department hopes to make these video conferences with designers and artists from all over the world a regular part of their curriculum.

The exhibit will be in the art & design gallery at Sacred Heart’s main academic building (5151 Park Avenue, Fairfield) until January 10, 2020. Additional information about the art & design department is available at http://www.shuartanddesign.com/.

About Sacred Heart University

As the second-largest independent Catholic university in New England, and one of the fastest-growing in the U.S., Sacred Heart University is a national leader in shaping higher education for the 21st century. SHU offers more than 80 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs on its Fairfield, Conn., campus. Sacred Heart also has satellites in Connecticut, Luxembourg and Ireland and offers online programs. More than 9,000 students attend the University’s eight colleges and schools: Arts & Sciences; Communication, Media & the Arts; Computer Science & Engineering; Health Professions; the Isabelle Farrington College of Education; the Jack Welch College of Business & Technology; Nursing; and St. Vincent’s College. Sacred Heart stands out from other Catholic institutions as it was established and led by laity. The contemporary Catholic university is rooted in the rich Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts, and at the same time cultivates students to be forward thinkers who enact change—in their own lives, professions and in their communities. The Princeton Review includes SHU in its Best 385 Colleges–2020 Edition, “Best in the Northeast” and Best 252 Business Schools–2019 Edition. Sacred Heart is home to the award-winning, NPR-affiliated radio station, WSHU, a Division I athletics program and an impressive performing arts program that includes choir, band, dance and theater. www.sacredheart.edu


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