Viz Lab | MMAD Lab

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Cartoon turtles swimming made by Eric Stykel

Current Research and Creative Activities at the MMAD Lab and Viz Lab

The Labs are hubs for multi-disciplinary research opportunities. Throughout the year, faculty, graduate and undergraduate researchers utilize the labs to explore the integration of visualization technologies with data gathering and presentation. Current research projects focus on interactive installations and visualization of scientific research, particularly climate change. 
Along with faculty research, the Labs also facilitate the exploration of new technologies and techniques, including game and animation experimentation and chromakey video production. 

Joellyn Rock, Pete Willemsen, and Alison Aune
Screen shot of the art from the project


Artist Statement

FISHNETSTOCKINGS is an interactive installation created by digital artist Joellyn Rock, computer scientist Pete Willemsen, visual artist Alison Aune, and a crew of collaborators. The participatory space allows the audience to dive in and make virtual waves inside this alt version of a very old tale. A layered mix of digital video, text, silhouettes and cutout elements are motion activated with a combo of code, Processing and Kinect. More..

Ryuta Nakajima, Artist
MRI scan of the squids head

Dr. Shuichi Shigeno, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology
Dr. Mitsunaga Narushima, University of Tokyo

Artist Statement 

The quest of modernity has come to its final phase in the form of postmodernism.  Many of the past victorious attempts to define “individualism” and “self” seem to have found the wall of linguistic structure and categorization as governing principals of human consciousness. Postmodernism tends to recycle the façade of preexisting methods and theories, thereby creating fragmentation and dislocation.  Simultaneously, the presence of computer technology is rapidly reshaping our visual culture by offering the potential for more streamlined production and distribution possibilities. More..

Eun-Kyung Suh, Artist
Installation of project in the museum

Torn From Home

Artist Statement 

This exhibition features the art of Eun-Kyung Suh who honors and memorializes the extreme diasporic experiences of Korean “Comfort Women” during World War II. Using silk organza, Suh creates boxes printed with photographic images of the victims and their journal entries. Silk boxes—hold the stories told decades after their enslavement—give agency to “Comfort Women” and represent safe containers for personal memories.

Past Research 

Lisa Fitzpatrick, Eric Stykel, and Michele Olsen
Screen shot of the project with just the invasive species of fish

Repel the Invaders, 2012

Artist Statement 

“Repel the Invaders” is a collaborative project created by Eric Stykel, Michele Olsen and Lisa Fitzpatrick at the UMD Viz Lab in 2012, currently on display at the Great Lakes Aquarium. This interactive, projected application raises awareness of the problems of invasive species within Lake Superior and nearby ecosystems. It is coded with the open-source computer program, Processing. In the display, an animation of the bottom of Lake Superior is projected on the wall. There, native species swim around. When a child casts his or her shadow on the wall (i.e. human intervention), the native species are scared away and invasive species begin to take over. The child can try to trap the invasive species to help the native species come back. “Repel the Invaders” has been registered with the U of M Office for Technology Commercialization. More..

Dustin Thompson, Steve Bardolph, and Lisa Fitzpatrick
Confused Herring

Confused Herring, 2013

Artist Statement

Associate professor Steve Bardolph, graphic design graduate student Dustin Thompson and their design colleagues collaborated with scientists, local fishermen, restaurateurs, chefs, grocers, Minnesota Sea Grant, and the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Visualization and Digital Imaging Lab (Viz Lab) to explore Lake Superior herring as a sustainable local food source culminating in two promotional videos. More..

The Viz Lab and MMAD Lab have also experiemented with and/or produced touchscreen wayfinding kiosks, video gmaes, 3D video animations, passive VR walls, heart beat apps, and robotics.