Synthesis hosts faculty-led projects with international teams that take fresh approaches to understand how the combination of professional practices can lead to innovative modes of knowledge. Initiatives include Improvisational Environments, Place and Atmosphere, movement-based research, Experiential Complex Simulations, vegetal life, Rhythmanalysis, animated space design.
The Center for Science and the Imagination engages in research, outreach, and radical collaborations to reinvent our relationship with the future. From writers, artists, and teachers to scientists, engineers, and technologists, we bring diverse intellectual practices together to reignite humanity’s grand ambitions for innovation and discovery. The center serves as a network hub for audacious ideas and a cultural engine for thoughtful optimism through programs like Project Hieroglyph, a public community of science fiction authors, scientists, and researchers, and the Frankenstein Bicentennial Project, which explores science in society through a modern myth of creativity and responsibility.
We are a new and dynamic research group at AME, founded in the Spring of 2015 within the Digital Arts Ranch. In accordance with design studio culture, we embrace open contribution formats, engagement with different materials, and practice-based inquiry where we learn by observing and doing. Our studio is physically connected to a fabrication lab, a hardware and woodworking shop, and blackbox theatre. This flexible space supports open ideation, rapid prototyping, and iterative feedback amongst computer scientists, interaction designers, and humanities scholars. The studio is also used to host participatory design workshops, collaborative maker days, demos, and exhibits.
The Laboratory for Critical Technics (LCT) is a transdisciplinary laboratory for critical experimentation on the conditions for living and dwelling together in the 21st century. The LCT experiments with techniques (that are speculative, imaginary, scientific, luddistic, and irrational) for forging worlds worth living in today and in the future. The lab is composed of a diverse group of faculty and graduate students who hail from the media arts and sciences, design, critical and cultural theory, HCI, and literature. Members of the LCT are engaged in critical and experimental work that draws on a wide range of methodologies, but we are particularly interested developing methods for world building that operate at the intersection of critical/speculative design and experience-based research.
Practice and Research in Enactive Sonic Art (PARIESA) involves performers, sonic artists, sound designers, composers, improvisers, as well as researchers and artists from other academic areas who have a shared interest in sound practice and research. We are curious about the extended interdisciplinary applications of enactive and embodied music cognition, performance, technology, and design, and the connections between these themes. Members of the group are active practitioners, regularly performing at music festivals, contributing to international conferences and journals, and installing work in the public domain. We are also proactive in building a local community around our common interests: we meet regularly during our listening group, and we recently launched a new concert series which welcomes audio-visual-kinaesthetic-haptic art forms.
Acoustic Ecology Lab (AELab) aims at using sound to advance environmental awareness and stewardship whilst providing critical tools for deeper consideration of sound in urban and industrial design. Capitalizing on the power and beauty of environmental sound, AELab explores sonic environments through new ways of listening to the land, innovative field recording technologies, interactive sound archives and maps, long-term monitoring and analysis of sonic environments, creative placemaking (music, audio-visual installations, virtual reality experiences, and sonic story telling), community engagement, and redesign of industrial and urban sound sources impacting livability and wellbeing of human and non-human species.
Our approach to media processing and analysis pays attention first to phenomena, and looks for ways to detect, analyze the phenomena using mathematical means yielding the greatest understanding. To push the boundaries of understanding the underlying phenomena of diverse media — images, video, computational sensors, wearables, we draw from mathematical methodologies from statistics, optimization, differential geometry, and topology in a manner that is motivated by physical constraints, invariance requirements, or other phenomenological considerations. Collaborations with researchers from diverse areas including rehabilitation, health promotion and well-being, and media-arts, motivate the development of new algorithmic advances, as well as present challenging use-cases.
Rather than looking for applications of a fixed special computational method, we start with empirical phenomena such as human movement, and find the mathematics / physics, systems techniques most appropriate for that phenomena. This abductive analysis is grounded in two ways: we check our understanding against practical applications; and we create techniques that can be implemented computationally and assessed by criteria like real-time, low latency, bandwidth, etc.
The Meteor studio research group places focus on reducing machine power consumption, reducing heat buildup in running devices, and making AR/VR more realistic. Researchers are working on an AR project in which a user can use their mobile device to view historical images of ASU as they walk through campus. Similarly, members are working toward using AR in museums and public spaces; this includes using AR to enhance cultural and historical perspective through immersive media. They recently won Best Poster at the ACM’s HotMoblie ’18 workshop, surrounding these concepts.
The Imaging Lyceum focuses on transdisciplinary imaging through a novel mixture of optics, computational imaging and photography, computer vision and machine learning, and sensors. Our investigations aim to create new visual experiences and digital media, question the nature of representation and images using tools from philosophy, and re-imagine imaging for the 21st century. We also explore questions regarding education at the intersection of media, arts, and engineering.