Music, animation combine for Sensory Overload event held at Visualization Lab

Lauren Grobe

Art, live music and animation transformed the research-based Visualization Laboratory into a unique audio-visual experience at the Sensory Overload showcase on Thursday.

The showcase was hosted in the VisLab located in the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Building, which is known for its state of the art visualization and interactive technology. Dax Norman, arts and entertainment technologies professor, organized Sensory Overload to demonstrate how the VisLab could be used for digital art and performance.

“Art and science aren’t disconnected to me,” Norman said. “Personally, my mission is to connect them.”

Norman selected a variety of acts such as local bands and animators from UT’s faculty that intersects art mediums.

“I wanted them to have some sort of visual component as well as a performative, live component with sound,” Norman said. “I didn’t want it to be all the same kind of thing.”

Yuliya Lanina, arts and entertainment technologies professor, presented her animations at the event. Her work involves the use of paintings, animation and performance art. The VisLab provided a larger platform for her work, which made it a more enhanced experience, Lanina said.

“When I went to see the space itself, I was really amazed,” Lanina said. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.”

In addition to acting as a venue, the VisLab is open to any UT students or faculty who have a project that would be suited to the lab’s resources, scientific visualization specialist Greg Foss said.

“We tend to be working with gaming-type technology but (apply) it towards looking at scientific data,” Foss said.

The VisLab has been on campus since 2001, according to the Texas Advanced Computing Center’s website. Despite being open for 17 years, few people seem to recognize it as a facility for research, Foss said.

“We’re trying to get the word around (that although) the campus is big and there’s all kinds of facilities, (the Vislab is) definitely a unique resource,” Foss said.

Both Norman and Lanina said they are interested in using the VisLab for their UT courses in the School of Design and Creative Technologies.

“This is a space that is here at UT that we can play around in,” Norman said.

Raquel Higine, art and entertainment technologies freshman, is in both Lanina and Norman’s classes. The VisLab worked well as a gallery and venue for the artists, Higine said.

“I’ve never seen anything where it’s just a showcase of animation,” Higine said.