Arts and Humanities

Art, Augmented Reality, and an Instrument Played by Dancing

The IAHI recently had the privilege of hosting artist and transmedia playwright Kat Mustatea, who is currently touring the country following the release of her new book from MIT press, Voidopolis. Mustatea’s visit was co-sponsored by the Donald Tavel Arts and Technology Research Center.  

Voidopolis is a first-of-its kind augmented reality book that is read using a web-based application. The text on the pages of the physical book is heavily obscured, becoming readable with the use of the app. However, in keeping with the book’s investment in the concepts of memory and decay, the text in the app is designed to also slowly decay over the space of a twelve-month period. It is a genuinely innovative work of art that is impossible to categorize in the best way, and each talk resulted in meaningful conversations about the theory and practice of digital art in the age of artificial intelligence.  

Mustatea gave three different talks in various contexts during her visit to Indianapolis. Her first talk was given to a group of Tavel Center students in the university IT building on Wednesday morning, where she presented a number of new and recent works, including a remarkable voice synthesis instrument that is played using the whole body by a pair of dancers. The rich discussion generated during the question and answer session saw so much student investment that the event nearly went over its allotted time, and Mustatea continued to answer questions from students after the event concluded. She also gave talks in the Basile Auditorium at the Herron School of Art, and a public reading from the artist’s statement at the beginning of Voidopolis at the IndyReads bookstore in Fountain Square. The IAHI thanks Kat, Dr. Scott Deal, the events team at IndyReads, and the Tavel Center for their contributions to the success of these events. 

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