With the turn of a crank seasons change and leaves turn to snow as virtual reality sets in.
St. Cloud State students will be participating in the Northern Spark festival, a city-wide all-night art festival in Minneapolis.
Their exhibit “ReKinect with the Seasons” will be on display at the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis from 9 p.m. June 13 to 5:26 a.m. June 14.
“Northern Spark is an exciting opportunity to try out new possibilities in art in public spaces and lives in the tradition of “nuit blanche” or white night, overnight art festivals,” said Bill Gorcica, professor of art at St. Cloud State.
The interactive art project is a collaboration connecting art students with visualization students in the Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility (ISELF), known as the United Media Brigade.
Based on game engine technology, the virtual project, using a Microsoft Kinect, is designed to allow participants to experience the four seasons of the year in the midst of summer.
The interactive elements let individuals navigate through a virtual landscape of winter, spring, summer and fall using motion-sensing technology. Effects associated with those seasons, such as rain, leaves and snow are generated by using cranks, tilt mechanisms and body gestures.
“Participants can react with others in the crowd to create a furious snowstorm, explore a beautiful summer landscape or sit back and watch the seasons change overnight,” Gorcica said.
Practically everything that one will see in their Northern Spark exhibit will be produced by art students, but the interaction in the scene will be the work of the engineering students.
“There’s a lot of overlap between the kind of work being done in the art department and the work we’re doing in ISELF,” said Mark Gill, visualization engineer. “It just seemed natural that we should do something that benefits both schools.”
The Northern Spark dusk to dawn festival features hundreds of artists and thousands of guests who gather throughout Minneapolis to explore the city’s cultural institutions, getting together for one night in June to experience what happens when artists take over a city in unexpected ways.