Projects

STEAMplant supports the creation of interdisciplinary projects; these projects range from art installations that showcase science research and technology, to research studies which use the tools of science to investigate the creation of art and architecture. Each project culminates in a public engagement event, installation, product, or publication. Below is a list of our currently funded and completed projects.

To learn more about what types of projects we fund, click here.

Luminary System

Sirovich Family Student Fellow – Elliot Lovegrove
STEAMplant Faculty Members – Helio Takai & Andrew Freiband 

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Electronic computing is woven through many of our everyday activities. Yet for most users, the
underlying mechanisms and processes remain opaque and mysterious, the province of a
privileged few. In this project, we render the basic building blocks of code and electronic logic in
a form that is both concrete and aesthetic, scaled and designed for human understanding. In the
highly-advanced forms which capture headlines, computing is intimidating—but like every other
technology, it ultimately rests on physical and relatively simple building blocks.

We want to demystify that physical foundation by translating code operations down to the circuit
level (AND gates, memory, etc.) and turning those circuits into a design that can wrap around a
room. By painting the design with electroluminescent materials and running code through at a
human time scale, we allow viewers to watch the process of computing in a way that is beautiful
and comprehensible—illuminated in several senses of the word.

 

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(In)Coherence: The Variable Edges Between Us And World

Sirovich Family Residents – Mary Jo Vath & Iliyan Ivanov
STEAMplant Faculty Members – Agnes Mocsy & Ellen Berkovitch

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As an interdisciplinary team of a writer/documentarian, painter/art historian, psychiatrist/musician and physicist/filmmaker, we set off on an intrepid exploration of the arts and neuroscience, outfitted with virtual headlamps and microphones. We intend to approach the living field of our subject(s) with a multi-modal curiosity informed by the varietals of who we are and what we think about and work on. Our approach is a 21st century insistence that it’s not answering the questions but participating in asking them that leads to true interdisciplinarity. 

“(In)Coherence: The Variable Edges Between Us and World” asks: Can neuroscience describe a neurological experience of the numinous? What is the role of intuition in decision-making? Which lived situations do we choose to extend and be more alert to, before we even start to quantify experiences? What does selective attention tell us about observation and knowing? 

We will produce an artist book and a four-episode podcast as we refine the structure of our inquiry, visit with brain labs, and consider the meanings of pictures, sounds, and the contact sources of “world.”

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From Forces To Forms Lab

Sirovich Family Resident – Ellen K. Levy
STEAMplant Faculty Members – Mark Rosin & Nick Battis

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The Department of Exhibitions at Pratt Institute will engage invited guests to Pratt Manhattan Gallery with workshops conducted in the gallery. Scheduled for March 2021, “The Forces to Forms Lab” will be part of an exhibition curated by Ellen K. Levy, and will be built into the exhibition. A series of nine workshops will take place in the gallery during the exhibition. The programming will be curated by Professor Mark Rosin and STEAMplant resident Ellen K. Levy, and will include artists in the exhibition and invited guest scientists. Encounters will be developed for small groups of high school students, college students, and the general
public. 

Supporting these learning explorations, the exhibition titled From Forces to Forms will
investigate how artists and designers generate forms using experimental media and processes. It focuses on forms that result from principles of organismal development related to complex
systems and considers the implications of form generation in several different contexts.

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Time traveling through ancient art, materials and technology

Sirovich Family Residents – Gary Cullen & Katelin Fallon
STEAMplant Faculty Members – Eleonora Del Federico & Diana Gisolfi

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“Time traveling through ancient art, materials and technology” will combine art, chemistry, and history in the re-creation of an ancient Roman fresco. Specifically, this project will give new life to a fresco found in the ruins of Pompeii at “The House of the Gold Bracelet,” preserved in time by Mt. Vesuvius’ eruption in 79 A.D. Using historically accurate natural materials and chemical techniques, this project will not only revive and reveal the highly technical art of the fresco, but will serve to highlight and celebrate the customs and culture of this lost city.

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The Unforeseen

Sirovich Family Resident – Pamela Breda
STEAMplant Faculty Members – Agnes Mocsy & Ira Livingston

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The Unforeseen is an art research project which analyzes our role as human beings within the universe at large, exploring the Simulation Hypothesis through a two-channel video installation.

Click HERE to visit the full project page.

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Contesting Space: Envisioning Urban Futures Through Data and Virtual Reality

Sirovich Family Residents – Ayodamola Okunseinde, Salome Asega, Mala Kumar & Mariama Jalloh
STEAMplant Faculty Members – Caitlin Cahill & Daniel Wright

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Iyapo Repository, in partnership with Pratt faculty members Caitlin Cahill and Dan Wright, is developing and curating a speculative lab and resource library called Contesting Space. With a focus on envisioning emancipatory urban futures, this project will initiate a series of interventions around the ideas of reclaiming space and reimagining a more inclusive city for the next generation. Contesting Space will take place in three stages: the creation of an archive of qualitative and quantitative data, conducting workshops with long-time community, activist, and youth groups focused on imagining urban futures “beyond gentrification,” and an exhibition including a VR environment that will visualize the results from our data collection.

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Core of Me: A Hike-Play

Sirovich Family Resident – Jeremy Pickard
STEAMplant Faculty Members – Christopher X. J. Jensen & Jennifer Telesca

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Core of Me: A Hike-Play is a literal journey through trees, in which an audience experiences a performance while guided on a hike through the woods. Inspired by ecological, anthropological, and indigenous perspectives on climate change, Core of Me explores a moment in the short life of an anxious human and the long life of a forest, both attempting to come to terms with our new, turbulent reality.

Click HERE to visit the full project page.

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Breath Consciousness

Sirovich Family Residents – Jasmine Grace & Ayodamola Okunseinde
STEAMplant Faculty Members – Charles Rubenstein & Che-Wei Wang

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Artist Jasmine Grace’s residency collaboration with designer/architect/artist Che-Wei Wang, electrical engineer and Professor, Dr. Charles Rubenstein, and creative technologist Ayodamola Okunseinde is an interactive, public art installation that will translate peoples breath into a multi-sensory experience using light, sound and movement. As participants blow into a sensor, a visual and musical symphony will be created through a large scale luminous pinwheel, enabling people to not only feel, but also see and hear the effects of their breath in the moment.

Click HERE to visit the full project page.

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Light, Color, and Science: Licio Isolani Sculptures from the 1960s

Sirovich Family Resident – Renato Miracco
STEAMplant Faculty Members – Eleonora Del Federico & Lisa A. Banner
STEAMplant Professional Collaborators – Sarah Nunberg 

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Licio Isolani was an Italian-borne sculptor, a long-time associate professor at Pratt Institute, and a pioneer in cross-disciplinary art as a member of the 1960s group Experiments in Art and Technology (founded by Robert Rauschenberg and engineer Billy Kluver of Bell Labs). Collaborating with Dr. Renato Miracco (an international expert on 20th century Italian art), Pratt Institute art historian and curator Dr. Lisa Banner, chemist Eleonora Del Federico, and conservator Sarah Nunberg will analyze the contents of Isolani’s notebooks and artworks through the lens of analytical instrumentation such as X-ray fluorescence and infrared spectroscopy.

Click HERE to visit the full project page.


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Song Searching

Sirovich Family Student Fellow – Ami Cai
STEAMplant Faculty Members – Christopher X. J. Jensen, Basem Aly & Jennifer Telesca

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Humpback whales are some of nature’s most majestic creatures. These immense marine mammals undertake epic annual migrations, feed cooperatively, form local cultures, and interact socially using songs transmitted over thousands of kilometers. What would it feel like to be a humpback whale experiencing today’s increasingly human-dominated world? Song Searching is a video game designed to give players the experience of being a humpback whale.
 
Click HERE to visit the full project page.

Higgins Hall Thermal Comfort Study

Sirovich Family Student Fellow – Nathan Bataille
STEAMplant Faculty Members – Gabrielle Brainard, Cristobal Correa, Jessie Braden & Daniel Wright

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How are you feeling right now? Are you too hot? Too cold? How does the environment and your physiology affect your experience of a building? To answer these questions, Architecture Professors Gabrielle Brainard and Cristobal Correa installed a network of temperature and humidity sensors in a studio in Pratt’s Higgins Hall. 
 
Click HERE to visit the full project page.
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Metric Units for the Solar System

Sirovich Family Resident – Sara Morawetz
STEAMplant Faculty Members – Mark Rosin & Joseph Morris

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Metric Units for the Solar System is an exploration of our relationship with the systems of ‘standardized units’ we have created to order society; examining the various tensions implicit in the function, perception and ultimately arbitrary construction of such formalisms. Extrapolating the original rationale for our own system of metric units, a new set of ‘natural measures’ will be constructed for each planetary body in our solar system.

Click HERE to visit the full project page.

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Space Within Spaces

Sirovich Family Resident – Joseph Morris
STEAMplant Faculty Members – Agnes Mocsy & Che-Wei Wang

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Joseph Morris’s STEAMplant residency collaboration with theoretical nuclear physicist Professor Ágnes Mócsy and designer/architect/artist Che-Wei Wang is an outdoor, public art installation that will interact with incoming cosmic rays. Using muon particle detectors, which sense the effect of interstellar cosmic rays, the sensors will be mounted on the rooftop of Pratt Institute’s Juliana Curran Terian Design Center detecting stellar rays. 

Click HERE to visit the full project page.

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Licio Isolani Study Archive

Sirovich Family Graduate Fellow – Miriam Clayton
STEAMplant Faculty Members – Cindie Kehlet & Lisa A. Banner
STEAMplant Professional Collaborator – Sarah Nunberg

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Italian artist and former Pratt Professor Licio Isolani (1931-2015) donated a collection of his work to the Department of Mathematics and Science before he passed away in 2015. This bequest was celebrated with the exhibition “A Strange Road of Materials” showcasing Isolani’s early sculptures and paintings. The Licio Isolani Study Archive at Pratt Institute was founded by Chair of the Math and Science Department Dr. Carole Sirovich and faculty member Dr. Cindie Kehlet, along with Dr. Lisa A. Banner, of the History of Art & Design Department, and Pratt’s Stockman Fellow Conservator Sarah Nunberg. 

Click HERE to visit the full project page.

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Poetics of Our Universe

Sirovich Family Graduate Fellow – Adriana Green
STEAMplant Faculty Members – Ariel Goldberg, Daniel Wright & Christopher X. J. Jensen

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In 2015, Adriana Green began developing a poetic manuscript excavating her personal history alongside institutional archival information about America’s reliance on the Atlantic slave trade. Her work asked the questions: As Black Americans, how can we engage with our history when that history is obscured or lost? What are the elements of an hauntological pedagogy? Can silence act as a language? As a writer, Green is interested in how knowledge is translated into language. Specifically, how do we talk about the unknown? Through epistemological conversations with physicist, Dan Wright, she further explored what it means to put language around dense, astronomical concepts, such as black holes. By examining the parallels in how we wrestle dense concepts into language, Green explores how language holds complex and traumatic histories. Her project also interrogated he realm of photography and she worked with artist and scholar, Ariel Goldberg, in discussing the role of photography in archival representations of the Black community. Asking, How does photography works as both a static and dynamic record of the past? What would it mean to trouble the notions of objectivity and subjectivity in an image?

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