SF State students fuse science and creativity at Senior Art Expo

Michael Nardo

Conceptual and Information Arts student Micheal Nardo adjusts the circuit board on his "Autonomous Drawer" at the Senior Arts Expo at SF State, Saturday April 21. Photo by Kale Williams.

Science and art aren’t two subjects often found in the same sentence, let alone the same classroom. That is, unless you pay a visit to the Conceptual Information Arts program at SF State.

Students from the CIA program exhibited their work to the public for the first time this semester at the Senior Art Expo Saturday.

“We pretty much give [the students] free range,” said Michael Shiloh, a visiting lecturer from electronics and robotics in conceptual design, a class within the CIA program. “They get to do what they want and I’ve been surprised and delighted at what they’ve come up with,” he said as a robotic hand made of PVC piping twitched behind him.

The exhibits were meant to showcase the relationship between technology and creativity, according to Paula Levine, art professor and head of the CIA program.

“This field gives students the opportunity to expand the definition of what art is,” she said. “It gives them the chance to work outside of historical mediums.”

Senior sculpture major Sean Lueder fine-tuned his exhibit which combined ultra-sonic sensors and a movement-detecting oscillator to produce sounds that changed with the viewers movements.

“It’s really based on the movement of the observer,” he said. “I want people to be able to feel it out and experience the moment of the performance.”

The expo also gave the CIA program the chance to show off their work, which can sometimes go overlooked, tucked away on the fifth floor of the Fine Arts Building.

“Our department is kind of hidden,” said Amal Khan, a studio arts major. “Nobody knows about us so we really want to spread the word about what we’re doing up here,” she said as her exhibit, a mixture of LED lights and printed text housed in a wooden box, twinkled in the background.

Bill Bodrogi travelled over 250 miles from his home in Santa Maria to see his daughter Shannon’s exhibit.

“It’s just awesome,” he said. “It’s so interesting to see the stuff that they did as kids put into action.”

The exhibition also gave students the opportunity to get feedback on some of their work that was still in progress, according to Shiloh. “It’s a bit of a preview to what the students will have at the end of the semester,” he said. “It’s good for people from outside to weigh in so that they know what they still need to work on.

One of those outsiders was drama major Saiya Yocum, who was impressed by what she saw.

“I love it, there is so much cool stuff up here,” she said. “I wish it lasted longer.”

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