Brian Smith’s MFA Body of Works Defense


[Invitation] Brian Smith’s MFA-VIZ defense

You are invited to Brian Smith’s MFA-Visualization defense.

* Defense: July 8 (Wednesday) 10am @ VIZ-North Studio, 419 North Main St. Bryan.

Dr. Jinsil Hwaryoung Seo, Chair, Visualization
MFA Philip Galanter, Visualization
Dr. Stephen Caffey, Architecture

Title: Exploring Virtual Cosmos with Embodied Motion Controls


Synapteos is an art installation that explores the idea of using virtual reality to invoke a sublime experience. It breaks down the theoretical structure of the piece and documents the realization of the ideas presented in its physical and digital forms. The themes of space exploration and human transcendence are the underlying themes for the immersive virtual reality installation, where the participant dons a head mounted display and uses embodied motion controls to navigate the virtual space.

It is a body of work that explores the cosmic synaptic, a concept I visualized after reading Frank White’s The Overview Effect — Space Exploration and Human Evolution. White described the role of the astronaut/space pioneer as one that not only pushes the boundaries of human ambition but as one that must also relay experience to the rest of humanity in order to progress human evolution through the exploration of the cosmos. The effect is specifically linked to the perception of Earth as a fragile ball “hanging in the void” with an imperative to protect the planet and its inhabitants by the creation of a planetary society without borders.

Immersion in a virtual space creates a personal experience, an exploration to a place unknown and exotic yet totally real in the context of the virtual world. The design of the installation reflects the virtual aesthetic and thus manifests itself in physical reality.
The name Synapteos was derived from the Greek sýnapsis (connection, fusion) and Ēōs (dawn) as a representation of the idea of a new age of interconnectedness between humans and the universe, as well as our continued integration with technology that allows for extraterrestrial exploration.