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ICAT: OPEN (at the) SOURCE SENSING PLACE Explore and experience the research and innovation happening within the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology Francis T. Eck Exhibition Corridor Moss Arts Center April 27–May 20, 2017


SENSING PLACE Spaces are all around us, but a place is something more. Spaces become places when people imbue them with meaning—when they inhabit them, revere them, adorn them with memory and legend, abandon them, and leave them to decay. With Sensing Place, the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) is exploring how place is created, maintained, lost, and understood though an exhibition of art and research produced by three unique projects. These projects—The Long View; Placing Sensors, Sensing Places; and The Disappeared Village of Vauquois— explore human interactions with physical space as well as our relationship to place through motion, memory, and time. Using cutting-edge technologies and innovative approaches, these artists and researchers, in partnership with ICAT, continue to illuminate and document our powerful and complex connection to our environment and how we define, and are defined by, place.

ON THE COVER (from top): Photo of Vauquios, France by Dongsoo Choi; detail of data readout from the BUILD project by Sa’ed Alajlouni; and image from The Long View, photo by Rachel Weaver


THE DISAPPEARED VILLAGE OF VAUQUOIS Thomas Tucker, School of Visual Arts, Virginia Tech Dongsoo Choi, School of Visual Arts, Virginia Tech Erik Westman, Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering, Virginia Tech Todd Ogle, Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies, Virginia Tech David Cline, Department of History, Virginia Tech David Hicks, School of Education, Virginia Tech Daniel Newcomb, graduate student, M.A. candidate, History and Education, Virginia Tech Yves Massotte, Amis de Vauquois, France Celine Beauchamp and Adrien Arles, Arkemine, Rescue Archeology, France Media convergence has changed how we understand what it means to be literate in a multimodal, information-rich society. It has also changed how we think about our research and teaching in our disparate fields. Funded through an ICAT SEAD (Science, Engineering, Arts, and Design) Major Initiative grant, this work makes use of several innovative technologies that the team employed in the novel context of creating an immersive environment. Our combination of data collection, curation, processing, and learning-experience design results in a product that is on the cutting edge of historical site exploration and informal education. This collection exhibits a sample of work completed during the summer of 2016 at the Butte de Vauquois (Vauquois Hill) near Verdun, France. Once a picturesque village, Vauquois became critical high ground that was contested for four years by the French and Germans during World War I, with the Americans finally taking the position during the Meuse-Argonne offensive of 1918. It was composed of numerous underground tunnels and chambers, or galleries, that were strategically dug to facilitate underground explosive attacks. In July 2014 a Franco-American team performed three-dimensional mapping of a small portion of the German galleries at Vauquois and an aboveground observation post. The team performed the most thorough digital survey to date of the above- and below-ground topology and human-made features of Vauquois Hill. The site work included laser scanning above and below ground, photogrammetry below ground and from an aerial platform, ground-penetrating radar, and 360-degree video. The photographs and video vignettes presented here provide a sense of the atmosphere of Vauquois and the transdisciplinary collaboration that made this work possible. Underground galleries in Vauquois Hill; photos by Dongsoo Choi


PLACING SENSORS, SENSING PLACES Timothy Baird, Department of Geography, Virginia Tech Pablo Tarazaga, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech David Kniola, School of Education, Virginia Tech Sa’ed Alajlouni, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech Sachin Bharambe, M.S. candidate, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Virginia Tech How much do you move when you’re sitting still? When you’re chatting with a friend? When you’re talking with a stranger? How much do you move when you’re sitting in a classroom? When you’re speaking? When you’re listening? And when you’re really listening? How much do you move when you’re learning or being creative? And how does the space you’re in affect the space you’re in affect your movements? Lastly, how do these movements relate to your sense of engagement with a place? The BUILD project (Boosting University Infrastructure for Learning + Discovery) is currently exploring these and other questions by integrating social science approaches with sophisticated sensing technologies, including accelerometers and motion capture cameras. While this project is in its early stages, future breakthroughs could transform how we promote human engagement, interact with different environments, and build supportive communities. The BUILD project was funded through an ICAT SEAD (Science, Engineering, Arts and Design) Major Initiative grant in partnership with the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment (ISCE).

Sensors that measure energy can be paired with social science techniques to understand patterns of student engagement.

Cameras can provide rich information about the micro-movements associated with engagement and collaboration.


THE LONG VIEW Rachel Weaver, School of Visual Arts, Virginia Tech The Long View is an experimental documentary about memory, ways of knowing a place, and coping with drastic ecological change in rural Alaska. When the landscape around you begins to transform, inherited stories become less believable. Community histories start to fracture and local knowledge that once held truths seem to become just stories. The Long View takes a close look at places embedded with community narrative and illustrates the dismantling and re-piecing of the self in the context of a place that feels suddenly unfamiliar.

Photo by Rachel Weaver


The team at work on Vauquois Hill in Verdun, France

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ICAT: Open (at the) Source "Sensing Place"  

ICAT: Open (at the) Source "Sensing Place"