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Saturday, April 30


A survey of Storytelling in augmented and virtual space
Over the past year, virtual reality and other platforms for immersive storytelling have become the latest ‘in’ technologies everywhere from Silicon Valley to film festivals. With access to some of the latest technology, and unconstrained by the pressures of profits or bottom lines, the ITP community has been able to research, create and experiment with many of these tools. From these investigations has emerged a lot of useful insight about what works, what doesn’t, and some thoughts for going forward.

This panel discussion will include current ITP students, alumni and faculty who are using emerging technologies in service of new forms of storytelling. Covering everything from augmented reality to interactive documentary, virtual reality games to 360 video, panelists will shed light on working with these different forms and how they give rise to different kinds of stories. Current students will show their progress on thesis projects dedicated to exploring how to tell immersive stories.

The panel will be moderated by Gabe Barcia-Colombo (ITP Faculty), and feature Todd Bryant (ITP adjunct), Julia Irwin (ITP research fellow), and three currrent students (Nicholas Hubbard, Jamie Ruddy, and Shaun Axani). VR Projects will be set up on the ITP floor for guests to demo from David Gochfeld, Yurika Malase, Seth Kranzler, Rebecca Lieberman, and Nikolaj Petersen.


Gabriel Barcia-Colombo is a mixed media artist whose work focuses on collections, memorialization and the act of leaving one's digital imprint for the next generation. His work takes the form of video sculptures, immersive performances, large scale projections and vending machines that sell human DNA. His work plays upon this modern exigency in our culture to chronicle, preserve and wax nostalgic, an idea which Barcia-Colombo renders visually by “collecting” human portraits on video. 

Todd Bryant: An award winning screenwriter, director and producer of narrative video work, Todd hails from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina where he spent the majority of his youth exploring and trying to get lost in the woods.  A current resident of Brooklyn and a recent graduate of the Interactive Telecommunications Program at the Tisch School of the Arts in NYU he continues to employ those innate proclivities through creative coding and the construction of tangible interfaces for video art. 

Julia Irwin is a virtual reality filmmaker and new media artist in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently a Research Fellow at NYU Tisch’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) where she researches emerging cinematic techniques for virtual reality filmmaking and documentary. She has taught workshops internationally on documentary filmmaking for VR and will be adjunct faculty at ITP in the fall, co-teaching a class called Alt Docs: Inventing New Formats for Non-Fiction Storytelling. Her graduate school thesis was an interactive VR documentary about scars and the stories of their origin, which she completed as an Artist in Residence at Specular Projects, a studio focused on experimental VR filmmaking. 

Nicholas Hubbard makes art at the intersections of the found and the fabricated, the contemporary and the historical. This takes many forms including solo performance, interactive installations, 360º video, and virtual reality experiences. His work has become increasingly concerned with promoting the lessons of history to citizens of the present, and how this can be achieved through technology.
Jamie Ruddy is a story junkie. After graduating from NYU film school, she wrote a screenplay for Universal Studios and directed short films, commercials and a feature length documentary. She has returned to NYU for the masters program at ITP where her focus is on interactive storytelling. Recent projects include: Light as a Feather (VR film) and Close Encounters of the Radio Kind (AI).

Shaun Axani is a creative technologist and storyteller based in New York and Toronto. With a film and music background, Shaun came to ITP to explore interactive storytelling, but his work has spanned most facets of the diverse program, from physical to digital. He's made toys for children with disabilities, laser cut fungus for fridge magnets, tracked data related to cultural appropriation on social media, and created an interactive music making device based on the beat users are walking at. His thesis project, Quinn, was just featured at the Tribeca Interactive Playground.

avatar for Shaun Axani

Shaun Axani

ITP is a two-year graduate program located in the Tisch School of the Arts whose mission is to explore the imaginative use of communications technologies — how they might augment, improve, and bring delight and art into people's lives.

avatar for Shaun Axani

Shaun Axani

ITP is a two-year graduate program located in the Tisch School of the Arts whose mission is to explore the imaginative use of communications technologies — how they might augment, improve, and bring delight and art into people's lives.

  • Registration Type Free
Sunday, May 1


Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER)

Come hear from noted new media curator Christiane Paul of the Whitney, learn about the fascinating kinetic laser light sculptures of Norman Ballard, and the large scale augmented reality sculptures created with 3D rendering software by artist Michael Rees.  We'll gather in the home of Ellen Levy, President Emerita of the College Art Association.  Contact levy@nyc.rr.com for details.

We'll gather in the studio of Ellen Levy, artist and Past President of the College Art Association where Ellen and Patricia Olynyk co-convene the LASERS.

Each LASER gathering provides short 10- to 20-minute talks on art/science topics and the opportunity to network with cutting-edge artists, scientists, and researchers in an informal setting. Passionate participants are eager to share their ideas with you! Audience members are invited to “pitch” their own work, events, and activities to the group as well.

Founded in 2008 by LASER Chair Piero Scaruffi on behalf of Leonardo/ISAST, LASERs are now happening in over a dozen locales nationally and internationally: University of San Francisco, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, New York City, London, Tacoma, Toronto, Montreal and Kansas State University.

avatar for Norman Ballard

Norman Ballard

Founder, Rarefied Media
Graduate Studies and Primary Career Stimulus, Media Ecology Graduate Program, Founded by Dr. NealPostman, NYU, 1972-1974; Founder, Rarefied Media, Inc., Experimental Visual Technology, City Center of Music and Drama, NYC 1975-Present; Collaborating Artist with Nam June Paik for his... Read More →
avatar for Ellen K Levy

Ellen K Levy

co-director NY LASER, Leonardo/ISAST
Ellen K. Levy, PhD, is a visual artist and Independent Scholar. Until recently Special Advisor on the Arts and Sciences at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts (IDSVA), she has taught art and neuroscience extensively. She was President of the College Art Association... Read More →
avatar for Patricia Olynyk

Patricia Olynyk

Leonardo/ISAST, NY LASER Co-Host with Ellen K. Levy
Patricia Olynyk is an artist who splits her time between St. Louis and New York. She is Co-director of the NY LASER program in New York with Ellen K. Levy and former Chair of the Leonardo Education and Art Forum. Olynyk directs the Graduate School of Art at Washington University in... Read More →
avatar for Christiane Paul

Christiane Paul

Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art
Christiane Paul is Associate Prof. and Associate Dean at the School of Media Studies, The New School, and Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her recent books are A Companion to Digital Art (forthcoming Blackwell-Wiley); Digital Art (Tha... Read More →

michael rees

artist/ professor, William Paterson University

Thursday, May 5


Social Media and the Creative Mind

The Internet has gifted us with the ability to connect to our world. We can find friends in strangers we may have never met otherwise, and see and experience things through the eyes of other people broadcasting their lives through social media - finding inspiration through exposure and awareness to things that would have been inaccessible. In a fast-paced world, social media can help us consolidate our connection with friends and family with the latest buzz news in a single, clean little feed - with the ability to filter out what displeases us and open our world to information we want to receive. We’ve learned to deliver and consume information broadcasted in sound bites, paired with stunning images and provoking headlines vying for attention to buy, support, read, react, re-share, ‘like’ and offer opposition or validation.

So, what does this do to our creative lives? Can we find our own voice in a sea of influences, or are we being molded by the tastes and preferences of others we follow, watch, and from which receive feedback? Do we truly feel free to express ourselves, or do we create and post to cater to our connections for validation? Are we more inclined to seek immediate gratification found in short snippets of information instead of reading a literary masterpiece? Can we appreciate art profoundly or do we just want to take a picture of something to post to instagram and prove we do interesting things?

Join us in this discussion as we explore how social media affects our creative selves.



Founded in the heart of New York City, Wrkbench was developed out of a growing need for a place where creatives have the ability to share their ideas, moments, and creations instantaneously. Wrkbench strives to emphasize art and design while merging ideologies with modern technologies... Read More →