Commissioned by the Magnum Foundation, and in collaboration with NYU's ITP and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, #ReframeClimate is a 3D virtual reality website that recreates the wheat pastings of large-scale documentary photographs by#Dysturb photographers in the streets of Paris. It is a visual intervention for the COP21 Climate Change Campaign in Paris, France. The site launched in December 2015.
Credits: Julia Irwin, photogrammetry asset development/3D modeling/rendering; Rosalie Yu, three.js development and interaction design; Lisa Jamhoury and Supreet Mahanti, site development & text campaign development; special thanks to Laura Juo-Hsin Chen Photographs by: Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum Photos, Paolo Pellegrin/Magnum Photos, and Ed Ou/Getty
Phenotypes: Expressions of Biological Research Through New Media
Phenotypes was a collaborative exhibition created by developmental biologists and multimedia artists at NYU. It was held on April 16, 2015 in the Tisch Reise Lounge in New York and was supported by the Tisch GSO Grant. Using the scientists' raw assets - including microscopic video, focal stack imaging and 3D models - the project aims to inspire a new perspective on organisms often thought of as pests and incite curiosity about the scientific process.
For each piece included here, I collaborated with a biologist to reimagine his/her research in the form of a new media installation. Additional pieces in the exhibition were created by artists Ziv Schneider, Kelly Rio Saxton and Caitlin Sikora and biologists Olga Pekar, Yuliya Zilberman and Justine Ollayon.
The biologist-artist collaboration lives on in the form of Wild Type Lab, a creative research studio that cultivates dialogue between the sciences and arts and facilities creative expression of scientific research. Co-founders include Olga Pekar, Ziv Schneider and Julia Irwin.
Stacks of a Distal Tip
Scientist Olga Pekar studies the reproductive system of C. elegans worms and is particularly curious about how environmental conditions influence gonad development. The Distal Tip Cell (DTC) plays a crucial role in gonad development, providing important cues to the gonad throughout the life of the worm. As Olga’s images reveal, the DTC also has an unusual shape—it completely envelopes the tip of the gonad. Using fluorescence and microscopy, Olga monitors the growth of the DTC in relation to that of the gonad. She uses an imaging technique called focal stacking to capture the full, 3D geometry of these cells.
Stacks of a Distal Tip was inspired by the process of focal stacking and also the unique shape and function of the DTC. Julia’s design highlights the relationship between the DTC and surrounding cells, expressed through the use of light, and represents the initial form in which the images were captured and stacked to create a cohesive 3D image, expressed through the depth of the glass layers.
The Fate of the Germ Cell Lobes
Scientist Yusuff Abdu studies to unique interaction between cells during C. elegans worm embryo development. His work draws on the research of British biologist John Sulston, who, in 1983, observed a unique interaction between endodermal cells (which become intestinal cells) and primordial germ cells (which give rise to the reproductive cells). Yusuff uses fluorescent proteins and advanced microscopy to determine the fate of the germ cell lobes as they form large lobes that eventually become embedded in the endodermal cells.
The Fate of the Germ Cell Lobes invites viewers to take part in the scientific inquiry surrounding this mysterious process. The piece is a 3D print of Yusuff’s digital model, which he created from a series of focal stack images of the embryo, and it consists of endodermal cells (white) and germ cells (pink). Looking closely at the germ cells, you can see the large protrusions becoming engulfed in the endodermal cells.
Rollers and Wild Types
Rollers and Wild Types is a 3D model of a Petri dish surface, where C. elegans roam about. Captured at 500x, the tracks present on this unique terrain tell the story of mutation. The worms living in this Petri dish include two types, “wild types”—normal worms without any mutations—and “rollers”—worms containing a mutation in the cuticle collagen gene. This mutation is widely used in studies of C. elegans as a visible marker for genetic manipulation. If you look closely at this piece, you can see the difference in the movements of these types of worms. The wild types slither like snakes and the rollers move about in a circular fashion, unable to take a linear path.
The terrain was created using a still image of the microscope plane and developing a scaled-up, 3D version of the bacterial lawn full of worms. The terrain represents the negative space that retains the phenotypic differences of worms, which are a result of their relative genetic backgrounds.
Photos by JH Moon
The Things We Carry Carry Us
The Things We Carry Carry Us is a virtual reality documentary about scars and the stories of their origin. A meditation on markers of unique, personal moments in time, brought together in a virtual world that gives agency to a shared human experience.
No two scars look alike, no two stories of their origin are the same. Using a 3D scanning system that I custom designed, I’ve scanned over 50 scars and captured the unique narratives attached to them. Inspired by the ability to scale up an object in virtual space, I wanted to create an environment built from intricate details we often overlook and to highlight the humanity in those details. The Things We Carry Carry Us is a participatory art piece that is ever evolving as more stories and scars are shared.
This project was developed for my masters thesis at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).
The Things We Carry Carry Us
PONG | through space and time
*Best viewed in full screen mode.*
PONG | through space and time is a study in the evolving relationship between an object and its temporal environment.
A video installation created for IAC's 120ft x 10ft screen in Chelsea, NY. Presented on December 5, 2014. Developed in Cinder. By Eozin Che, Julia Irwin and MOQN Sound by JungMin Moon
Cookie Jar is an experiment in reverse engineering the process by which marketing companies piece together our identities based on our browser history. This project was inspired by my own browser history, which, due to the odd nature of much of my work, often has me searching for products that, for example, only plumbers generally buy or, alternatively, researching esoteric computer vision topics. Collectively, what kind of identity does this add up to?
For a few weeks, I had three people collect the cookie ads they saw online. A collage of these ads then got made for each person. Five Mechanical Turk workers for each ad profile were asked to write a biography for the person whom these ads were targeting. Not surprisingly, the accuracy of each biography was staggeringly low. More importantly, though, my intention was to decode the process by which our identities get composed via our internet activities in a way that feels human, personal and intimate. What does the digital advertising engine have to lose if they get us wrong? And what do we have to lose, or maybe even gain?
This project was developed for Jer Thorp's Spring, 2014 Data Art class and can also be viewed on Jer's blog.
The Vulvatron is a mobile interactive video installation celebrating female form and identity. Julia led the technical and interaction design. The technology system consisted of sensor-controlled DMX lighting, projection mapped video content and a reactive LED display. Created in collaboration with video artist Jen Cohen, fabricator Becky Neil and textile artists Rebecca Frisch and Meggie Pina.
projections by Jen Cohen; rendering by Marissa Comstock
rendering by Marissa Comstock
image by Zoe Vero
Scope3D is a microscopic 3D scanner that creates scalable models of tiny objects. This project is a work in progress and will be continued throughout the Spring, 2015 as my thesis at ITP, NYU.
Assistant to Peter Hudson, creator of large-scale interactive zoetropes, for his latest piece Eternal Return. Peter's work takes animation off the screen and sketchpad and into three dimensions via towering kinetic sculptures. The large-scale projects involve teams of about 100 people. Julia's role included mold-making and casting of ~30 life-size figures. These figures become the subject of the storytelling; each figure's position is meticulously cast based on a digital animation created by Pixar's Warren Trezevant.
Charon, a previous zoetrope created by Peter Hudson, depicting the scale and style of his work. Photo by Michael Holden.
Primary materials: plaster, plaster gauze, clay, a variety of resins, and polyurethane foam. Photos by Kerri Anne Delight.
Photo by Kerri Anne Delight.
frequency of mother, god
An ongoing exploration of non-traditional representations of data, these works layer different forms of data, for use as both canvas and content.
Frequency of Mother
Based on New York Times' frequency of the words 'Mother' and 'Daughter' in headlines, 1956-2013. Graphs are made up of a combination of my mother's and my fingerprints.
Frequency of God
New York Times' frequency of the word 'God' in headlines, 1966-2013. Canvas is made of up Bible verses, in which the red text forms a bar graph down the y-axis.
(0, 0, 0) explores the coexistent nature of the principles of a vanishing point and a point of origin, the tension between that which is disappearing and that which is coming into existence, with respect to the human experience.
(0, 0, 0) is a generative, interactive installation in which the user walks (on a treadmill) into a geometric/vortex-shaped structure where projection-mapped graphics visualize this personal journey through light and space. A Kinect positioned behind the user captures their movements, an openFrameworks sketch processes this live video with point cloud and double exposure effects, and a projector presents this imagery as silhouetted graphics that change based on the speed of the user's walking (using a reed switch sensor) and lateral movements (as captured by the Kinect).
Made in collaboration with John Choi and Rosalie Yu. Exhibited at the ITP Spring Show, 2014
(0, 0, 0)
Remotive offers a way for people to communicate emotions from afar by simulating a human embrace. Using soft electronics and connected devices, these jackets allow loved ones to send and receive hugs remotely. To send a hug, the user touches the capacitive-sensing patches on the sleeves. The hug is then sent wirelessly to the other jacket. The other jacket is equipped with a harness that, when a hug is received, tightens stretchy fabric around the wearer, simulating the embrace.
This project was made in collaboration with Rucha Patwardhan and was exhibited at the ITP Winter Show, 2013.
User testing with students at ITP.
The capacitive-sensing patch
Electrons in the fingertips function to close the circuit, similar to turning on a switch. When the circuit is closed, a microcontroller in the pocket of the jacket sends a wireless message to the other jacket to initialize a hug.
The hug mechanism
A harness stitched into the jacket consists of stretchy fabric attached to a rod with a stepper motor on each end. When a hug is received, the motor mechanism spins back and forth, tightening the fabric around the wearer. A future iteration of this project will likely consist of a modular harness that can be fitted into different pieces of clothing.
The Bottlecap Gazebo
The Bottlecap Gazebo is a public art installation and gathering place currently installed in Fernley, NV. It debuted at Burning Man, 2012, for which it received an honorarium grant. The two-story wooden structure is topped with a mosaic lotus flower made of bottle caps; both are made of over 90% reclaimed materials.
Julia hand-stitched the mosaic and contributed to the carpentry of the gazebo frame, working alongside lead artists Max Poynton and Andrew Grinberg, project manager Becky Neil and a crew of fifty volunteers.
photo by Jerry Mansker
Photo by Alan Grinberg
A closeup of (selected pieces of) the bottlecap mosaic.
The carpentry crew. The gazebo was built using almost entirely reclaimed redwood.
The stitching crew. Each bottle cap was sorted and stitched in accordance with a strict design pattern. The 80,000 bottle caps used for the mosaic were sourced from all over the world.
Give the Girl the Moon
Give the Girl the Moon is a video game with the goal of…giving the girl on the screen the moon. The game creates an on- and off-screen environment that captures a sense of childhood imagination and sense of play.
Using the foot controller, the player moves the moon (which, in the reality of the game, has the gravitational behavior of a bouncy ball) from right to left until it is in the girl’s arms. Each time the game is refreshed, the girl is placed in a random location and the moon drops from the sky at a different location.
A still photo of the game. The goal is to get the moon into the girl's arms using the floor mat controller.
An ITP student play-testing Give the Girl the Moon.
Play-testing Give the Girl the Moon with students at ITP. The feedback was very positive, and also unveiled an opportunity to make the foot controller slightly more user-friendly by having just two control 'buttons' instead of three.
Foot controller consists of three controls: left, right, and down (increased gravity). Controller talks to the screen-based video game via an Arduino.
Custom made force-sensitive resistor, used for the foot controller. Two copper plates, conductive foam.