I’m a minimalist at heart.  However, I’m a photographer, and the sheer amount of images I possess and all the paths I took to capture them spanning several years show no reflection of my doting, organized alter ego. Humans are naturally social, impulsive creatures, so I should cut myself some slack in regards to the gradual realization that I love to find and resourcefully utilize the minimal essence of all things. I’m not sure if my affinity for it makes me faintly compulsive, but I’m also not sure we need to know the answer to everything: sometimes allowing yourself to figure it out later gives you a sense of place, instead of longing.

So, I’m a minimalist in regards to the research ideas that excite me the most. First, I discovered my interest in the philosophy of economics, from realizing that we’re surrounded by systems, and made of them. Then, I quickly slid down the research slope towards defining the complexities of space and time. It took me a few clicks to find David Harvey’s concept of time-space compression, which began a long, exciting visual essay, which has brought me to the end of my Photography Studio Art degree, and the compelling projects lead by the SIF program at GSU.

Time-space compression refers to anything that alters the relationship of space and time. Think about it: FaceTime on your iPhone. Skype. The experience of a flashback.  We are experiencing these dimensions in convenient, sensory ways that affect the way we socialize, make decisions, and generally experience life as self-aware beings. The Student Innovation Fellowship brings together technology and interdisciplinary skills in order to use these ideas as tools for education.

I’m sure Harvey would be glad about the work we’re doing:

“I think it important to challenge the idea of a single and objective sense of time or space, against which we can measure the diversity of human conceptions and perceptions. I shall not argue for a total dissolution of the objective—subjective distinction, but insist, rather, that we recognize the multiplicity of the objective qualities which space and time can express, and the role of human practices in their construction.”

                                                                    David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity

I’m working on three projects with SIF which embody the exciting collision of academic and technical ideas that make the educational magic happen: Unpacking Manuel’s, 3D Atlanta, and Oakland Cemetery. On each of these sites, SIF members have visually documented the present, and found creative ways to juxtapose it with the past to teach people about the history of Atlanta. We’re creating immersive simulations for people to walk through in order to experience this juxtaposition with 3D Atlanta. Unpacking Manuel’s allows the public to experience this immersion through a walkable website from the comfort of their personal devices. We’re passionate about bringing these ideas to an audience that wants to learn, and who appreciates innovative interfaces and experiences that are familiar and user friendly.

(Left) An Atlanta resident enjoying a 3D Atlanta demo at Streets Alive 2017.

The work I’ve been doing for SIF has been straightforward. I seamlessly stitch together images in Photoshop for Unpacking Manuel’s to prepare them to be transformed into gigapan files necessary for the immersive website. I recently learned the basics of a 3D Modeling software called Blender, which allows users to mold virtual shapes and objects for any VR driven project. I’m excited to learn more and familiarize myself with skills that communities appreciate across the country, and that will make me a more valuable asset to an aesthetically conscious institution. Everyone loves sensory experiences—and those experiences aren’t limited to the expansive world we experience every day.

I’m also delighted to be using my photography skills to help the SIF program promote itself in an aesthetically conscious way. As a visual artist with photography as my primary medium, I’m passionate about helping cultural programs and institutions visualize and organize their back end operations, and help creatively document their identity for their respective audiences.

SIF facilitates a friendly, focused learning environment for many different fields. I’m personally interested in a future with collections and archives. With SIF, I’m able to work on teams that create virtual archives for the public online, in addition to utilizing historic and digitized archival material supplied by the GSU Library as the backbone of research for each project. These skills are actively sought out in the field as libraries and museums strive to bring the public into their institutions, and to cultivate a compelling learning experience.

If you feel like you have skills or resources that could contribute to SIF’s vision, we’d love to hear from you. You’d be surprised at how many unique connections can be made with the variety of projects we’re bringing to the public, and to classrooms around Georgia.