For four days, engineers, artists, designers and social scientists from around the world will come to Tempe to explore how the intersection of digital technology and traditional fine arts can create solutions to some of the world's most pressing issues.
The Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction Conference, or TEI, is on its thirteenth year and will be hosted by ASU for the first time.
Stacey Kuznetsov, an assistant professor at the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and a general chair at the conference, said that the event brings together disciplines from not only engineering and design, but also social sciences, biological sciences and material sciences.
At a time when advancements in digital technology are being weaved into real world applications, the conference serves to highlight this convergence and help attendees further this trend.
“During the networking events (students can) informally discuss their own research to the international scholars that are coming," she said. "They could get exposure in the field, promote their own research and maybe get some feedback on their own projects."
Kuznetsov said the conference's inclusion of many different fields lends itself well to this year's theme of hybridity.
"It's celebrating the growing intersection of social, technical, biological and artistic materials together," she said.
Jennifer Weiler, a doctoral student in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, said that the conference is focusing on broadening the ways students can interact with digital systems.
"It's sort of looking at that as well as how technology can be more integrated into people's everyday lives and serve in a beneficial way as opposed to just a commercial way," Weiler said.
Kimberly Lyle, an ASU alum with a master's from the intermedia program in the School of Art, said she believes conferences like TEI are a great opportunity to bring together people who are working in fields that have common goals.
Lyle said that rather than taking part in one-sided discussions, participants are encouraged to intermingle and grow relationships organically at the conference.
Her thesis work After Words will be exhibited at the event. After Words, is an interactive installation that calls for participants not to construe meaning from the piece, but rather take in the tangible experience of language without words.
“The basic idea behind it was that I work a lot in the crevices between disciplines,” Lyle said. “I think it's an invitation for people to participate and learn something through their participation.”
Kimberlee Swisher, a lecturer in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and co-chair of the arts track for TEI this year, said the conference provides a focused time and place where a variety of researchers can work and be in the same mind space as researchers from around the world.
"It's important to be able to share and document really good research that's happening to reinvigorate the focus on new work and be able to share and get feedback from peers that you otherwise wouldn't have a chance to meet," Swisher said. "That’s the thing that's really cool with these big international conferences."
Swisher said that ASU being able to host such a large and well-recognized international conference is really huge for the School of Arts, Media and Engineering.
“The work that will be shown at the conference is really inspiring." Kuznetsov said. "It shows the possibilities of where tangible interaction and hybrid media could go in the next couple of years.”
The conference will take place at various locations on and near ASU's Tempe campus from March 17 through 20.