BFA EXPO 16, Microsoft HoloLens Exhibit, Thrill Viewers

Every year it's a circus at Cornish — the kind you want to see — as graduating seniors exhibit their BFA work at EXPO. This year, the exhibition opening featured a special treat, a collaboration between students and Microsoft.

​EXPO 16: Art & Design Exhibition of BFA students in the visual arts at Cornish was, as usual, a hit with the public. This year, the opening was enhanced by the addition of "Through the HoloLens," a special preview of student work created in collaboration with Microsoft. Students in art, design, theater, and dance worked with Microsoft personnel to create works for the company’s upcoming 3D holographic headset, HoloLens. EXPO 16 will run through May 15 in the Centennial Lab (art) and the Beebe Building (design), Wednesday through Sunday, 1:00 - 6:00 p.m.

This year’s art and design exhibitions featured the work of 24 Art seniors in Centennial Lab and 44 Design seniors in Beebe. Samples of their work as well as their bios and artist statements can be found online too. The Art exhibition represented a dynamic realization of Cornish's interdisciplinary art program. The seniors ambitiously explored a breadth of media strategies with works that incorporated digital media, installation, painting, performance, photography, print, sculpture, video, and writing. 

"When making the Deconstruction Gallery I was looking for a way to bridge video games and fine art," wrote senior Harold Armand Cochran III, whose work included a built-from-scratch arcade game and 3D prints using photogrammetry to create Mars rocks and other interstellar objects. "I seek to get humanity as excited about traveling to the stars as I am. For people to see the beautiful potential in the spheres of rock that orbit distant stars would bring hope. I love technology for its enabling of humanity to overcome the bounds of our primitive existence."

Taylor Hollowell's humorous, observational ink drawings demonstrated her "observations of daily life and reactions to being surrounded by popular culture. The ludicrousness of daily life is pointed out like a quick joke among friends," she wrote. "The frequent use of words mimics the omnipresence of text in our lives. These works recreate that immersion in ways that are both comical and sincere."

In 2015, Diego Suarez was selected to participate in the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design’s (AICAD) New York Studio Residency Program where he started to use his painting and photographic background to explore collage work. His Like A Surgeon is an exhibit that investigates collage as an act of simultaneously revealing and concealing.

The Design exhibition showcased work in interior architecture, print, UX design, and video. Many of the Design seniors focused on the future solutions to current societal problems, demonstrated the Cornish tradition of being "artist, innovator, and citizen."

Erik Hall's Rise: An Adaptable Living Unit is a project that aims to find solutions for people living in impoverished coastal slums of Bangladesh, India. "The area faces constant flooding, and monsoons and Rise seeks to develop a system that adapts to the flux of water levels and keeps its inhabitants safe and dry," explained Hall. Fellow senior Weylin Brown showed how a typical suburban home could be retrofitted to provide its own food, water, and energy. "This would allow neighborhoods to modify organically based on the needs of the people and give people the opportunity to let their investment work for them," said Brown.

Majesta Vestal loves illustration and, while at Cornish, began exploring motion design and VR/AR. Her Strange World began as a picture book "but upon further research it became clear that the narrative would be effective in a variety of formats," she said. Her creations for EXPO 16 included a storybook, an augmented reality pop-up book, and an animation for the Microsoft HoloLens.


Through The HoloLens

In 2015, Microsoft asked colleges and universities to demonstrate the role and possible applications for holographic computing in society. Additional goals were to stimulate and advance academic research in mixed reality and encourage applications of holograms for novel purposes. The Design department’s proposal of using holographic technology in visual and performing arts education led to working with Microsoft HoloLens to create a mixed reality exhibit. Original creative work by Cornish students from Dance, Design, and Theater were recorded on a 360 degree soundstage and then rendered as holographic videos. Additionally, student animations and motion designs were produced specifically for viewing on the HoloLens device. Lines extended out the door for both days of viewing, with both those interested in the latest technology and those intrigued by the artistic possibilities waiting patiently to experience the work.

While the exhibit is now closed, the seniors who participated in the project are continuing to discuss how this will influence their future work. Once dancer noted that such filming allowed her to see her body from all angles, which opens up new possibilities in both learning and creating work.

2000 Terry Avenue, Seattle

2014 9th Avenue Seattle

Exhibition Hours 

Wednesday - Sunday 1:00 - 6:00 PM