Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies Program

Freedom to Choose / Freedom to Create / Freedom to Travel

Class Projects of 2008-2012

Ethnic Studies Collaboration

spring 2012

Love, Labor, and Filipinas project group photo.Students working with family artifacts.

The LAES and Ethnic Studies programs and Dr. Grace Yeh collaborated on a year-long project recording the family stories, images, and historical artifacts from a generation of women immigrants from the Philippines who settled into the Central Coast of California between the 1930's and the 1950's.

Students and faculty, working together with the Filipina community, are creating a public digital archive that will eventually be linked to other Filipina/Filipino communities and histories from around the USA. The name of the project is "Love, Labor, and Filipinas" and will be available as a public archive on the web and as a portable app for smart phones.

Poly Ghost Exhibit

April 14 - June 3, 2011

Look The Other Way exhibit image.Look The Other Way exhibit invite.

This Kennedy Library Exhibit displayed the progress of a two-year-long development work that combined students and faculty from the colleges of Engineering and Liberal Arts.

The Poly Ghost is a wide ranging, interdisciplinary, mixed-media narrative technology project that takes actual Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo history from the 1890's through the 1940's and converts it into a large-scale, multi-player interactive digital ghost story that can be played and experienced all across the city of San Luis Obispo.

The project makes extensive use of hundreds of period images, texts and audio recordings cataloged in the Cal Poly Library and San Luis Obispo city archives. These historical materials are collected, digitized and creatively refashioned into a series of ghost-inhabited images, sounds and personal texts that are delivered to users of the Poly Ghost system through a type of competitive, ghost-centered treasure hunt.

Dance Collaborations

Spring 2011

Lighting and film work on Dance projects.

LAES students have worked on a variety of dance performances, including the Cal Poly Orchesis (opens in new window) Dance Concert.

Working with Diana Stanton from the Variable Velocity Performance Group, the students experimented with different interactive bio-metric technologies for her costume that could be incorporated into a live dance performance. Diana wore a light system that monitored her breathing and the sound of her feet on the stage while she danced and those sounds were registered in a string of light woven through her costume. While she danced, the beat of her heart was digitally amplified and turned into images for the screen.

The students created most of the technology themselves using cardboard, a fanny pack, some battery packs, an iPhone camera and iTunes.

Julius Caesar

February 25 - March 6, 2010

Scene from the play Julius Caesar.LAES student working behind the scenes of the play Julius Caesar.

LAES students tested a wide range of theatrical effects, such as a variety of digital lighting, sound and scenery elements to support the Winter 2010 Department of Theater and Dance "Julius Caesar" performance.

The show was quite successful, and toward the end of the run, a KCACT reviewer who is also a director for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre, Region 8 (opens in new window), the region of the competition that includes Cal Poly, dropped in for a visit.

While "Julius Caesar" was not entered into the KCACT competition, a "Special Merit for Achievement in Theater" was awarded to the production technical design team (comprised mostly of LAES students).

Poly House

Spring 2008

This Poly House (opens in new window) project was to completely revise a home in Nipomo for the family that lives there. LAES students documented the complex construction and management of the project and also pitched in to do a good deal of the physical labor involved in this extremely worthwhile social project.

Intimate Transactions

Summer 2008

A team of LAES students built and ran this interactive electronic artwork, created by an Australian team of artists and engineers that collaborated with the new media arts festival in Beijing during the Summer Olympics.

Intimate Transactions (opens in new window) with Australia and Beijing went live on June 7 and ran through June 17. LAES students were responsible for running the "American Node" of the show.

Cal Poly student monitoring IT computers during the show.Cal Poly students building the platform.Chinese participant aboard the IT platform.

The show was a huge success for the organizers in China. Keith Armstrong, Intimate Transactions Designer, said that everyone was very impressed with the Cal Poly connection. The fact that we were the only open and direct connection to the USA during the entire show (which had over 100 other exhibits and installations) was an intense draw for the work.

Keith said they averaged over 1,000 visitors a day, with huge crowds gathered around when they were directly connected to our site at Cal Poly. There was a line of over 2,000 people waiting to get in every morning, most of whom were all hoping to get a chance to try out Intimate Transactions.

Corporate Media Visits

April 24-25, 2008

LAES Students outside Warner Brothers studios.LAES students outside the Paramount Studios main gate.

Our first group of LAES program students took a field trip to Los Angeles to visit the production studios and workshops for a number of our new commercial partners. Students visited the studio and office facilities for Warner Brothers, THX Best Practices Lab, Raleigh Studios, Paramount Studios and one of the major design workshops for Disney Imagineering.

As a result of this field trip, LAES students have been offered a number of internship positions with THX Best Practices Lab and with Warner Brothers television production division.

Lumiere Ghosting

Spring 2008

Full body reflection inside the unit.  Lumiere Ghosting project class discussion.

The Lumiere Ghosting is an interactive 3D cinema theater device connected to other theater devices through a high-speed Internet connection. Participants in each device can see, talk to, and freely interact with other participants from distant locations who are represented as full-scale 3D interactive puppets modeled on the actual images of the live participants.

A video demonstrates what this system might look like and how participants would interact within the space. The space is designed to be portable and easy to assemble, therefore the video demonstrates how the different components of the space come together to form the entire theater, and then takes viewers inside the space to demonstrate how the 3D puppets are created from images of the participants.

Related Content

LAES 301 Class

Engineering and Art unite in LAES 301 project-based introductory course.

The class is open to all second year and above Cal Poly majors and provides innovative hands-on work, in a team setting, for real-life projects.

Contact us for a permission number.

Class Info (pdf)

LAES Club

The LAES Club exists to bring together students interested in creative technologies, to collaborate on interdisciplinary projects and learn about and network with members of the industry.

Stay tuned for their Fall 2016 meeting schedule.

About the Club

About LAES

The B.A. degree program in Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies (LAES) is jointly offered by the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Engineering.

The program prepares students for a wide range of innovative careers in emerging professional fields that combine skills and interests in the arts, technology, and culture.

About LAES

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Please help LAES continue to provide quality interdisciplinary education for our students.

Your gifts will help foster this unique program and extend its impact by enabling more students to collaborate with each other and faculty, in innovative ways, in the area of expressive and emerging technologies.

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