A network of paper flowers pulses on a wall and ethereal sounds hover in the air, issuing forth as you lift lids from tall clay vessels, whose forms curve and twist like bodies in motion. A dark booth draped in plastic sheeting, where thin streams of water rain from a circuitry of tubes, awaits a participant to activate a light show based on neural impulses. 

Further into the culminating exhibition for Pratt Institute’s 2022 graduates studying Interactive Arts, a landscape lit in iridescent tones invites you to pluck amorphous forms from the wall, powdery scents emanating from the objects’ white fur. A wave of your hand in the space above a plinth, outfitted with a sensor, produces mesmerizing trails on a screen, feathery lines that gently dissolve like ink drawn through water on a thick brush. You could free tigers from a burning forest in VR, nestle between two towering Henson-esque monsters whose mouths project a distorted image of a familiar space, or reflect on the sensation of time passing as you place small rocks into a churning tube that cycles the stones in and out in a loop.

The capstone and thesis work of the newest cohort of BFA and MFA alumni in the Digital Arts program’s Interactive Arts concentration, presented in a group show at TriBeCa’s One Arts Space Gallery in May, used digital media in a multitude of ways to physically engage visitors in the artists’ inquiries and concerns. Their installations and environments invited viewers to look, listen, smell, grasp, toggle, touch, gesture, and meditate, to unlock new sensorial experiences realized through AR/VR, programming, physical computing, and more.

This year, Pratt Institute’s Department of Digital Arts celebrates 35 years treading, pushing, and bounding past the edges of emergent technology’s applications in art. Interactive Arts—now named, for the BFA program, Art and Technology—negotiates a particular hinge point, where physical and virtual, tactile and digital meet, dissolving the boundaries of the art experience and offering new modes for understanding our humanity and imagining our place in the world, in this moment and projecting into the future.

White box gallery with artwork projected on walls, hung from rafters, and installed on a platform, and people viewing the work
Installation view of the 2022 MFA and BFA Interactive Arts show at One Arts Space Gallery. Work in foreground by Chenghong Tang, BFA Digital Arts ’22
Long cream colored ceramic vessels resembling human legs dancing and twisting with a handled lid on each vessel
Natalia Mrożek, MFA Digital Arts ’22, used digital models to inform physical sculptures, clay vessels that release sound when viewers remove their lids. “Working with a mix of tangible and digital elements as my medium, I hope to challenge traditional form in itself—how to compose an object that is soft and hard, composed of light and of darkness,” Mrożek writes in her artist statement.
A computer screen with data on a platform next to a large box draped in black cloth and clear plastic where an artist in a black dress stands illuminated from above with eyes closed
For Pluvialis, Tzu Chi Chuang, BFA Digital Arts ’22, explored the mind’s power in governing the body, sensory experience, and perception. Sensors attached to a headpiece worn by a participant (in this case, the artist) picked up neural impulses, which translated into flashes of light that illuminated rivulets of steadily flowing water within a darkened booth, causing the streams to appear interrupted, droplet-like—“jiggling constantly, changing subtly, they discretize and reconnect,” a meditation on the vacillations of feeling and our understanding of our place in the world.
Two tall red monsters face one another in front of a wall with an oval projection of a laundromat scene
In this work by Henri Lane, BFA Digital Arts ’22, viewers are invited to nestle between two towering, mechanized figures reminiscent of benevolent monster characters from childhood.
In an installed landscape lit in iridescent tones with furry sculptures on the walls a viewer holds a small white sculpture
GLOAM: An interactive sensory space to play and be, by Halley Bohm, BFA Digital Arts ’22, invites viewers to become immersed in an environment that changes as they interact with the space, evoking the motion of water. “This work is a fluid space for all people, but especially trans and queer people, to be able to explore our senses and limitlessness through our bodies, as so many spaces aren’t intended for that type of intimacy and exploration,” Bohm writes in their artist statement.
A viewer holds their hand above a plinth in front of a screen showing an image of a tree against a fiery orange and purple background
Trees represent “the starting point for re-creation,” “bystanders to the river of time” in The Memory of the Tree by Yanan Zhu, MFA Digital Arts ’22, which uses hand-tracking software to translate the viewer’s gestures into visual effects on a screen, showing a tree growing and blossoming against a backdrop of images that could be impressions from distant memories.
A screen shows a basketball going through a hoop shown from below
The Memory of the Tree by Yanan Zhu, MFA Digital Arts ’22
A viewer wearing a VR headset gestures in front of a screen showing a tiger with a forest on fire behind them
Takeo Yabuki, BFA Digital Arts ’22, created a VR installation, Expanding Appetite, Then, transporting viewers into a burning tropical forest where they can interact with Sumatran tigers, a species facing extinction as deforestation threatens their habitat.
In front of a large panel with red strips and white folded paper flowers, a tablet screen shows an image of that work overlaid with an orange cloud
EKA in Natural-Abstract Realities, a kinetic sculpture by Jahnavi Nirmal, MFA Digital Arts ’22, incorporates origami flowers and Warli painting, a form of Indian folk art, with an augmented reality filter that visualizes the sun’s life-giving energy upon the physical landscape.
A viewer gestures with their hand above a plinth in front of a projection of dark brushstrokes on a white background
Daeun Her, MFA Digital Arts ’22, invites the viewer to experience the act of calligraphic painting beyond the realm of touch. With their virtual strokes projected on a wall, the viewer’s gestures in the air above a sensor generate inky black lines that feather and dissolve in a watery field. Her says in an artist statement: “This work attempted to express the relationship between physical action in reality and digital action in virtual reality.”
A wall projection showing dark brushstrokes and dots at the center of a white field
Daeun Her, MFA Digital Arts ’22

Image at top: Halley Bohm, BFA Digital Arts ’22, wove multisensory elements into their work—plaster sculptures could be held, smelled, and repositioned on a wall draped in soft faux fur as light and sound shifted, triggered by motion sensors.