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Redefining the future of tech

How can technology help introverts and extroverts better understand each other? How can Augmented Reality (AR) bring people closer together? What would it be like to design your clothes in Virtual Reality (VR)? 
Read on to find out how 2019’s graduates across the RCA are developing groundbreaking ideas that challenge the status quo – from exploring VR environments as new domains for creativity, to making tools to better equip designers and artists for future innovation.

1. Liang Zou, MA Painting, Insight

In Insight, Liang Zou created seven VR rooms based on paintings he made before joining the RCA. This immersive environment destabilises our idea of what ‘painting’ can encompass. In order to create the work, Zou wrote his own code and painting programme, basing it on existing gaming technology. 

  • A blurred digital painting of a bedroom
    Insight, Liang Zou
  • 2. Samuel Capps, MA Contemporary Art Practice, preCurs0r 

    Samuel Capps’ preCurs0r is a hybrid sculpture/VR experience that illustrates the parallel between the natural world and cutting-edge technologies. Using Fredric Jameson’s analysis of how cultural trends can be mapped onto advances in technology, the work highlights the link between contemporary nuclear fusion and the preponderance of computer generated environments.

  • Six tall tentacle-like sculptures in a circle
    preCurs0r, Samuel Capps 2019
    Virtual Reality with Sculptural Installation
  • 3. Nico Conti, MA Ceramics & Glass, Of Lace and Porcelain

    Subverting the traditional ideas of making, Nico uses technologically advanced modelling processes combined with the human manipulation of clay to produce ‘defects’ in his sculptures. To make the work, Conti formulated a porcelain-like material that contains particles fine enough to create the delicate 3D printed forms.

    Two cream ceramic cylinders, with gold balls inserted
    Of Lace and Porcelain, Nico Conti 2019
    Porcelain, glaze and gold lustre
    4. Alexis Demetriades, MA Visual Communication, Artefacting

    Artefacting investigates the supposedly sterile 3D-printed replicas of museum artefacts – and the errors introduced through this mode of conservation. By taking a 3D scan of a 4,000-year-old grain grinding stone, creating a physical copy through CNC (computer numerical control) milling and then repeating the entire process, Alexis has layered digital processes to create something completely new yet familiar.

    A creamy white bust of a fragment of vase
    Artefacting (Grinding Stone, Jericho, Palestine, Middle Bronze Age), Alexis Demetriades (3D scan data from Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Cambridge)
    Modelling foam

    5. Julian Tapales, MA Information Experience Design, NATURATA, NATURANS

    NATURATA, NATURANS considers the binary between the analogue and the digital, asking whether the 3D representation of the artefact still retains its original power. Centreing a bulul – a carved wooden figure whose purpose is to receive the negative energies channeled during rituals to protect the rice crop – Julian’s work uses a 3D scanner and neural net trained on images of religion and spirituality to render a virtual bulul. 
    NATURATA, NATURANS, Julian Tapales (Alex Gruz) 2019 Digital, Moving Image
    NATURATA, NATURANS, Julian Tapales (Alex Gruz) 2019
    Digital, Moving Image
    2.5 x 3.5 metres

    6. Yanbin Cao, MA Animation, The Soloist

    Yanbin’s The Soloist is part virtual reality film, part game, based on research into introversion and extroversion. The project allows users to experience scenarios in an immersive way, with participants having to make decisions to gain points, which Yanbin hopes will enable people to better understand the mindset of introverts in social situations. 

  • A digital animated book in front of a mirror
    Library, Yanbin Cao
  • 7. Ryo Tada, MA Innovation Design Engineering, Fulu

    Ryo Tada’s Fulu is a new way for interacting with augmented reality interfaces that consists of a nail-mounted device. The item allows wearers to experience texture in the virtual world, while the finger pad ensures that the physical world is still accessible, a system Tada names ‘Augmented Touch’. 

    FULU, Ryo Tada (MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering, 2019) Interaction design, video and 3D printing W12mm x L20mm x t7mm | Photographer: Deo Suveera
    FULU, Ryo Tada (MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering, 2019) 2019
    Interaction design, video and 3D printing
    W12mm x L20mm x t7mm | Photographer: Deo Suveera
    8. Ciaran Moore, MA Textiles, B34

    Combining environmentally friendly fashion with virtual reality, Ciaran Moore’s B34 allows consumers to customise their fashion choices. Working with producers SOPHIE and Sega Bodega to create soundscapes, he created virtual textures and spaces to immerse the viewer in a multi-sensory environment. 

    A male model with a shaved head wearing a blue-green dress and necklace in front of a bronze liquid backdrop
    B34, Ciaran Moore (Jewellery, Guia Bertorello; model, Connor Newall; shoes, Hernan Guardamagna)
    9. Arya (Ximran) Huang, MA Design Products, Virtual Hiking

    Virtual Hiking is designed to combat motion sickness, a common occurrence in virtual reality experiences. Ayra (Ximran) Huang typifies this as the ‘confusion you feel when your vision tells your brain that you are moving, but all the other parts of the body tell your brain that you are still’, with the work taking the form of a walking stick that anchors the user. 

    A person's legs and feet. Next to them is a walking style style device with a wheel on the bottom
    Foot pads, Xinran (Arya) Huang 2019
    ABS, electronics, programming
    Photographer: Qian Wu