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EDP Alumnus Helps Design Interactive Art Exhibit

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Jessica Comola

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Natura Obscura

"What's your nature?" That's the question at the core of Natura Obscura, and ongoing immersive experience through the Museum of Outdoor Arts (MOA). The MOA describes this interactive art exhibit as "stepping into your favorite painting, where you can hear, smell, touch and explore everything around you."

Natura Obscura brings together over 30 artists in Colorado, including current students and alumni of DU's Emergent Digital Practices (EDP) program. By emphasizing multimedia work that brings together artists, technologists, and new media creatives, EDP fosters innovation on campus and in the greater Denver community.

Current EDP students and alumni are some of the innovative minds involved in bringing this art experience to life. Alumnus Travis Powell (BFA '17), one of the resident artists at the Museum of Outdoor Arts, helped design and build the exhibit.

travis powell

"Natura Obscura is an immersive forest experience that lets viewers explore and discover little secrets in an interactive way. The alumni team created the Synthetic Nature gallery, a portal to a futuristic forest where viewer interaction transforms the video, audio, and lit trees into a new and open environment."

Powell explains how his time at DU led to work on this exhibit: "What greatly shaped my work during my time in EDP was that I decided to take a video and projection mapping class with Laleh Mehran who is a master with video art. What sparked my career in live performance was the class Expanded Cinema with Trace Reddell."

"Now I work in video art, animation, projection mapping, live visuals, and found-art sculpture," Powell continues. "I'm inspired by the ability to completely transform an environment through video and projection mapping. I like the idea of being able to work with and use what already exists in this world to provide a full experience."

Powell first connected with MOA in 2016 through Design & Build, an educational internship for emerging artists. MOA's Design & Build program brings together current students, alumni, professional creatives, and the larger community. Whether working as an alumnus or student intern, the program allows artists to collaborate from initial concept to final installation, giving them hands-on experience in the public art process every step of the way.

Powell encourages current EDP and other DU students to take advantage of opportunities like those offered through MOA. "Go to everything you can and just meet people," he encourages. "Seeing what others are creating in this ever-evolving field is a great way to help inspire your own work, and you never know where or when an opportunity will present itself."