Every year the FRC committee receives numerous requests from a diverse and competitive pool of applicants for funding from across the five schools of CFA.  We are delighted to share the recipients from 2018 and hope that they inspire others.


Invasive Species

Super Invaders is a new collaboration with Nicole Heller, an ecologist and Curator of the Anthropocene at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. I have long used weeds and landscape in my drawings, prints and installations; with Dr. Heller, the museum’s botanical, invertebrate and vertebrate collections will form the basis of new work on invasive species. Together, we will lead a series of experimental tours in the landscape as well as create a portfolio of etchings and letterpress prints. Our project considers how we coexist with other creatures and plants and the ways we change each other.


Kim Beck, School of Art; and Nicole Heller, Museum Fellow; Curator of the Anthropocene at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Towards Sentient Matter: Architecture as a Mood Ring

This research explores interactions between material form and its embedded electromechanical controls, while using human emotiveness as an activation of change in material and spatial character. Contemporary advances in technology shape interactions between organic and inorganic systems and their mutual formation. Both physical and human matter are open to design. Based on last year work we propose to build a full scale functioning prototype - using thermal, tactile and thermochromic responses guided by embedded distributed control system that change in response to human physiology and thought


Dana Cupkova and Daragh Byrne, CMU Architecture

Snob Bog

Snob Bog is a series of interconnected site-specific animations. It will interpret ideas put forward in William A Gamson’s “Simulated Societies” to create pointedly humorous, animated vignettes that reveal social and political hierarchies in contemporary life. Visual recognition software will be used to identify common locations in grocery stores that will trigger animated events for the viewer using a cell phone or other mobile device.


James Duesing, School of Art, and Jessica Hodgins, CMU Computer Science

Web Platform for An Atlas of Commoning

"An Atlas of Commoning" is a travelling exhibition co-curated by Stefan Gruber and ARCH+ magazine for ifa. The requested funding is for developing a web platform that will make  the Atlas of case  studies featured in the exhibition accessible to a global audience. The platform is conceived as  growing and open knowledge archive, producing an invaluable documentation of local grassroots projects from all over the world. It will serve as a site for international exchange and reciprocal knowledge production, in short, a space of commoning.


Stefan Gruber, School of Architecture; Anh-Linh Ngo, editor in Chief of ARCH+ magazine; and Sabina Klemm, ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen)

Looking At You

LOOKING AT YOU is an immersive techno-noir music theater piece confronting the issue of privacy in a digitized age and the question of how loss of privacy could transform us as a global culture. Born of a collaboration between faculty from the CMU School of Drama and the CMU Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory, it tells a story of government surveillance and whistleblowing while using digital tools created for to data-mine the information of spectators during the show and feed it back to them in real time.


Rob Handel, School of Drama; Alessandro Acquisti, Heinz Information Technology and Public Policy

The Haptic Enviro-Sensing Metronome: an exploration into the felt experience

The Haptic Enviro-Sensing Metronome (HESM) is an exploration into the felt experience and the 'nudgability' of the participating actor. Using touch over sound or sight, we intend to lead the user through an event with a pulse that will ebb and flow in reaction to the environment by using environmental sensing, machine learning, and refined human-computer interaction. The HESM is an investigation into the power of touch, the human desire for harmony with our surroundings, and the challenge to machine learning to anticipate and foster this ideal.


Stephen Neely, School of Music; Gus Xia, PhD, Co-PI, Computer Science NYU Shanghai; Andrea Weinstein, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh; Curtis Boirum, Robotics Institute Carnegie Mellon University; Nicholas Pourazima, Master's student in Music Technology

The Mermaid Genome Project

Mermaids have historically represented the edge of what is knowable. They appear in times of uncertainty when our capacity to act on the world outpaces our understanding of it, whether we sail too far out to sea, or choose to believe beyond the bounds of evidence. I will use contemporary genomic techniques to create a plausible, though ultimately flawed, complete DNA sequence of a mermaid: a hallucination designed to be viewed with the tools of 21st century science. It will engage viewers in a conversation about how we evaluate truth.


Richard Pell, School of Art; Benjamin Vernot, Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology; Fred Gould, Professor of Agriculture, North Carolina State University, Center for Genomics and Society

The Bear with a Boy's Shadow: Experimental Narratives in Spatial Cinema

The Poyais Group is creating an immersive cinemagraphic narrative that tells the story of a town in an unknown time and place.  In this town the citizenry is terrorized by a bear.  Someone notices that the bear has the shadow of a boy.  Then they must track down which boy it is and reason with him. This story will be experienced by audiences in both real and virtual spaces using the technology of spatial cinema.  It will be presented in galleries using multi-channel video projection systems and in virtual spaces using Virtual Reality (VR) systems.


Jesse Stiles, School of Music; Olivia Robinson, Carnegie Mellon University (IDeATe Adjunct Instructor); Jesse Ball, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

The Edge of the Field (Carnegie International)

This collaborative art project will occur during the upcoming 57th edition of the Carnegie International. We will use our invitation to this highly selective exhibition as a loophole to invert the usual system of selection and inclusion. Throughout the exhibition we will utilize the museum as a studio for the manifestation and distribution of approximately 10,000 artworks that have been recorded to be rejected from prior Carnegie International exhibitions. The project imagines and enacts the invisible mountain of labor that lies below the tip what enters through the gates of high culture.


Jon Rubin, School of Art; Lenka Clayton, Artist