Describe when you first became interested in the Interactive Arts and Media major.
I am from Hinsdale, Illinois and transferred to Columbia after a year as an English major at the University of Iowa. I realized that English was not for me, nor was the school. I wanted to do something artsy, but wasn’t sure what I actually wanted to study. I have always enjoyed a variety of artistic media, so choosing one was difficult. While looking at Columbia’s list of majors, I literally went through and researched each one to help narrow down my choices. This is when I found the Interactive Arts and Media major.
The most appealing part of the IAM major is that it involves the study of a variety of media and skills, and you are free to combine these in a variety of ways. You are not required to choose a specific focus. I have been able to take all sorts of classes, from animation to programming to video production.
Another aspect of the IAM major I found extremely appealing was its applicability to the real world. I find it very inspiring that there are true “starving artists” and I admire them for their love and dedication. I, however, would like to be doing something I love as a career. Considering the increasing need for digital expression and communication, I am confident I have chosen the right major.
What has your experience been in the IAM department?
I love it here. The friends I’ve made are not only awesome in terms of their personalities, but also that they are as driven and passionate about what they do as I am. It’s so refreshing to be around people who are not just going to college, but really immersing themselves in what they do, in and out of the classroom. The teachers here are of course the same way. They truly want their students to succeed and because of this, there is overwhelming support.
What are some of the projects you are working on?
One project I’ve been working on is called “Ridiculosities.” It’s an interactive website containing a non-linear story I started in my Story Development class and have continued to develop. It is not a story in the traditional sense, but a series of conversations, quips and anecdotes that involve many of the same characters. All of the characters are loosely based on real people, but their names are reduced to single letters. I chose the title “Ridiculosities” because much of the content is humorous. There is a lot of 2013ambiguity as to the characters and the context of some of the vignettes, but this was completely intentional. All in all, it is a collection of strange and humorous events that have happened in my life that are best expressed in a completely vague but engaging environment.
Another project I am working is called “500 DIVs,” which began as an experiment a year ago. After completing Introduction to Programming and Authoring Interactive Media, I decided to write a program in C# that would generate CSS and HTML markup to create a simple design that changes each time the program is run. It is essentially a piece of software art, which is a piece of software or code created not to generate art, but to be art. I have since modified the original program in various ways to test its capabilities, and to create similar child programs that will produce more dynamic imagery.
What do you want to do when you graduate?
I want to be a front-end web developer and work for an interactive design company like The Material Group or Digitas. These companies have produced projects that are incredibly imaginative and seamlessly constructed, providing me with inspiration and the drive to work as hard as I can. I want to someday be part of a team that can create interactive web experiences like none have ever seen.
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