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2014 Hellman Fellow

Jesse Colin Jackson

Designing interactive creative experiences that permit physical engagement with information technology (UCI)

Jesse Colin Jackson is an artist and Associate Professor of Art at the University of California, Irvine. He was recently appointed to the inaugural role of Associate Dean, Research and Innovation at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts (CTSA) where he will design a vision and plan for faculty and student arts-based research. His creative practice focuses on object- and image-making as alternative modes of architectural production, informed by digital visualization and fabrication technologies.

In 2014, his Hellman Fellowship provided a much-needed respite from the pressures of academic fundraising at a critical pre-tenure moment. It permitted him to undertake a high-risk, high-reward project that he might have otherwise given up — translating the widely-adopted Marching Cubes algorithm into something people could build with in the real world. Pioneered by General Electric in 1987, Marching Cubes generate computer graphics from medical scan data and have since become a seminal visual language for virtual environments. Dr. Coleman developed a process to produce 3D printed constructions that permit users to assemble and interact with an object’s logic. A user’s guide presents the ability to produce a custom script with assembly instructions for any 3D scan or object model. By enacting a ubiquitous algorithm in the real world, his Fellowship project generated an interactive dialogue about how information technologies create the building blocks of contemporary culture.

Funding for creative research is difficult to secure and often comes with substantial strings attached, It would be no exaggeration to say that without a Hellman, I would never have brought my Marching Cubes work and all of its associated international successes to fruition.

– Jesse Colin Jackson, M.Arch.

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