Motherboard: Richardson’s High-Tech Past, Present, and Future Honored in New UTD Art Installation

UT Dallas' School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC) is unveiling its modular sculptural installation tomorrow. The 30-foot-long installation—made of steel, LED lighting, and projections—will be housed in the Richardson Innovation Quarter (aka The IQ).

The University of Texas at Dallas School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC) has created a 30-foot-long installation to highlight the past, present, and future of the City of Richardson as a hub for technology. 

Named MotherBoard, the installation is composed of steel, LED lighting, and projection elements. It was funded by the Eisemann Edge Endowment Fund, then created by ATEC faculty, students, and alumni at UTD. Once completed, the massive display demonstrates a celebration of Richardson’s history, accomplishments, and technological contributions.

“We use the motherboard idea to address a number of tech topics such as the integrated circuit board, which has been important not only to the city of Richardson but also, in many ways, to UT Dallas,” Andrew Scott, an ATEC associate professor of arts and technology, said in a statement.

The modular sculptural installation is part of a multiyear interactive arts experience funded by the Eisemann Edge Endowment Fund.

The fund was initiated by a $250,000 donation from longtime Richardson community benefactors and civic leaders, Ann and Charles Eisemann. The Eisemann Center and the City of Richardson teamed up with ATEC at UTD to create the program and give the city and students an opportunity to explore the intersection of arts and technology.

The fund will support a new ATEC project each spring for the next two years.

“We very much like the goal of continuing to progress and lead the arts toward new and innovative discoveries as technology reshapes our senses, perceptions and reality,” the Eisemanns said in a statement. “We think this will help grow new artistic leadership and create something new that will last into the future and help the arts innovate over time.”

MotherBoard is the first of three spring installations to be funded through the Eisemann endowment. The flagship project blends visual art and technology and utilizes cutting-edge projection equipment and the combined powers of digital art, light, and 3D mapping. 

ATEC Lightsquad’s masterwork of art, design, and circuitry

The interactive art project is an example of the collaborative activities ATEC specializes in. The school, which includes artists, designers, scientists, researchers, and “reflective practitioners” across disciplines, experiments with emerging technologies to create knew knowledge and explore ideas around leading-edge topics and pressing social issues.

It took a team of some 18 people to create Motherboard. The “ATEC Lightsquad,” two ATEC professors, one staff member, ten students, and five alumni, worked alongside each other outside of class to bring it to life. The motherboard idea is an homage to tech topics and the integrated circuit, in a nod to Richardson-based Texas Instruments invention. 

“It’s amazing the genius that our students possess in so many areas—such as lighting, artistic design and painting,” Roxanne Minnish, a senior lecturer in ATEC, said in a statement. “There are so many aspects and layers to this installation. There’s not one person who could have done it alone.”

Inside the installation is a circuitry-designed piece that’s programmed to interact with the audience. Also included are HoloFan blades that swirl to create images while the ceiling above is highlighted with LED projections. Both components reflect improvements in the projector industry. 

Motherboard unveils in the Richardson Innovation Quarter

The sculpture will be unveiled tomorrow at the Charles W. Eisemann Center for Performing Arts in the recently renamed Richardson Innovation Quarter (The IQ, for short), which sits in the heart of Richardson’s Telecom Corridor. The innovation districts new moniker tells a story designed to establish a location (Richardson), its purpose (Innovation), and a community (Quarter).

Paul Voelker, the mayor of Richardson, said the Eisemann Edge program “embodies Richardson’s pioneering embrace of technology, and how it can be used not only in the business world and everyday life, but also to enrich our arts and cultural experiences.”

Motherboard will be on view at the Eisemann Center in Richardson through March 29. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The exhibit is free and open to the public. 


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