LIT at the Ars Electronica: A Student’s Perspective

They say college is the best time of your life! The new-found freedom, all-night study sessions with classmates and friends, making new friends, and partying! But alas, the coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench into student life and like many other college students around the world, JKU students found their lives turned upside down. Lisa Caligagan, a student in the JKU’s Artificial Intelligence program, created a LIT project that visualizes student life and the pandemic.

JKU Student Lisa Caligagan.
JKU Student Lisa Caligagan.

Can you briefly describe your project?
Lisa Caligagan: The project came about after reflecting on the past year and a half and thinking about how the pandemic affected students’ everyday lives. We extracted data on the past semesters online and used embroidery to visualize a data cloud. We used our needles and thread to convey information such as how long the online streams were and the number of presentation slides transformed from digital to analog in an attempt to process and visually express this particular time period.

Where did the idea or inspiration come from?
Lisa Caligagan: The original idea was to show how the media (under)represented students during the lockdowns. The media didn’t focus as much on students as they did on schools, retail, and restaurants. This project was changed and shaped by personal, even stressful, experiences during the last semester. The work is the result of a process that includes both emotional, factual, and tangible aspects during the past semesters.

How do you describe the way your project fuses science and art?
Lisa Caligagan: In addition to studying AI, I have a background in sculpture so when it comes to representing and implementing the acquired data, the approach is exploratory, analytical, creative, and artistic.

What does "A New Digital Deal" mean when it comes to your project; or, what would you like to see as part of a "New Digital Deal"?
Lisa Caligagan: My vision for a "New Digital Deal" is almost utopian in nature as I would like to see a more respectful, transparent approach to data and an attempt to make corresponding tools, resources, and opportunities more available to everyone.

What has been the most challenging part of executing the project?
Lisa Caligagan: Using up an insane amount of embroidery needles!

Learn more about the JKU projects at the 2021 Ars Electronica Festival, opens an external URL in a new window