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New center will explore and expand the use of digital technologies in education and the arts

This fall, Yale University will open the Digital Media Center for the Arts (DMCA), a multimedia, state-of-the-art facility dedicated to exploring how digital technology can advance education and promote interdisciplinary interactions in the arts.

Carol Scully, an artist and scholar who helped develop the use of digital technologies at the Yale School of Medicine, has been named as the first director of the DMCA, according to an announcement by Provost Alison F. Richard.

The DMCA will examine the potentials created when traditional art collides with the computer age and explore the broad interdisciplinary possibilities of the new electronic technologies. The new facility is located in renovated space on the first floor of 149 York St., near many of the Yale organizations the DMCA will serve. These include the Schools of Art, Architecture, Drama and Music; the undergraduate film studies, history of art and related art-major programs; and the Yale Center for British Art and Yale University Art Gallery. In addition, the Art and Architecture Library and Information Technology Services (ITS) will be active constituents of the center, which will be overseen by a 10-member advisory board composed of the deans and directors of these units.

The DMCA has two main missions. It will serve as an academic resource for faculty and students, who will be encouraged to take advantage of the advanced technologies, staff expertise and interdisciplinary programs at the center to enhance and expand their teaching and artistic projects. The DMCA will also work with Yale departments on a variety of projects designed to make the University's educational and artistic resources accessible to a broader audience via the World Wide Web and other digital-age technologies. Academic programs

"As education in the arts enters the 21st century, there is a growing realization that the traditional forms -- architecture, graphic design, music, painting, photography, sculpture and drama -- will be complemented by the common language of the computer," says Scully. "Each one of the artistic disciplines is trying to find out how best to take advantage of the opportunities that digital technologies offer."

To "break down the isolation" that has traditionally existed between these disciplines, the DMCA will offer courses that bring together students and faculty from Yale's diverse arts programs to explore the "unique possibilities for interactivity." including "experiments in digital imaging, time-based art forms and interactive modes of communication," says Scully. In addition, the center will provide faculty with multimedia tools and techniques that allow them to "access Yale's newly digitized arts databases in their classrooms," she adds.

Among the courses that the DMCA will offer during its first year of operation is "Digital Video Synthesis," a course encouraging interdisciplinary "experiments and explorations," which Scully has taught since 1995 at Yale. Other first-year DMCA courses will offer instruction in computer-aided design for theatrical stage sets and for architectural projects. Scully hopes the center will eventually offer programs in sound technology, visual studies and animation, among other topics.

Faculty and students in Yale's arts programs will be encouraged to take advantage of DMCA's facilities, which include a large computer classroom; a smaller computer studio for special projects and multimedia classes; a multi-camera studio for recording performances and developing programming for cable television and the Internet; and four editing suites for audio and video. In addition, Reproduction Imaging Services, part of ITS, will operate a high-end media conversion center on-site that is capable of producing large-scale digital prints for purchase by DMCA users.

"This is not a run-of-the-mill computer cluster," notes Scully, "These are dedicated, high-end stations." The DMCA will initially be open weekdays 8:30 a.m. through 11 p.m., although this schedule may change over time in response to students' needs, she says.

Other DMCA projects

The DMCA's staff and work-study students will also collaborate with University departments to develop "new approaches to the collections at Yale, to make them more accessible to the world" via CD ROMs, multimedia websites and other distance-learning experiments with broad bandwidth digital transmission technologies, says Scully.

For instance, the DMCA will help launch a website project to develop a teachers resource guide to the African Art collection at the University Art Gallery. This multimedia website will provide "non-linear access " to Yale's collections and scholars and could be used by area instructors. to help them prepare their classes for visits to Yale museums or to "allow them to keep revisiting the artworks they've seen in the galleries," Scully explains. The DMCA will also work with the Art and Architecture Library on their existing project "Imaging America" to provide streaming audio and video files for their web-based project which will result in a 25,000 image database derived from Yale's existing library and museum collections as well as from other collections..

Still other projects being launched by the DMCA are designed "to challenge the limits of digital imaging," says Scully. These include: "Virtual BAC (British Art Center)," which will allow curators at the Yale Center for British Art to use a three-dimensional computer model of the museum to design new exhibit installations; "Art on Demand," which will showcase student work in film studies and digital video using the latest interactive webcast methods; and "IT-IT (International Theatre-Interactive Telecommunications)," which will make possible interactive rehearsals between individuals at the Yale Repertory Theatre and St. Petersburg Academy of Theatre Arts in Russia or elsewhere around the globe.

Further information about the Digital Media Center for the Arts is available at the following website: www.yale.edu/dmca.

Experience with computers and the arts

In announcing the appointment of Carol Scully as the DMCA's first director, Provost Alison F. Richard noted: "Ms. Scully's academic training and professional experience -- most recently as manager of video services in the Yale School of Medicine's Biomedical Communications unit, as well as lecturer in computer-aided design in the Schools of Art and Architecture -- make her the ideal leader for this innovative, interdisciplinary center."

Scully has, in fact, had first-hand experience in many of the artistic disciplines that DMCA will encompass. She holds a B.F.A. in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design, a M.S. in art education from Southern Connecticut State University and a M.F.A. in film and video from the University of Massachusetts (UMass) at Amherst. In addition, she studied digital video synthesis at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Film Study Institute, videodisc production at the University of Nebraska, 3-D computer animation at Pratt Institute and web graphics at United Digital Artists in New York City.

During her college years, Scully worked making architectural models for renowned architect Louis I. Kahn, (designer of both the Yale Art Gallery and the British Art Center), and later went on to do the same for architectural firms in Hamden, Connecticut and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has been a video engineer for WGBY-TV, the PBS affiliate in Springfield, Mass.; program director for Continental Cablevision community television in Northampton, Mass.; and production manager for Think Group Productions, an independent production house in Amherst, Mass. As president of On Line Video in New Haven since 1986, Scully has explored the potential of using video in performance art and other venues.

Scully came to Yale in 1991 as a producer at Biomedical Communications, where she was involved in creating a variety of educational and promotional programs. In 1997, she was named manager and senior producer of Biomedical Communications, Teleproduction and Internet Media Services at the medical school. In addition to serving as a lecturer for the past four years at the School of Architecture and Art, Scully has taught everything from drawing to basic design, serigraphy, lithography, art history, computer graphics, animation and video production to classes at such diverse institutions as Keene State College in New Hampshire to UMass-Amherst, Continental Cablevision, the Yale Psychiatric Institute and the Media Arts Center in New Haven.

Her many projects over the years have included working as a cell artist on the animated film "Air-Conditioned Comfort," which took second prize at the New York International Film Festival in 1974; "This is My Land," a documentary created in association with the Native American group Big Mountain Legal Offense/Defense Committee; "Emerging Infections Information Network," the medical school's first online course; and "Intro to Biotechnology," a weekly lecture course produced in association with Yale's Boyer Center of Molecular Medicine that was transmitted live to Paris with interactive Q&A sessions; and the Yale University Art Gallery website.