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Institute of American Indian Art and the Digital Dome

posted Jan 30, 2013, 10:05 PM by Ellen Pearlman

Institute of American Indian Art and the Digital Dome

Digital Dome at IAIA - photo by John Hagen photography

The Institute of American Indian Art is the only four-year degree fine arts institution in the nation devoted to contemporary Native American and Alaska Native arts that promotes tribal sovereignty and self-determination and is located only fifteen minutes from the center of  Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Within the art school is a fully equipped digital dome for interactive and immersive experiences. It also happens to be the world’s only moveable digital dome, rotating 0 degrees to 90 degrees and can operate on the ceiling, the floor, or anywhere in between. 

Crowd enjoying the spectacle overhead - photo by Jesse Bennett

This is a different type of immersive environment with its own set of problems. Since it is an educational institution, part of their mandate is to share their problem solving of projection issues with the world, so they have their own blog. Part of that is how to shoot for the dome, which is working with the 360 degree sphere and HDR equipment. They go so far as to include a tutorial on how to shoot HDR for the Digital Dome.

Also they can VJ in the dome through MAX/MSP/Jitter and use the interfaceSyphon to do this in Module8.  Apparently the largest obstacles in what is referred to as the “VDome” involve spatial composition and distortion, color correction and then projector blending. 

This is actually, at this point, a curved 2D environment emulating a 3D environment. It certainly is immersive.  What I really like about this is that it is geared towards the native community to educate and sustain aspect of their culture and history.