The British University in Dubai Hosts Agent Lab Fellow on Tri-Continental Tour

Published June 16th, 2007 - 04:03 GMT

Contemporary artists are fusing rapidly with the technology they use, recasting the visual and scenic arts in dramatic new forms.

That’s the astonishing claim made by composer, filmmaker, dancer and community project manager Professor Phillipe Pasquier, who is visiting Dubai as part of a world tour. Audiences have been impressed by his presentation “Trends in Digital Media: A Two Dimensional Analysis”.

In this lecture, Professor Pasquier demonstrates what has changed since the recent past, when artists and their tools were perceived as separate entities by their audiences, who could tell where, for instance, the violinist stopped and the violin began.

Modern artistic technologies – including some of the software Pasquier has himself invented – erase this distinction. This can be seen in the explosive growth of the website YouTube allowed video-sharing audiences to become broadcasters in their own right.

“My work includes developing motion-tracking software that turns dancers into composers, by creating electronic sounds that correspond to an individual’s movements. While technology brings audiences and artists together, it also makes the distinction between artists and scientists less clear-cut,” said Pasquier.

Discussion focused on the challenges to human creativity and aesthetic judgment posed by this thesis, which involves an artistic “Turing Test” – seeing if an art-producing computer could demonstrate independent thought. Questions of copyright and responsibility are also posed by Pasquier’s work.

“A visit from a distinguished computer scientist and digital artist of Professor Pasquier’s international standing is evidence that our Institute of Informatics is an attractive environment for innovative research,” said Dr. Iyad Rahwan of the British University in Dubai.

BUiD graduates are from a wide range of backgrounds. All the degrees offered at BUiD are at Masters level, meaning that students are often experienced individuals with established careers. The majority combined part-time study with regular employment in order to obtain their new qualification. Over half the students at BUiD are UAE nationals.

The professional emphasis at BUiD is based on the division of the University into five distinctive institutes. While few BUiD students are practicing artists, the Institute of Informatics is proud to host Professor Pasquier as part of its innovative and interdisciplinary project-based work, which means that staff and students can be found at a wide range of international conferences and symposiums. The Institute’s diverse range of research interests is clearly expressed in its close collaboration with Pasquier.

About Phillipe Pasquier

Phillipe Pasquier is available for interview in Dubai until 28 June 2007. See for more information.

About the British University in Dubai

The British University in Dubai (BUiD) is the Middle East’s first research-based, postgraduate university. The University was established to facilitate access to world-class education, training and research in the Middle East. BUiD aspires to the highest, internationally recognized British standards as reflected in its partnership with the University of Edinburgh, the University of Birmingham, the University of Manchester, Cardiff University and the Cass Business School at City University, London. Each has a five or five-star rating in the UK national Research Assessment Exercise that signifies research of international standard.

The not-for-profit university offers full and part-time Masters Degree programmes and Continuing Professional Development courses in Information Technology, Project Management, the Built Environment, Finance and Banking, Education and IT Management.

All BUiD’s current Masters Programmes have received Accreditation Eligibility Status from the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research’s Commission for Academic Accreditation.

The founders of the University are the Al Maktoum Foundation, the Dubai Development and Investment Authority, Rolls-Royce, the British Business Group and the National Bank of Dubai. The University is governed by a Council under the chairmanship of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

The Emirates Group, DUCAB, Atkins, Dubai Duty Free, Hyder Consulting, the Emirates Foundation and DUGAS are supporters of the university through financial contributions or the provision of scholarships.



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