Statement by Dr. Carl Weiman
I became involved in Gateway as an Adjunct Professor, teaching one semester of EID111 each, in the Spring of 1999, and in both Fall 2000 and Fall 2001, "Equally Avatar, Humans, Machines and Virtual Beings".
These Gateway-sponsored course bring students from all disciplines together in creative projects. Coming myself from an engineering background, I team taught the Spring 1999 course with two creative artists, Adrianne Wortzel and Liselot van der Heijden, with backgrounds in theater, web and multimedia. Both had founder's experience in teaching the course, and were critically important to my personal and professional development. I learned much from them, and also learned about the fields and the talents of students from the non-engineering (Arts and Sciences) backgrounds. In summary, Gateway enriched my personal and professional development, forever changing (improving!) my approach to teaching, project leadership and the development of interdisciplinary curricula.
The theme of the EID111 course, Robotics and Theater, and the surprising richness of the student projects, demonstrated that teams of engineers and artists synergize creative power greater than either group produces individually. In isolation, artists are handicapped by lack of agility in the technologies developed under the recent and ongoing computer/web revolution. Engineers, driven by narrow technical specifications in the division of labor customary in the practice of their profession, are fascinated by the power and beauty of artistic talent, and eager to participate in the accompanying recognition and sense of fulfillment. We (faculty) feel so strongly about the power of this combination, experienced in teaching the Gateway course, that in January 2000 we were successful in our application for a $99,000 CCLI grant from NSF to purchase mobile robots to launch a larger scale continuation of these interdisciplinary collaborations.
Our Gateway experience has launched a commitment to an interdisciplinary project in Robotics and Theater, to be incorporated into the Cooper Union curriculum. We are currently also seeking funding from art patrons for production of a public theatrical performance and critically refereed installations as well as further funds from the NSF for extending our development of curriculum.
Statement by Adrianne Wortzel
Artist/Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
EID111 is an interdisciplinary design projects course supported by The Gateway Engineering Education Coalition. Since its inception the course has had many incarnations in terms of content for each semester it is given. Architecture, Art and Engineering students collaborate in researching, planning and executing projects which range from practical to totally imaginative. Allprojects must be researched, documented and developed with schematics, models, reports and final projects in varied tangible such as web sites, models, drawings, videos, reports, animations, plays or other narrative texts, CD-ROM authoring, etc.
I began co-teaching the course in the Fall of 1996 with Professor Jean Le Mée and Liselot van der Heijden with "Inventing the Inventor". Students researched and developed inventions of their own making, including new systems for time and spatial management in the form of aural personal calendars, and re-interpretations and new uses for structures such as the "Bucky Ball".
The second course I team-taught with Liselot van der Heijden, was "Projects for Governors Island. This class was taught in partnership with a class at Polytechnic Institute. Projects included a pedestrian system for a participatory democratic center for alternative New York cultural institutions-a counter-cultural as a park of walls and landscaping.
The next course was on "Bridges", taught collaboratively in the Fall of 1998 with Liselot van der Heijden and Professor Cosmas Tzavelis. Student projects included Bridges for a Delaware Water Gap Tourist Park and a bridge for The Bering Strait. Web site documentation of "Bridges" and "Governors Island" can be viewed at: http://www.cooper.edu/engineering/projects/gateway/MYMUP/.
These were followed by teaching one semester of EID111 each, on Robotis and Theater, in the Spring of 1999, Fall 2000 and Fall 2001.
I am an artist who creates works on the world wide web (http://artnetweb.com/wortzel) as well as robotic installations and performance productions. Therefore the subject of Robotics and Theater is one I feel privileged to teach. I have team-taught this subject in EID111 in the Spring of 1999 ("Robotics and Theater") and in both Fall 2000 and Fall 2001, "Equally Avatar, Humans, Machines and Virtual Beings".
As an artist and educator, my collaboration with scientists and an artist from another discipline in these courses is critically important to my personal and professional development. I learned much from them, and from the fields and the talents of students from the engineering backgrounds. These courses enrich my personal and professional development, developing my approach to teaching, project leadership and the development of interdisciplinary curricula in the new ways which I believe will serve the students well in the developing world outside of their university experience.