From the electric telegraph to personal computers, from the participatory web to intelligent networks, our tools for communication and media production are constantly changing the ways we connect with one another. Interactive Media’s mission aims to make sense of these developments by demystifying their inner-workings and leveraging them as a means for creative expression, communication, and participation. While Interactive Media courses attempt to keep pace with the latest in transformative technologies, the program’s questions remain the same:
Can these technologies improve society and enrich the lives of everyone? Can their application address issues of equity, beauty, diversity, or the environment? Can they facilitate delightful experiences, engaging conversations, and meaningful relationships?
The Interactive Media program at NYU Abu Dhabi approaches these questions through an ethos of creativity, community, accessibility, playful exploration, and critical investigation. In practice, the program rests at the convergence of art, design, communications, computer science, and engineering. The technologies are posited not as an end in themselves but as a means to address fundamental questions pertaining to the human condition, complex relationships between ourselves and our mediated environment, and what it means to be an active participant in a world increasingly informed by computation and automation.
Course work routinely involves electronics, programming, practical research, and design. Students create interactive projects and prototypes of their own choosing that involve the creative use of hardware, software, and digital media. Iteration, implementation, and analysis are key factors throughout this active learning process. The intent is not to master any one technical domain, but rather to foster the confidence and literacy to critically engage in a diverse technical landscape. Emphasis is directed towards questioning the socio-cultural roots and effects of the tools as well as their aesthetic, political, and ethical implications.
The strength of the Interactive Media program ultimately lies in its ability to facilitate a supportive environment where students are encouraged to imagine new possibilities for expression. Through an ever-evolving project-based curriculum, communal work spaces, and an emphasis on bringing creative ideas to life, the program embodies a culture of collaboration and inclusivity applicable to people of all backgrounds and interests. As a result, a student graduating as an Interactive Media major might land at a major entertainment studio creating immersive virtual games or they might pursue a career in the health care sector designing innovative print-at-home prostheses. Regardless, graduates of this major will be empowered to more fully engage in a world where technical change is anticipated, collaboration between humans and technology is expected, and a fluency in interactive media is fundamental.