October 4, 2019

…the world that we see changes.  

Research into emerging media is not simply about exploring new technologies to see what they can do, or discovering the ways that they can improve on pre-existing media, it is about understanding the way that these new forms of experience shape our perception and understanding of the world.  The Blended Reality project at Yale is interested in exploring new media using an arts based approach to research. Rather than begin with a hypothesis that we aim to validate, we look for projects interested in upending our expectations and current paradigms by exploring the space in between success and failure.  Our goal is not to optimize emerging technology but to synthesize it in such a way that its unique features become accessible to a broader audience.


Participants in the program are not providing answers, they are asking questions and operating in a context that does not use success or failure as a metric.  Projects are not measured by how well they perform their stated goals but by the extent to which their exploration reshapes our understanding of the technology and its potential.  A low-stakes environment is one where risk is encouraged and where failure is seen as a learning opportunity. The advantage of a low-stakes environment is that while there is not much to lose, there are no limits to the potential for gain.  The metric of our success is not the number of projects that have achieved their initial goal but the number of participants whose creative trajectory is forever altered by their participation in the program.

My thanks to several colleagues for their engagement and support; Randall Rode, my partner in this project, whose leadership and outreach have been instrumental to our success; and Jennifer Glass, Miriam Schroers, and Bobby Berry for their invaluable contributions to creating an active, engaged, and informed community.  They are the ones who kept things moving and cleared away obstacles for participants when they arose. Of course none of this work is possible without the contributions of the faculty and students who participate in the project,

Our research work is made possible through the generous support of HP.inc.  The members of their Immersive Experiences Lab welcomed faculty and students into their facilities and help inspire and catalyze student and faculty visions.  With special gratitude my thanks to Gus Schmedlen, vice president of Worldwide Education at HP. He is sincerely driven to explore how innovation and exploration can be supported in the University context and has been a tireless supporter of our faculty and students. Without his support we would not be able to take these risks and create the vigorous community that has grown around this project in the last few years.

Justin Berry, Critic, Yale School of Art; Core Faculty, Center for Collaborative Arts and Media