Ball State Backyard goes digital

Topics: College of Communication Information and Media, Administrative, Emerging Media, College of Applied Sciences and Technology, Immersive Learning

August 7, 2008

The Ball State Backyard is back at this year's 152nd Indiana State Fair — and everyone can visit it during Ball State Day Aug. 9.

A digital art installation — the Digital Dome — will be a key component of this year's Ball State Backyard. The exhibit is sponsored by Ball State in association with its Department of Landscape Architecture. Technology for the dome was provided by Ball State's Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts and Animation (IDIAA) and the Teleplex.

The dome features flat-panel touch and plasma screens allowing visitors to explore information about the university and see numerous images from Ball State's campus, said Les Smith, a landscape architecture professor and the backyard's designer.

Smith created the design of the dome and the art installation was completed by Nicholas Johnson, a recent Ball State graduate and research assistant for the university's Center for Media Design.

This is the fifth year for the Ball State Backyard exhibit, which will be open every day of the fair through Aug. 17.

As part of Ball State Day activities Aug. 9, visitors can shoot hoops, throw footballs, kick field goals, spike volleyballs and more. Guests will also have the opportunity to become news, sports or weathercasters, and a DVD will be provided of the performance. At the Alumni Association booth, guests can receive a free Ball State affinity license plate authorization, which is a $25 value. This will be limited to new applicants only and one per household.

Landscape architecture students from the College of Architecture and Planning have spent weeks in Smith's class helping build the venue for the Ball State Backyard.

"With this exhibit, we want to give visitors a chance to better appreciate landscape architecture and to understand that there is more to this than just gardening and landscaping," Smith said. "This project showcases the faculty-student partnership that is contained in the design and construction of this exhibit."

He added that a mainstay to the Ball State Backyard is creating a space where fairgoers can get a rest from festivities. "The fairgrounds don't provide many places where visitors can take a break and sit down, so one of our contributions has been to provide them with that kind of relaxation space."

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