Department: Fine Arts School: College of Arts and Sciences Campus: Old Westbury
Member of NYIT Since: 1979
Star Trek-esque machines, space capsules, and futuristic sports analysis are just a few things on Peter Voci's mind as he taps the potential of new areas for applying high-tech art.
"One misconception is that art and technology don't mix well and that's far from the truth," says Voci, whose fine arts technology team includes advisor and adjunct instructor Jon Squitieri (B.F.A. '97) and his son, adjunct instructor Dave Voci (B.F.A. '07).
Under Voci's leadership as chairperson and director of NYIT's M.F.A. program, course selections have flourished. There are now three M.F.A. tracks – Graphic Design, Art and Technology, and Computer Graphic Animation. He says he's embraced "opportunities that were almost unrestricted" at NYIT.
"Even when I was a student, there was something almost magical about NYIT because it was different from almost every school I had been a student or teacher in," Voci says.
In 2008, he established the state-of-the-art 3-D Motion Capture Studio in the Midge Karr Fine Arts and Design Center on the Old Westbury campus. Voci and his students use the studio equipped with more than 30 cameras to perform motion capture by recording movements and translating them into digital models for many applications.
In addition, both the Old Westbury and Manhattan programs have rapid prototype machines to create 3-D sculptures. Images designed on a computer are sent to a 3-D printer, which yields a plastic model. Voci likens it to the Replicator, a machine that creates all sorts of objects on Star Trek.
His latest initiative is the design of a memorial for the Morrelly Homeland Security Center in Bethpage, N.Y., to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Sept 11. He chose photographs and designed the exhibit's glass towers, which house artifacts recovered from Ground Zero such as a section of a steel girder. A replica of the U.S.S. New York made of Ground Zero metal is also on display.
"The memorial tells you a story and is symbolic and makes a projection for the future," he says.
He also collaborated with Sports Learning Edge on an educational animation project for the NBA in China. Coming up in October, his research efforts of the Wailing Wall in Israel will be on display at the Discovery Gallery in Times Square.
"We're thinking of security, sports, medicine, and entertainment as areas to investigate more in the future," Voci says.
He recently completed a demo for the Office of Homeland Security to be presented to the FBI showing how motion capture technology can be used to create hostage-taking scenarios and terrorism events for training sessions. One of Voci's future goals is to work with a Major League Baseball team and the NYIT Athletics Department to apply motion capture to analyze the swing of a bat or the arc of a curveball.
"Everything that we do extends the boundaries of what people think of an art department," he says.