Immersive Scholar Creative Residency

A short preview of a real time generative project. The graphics is utilizing Global Average Absolute Sea Level Change between 1880-2014 through machine learning that combines it with real time user input. The viewer uses an app and applies simple gestures on the screen unknowingly of what consequence that will have in the scientific data. The experience is a metaphor describing controversial and politically influenced aspects of climate change denial and rejection of scientific facts.
Completed as part of the Immersive Scholar Creative Residency sponsored by the NCSU Libraries and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


It was a great honor to present to the public two projects I've had the chance to work on with some amazing colleagues: scientists and artists. 61 thousand people visited in three days the National Museum of American History - Smithsonian Institution to see the festival. Thank you Olga Kleiankina, David Papp, Peter Askim, Rodney Waschka, Nikki Knapp, and Melissa Gaddy.


This installation was completed in spring of 2018 as a collaboration between Emil Polyak designer and Dávid Papp mathematician who specializes in optimization for radiotherapy in cancer treatment. Students who participated in the project were Sarah Albright, Madison Brown, Ariana Ehuan, Nikki Knapp, Marcus Reefer, Madison Tart, and Stephen Waddell.

The key to treating cancer is to destroy as much of the tumor as possible while preserving the healthy tissue. Cut too little and the tumor grows back. Cut too much and wreak havoc on the patient. Recent biological insights and technological advancements are worked into the mathematical optimization models and algorithms for radiotherapy. Conversely, mathematical analysis can lead to medical improvements! For example, our math research has found that the benefit of radiotherapy can be substantially increased by using a continuously modulated radiation beam whose shape and intensity is changing as it is rotating around the patient (“arc therapy”); and designing multi-day treatments that treat different parts of the tumor on each day of the treatment (“spatiotemporal fractionation”).

This artistic simulation of radiotherapy for the treatment of cancer exposes critical aspects of geometric optimization in radiotherapy. The experience is physical and three dimensional, engaging the public in a unique and memorable interactive, digital “experiment” to communicate complex and multifaceted challenges in mathematical optimization.

The Leading Strand exhibition June 2018, Raleigh, NC.

Jazz and Viz

Real time computed installation for a special event at the North Carolina Museum of Art, May 2018.

... Our Passage to the Stars (piano/visual recital)

A piano and visual recital in collaboration with Olga Kleiankina. 3D and 2D animated pieces driven by the acoustic waves sampled and processed in real time during performance. February 2018, Stewart Theatre, Raleigh NC.

Link to an article.


Mist DJ is an interactive installation using optical processing and tracking of a mist-cloud made of micro-particles. The processing includes additional computer generated particle simulations connected to the original mist pattern in real time. The tracking of the mist is done with optical flow and the generated vector field is connected to midi commands that function as a sound mixer, driving clips, instrument samples, and audio effects.


An installation for InLight Richmond 2017, a light-based public art exhibition. The work is a real-time physics simulation integrating an organically moving gear system inspired by the historically famous Richmond Locomotive and Machine Works.


By capturing the viewer and reversing the commonly understood principle of looking at the virtual world from the inside, this work allows us to see ourselves from the outside at different time intervals to emphasize the idea of latency between worlds. NC State Brooks Hall, Raleigh NC.

SUPERMOON (projection mapping)

This project was done in collaboration with Todd Berreth and Patrick Fitzgerald for the Shimmer: The Art of Light festival in Carrboro NC.


This installation downloads current topics from news articles in real time, then compares the text and searches for correlations. The resulted words are delivered into an interactive experience where the user reveals the words and their connections. Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh NC.

WAVE IN MOTION (mechatronics)

Mechanical wave segment inspired by multiplied sine waves characteristic to open waters. The interconnected mesh has a loose network, creating a textile that “floats’. The audience can interact using the black rocks. By removing any of them the balance is interrupted and the wave becomes active. The process was based on virtual prototyping of waves and ripples. Affordable Art Fair Singapore.


This work was commissioned by Isaac Kerlow for his exhbition titled "Sudden Nature" at the Singapore Art Museum in 2014. The project included the design and development of an ultrasonic sensing network and an interactive audio and video projection system controlling  the playback of recorded pieces driven by the location of people in the space.


I designed and developed a pair of interactive gloves to mimic the impersonation of a costumed human hand and to tell stories on a virtual 3D stage. The digital puppet inherits the bio-mechanical constraints of the puppeteer's hand and applies them in posing and facial expressions during the performance. The project was accepted to Siggraph in 2012.


Design for Future (Not for Humans)

Non-realistic fictional concept exploring machines that independently help the remaining endangered living species to survive in the post-human era.

The primary and driving stimulus is the search for an answer on how we (human) experience, observe, take part in, or liberate ourselves from - the needs of other creatures in an environment that we are destroying.

© 2016 by Emil Polyak