Celebrating its 20th year in 2013, Viz-a-GoGo, the annual showcase of graduate student work from the visualization programs at Texas A&M University, took its audience on a time-traveling adventure — in a DeLorean, no less — with a series of interstitial stories paying tribute to the program's heritage.
This year's Viz-a-GoGo screenings — a collection of short, time-based works demonstrating the digital wizardry of visualization students, or "Vizzers" — took place May 3 and 4 at the Palace Theater in historic downtown Bryan, Texas.
A collection of student-created still work, as well as multimedia installations, interactive games and more were exhibited April 30 – May 4 at the Queen Theater, the first event in the historic building in more than four decades.
This year's "Viz to the Future" theme unfolded in a series of episodic vignettes paying homage to the well-known, similarly named film trilogy. The story follows the exploits of a modern-day Vizzer accidentally propelled back in time when an experiment goes terribly awry, leaving him stranded in 1993 — the age of flannel shirts, Doc Marten boots, grunge music and freshman U.S. President Bill Clinton. As one might expect, the misplaced time traveler has to find a way back to 2013 without disrupting the fragile space-time continuum and altering the future.
The Friday night screening of Viz-a-GoGo coincided with downtown Bryan’s First Friday arts celebration featuring live music, artist demonstrations, carriage rides and happy hour specials at the numerous restaurants and bars throughout the historic district.
In addition to the exhibitions of graduate visualization student work, 2-D and 3-D work by undergrad vizzers was displayed at the Federal Building.
A 20th anniversary Vizzer reunion took place May 4. A Facebook group, "Viz Reunion / Viz-a-GoGo 20," was created with photos from reunion happenings and images and recollections from Viz-a-GoGos past.
Reunion events included a "Best of Viz" screening of visualization student work from the past 20 years at Geren Auditorium in Langford B, a tour of the Department of Visualization and an after-show party for Vizzers past and present at the Grand Stafford Theater.
Viz-a-GoGo 20 was sponsored by the Texas A&M College of Architecture and the Department of Visualization.
Since 1989, the Master of Science in Visualization program at Texas A&M has provided a steady stream of aspirants for the burgeoning field of digital and electronic visualization. Vizzers are true Renaissance men and women, gifted with a unique left-right-brain ambidexterity, facilitating a mastery of both art and science.
The program's graduates have achieved success as creative directors, computer animators, university professors and software designers, with the majority working in the animation, visual effects and electronic gaming industries. Aggie Vizzers can be found among the creative talent at Pixar, Blue Sky, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Industrial Light and Magic, Dreamworks/PDI, Electronic Arts, Rhythm & Hues, Reel FX and Sony Pictures Imageworks.
After almost a decade of outstanding achievement in visualization education in its Visualization Laboratory, the College of Architecture established the Department of Visualization at Texas A&M, and in January 2009 the undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Visualization program was introduced, followed in 2012 by Texas A&M's first graduate-level fine arts degree, the Master of Fine Arts in Visualization.
The Department of Visualization nurtures a unique, synergetic studio environment combining academic rigor with creativity, fun, camaraderie and collaborative problem solving.