The Tell-a-Vision project awards Ball State University students with the opportunity to design and create world-class, cutting-edge digital media projects. Co-sponsored by the Virginia Ball Center and the Center for Media Design, the 2004-05 winners include two $18,000 awards and five small project awards of $500 each. 


The Asyntaxis team created what they call a H.I.V.E., a Hyper Interactive Virtual Environment, which is, practically speaking, a portable, interactive, 360-degree theater space powered by five computers and a series of integrated motion sensors and cameras. Visitors to the Asyntaxis H.I.V.E. find themselves surrounded on all sides by a visual sculpture created by artist Ross Miller. The sculpture, responding to input from motion sensors, actually changes and moves based on the number of people in the room and where and how the people are moving.

Institutions developing permanent interactive facilities similar to the Asyntaxis H.I.V.E. often spend more than $100,000 dollars. The Asyntaxis team, though, has developed a plan that allowed them to create their facility for well under $18,000. The H.I.V.E. is a unique venue for not only interactive art but also other kinds of content. For example, the H.I.V.E. could be adapted as an interactive gaming environment, a platform for demonstrating processes or architectural designs three-dimensionally, or an interface for visually managing and manipulating complex data.

Team Leader: Nathan Bolt, Art
Business Manager: Laura Huffman, Telecommunications
Art Director: Ross Miller, Art
Technology Coordinator: Adam Gray, Computer Science
Music Composition: Aaron Brocken, Music Engineering Technology
Faculty Advisor: John Fillwalk, Art


The Catalyst team worked closely with the Minnetrista Cultural Center, which matched their Tell-a-Vision Award with equal funds. The team used high definition video cameras to document the fabrication and installation of Catalyst, a massive sculpture of limestone, steel, and dichroic glass commissioned for Minnetrista by the late Virginia Ball and created by Indianapolis area sculptor Beverly Precious.

The footage the team shot was used in several ways. It was incorporated into a short documentary film that visitors to the Minnetrista Center can view in Minnetrista’s new digital theater. It was incorporated into an interactive touch screen exhibit where visitors can learn even more about the sculpture, its creators, and the ideas behind it. Much of the content from the interactive exhibit was made available online as well. And all of the many hours of video that the Catalyst team captures was archived as a historic record of the genesis of Catalyst.

Team Leader: Jessica Abbott, Telecommunications/Business
Business Manager: Elizabeth Stebbins, Telecommunication (Sales)
Technology Coordinator: Robert Seaton, Computer Science
Videographer: Chad Cooper, Telecommunications
Composer and Music Editor : Jeremy Fair
Graphic Designer: James Ratliff, Art (Design and Painting)
Head Writer: Lydia Storie, Telecommunications/English
Faculty Advisor: Nancy Carlson, Telecommunications

Small Project Grants

Chinese Fairytale Project
Xiaoge Chu
Faculty Advisor: John Fillwalk.
Xiaoge Chu is a graduate student in the School of Art’s Electronic Art program. He recently won the Center for Media Design Award for Work in Electronic Arts for his short film The Hallucination. This summer, he will use his small project grant to support his creation of a new series of six short impressionistic films based on ancient Chinese fairytales. Stylistically, these films will merge traditional Chinese visual art styles with the tools and techniques of contemporary digital art. His summer will include a trip to Los Angeles, where he will be capturing water footage for his films.

3-D Project
Vincent Manganello
Faculty Advisor: Charles Jones
Vincent Manganello is a graduate student in the Digital Storytelling program. His project will make use of a process created by local photographer Dan Allen to create 3-D stills from video. He plans to create three specific images, the first from a popular movie, the second from vintage newsreel footage, and the third from original footage of Ball State University shot from an airplane.

Glove Controller
Aaron Brocken
Faculty Advisor: Keith Kothman
Aaron Brocken recently earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music Engineering Technology, and he will return in the fall to pursue a graduate degree in the same area. His glove-based controller will allow him to manipulate sounds during live electro-acoustic music performances. Certain controls normally found on the mixing board will be relocated to the glove controller, where what was once a slider-controlled sound can become a sound controlled by finger bend and what was once a dial-controlled panning process can be controlled by a twist of the wrist. Aaron will also be composing music specifically for performance with the glove, which he hopes to premier this fall.

Family Documentary Project
Michael Fornicoia
Faculty Advisor: Laura O'Hara
Michael Fornicoia is a sophomore Telecommunications major who recently completed a meta-documentary about a group of students creating a film for the Red Cross about disaster recovery. He is using his small project grant to create a short documentary film about life in his large family, focusing on the way the family system supports family members at different stages of their lives. His hope is that the film will be useful to churches or other social services organizations interested in family issues.

Indiana Project
Nils Jaeger
Advisor: Pam Harwood
Nils Jaegar is completing a Master’s degree in architecture. He will use his project funds to support his creation of a DVD about the landscapes of Indiana. He will both digitize archival materials from the BSU library and capture original footage about agriculture, the gas industry, the limestone industry, and the auto industry in Indiana. It is his hope that the completed project will be of interest both to architecture students studying Indiana as a physical and cultural environment as well as to those who, like Nils when he arrived from Germany, knew very little about Indiana’s history and culture.