Amplified CB radios, playable wrestling games about nutrition, and buildings that grow in the dark are just a few of the things you’ll encounter at “ground (ctrl)”—opening April 27 at UCSC’s Digital Arts Research Center (DARC building).

The annual exhibition of the Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) MFA program represents the culmination of two years of intensive study by UCSC graduate students.

“The artists invite you to redefine the meanings of "digital arts" and "new media" by way of hybridized video installations, interactive experiences, telematic performances and sound art,” noted Shelby Graham, director of UCSC’s Sesnon Gallery and the curator of this year’s exhibition. 

“Within those digitized formats, each artist examines the social impact new media has in our lives.”

Graham added that two of the artists have created unpredictable playable games highlighting UCSC’s award-winning gaming program.

A free public opening reception will take place on Thursday, May 2, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the exhibition space, featuring the latest digital technologies and experimental performances. All of the student artists will be on hand to discuss their work and give tours.

Prior to the reception at 6 p.m., special guest Will Wright, the pioneer game designer and inventor of the epic Sims franchise, will give a lecture at the Media Theater titled “Gaming As A Lens on the World.”

The talk is presented as part of UCSC’s 2013 Arts Division Lecture Series “Engaging the Mind.” The community is invited, and admission is free.

Described by Rolling Stone magazine as “one of the 100 people that changed America,” Wright is a gaming industry legend.

He established a new genre of gaming, creating groundbreaking games such as SimCity, The Sims and Spore.

Co-founder of the game development company Maxis, Wright has been an inspiration to many of UCSC’s DANM students, who explore gaming as a conceptual framework.

The Digital Arts and New Media MFA Program (DANM) at UC Santa Cruz serves as a center for the development and study of digital media and the cultures they have helped create.

Faculty and students are drawn from a variety of backgrounds such as the arts, computer engineering, the humanities, the sciences, and the social sciences to pursue interdisciplinary artistic and scholarly research and production, in the context of a broad examination of digital arts and cultures.

For more information about the program and the annual MFA exhibition, visit the DANM website, or call (831) 459-1554.

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UCSC's Digital Arts and New Media 2013 M.F.A. Exhibition runs April 27-28 and May 2-5 at the Digital Arts Research Center on the UCSC campus. Gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (The building is located off Meyer Drive near the Music Recital Hall and Theater Arts on West Campus). An opening reception will be held on Thursday, May 2, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Prior to the reception at 6 pm., pioneer game designer Will Wright will present a lecture at the Media Theater titled “Gaming As A Lens on the World.” All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit the DANM website, or call (831) 459-1554.