The words of Denise Duhamel’s poem “Mobius Strip: Forgetfulness” appear suspended in air as they weave through a cavernous room in a slow figure eight. It is easy to forget that the setting is the Moss Art Center’s Cube, as the space transforms into a virtual-reality environment filled with the sentiments of memory deterioration.

“We already have the real world,” said Ivica Ico Bukvic, an associate professor of creative technologies in music in the School of Performing Arts and the creator of the “Forgetfulness” project. “Let’s allow humans to use all their senses in exploring the unknown.”

At Virginia Tech, technology and creativity come together to allow exploration at the boundaries of science, engineering, arts, and design. Bukvic’s virtual-reality project, a collaboration with School of Visual Arts faculty, is an immersive audiovisual experience designed to heighten understanding of art and memory. The team effort is just one example of the university’s search to break barriers.

“Forgetfulness” is sponsored by the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, where Bukvic serves as director of creativity and innovation. Both the institute and the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences—along with other transdisciplinary initiatives throughout the university—offer experiential-learning opportunities to prepare students of all disciplines to thrive in the current workforce as well as future ones.

Innovation Campus — the Virginia Tech initiative that will complement the new Amazon headquarters in Northern Virginia — is yet another example of the university going beyond boundaries, said Rosemary Blieszner, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

“The new campus will transcend traditional academic practices,” she added. “It will do more than train graduate students in computer science and related fields. It will also provide students from a range of backgrounds with opportunities that ground them in transdisciplinary studies, such as in technology-inflected humanities.

“With such blending of technologies with arts and humanities and social sciences, Hokies will enter new employment markets with skillsets for pioneering real and virtual worlds.”

Written by Leslie King