USC Cinematic Arts

CURATED BY PERCEPTION SCIENTIST SERGEI GEPSHTEIN AND NARRATIVE DESIGNER ALEX McDOWELL, this one-day symposium will celebrate and promote the increasingly important interaction between two hitherto distinct communities: researchers engaged in the scientific study of human perception and action and researchers of interactive and immersive narrative media technologies in architecture, games, cinema, and new media arts.

Thought leaders from both communities will discuss human behavior and conscious experience in physical, social, and imagined realities represented in purely virtual worlds, as well as in the 'mixed' worlds that interlace physical and virtual realities.

The symposium will comprise a series of illustrated sessions each featuring two speakers: a scientist and an artist or immersive-reality practitioner. The speakers will first paint a general picture of their approaches and then explore current and prospective links between their domains of expertise. Following each session, generous time will be devoted to discussion and questions from the audience.


  • Sergei Gepshtein PhD, Center for Neurobiology of Vision, The Salk Institute
  • Alex McDowell RDI, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California


  • Speaker:
    Thomas Albright
    Director, Vision Center Laboratory and Conrad T. Prebys Chair in Vision Research, Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • Speaker:
    Sergei Gepshtein
    Center for Neurobiology of Vision, The Salk Institute
  • Speaker:
    Michael Kubovy
    Dep’t of Psychology, University of Virginia
  • Speaker:
    Alex McDowell RDI
    Director, World Building Media Lab and Creative Director, 5D Institute, School of Cinematic Arts, USC
  • Speaker:
    Nonny de la Pena
    Fellow, Interactive Media Arts Department, USC; Documentary Filmmaker and Journalist
  • Speaker:
    Donald Hoffman
    Professor of Cognitive Sciences at the University of California
  • Speaker:
    Howard Poizner
    Institute for Neural Computation, UCSD
  • Speaker:
    Perry Hoberman
    Center for Stereoscopic 3D, School for Cinematic Arts, USC
  • Speaker:
    Ian Dallas
    Creative Director at Giant Sparrow, Game Developer
  • Speaker:
    Joseph Unger
    Chief Design Officer, Pigeon Hole Productions
  • Speaker:
    Guvenc Ozel
    Architect, Ozel Office; Director, IDEAS Lab, UCLA