The semester is off and running. Earlier in the week Dr. Bo Brinkman of the Miami Augmented Reality Center ushered xd students into the world of algorithmic thinking. Aggie Toppins arrives today to lead a weekend Procedural Zine Workshop. Next week the xd students are off to the Cincinnati Maker Faire with Rod Northcutt of Maketank, inc. to participate in the democratization of tools. And later in the month Richard Elaver leads a modular systems workshop that will bring Arduino into the studio. And that’s just September!

Here’s a bit about the energetic new xd students jumping into all these projects.

Danny Capaccio

Hometown: Akron, Ohio

What was your past life before the xd:mfa? 
Born and raised by Italian New Yorker Accountants in Akron, OH. I found my way into all kinds of “trouble” playing music, games, and with digital art. Yada yada yada, I graduated from Miami University in 2011 with a BS in Computer Science. I’ve worked at Project Dragonfly here at Miami University for 3 years now programming interactive touchscreen applications for zoos and I will continue to do so while I pursue the MFA!

If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be and why? 
Brussels Sprouts. They have a wonderful color and are tightly wrapped full of layers of awesome. They can be bitter if prepared in certain ways, but by in large are a mostly misunderstood vegetable by younger people.

What’s your favorite creative tool?
Typically my guitar and voice, but also Processing.

Rank your top three favorite inventions. 
1. Peanut Butter
2. Lossless compression
3. The vacuum tube


Kansu Özden

Hometown: Kayseri, Turkey

What was your past life before the xd:mfa?
I was Spiderman. I temporarily quit because of XD. I am happy with my decision, though, because I was so very tired.

If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be?
I would like to be an eggplant because it is quite hard to find a really good eggplant. They’re also delicious and purple.

What’s your favorite creative tool?
the pencil.

Rank your top three favorite inventions.
1. Airplane
2. Paper
3. Wingsuit racing.


Ali Place

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

What was your past life before the xd:mfa?
Before coming to Miami, I received my BS in design from UC’s College of DAAP. I was also a designer for the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. For the past two years I’ve been a designer for the division of University Advancement at Miami, where I’ll continue to work while in school.

If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be and why?
It’s technically a fruit, but I would be an avocado. They’re simple, versatile, and they go with everything.

What’s your favorite creative tool?
My kitchen. Cooking is very meditative for me. It’s my favorite way to be creative and explore new things.

Rank your top three favorite inventions.
1. Camera
2. Clock/watch
3. Julienne peeler (truly life-changing)


Paulina Zeng

Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada

What was your past life before the xd:mfa?
I was a learner in my past life, and I will continue to be one in the present and future.

If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be and why?
A carrot or potato. I enjoy seeing things upside down, and I’m in love with nature, the soil of the earth. The carrot and potato are special to me as they are two representations of the self.

What’s your favorite creative tool?
Paper, pencil and pen.

Rank your top three favorite inventions.
Magic Mouse, iPod, Naoto Fukasawa’s Electronic Calculator


Ringo Jones

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

What was your past life before the xd:mfa?
Before xd:mfa Ringo was a scavenger. He spent many nights sleeping on couches, floors, or the bench seats of cars, eating anything that was presented to him and riding from coast to coast, sneaking past border security agents in the middle of the night and waking up in a room full of half-clothed strangers. He was a nomad. He was the face in the crowd you recognized but couldn’t place, and when you looked away the face had changed.

If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be?
Beets. Cuz I got rhythm.

What’s your favorite creative tool?
The mind! but seriously, I love the ‘Smart Tool’ in ProTools by Avid

Rank your top three favorite inventions.
1. Sliced Bread—obvious reasons
2. Transporter—It may not exist yet, but when it does I’m going to love not driving
to Oxford everyday
3. That mind eraser thing from Men In Black—I’ve woken up a few times feeling like someone used that on me