School of Art, School of Music

The University of Arizona is bringing “Wonder” to Austin.

The University’s “Wonder House” will make its long-awaited debut at the 2022 South by Southwest Conference and Festivals, offering three days of speakers, musicians and immersive experiences.

It’s a vision that has been evolving for the better part of three years, according to Misha Harrison, executive director of experience in Marketing and Brand Management.

“To say we’re excited to finally debut everything this incredible team has worked so hard to develop would be a massive understatement,” Harrison said. “I’m just so proud to be involved with so much inspired creativity.”

Wonder House at SXSW
The University of Arizona’s “Wonder House” will make its debut at the 2022 SXSW, three days of speakers, musicians and immersive experiences.
Wonder House at SXSW Misha Harrison
 “I hope we can build a connection so that people associate the University of Arizona with people who are doing things that are unexpected and challenging,” Harrison said. “I would love to see our name associated with the world’s big thinkers seeking to solve big problems. We are not scared to try something new, exciting, different. We are a force to be reckoned with.”

Wonder House at SXSW

The name “Wonder House” represents the the University of Arizona’s brand: WONDER. As a humanistic brand, it encourages people to engage with and develop relationships with the University through authentic articulations of our contributions to the world.

The “Wonder House” will be open March 11-13 from 11 a.m. to midnight each day at the Fogo de Chao restaurant, located across from the Austin Convention Center. The more than 20 discussions that are planned match the University’s primary areas of expertise with the SXSW conference tracks, which include climate change, health and medtech, and tech industry.

From in-depth examinations of climate resilience to high-concept gourmet insect dishes to the awe-inspiring power of a simple walk, Harrison believes the “Wonder House” has something for everyone. The current list of speakers and a schedule of events and entertainment are available online. More speakers are expected to be added as March 11 approaches.

The “Wonder House” will also be home to several immersive experiences. They include “Ripple Effect,” an art installation designed by Dorsey Kaufmann, a multimedia specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, that visualizes water quality data through sound, light and water, and “StellarScape,” a combination of music, dance and cinematography blended with state-of-the-art data visualization and astrophysical simulation that allows a person to witness the birth of a star.

(Kaufmann is a School of Art alumna (MFA ’20, Illustration + Design). Learn more about “Ripple Effect” here. “StellarScape” was produced by Yuanyuan (Kay) He, an assistant professor at the Fred Fox School of Music.)

In 2019, after Harrison attended her first SXSW festival, she and her team began brainstorming what would become the “Wonder House.” Founded in 1987, SXSW is internationally renowned for celebrating the convergence of tech, film, music, education and culture.

Originally published in UA@Work.
Read the complete story here.