david allen

David Allen
Research Associate

david allen is a Hispanic-American digital culture worker at the intersection of expressive movement and AI. As the creative lead at CISL, allen collaborates with Students, Faculty, and Staff to both envision interactions with new interfaces, and to facilitate their development into plausible real-world applications. In culture work, allen performs under the pseudonym “david aloka” in collaboration with dance companies, musicians, and theatrical groups to develop computational systems for live performance. With fine arts degrees from Pratt Institute and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, allen’s work has been presented at AAAI, the Conference for Research on Choreographic Interfaces @ Brown, MIT Hacking Arts, Drexel University, Rutgers, and GameFest; and has been instantiated at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity, Illuminus Boston, and Illuminus on Lawn D.

Speaking Engagements

  • 2019 Movement as Query, Dance Studies Association Conference, Northwestern University | Evanston, IL
  • 2019 Movement as Query, Conference for Research on Choreographic Interfaces, Brown University | Providence, RI
  • 2018 Artificial Intelligence and Building a Smarter University, EACUBO | Buffalo, NY
  • 2016 pre:SENSE Meet the Creators Panel with Ellen Sinopoli and Maria Zemantauski, Troy Public LIbrary | Troy, NY
  • 2016 Kinesthetic Interfaces for PDI Studio 5, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | Troy, NY
  • 2015 preformIO preceding Performing Arts panel, MIT Hacking Arts | Cambridge, MA
  • 2015 ALL YOUR GAMES are belong to us, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey | Newark, NJ
  • 2014 Outrageous Game Futures, GameFest, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | Troy, NY
  • 2013 artGINEERING, Drexel University | Philadelphia, PA

Grants & Awards

  • 2018 Fritz Machine Learning Grant for Movement as Query (MaQ), MIT Hacking Arts | Cambridge, MA
  • 2018 Best Poster Award for The Rensselaer Mandarin Project, IBM AI Horizons Network Colloquium | Cambridge, MA
  • 2018 Residency for AFT.er, Kaatsbaan International Dance Center | Tivoli, NY
  • 2017 Individual Artist Grant for AFT.er in collaboration with Ellen Sinopoli Dance CompanyMaria Zemantauski, and Brian Melick, NYSCA | New York, NY
  • 2017 NOITOM Perception Neuron Dev Kit Award for RE//GESTURE, MIT Hacking Arts | Cambridge, MA
  • 2017 Commission for pre:SENSE at the 25th Annual Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company Concert, The Egg | Albany, NY
  • 2016 Sponsorship for pre:SENSE, NYFA | New York, NY
  • 2016 DEC CA Arts Grant for pre:SENSE in collaboration with Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company & Maria Zemantauski, NYSCA through the Arts Center of the Capital Region | Troy, NY
  • 2015 REVEAL Grant for preFORM.io in collaboration with Blind Elephants, Emerging Ventures Ecosystem, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | Troy, NY
  • 2014 Most Creative Hack for HARLEQUIN, MIT Hacking Arts | Cambridge, MA

Performances, Installations & Exhibits

  • 2018 AFT.er in collaboration with the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company (ESDC)Maria Zemantauski, and Brian Melick, presented in series with SleepWalks: a Body of Dreams by Andrea Williams, Kaatsbaan International Dance Center | Tivoli, NY
  • 2017 AFT.er for 25th Annual Ellen Sinopoly Dance Company Concert, in collaboration with the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company and Maria Zemantauski, The Egg | Albany, NY
  • 2017 pre:SENSE in collaboration with the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company and Maria Zemantauski, Tech Valley Center of Gravity | Troy, NY
  • 2014 Sculpted Guardians Illumined in collaboration with In Divine Company, Illuminus | Boston, MA
  • 2014 HARLEQUIN in collaboration with In Divine Company, Illuminus on Lawn D | Boston, MA
Focus Area

Computational Design, Visualization, Natural Interfaces, Live Performance

CISL Projects

CISL Publications


  1. . "The Rensselaer Mandarin Project — A Cognitive and Immersive Language Learning Environment," Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence - Demonstration Track, vol. 33, pp. 9845-9846. 2019. [Publication, Abstract]
  2. . "Building Human-Scale Intelligent Immersive Spaces for Foreign Language Learning," Proceedings of iLRN 2018 Montana (2018): 94. [Publication, Abstract]


  1. . "CIRA: An Architecture for Building Configurable Immersive Smart-Rooms," In: Arai K., Kapoor S., Bhatia R. (eds) Intelligent Systems and Applications. IntelliSys 2018. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 869. Springer, Cham. [Publication, Abstract]