D. Pillis

Assistant Director, StudioLab Initiatives
Peter B. Lewis Library, Room 231

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
​Master of Fine Arts, focusing on Virtual Reality & Robotics History, School of Art

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Science, focus in Psychology, Literature & Visual Art


Assistant Director D. Pillis is proud to support the Council's interdisciplinary initiatives, acting as a liaison between the arts, sciences, and computational disciplines. D. Pillis is available to offer mentorship for students and faculty interested in exploring animation, art and technology, as well as areas of diversity and queer studies.

As a specialist in performance capture, mixed reality, and interactive computer graphics, Pillis works with faculty and students to integrate creative technology across all departments at Princeton. Their work lies at the intersection of queer media archeology and the post-humanities, exploring the aesthetics of science, the psychology of machines and the poetry of programming. Before coming to Princeton, Pillis was previously hosted as a researcher and artist-in-residence in the soft robotics laboratory of Dr. Christopher Atkeson, in the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. 

Pillis is committed to supporting innovative Studiolab programming, by promoting inclusive, antiracist, feminist and queer modes of making. An active member of the ACM SIGGRAPH Diversity & Inclusion committee, Pillis is dedicated to ensuring that technology and STEAM education at Princeton is accessible, equitable and engaging to all. Pillis holds an MFA focusing on Virtual Reality and Immersive Environments from Carnegie Mellon University, where he worked with the father of computer graphics, Ivan E. Sutherland, computer scientist Jessica Hodgins, and multimedia artist Paolo Pedericini

Pillis spent several years in New York under the mentorship of the contemporary artist Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, one of the last remaining survivors of the Stonewall rebellion in 1969. While in New York, Pillis worked in the contemporary art world, with gallerists Elizabeth Dee, David Zwirner, and Murray Guy. An active artist and animator, Pillis has exhibited work at the Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh, PA), the Mint Museum (Charlotte, NC), the Leslie Lohman Museum of Queer Art (NYC), Newark Penn Station (Newark, NJ) and has performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Cleveland, OH), Open Engagement International Conference (Pittsburgh PA) and the Theatre for the New City in the East Village (NYC), as well as other galleries and internet venues.