Moderated by Freewaves founder Anne Bray, the Digital Studies Symposium at USC (open and free to the public on Thursday evenings) has been hosting weekly conversations between pairs of digital designers about the myriad, ever more swiftly flowing currents of the digital humanities. Anne was kind enough to invite my Vectors collaborator Craig Dietrich and myself down to the Zemeckis Center to speak on February 11th, and video of the talk has been posted to Vimeo (see below). There’s also a video archive of all the prior speakers on the DSS site.
I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge Anne Friedberg, a brilliant scholar I had the privilege of collaborating with on a project called “The Virtual Window Interactive,” a companion piece to her book The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft. Anne passed away a week ago today.
In the brief time during which I worked with Anne, I found her to be not just a brilliant thinker, but a wonderful collaborator with an infectious enthusiasm for the potential of the field. “The Virtual Window Interactive” was one of those rare projects which almost seemed to design itself, as if the ideas Anne had been exploring were anxiously awaiting just this kind of outlet. The inherent visual qualities of Anne’s subject matter, the excitement she had for the medium, and the depth and clarity of her analysis made the project a real pleasure to develop.
Most of our real-time contact during the project was via three-way videoconferences between Anne, Steve Anderson (who orchestrated our meeting and facilitated the project) and myself. I had a habit of taking screenshots during these calls, and thought I’d share an image of one of our lighter moments (see below). I remember Anne being intrigued by the “windows” of the videoconferencing interface itself; throughout the development of the project she was keen to stay abreast of the dizzying changes happening in screen space and wanted the piece to speak to those changes as much as possible.
Others have reflected more thoroughly on the breadth of Anne’s considerable contributions to her field and the positive impact she had on those who knew her personally. I didn’t know Anne well, but I’m grateful for even the brief chance I had to work with such a remarkable person. Thank you, Anne.
Just wanted to share a few snapshots taken just prior to the opening of the installation of Blood Sugar at the UCLA Art | Science Center (the exhibit runs through February 20). The event went quite well—people seemed to really be engaging with the content of the piece, and we got lots of positive feedback about the use of the Wii remote and nunchuk as controllers. “Feels like Minority Report,” one visitor commented.
One interesting tip that might be of use to other folks wanting to create Wii remote-driven installations using the sensor bar: we found that stacking two sensor bars one on top of the other resulted in significantly more reliable pointer control.
Ruben & Lullaby are finding their relationship under increasing scrutiny from the press… “Citizen Gamer” on MSNBC.com published an article on indie iPhone game development that features the game, and Emily Short’s “Homer in Silicon” column on GameSetWatch this week serves up a very thoughtful review...
This Thursday, January 29 from 5:00 - 7:00 pm, UCLA’s Art | Science Center & Lab [directions] is hosting an opening reception for a three-week exhibit of two documentary projects by Sharon Daniel: Public Secrets and the forthcoming Blood Sugar—any interested Angelenos are welcome. I worked with Sharon designing and programming both projects. Here’s a description of Blood Sugar:
Blood Sugar is a “new media documentary” that examines the social and political construction of poverty, alienation, and addiction in American society through the eyes of those who live it. Blood Sugar provides an interactive interface to an audio archive of conversations with 24 current and former injection drug users recorded at the HIV Education and Prevention Program of Alameda County and in California state prisons. Since addicts must fear encounters with regimes of enforcement, they are afraid to be seen-but they do want to be heard. Theirs are the most important voices in the discourse around addiction, public health, poverty and belonging in America. Through the stories of those most affected by addiction, Blood Sugar challenges us to address question such as, what is the social and political status of the addicted? Is the addict considered fully human, diseased, possessed or wholly “other” and thus rendered ideologically appropriate to her status as less than human?
Barring technical issues, you’ll be able to navigate Blood Sugar with a Wii remote and nunchuk at the opening, which makes for quite an immersive experience. We’d love to see you there.
Here’s a list of links to works cited in my recent talk “Storytelling in the Age of Divided Screens” at Gallaudet University.
I’m very happy to announce the launch of “Timeframing: The Art of Comics on Screens,” a new website that explores what comics have to teach us about creative communication in the age of screen media.
To celebrate the launch of Upgrade Soul, here’s a screen shot of an eleven year old prototype I made that sets artwork from Will Eisner’s “The Treasure of Avenue ‘C’” (a story from New York: The Big City) in two dynamically resizable panels.
The last couple of months have seen an uptick in published commentary on Strange Rain, much of it owing to notice the app received at this year’s Modern Language Association conference in Seattle.
Dialogue bubbles huddle together in the Unity authoring environment like backstage theatre performers awaiting their chance to shine in the forthcoming iOS and Android release Upgrade Soul, from Opertoon.