Dec. 5, 2019 — Teodora Szasz

Please join us on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019 from 4:30-6pm in the Research Computing Center Visualization Lab (MADD) for the final meeting of the Digital Media Workshop for the Fall Quarter. We are delighted to welcome Teodora Szasz, Image Analysis and Data Visualization Specialist in the Research Computing Center. She will be presenting a hands-on instructional workshop entitled “Data Visualization for Storytellers.”

There is no pre-circulated material for this workshop.
Refreshments will be provided!

This will be a hands-on workshop on how to create clear visualizations and how to use interactive dashboards to tell stories about your data for expressing meaningful ideas. We will present the main principles on creating effective interactive visualization and work with some very powerful visualization tools (Tableau Public and Google Data Studio).  Participants are encouraged to bring their laptops and download Tableau Public prior to participating in the workshop.

Nov. 21, 2019 — Desiree Foerster

Please join us on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019 from 4:30-6pm in the MADD Seminar Room (JCL 134) for the fourth meeting of the Digital Media Workshop for the Fall Quarter. We are delighted to welcome Desiree Foerster, PhD candidate in Philosophy at the Institute for Arts and Media, Potsdam, Germany and Visiting Scholar in the Department for Cinema and Media Studies at UChicago. She will be presenting her dissertation chapter “The Lived Body and the Aesthetic Experience of Metabolic Processes.”

Desiree’s chapter is available for download here.
Please email the coordinators for the password. Do not circulate without permission!
Refreshments will be provided!

Abstract: This is the third chapter of my dissertation titled “Aesthetic Experience of Metabolic Processes.” In the dissertation, I explore how aesthetic theory can be extended to account for bio-chemical processes. The aim is to describe an “aesthetics of metabolism” which makes it possible to experience the different effects of bio-chemical processes, i.e. metabolic processes, on our subjective experience at different levels. This concerns processes inside human bodies and their effects on sensation, perception, and action, but also how externalized metabolic processes register in the environment. In looking at five artistic projects – one of which is a project I co-created with artists and scientists myself – I describe the characteristics and the further implications of an aesthetics of metabolism. In this chapter, I focus in particular on the use of digital media as part of immersive environments. The examples I explore make discernible metabolic pathways that humans are sharing with others – human and not – which usually are under the threshold of sensual experience. The human body becomes thereby one element amongst others within an aesthetic milieu consisting of climatic processes, non-human entities, and digital media. My assumption is that this new aesthetics found in spatial installations can heighten our sensitivity for ecological interdependencies in our environment and at the same time for the responsiveness of our bodies on the bio-chemical level.

Virtual Reality Roundtable

Thank you to everyone who came out to the Virtual Reality Faculty Roundtable. Along with the RAVE workshop, we were thrilled to see the MADD seminar room reach capacity! Our gratitude goes out to Pedro Lopes, Lisa Zaher, and Snow Yunxue Fu for participating in such a stimulating conversation about the artistic, technical, and scientific frontiers of virtual reality production.

A special thank you as well to our sponsors: The Council on Advanced Studies, The Department of Cinema & Media Studies, and the Department of Computer Science.

Friday, Nov. 8 — Virtual Reality Roundtable

Please join us on Friday, Nov. 8 from 6:30-8pm for an interdisciplinary conversation about the technological and aesthetic dimensions of virtual reality. The panel will take place in the Media Arts, Data, Design Center Seminar Room (JCL 134). Space is limited!
Pedro Lopes
Computer Science, UChicago
Snow Yunxue Fu
New Media Art, NYU
Lisa Zaher
Art History, SAIC/UChicago
Dinner will be served starting at 6:15pm shortly before the start of the panel.
In addition, we are excited to exhibit Snow Fu’s virtual reality installation Karst (2018-19) in the Virtual Reality space in MADD! The exhibit will be open from 5-9pm.
Download our flyer here.
This event is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies, the Department of Cinema & Media Studies, and the Department of Computer Science at the University of Chicago.

Oct. 31, 2019 — Saadia Mirza

Please join us on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019 from 4:30-6pm in the MADD Seminar Room (JCL 134) for the second meeting of the Digital Media Workshop for the Fall Quarter. We are delighted to welcome Saadia Mirza, PhD Candidate in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. She will be presenting her multimedia installation work Sensing Landscape.

This workshop will consist of a 23 minute screening of the installation piece Sensing Landscape followed by a discussion with Saadia through Skype. There is no pre-circulated material for this workshop.
Refreshments will be provided!

Long represented as an imaginative object, landscape represents the many aesthetic parameters of human consciousness. From the realistic to the surreal, landscape is as evocative as it is political. But in the age of a computational planet, what does it mean to experience a landscape as a digital media object? This video installation opens up a view into the surreal aesthetics of a politically fraught space—representing landscape as a digital and virtual reality through computation, digital cartography, virtual reality and modeling. Featuring visualizations and mappings of post-9/11 Southern Afghanistan, this installation stems from a research project that analyzed the strategic importance of the most conflicted landscapes in the area using digital modeling. With the increasing popularity of landscape visualization for such research, there are many possibilities in using satellite imagery and computation to find answers. It uses historical imagery from declassified cold-war period satellites alongside contemporary digital terrain models to narrate the appropriation of three archaeological landscapes as military infrastructure. This installation exposes not the truth-value, but instead the peculiar and surreal aesthetics of remotely sensed landscapes. A process of pure optics, this is a visual culture where aesthetics and objective knowledge become entangled in a process that is at once as subjective and qualitative as it is evidentiary.

Oct. 10, 2019 — Ted Moore

Please join us on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 from 4:30-6pm in the MADD Seminar Room (JCL 134) for the first meeting of the Digital Media Workshop for the Fall Quarter. We are delighted to have Ted Moore, PhD Candidate in Music Composition. He will be presenting a digital humanities project entitled “Machine Learning Applications for Live Computer Music Performance.”

There is no pre-circulated material for this workshop.
Refreshments will be provided!

This presentation is a demonstration of three applications of machine learning algorithms used for real-time computer music performance: (1) a neural network classifier for audio reactive lighting, (2) a neural network regression algorithm for frequency modulation analysis and resynthesis, and (3) a TSNE (T-distributed Stochastic Neighbor Embedding) and Munkres Assignment Algorithm system for interpolation through multidimensional parameter space. Using these algorithms creates the possibility for new sonic experiences with existing sound design tools by creating innovative strategies for parametric control including reactivity to live audio input. These strategies also allow for user-defined pockets of artistic expressivity within high dimensional spaces to be preserved and collapsed into manageable dimensions and expressive controls. As an active computer music improviser, my discussion and demonstration of these implementations will be focused on their place in my artistic practice and the solutions and goals they achieve. Some tools will be demonstrated through recorded documentation and some will be demonstrated live.