This semester students in my Emerging Media Studio I grad class collaborated with students in Professor Starnaman’s Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies in the Arts and Humanities: “Fantastic Bodies,” and Professor Hanlon’s Modern Dance II to create a multimedia performance of (Parts 1 and V of) Walt Whitman’s A Song for Occupations.
This month Sabrina Starnaman and I delivered a presentation of our ongoing project (now called The Laboring Self, which was a 21st Century Korl Woman in its first iteration) to the Digital Frontiers conference audience from my classroom at UTD. This was the first time that I brought a class with me to a conference by presenting electronically from my home-podium. It was not difficult and my students enjoyed hearing a conference presentation from the seats they occupy each week.
While we couldn’t see our peers in the room at Rice University, we were delighted with their engagement in our Twitter feed. Thank you Frontiersfolk—hope to see you in person next year!
This semester Dr. Sabrina Starnaman and I continued our collaboration on a project that I have been calling a “recovery through mediation.” We worked with Dr. Starnaman’s class, Rebels, Reformers (and Recovery) to create a participatory media project that further recovers the text, Life in the Iron Mills by Rebecca Harding Davis. Published in The Atlantic Monthly in 1861, Life in the Iron Mills was first recovered—a once lost text now considered “a point of origin” for social realism–by Tillie Olsen on the Feminist Press (CUNY) in 1972. Students created a Mechanical Turk HIT (job) that asked Turkers to create self portraits expressing what they would imagine the Korl woman to look like. We sent these Turker selfies to a Fivver worker who created a 3D object file that we in turn fabricated as a larger-than-life portrait of a “digital Korl being.” The students then re-inscribed the sculpture with text from Davis’ novella. We are grateful for the support the Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology showed us with a grant that put this pilot project into action.
ATEC graduate student Philip Barker helped us fabricate our 21st Century, mediated version of Davis’ Korl woman. Phil made this documentary video of the project as it unfolded in Spring 2016.
This was my first semester with students in UT Dallas’ Emerging Media and Communication program. I had a blast working with two groups of engaged students. My favorite projects are archived on a Tumblr page I set up for the EMAC creative courses. Projects include video remixes, meta narrative animated GIFs, interactive plays on conceptual art works, and more.
Angelica is an up and coming web designer. She just moved to Seattle. She is, I’m sure, going to be a life-long learner. She also loves dogs. This project of hers pairs dog breeds with people’s personality types based on a combination of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter and the Brain Color assessment tool.
If you like dogs, or web design, or both, you should check out her award-winning work!
This past weekend I wore the black gown and mortar board that signifies graduation. The end of the academic year offers educators a time to reflect on the impact they hope they have had and an opportunity to collect evidence of student successes from the year. The Photocommunications concentration that I coordinate at Cal State Fullerton is small (at least, in relation to our sister concentrations). We are about 70-80 students in size, and I estimate about 25 or so graduated on Saturday. Student interests range from interactive media design to photojournalism to studio and event photography. Here are some of my favorite works created by students in the Photocommunications classes I taught during the academic year 2013-14:
COMM 317 Digital Foundations
Digital Foundations is an introduction to design principles class blended with an “introductory laboratory skills” protocol. Students learn to use Illustrator from Bauhaus-inspired lessons and Photoshop with collage and montage in mind (using the book I authored, of course). I used to follow the basics with a few weeks on multi-page design concepts (a good place to insert some InDesign lessons) but these days I find myself preparing students for screen-related applications (the web, apps, mobile devices, etc.). The projects reflect the class (full of primary lessons) and the many students who tell me this is the first time they’ve ever done anything “artsy.”
I taught this class both face-to-face and online in the fall.
Poster with Type (students created an illustration for this Los Angeles-based article):
COMM 380 Interactive Media Design
This is a basic web design course. I co-authored Visual Communication on the Web with Paul Martin Lester for my students, and we follow the book pretty closely throughout the course. By the end of the semester, it’s hard to believe it but my COMM students all know what a container div is and how to create unity on a web page without relying on a giant JPEG.
Here are some of my favorites—the project was to create a photo gallery based on edits the students made to a curated set of images they found in the Library of Congress.
Gloria Oh: View Her Women Portraits in Color Web Page
Nansir Sok: View His Product Placement in the LOC Project Here
COMM 481 Advanced Interactive Media Design
This course is a projects-based interactive media design class. Students develop projects based on their interests and a series of readings from my edited anthology, Net Works: Case Studies in Web Art and Design, that stimulate discussion and learning about issues central to new media art and design.
Angelica Perez: Dog Breed Personality Quiz
Torie Foley: Alt-J Band Web Page using Parallax Scroll
COMM 444 Capstone for Visual Communication
In the Capstone class, students mainly focus on their individual portfolios. There are group projects and papers, but mostly students develop their own visual identities.
Ebony Avery: I Survived
Montana Ortega: Zodiactive, A Tweet-based View of Your Astrological Sign
Christopher van Doesburg: Aerial Photography
Robert Husky: LED Photography