Mechanical Olympics at the Dallas Museum of Art

The Fifth Mechanical Olympics (2008, ongoing) is underway. This year I will be presenting videos from the past and present games to viewers at The Dallas Museum of Art’s Late Night event on August 19th, starting at 7pm. At 9pm I will deliver an artist talk about the project, tracing my interest and expectations of the project as they have shifted throughout the past eight years.

One thing I came to realize during the process of drafting my thoughts for the 9pm talk is that one Mechanical Olympian, Shamik Ghosh, has been participating in this crowdsourced game since its infancy–and he has recorded his son for each iteration of the games.

Here is Shamik’s son six years ago:

Here he is in 2016:

If you want to make a video, we’re doing that too but you have to stay up late. From 10-11pm we’ll be making videos and voting on gold medalists in the Center for Creative Connections.

I considered ending this post with some kind of joke or reference to making up a story about being robbed after you attend the DMA to participate in the Mechanical Olympics, but I thought better of it. I’ll make no guarantees about what happens when you leave the DMA, but I think you’ll have a fun time while you visit for Late Night.

Help The Women of El Toro Launch this Friday at the Orange County Great Park

Download The Women of El Toro from the app store for free.

The Women of El Toro (xtine burrough and Dan Sutko) pairs stories told by female veterans and military wives stationed at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro with locations on the same ground, in the Orange County Great Park. Originally recorded by the Center for Oral and Public History from 2007-13, these stories are now made available in a free iOS app to bring the voices of the women whose experiences in or with the Marines to visitors at Great Park locations. In broader terms, Dan and I are excited about the poetic way that The Women of El Toro lies at the intersection of locative GPS technology, digital oral histories of female veterans, and digital humanities work emphasizing the creation of new human experiences through new media, space, and place.

If you are planning to attend, please download the app on a trusted wifi connection before arriving at the park and find us in front of the Visitors Center! 

We hope to see you this Friday, where our special guests include some of the women whose voices are embedded in the app.

California Humanities

Dan and I would like to extend our gratitude to California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. This project is the result of a Community Stories grant, 2015-16.

Digital Frontiers


I’m posting this a bit late, but I didn’t want to forget to mention how much I enjoyed presenting my current work, a collaboration with Dan Sutko titled The Women of El Toro (made possible by a grant from CalHumanities) at Digital Frontiers. It was refreshing to talk about our iOS app among like-minded peers interested in the digital, the humanities and storytelling.

I also enjoyed speaking up about women making with code. Yes! Learn to code. Learn to make. Women aren’t, typically, afraid to make a blanket for a newborn (well, I must admit, I’m a bit fearful of the sewing machine and I do recognize this is a problematic way to start the sentence but hang with me here), why should we be afraid to make apps or websites or software or anything else that requires code? It especially felt good to talk to some female grad students after the session about their practice in development.

Cal Humanities Grant Proposal > Work Samples

The following links to an iOS app and a website, an interview transcript (PDF), and an interview audio file (MP3) are included in support of xtine burrough and Dan Sutko’s proposal, The Women of El Toro:


On Brands and Branding in Chapman’s 2013 Design Symposium Branding Issue

x with chapman journal
Chapman University 2013 Design Symposium: The Branding Issue, Vol. 1, Issue 1

Chapman University published its first design journal to accompany their 2013 Design Symposium. Though I wasn’t able to attend the symposium, my article, On Brands and Branding was included in the journal—a beautiful, hard-cover issue that also includes contributions from Brittany Rosenblatt, selections from the 2013 Orange County Design Awards, Iridium Group, and Armin Vit.

keep calm and carry on in pixels
From footnote 21: Remaining quiet and immobile creates a mass audience that remains passive and more easily manipulated.

My article, “On Death Brands and Dying Branding” is a selective remix of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ 1969 book, On Death and Dying. The words “brand” and “branding” are substituted in salient quotes from Kübler-Ross’ text for the words “death” and “dying.” The Swiss-born psychiatrist developed her “5 Stages of Grief” hypothesis to help the medical industry understand the emotional processes undergone by patients suffering from terminal illnesses. By substituting “brand/branding” for Kübler-Ross’ primary target (death/dying), I suggest a culture in which brands and branding are the norm will enact a process of grieving akin to that of the terminally ill.

“On Death Brands and Dying Branding” appears on pages 39-47, but the bulk of the investigation is within the footnotes, pages 44-7.

Coming Soon: The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies

Today Eduardo Navas, Owen Gallagher and I are submitting our completed, 41-chapter anthology to our editor at Routledge. The expected publication date of the Routledge Companion to Remix Studies is in December this year. Whew!

This is the 5th time I’ve prepared a manuscript for publication, my third with Routledge, and my third collaboration. Eduardo and Owen are amazing. They are dedicated scholars with passion for their field and care for their peers. I had a blast working with both of them, and look forward to the next phase: copy editing proofs, finalizing a cover design, and assembling a conference or festival to celebrate the book release.

Best Student Work of the Year

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):


Amber Browne

amber browne

Brent Spaulding

brent spaulding

Mckenzie Snelson

mckenzie snelson

Elizabeth McHenry



Sarah Biggers




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

gloria-oh-proj4Nansir Sok: View His Product Placement in the LOC Project Here

nansir sok

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

Alt-j by torie foley

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


i survived

Montana Ortega: Zodiactive, A Tweet-based View of Your Astrological Sign


Christopher van Doesburg: Aerial Photography




Robert Husky: LED Photography

NCAA Basketball: UC Davis vs Cal State Fullerton MAR 2

LED lighting