UC DARNet Grad Res Info/Xchge

April 28, 2006, 9:00 am   » 

9:00 – 9:30 am Continental Breakfast / Check-In

9:30 – 9:45 am
Welcome: Victoria Vesna, UC DARNet Director
Program and Announcements: Carol Hobson, UC DARNet Business Officer

9:45 – 11:15 am
UCLA Grads:
Aaron Koblin, Design | Media Arts
Krister Olsson, Design | Media Arts
John Houck, Design | Media Arts

11:30 – 12:15 pm
UCI Grads:
Lisa Tucker, Studio Art
Eric Kabisch, Arts, Computation and Engineering (ACE)

12:15 – 1:30 pm Hosted Lunch

1:30 – 2:30 pm
UCSC Grads:
Michael Dale and Abram Stern, Digital Arts/New Media
Michella Rivera-Gravage, Digital Arts/New Media

2:45 – 4:15 pm:
UCSD Grads:
J.R. Osborn, Communication
Cristyn Magnus, Music
Ge Jin (Jingle), Communication
Ayhan Aytes, Communication

4:30 – 5:30 pm
UCSB Grads:
Anne-Marie Skriver Hansen and Will Wolcott
Graham Wakefield, Lance Putnam, Dan Overholt, Hyunkyung Ji

5:30 - 6:00pm
UCB Grad:
Joe McKay

6:00 – 7:00 pm Closing Reception | Mixer
UC DARNet Grad Res Info/Xchge
Friday, April 28, 2006
E|DA, Kinross North, UC Los Angeles


Aaron Koblin, Design | Media Arts
“The Sheep Market”
Amazon's Mechanical Turk is a system for harnessing the power of distributed human intelligence. Intended for corporate use, MTurk exploits the notion that certain tasks are simple for people and difficult for computers. The system represents an automated work force in which computer and human processing are intertwined. The individual workers remain alienated from the larger process they are contributing to, aware only of their simple task. This organizational format, typically implemented by corporations, tends to yield highly organized, efficient results for the purposes of targeted economic gain.

The Sheep Market is a web-based art project which appropriates the MTurk system to implicate thousands of workers in the creation of a massive database of drawings. From one simple request, submitted to the MTurk system as a 'HIT' or Human Intelligence Task, workers create their version of “a sheep facing to the left” using simple drawing tools. The artist responsible for each drawing receives a payment of two cents for their labor. The specific technology and system being implemented by the Mechanical Turk is new, but the ideology of bureaucratized systematized human labor is quite aged and has been maturing rapidly since the industrial revolution. Writers such as Marx, Engels, and other social theorists have thoroughly discussed the alienating impact of massive distributed employment facilities. Within the inspiration for The Sheep Market is the urge to caste a light on the human role of creativity being expressed by workers in the system, while illustrating the massive and insignificant role each plays as part of a whole.

Krister Olsson, Design | Media Arts
“1993-2005 and 8624 Olympic White”
Between 1993 and 2005 over 350 women were found dead in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The majority of the victims worked in maquiladoras, foreign-owned assembly plants near the U.S. border. The largest maquiladora employer in Ciudad Juarez is Delphi, a spin-off of General Motors. The gallery installation ‘1993-2005 and 8624 Olympic White’ is comprised of 13 servo motor-controlled Jacob’s Ladders, one for each year from 1993 to 2005. Each ladder has as many panels as recorded murders of women in Ciudad Juarez for that year. The front of each panel is engraved with the age of one victim, the back painted with the stock General Motors color ‘8624 Olympic White.’

John Houck,, Design | Media Arts
“Installations and the parametric and generative in Architecture”
John Houck is interested in the intersection of architecture and art. John will present several of his installations completed this year that deal with this intersection. In his work he attempts to advance new types of architecture while commenting on the current state of architecture. In addition, he will discuss his recent collaboration with Morphosis Architects and demonstrate the custom software and its various outputs that he developed while working there. The software facilitates the earliest stages of design conception as opposed to the more traditional uses of software.


Lisa Tucker, Studio Art
“Food Forever” (In vitro cloning of organic produce)
For the past year I have been working with Dr. Ronald Chiarello, PhD Organic Chemistry, to expand his
initial research with worm microbes into a system of indoor farming, using in vitro cloning technology to
grow organic produce taken from supermarkets. By converting lamps and furniture into incubators or
growing rooms, we have transformed the typical living room into a literal “living room” of food crops. We
are continuing to develop our indoor growing system by adding solar panels and greywater irrigation
(laundry, shower and sink wastewater). Future plans also include crockpot biodiesel fuel production and
an electric coffee maker bioreactor to grow organic fertilizer from the worm microbes. I am currently
working on LambdaMOO to build a model of the system where guests and characters can grow their own
safe, nutritious food. Through this art intervention my aim is to look at alternatives to how the public sees
art and science, how they can participate by using scientific protocols to grow their own food, and to
engage in a dialog regarding how biotechnology affects the food they eat.

Eric Kabisch, Arts, Computation and Engineering (ACE)
“Datascape: A Mobile Exploration of Georeferenced Information, Visualization and Sonification”
As locative, pervasive and ubiquitous computing technologies weave their way into our world it is useful
to consider the resulting fabric of our enhanced surroundings. In discussions concerning ubiquitous
computing many have aspired toward the "invisibility" of computing technologies. This notion of the
disappearing interface implies an increased level of technological mediation between people and their
surroundings, even suggesting that computation will become "indistinguishable" from the world it
augments. As our interactions with technology become more mediated and less conscious, so too does
our relationship with the underlying assumptions and data which make up these technological systems.
This project takes a different approach to ubiquitous and mobile computing, with a fundamental goal
being to make visible the hidden data tied to spatial locations. In doing so we explore the basis of
geospatial systems, by making apparent the sources of underlying data.

Datascape is a location-aware system for the visual and auditory representation of georeferenced
datasets. The portable system is designed to be deployed in vehicles but also can be used for stationary
simulations. The system is composed of four major elements: a geodatabase, a data visualization engine,
a sonification engine, and a periscope-like display/sensing/interface device. As users travel through
space, they are presented with a moveable window into the surrounding data world. Terrain visualization
provides grounding in the physical world, while other non-physical data are experienced as an overlaid
environment of sonic and visual structures.


Michael Dale and Abram Stern, Digital Arts/New Media
“Metavid: Meta-Enhanced Text Audio Video Interface for Democracy”.
Many archives are built as bunkers, enclosing cultural history through their architecture (high walls,
vaults), their lawyers (enforcement of copyright) and their technologies (Digital Rights Management).
These measures are problematic enough when applied to any cultural material but are even more so
when applied to governmental proceedings in the Public Domain. The principal mediators between the
public and the re[-]presentation of their representatives are private institutions who often place business
and outdated models of production/consumption above providing true access to these materials.
Metavid is an active archive and and remediation engine, built to provide an open and democratic
alternative to the status quo. Unlike the bunker model, Metavid is open to intervention by design: from
our open source framework to our interface that enables user/participants to annotate and
recontextualize footage.

Michella Rivera-Gravage, Digital Arts/New Media
“Train Tracks”
A perpetually unfolding collection of downloadable audio programs, Train Tracks is a combination of
interviews with public transportation riders, histories about the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) in
San Francisco, and ambient/musical elements. Sewn together to poetically convey the intricacies of
sociality in the confined spaces of public transport, these city soundtracks will include intimate
conversations about decorous anonymity to public sex. The audio programs, distributed on podcast and
CD, will enable riders to hear stories from the people around them, along with other aural tidbits, that are
connected to routes within the BART system. There will be audio programs that are specifically timed for
a route from one station to another, acting as a soundtrack for that route. Programs will be available on
the Train Tracks website arranged by time of day and route, as well as categorized thematically on the
Train Tracks website. I will also leave CDs on the trains.


J.R. Osborn, Communication
“Factory School: A Modular Platform for Publishing, Data Assembly, and Performance”
Factory School is an online learning and production collective engaged in action research, publishing,
media display, and community service. Concerned with public education as much as education in public,
Factory School emphasizes the social and cultural reproductive function of digital networks and the
multiple media arts. Across these numerous projects, the School is developing a modular platform for the
assembly and distribution of educational, creative, and performative material. This presentation will
introduce the Factory School modular model through examples drawn from a community textbook series,
online curatorial collections, and Blue-Green Algebra, a Factory School performance project.
The model of modular collection and assembly rests upon the theory of the "communicative object." The
communicative object offers a set (or cluster, or nest) of questions as much as a set of answers. The
object may be explored through analysis of the relations and the patterns hidden within its shape, or this
shape may be recombined, reformed, and re-mixed for use in later projects, concretized and shared as
books, posters, open-source textbooks, digital artwork, videos, sound objects, and performance
installations. To engage in creative production of communicative objects and to participate in their
propagation is to assume partial responsibility for cultural meaning, its dissemination, and its reception in
public spaces. Factory School aims to utilize a digital network for modular collection and then concretize
the collections as communicative objects, returning the digital content to more tangible forms for
community education and embodied performance.

Cristyn Magnus, Music
“Interactive performance, algorithmic composition, games”
I am currently working on a game piece for percussion and interactive computer. The performer is
presented with an algorithmically generated score. He can choose to interpret the score in several ways;
each way of interpreting the score is a move in the game. His playing is constrained not just by the notes
written in the score, but by the moves he'd like to make. He is attempting to perform a task, and the
computer is attempting to thwart him. He gets points when he is successful; the computer gets points
when it thwarts him. As the computer gains points, it processes the performers sound more and more; as
the performer gains points, he lessens the computer's processing ability. The score is generated
algorithmically using a combination of nested markov processes that generate an initial collection of
phrases, and a developmental algorithm that progressively develops and modifies material from earlier in
the piece. The game itself is sonified and spatially projected. The form of the piece emerges from the
interpretation of the score required to make moves in the game and the sonification of the game.

Ge Jin (Jingle), Communication
“Real Money Traders In the Game World”
The project I will present investigates real money trade in the game world, (an industry often termed
“gaming sweatshop” in China). There is a new kind of factory in China today that hires young people to
play online games like World of Warcraft and Lineage day and night. The gaming workers produce ingame
currency, equipment, magic spells and even whole characters, which are sold to wealthier players
who want to raise their level in the game world immediately. I will be presenting an overview of my current
research, which inquires into how such gaming factories manage the production and distribution of virtual
products across the border of America and China and the border of the real and virtual. I will also discuss
the peculiar lifestyle of gaming workers and examine how it feels to be real and virtual simultaneously and
to be working and playing simultaneously. I will show a short clip of a documentary that I am producing
about this phenomenon. The documentary explores ways to sensually represent the intersection of global
connection and disconnection, work and play, virtual and real. It is also an experiment of distributive
filmmaking, engaging interviewees as co-creators, filming themselves and contributing the tapes to my

Ayhan Aytes, Communication
“Remembrance of Media Past”
This multi-media project emerged from conceptual issues that I encountered in teaching interface design
in Istanbul, where the most of the software products are imported. This demanded a distinct approach to
the term "interface". I began to consider "interface" in terms of the historical evolution of media as they
traverse cultural sites. Remembrance of Media Past engages with cultural archetypes as motivations for
designing interfaces in contemporary media. I chose to take illuminated manuscripts as a central focus of
my research because they were perhaps the most significant medium of complex information structures
before the introduction of the mechanical reproduction beginning with the Gutenberg era. In its final
articulation the project components attempt to link these antecedent cultural interfaces to more current
approaches to complex information structures.
The project is by nature, highly interdisciplinary and collaborative. Choosing manuscripts as cultural
interfaces and specifically focusing on the ones that include complex information structures like maps,
miniatures (paintings) and ancient technical books diagramming mechanical devices, requires
collaboration with historians of science, philologists, and scholars of visual culture during the research
stage of the project. Although I borrow the term "cultural interface" from Lev Manovich, my understanding
of "culture" stems more from its anthropologic definitions. In my studies I explore theoretical grounds for
establishing a methodology to apply this perspective in a systemic way. Therefore, I consider integrating
academic resources from the "media pedagogy", "culture and cognition" and "sociology of science" fields
for my studies. Possible application areas of this study can be in culturally responsive learning
environments, collaborative knowledge production in multicultural research networks and in the analysis
of cultural aspects of interaction modes in new media.


Anne-Marie Skriver Hansen and Will Wolcott
“The Well”
The Well is an experimental collaboration project between a software engineer and a digital media artist,
where research is directed towards a scientific discourse in an artistic context. By unwrapping a natural
phenomena such as water patterns that occur when sound runs through water, we created an installation
situation, where the viewer can interact directly with the sound that generates water patterns by pulling in
a rope. The unwrapped image of the water patterns is displayed around the viewer's head and the actual
image of the water patterns is displayed on the floor, where the viewer pulls in the rope. By letting the
viewer be surrounded by a scientific interpretation of a natural phenomena we intended to create an
artistic expression, where the dynamics of the water patterns are interpreted.

Graham Wakefield, Lance Putnam, Dan Overholt, Hyunkyung Ji
“Towards the AlloSphere: Intensive Art, Immersive Worlds”
We present an overview of graduate projects produced at the Media Arts & Technology program of
UCSB, in the context of Transvergence, a concept devised by Marcos Novak. Transvergence is a
creative interplay with intentions beyond cross-disciplinary discourse and practice towards the
generation of viable new species of expression. We describe several instantiations of graduate projects
exploring emergence as a pluri-modal artistic principle. A number of these projects will be demonstrated
and discussed in more detail. Our work involves digital media of sound, image, virtual worlds and
physical manifestations inspired by algorithmic explorations of dynamic, chaotic and generative systems.
Secondly, we present a synergy of this work in the practical demonstration of the capabilities of the soon
to be active CNSI AlloSphere, a 3-story high spherical space in which fully immersive, interactive,
stereoscopic/pluriphonic virtual environments can be experienced. The AlloSphere is a place in which art
and science contribute equally, where we can not only visualize or simulate what we know, but where
we can rigorously entertain generative hypotheses of how worlds could be. To demonstrate the promise
of the AlloSphere, we developed a 3-D stereographic and octophonic presentation of the enclosing
building, containing a real-time interactive fusion of our projects as virtual projections within it. The world
is navigated using a wireless interface developed at CREATE/MAT, housed within a rapid-prototyped
object based upon a four-dimensional shape. Our work signifies the first step of ongoing research that is
intended to design a general architecture for future artistic and scientific research in the AlloSphere


Joe McKay
“Sunset Solitaire”
Have you ever tried to by groceries with your ATM card, only to have the ATM machine so poorly
designed that you honestly don’t know what button to push next, and the teller has to reach over and
(without looking) press the right sequence of buttons for you? I love that moment. I am interested in this
odd paradoxical relationship we have cultivated with computers. In my presentation I will be showing
some recent works in progress that I have started since entering school last fall, including; Sunset
Solitaire - a game where I “mix” a virtual sunset to match the real sunset, live. ATM photos – hand made
interventions on ATM machines. UFO’s – photos of UFOS made from light poles.

EDA  (Map)
Broad Art Center
240 Charles E. Young Drive, Room 1250
Los Angeles, CA 90095
+Parking is $12 all day, and is available in structure 3, adjacent to the building. For more information, call 310.825.9007.