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Future: Now - Digital Futures Graduate Thesis Exhibition 2021

Launch Events:

  • Friday, April 9th, 6:00PM – 8:00PM EDT

  • Saturday, April 10th, 10:00AM – 12:00PM EDT

During a time of great change, we invite you to join us for this online exhibition and event that considers our possible FUTURES as we see them in the NOW. 

The Digital Futures (DF) graduate program at OCAD University invites you to "Future: Now” our annual (online!) graduate thesis exhibition. This exhibition features thesis projects (MA, MDes, and MFA) that engage, investigate, and explore a wide range of both technical and social topics. The Launch Events will consist of sneak previews of the thesis projects, panel discussions, and break out rooms where attendees can meet the makers and attend live demos and performances. 

Friday Panel Discussions:
“Reimagining the Past: Decolonizing the Future” Hosted by Immony Men. With Nadine Valcin, Priya Bandodkar and Lilian Leung.
“Digitizing Physicality: Embodiment through Technology” Hosted by Cindy Poremba. With Jun Li, Neo Chen and Jessie Zheng.

Saturday Panel Discussions:
“Neural Synthesis: Augmenting experiences with neural networks.” Hosted by Adam Tindale. With Arshia Sobhan Sarbandi, Manisha Laroia and Liam Clarke.
“Humanizing Web Experience.” Hosted by Nick Puckett. With Rittika Basu, Masha Shirokova and Sananda Dutta.

To register and learn more, visit: http://dfthesis.com

This event is presented by the Digital Futures Graduate Program, in collaboration with Graduate Studies at OCAD University and CFC Media Lab. 

OCAD University acknowledges the ancestral and traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe and the Huron-Wendat, who are the original owners and custodians of the land on which we stand.

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This is an online virtual event
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Free. All welcome!
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jpaglione@ocadu.ca
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During a time of great change, we invite you to join us for this online exhibition and event that considers our possible FUTURES as we see them in the NOW.

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Future: Now - Digital Futures Graduate Thesis Exhibition 2021
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Jose Sanchez is the creator of the video games Block’hood and Common’hood, digital social platforms that aid the authoring of architectural and ecological thinking to non-expert audiences. He is the author of the book “Architecture for the Commons: Participatory Systems in the Age of Platforms” published by Routledge in 2020 and the co-creator of Bloom, a crowdsourced interactive installation which was the winner of the Wonder Series hosted by the City of London for the 2012 Olympics. He has taught in renowned institutions in the United States and in Europe, including the Architectural Association in London, The Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London, at the University of Southern California. He is currently at the University of Michigan, where he is an Associate Professor at the Taubman College School of Architecture. His research “Architecture for the Commons” designs and interrogates social media platforms as tools with the potential to author architectural content in the public domain.

Nick Puckett is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Digital Futures undergraduate program at OCAD. He is also the founding director of Puckett Research & Design, a design practice that explores near-future speculative design for the built environment through the creation of new tools and technologies that radically alter the process and product of design. This collaborative research spans software, robotics, biological agents, chemical engineering, and material behaviour to generate new potentials for the design of intelligent environments.  

 

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https://ocadu.zoom.us/j/88579389250?pwd=QzhydDkzK1VFOERwYk05Mk80VGJRUT09
Meeting ID: 885 7938 9250
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Jose Sanchez is an Architect, Game Designer, and Theorist based in Detroit, Michigan. He is the director of the Plethora Project (www.plethora-project.com ), a research studio investing in the future of the propagation of architectural design knowledge. 

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Digital Futures Conversations: Jose Sanchez with Nick Puckett
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Dr. Rebecca Fiebrink is a Reader at the Creative Computing Institute at University of the Arts London. Her research focuses on designing new ways for people to interact with computers in creative practice, and especially on creative uses of machine learning. Fiebrink is the developer of Wekinator, open-source software for interactive machine learning that has been downloaded over 40,000 times, and she is the creator of the world’s first MOOC about machine learning for creative practitioners. Much of her work is driven by a belief in the importance of inclusion, participation, and accessibility: she works frequently with human-centred and participatory design processes, and she is currently working on projects related to creating new accessible technologies with people with disabilities, designing inclusive machine learning curricula and tools, and applying participatory design methodologies in digital humanities. 

Adam Tindale is an electronic drummer and digital instrument designer. He is an Associate Professor of Human-Computer Interaction in the Digital Futures Initiative at OCAD University. Adam performs on his E-Drumset: a new electronic instrument that utilizes physical modeling and machine learning with an intuitive physical interface. He completed a Bachelor of Music at Queen's University, a Masters of Music Technology at McGill University, and an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Music, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the University of Victoria. 

3 keywords: Machine learning, interaction, creative computing 

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https://ocadu.zoom.us/j/85349654277?pwd=eEJUcTBOYTk1WEMxOWgrODZhUVgxdz09

Meeting ID: 853 4965 4277
Passcode: 89%U+jV7
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How machine learning can support human creative practices

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Digital Futures Conversations: With Rebecca Fiebrink and Adam Tindale
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About Madison Maxey: 

I am passionate about working at the intersection of design and engineering to create useful products. I am currently focused on bringing conformable circuits (e-textiles) to scale through my company, Loomia. Our mission is to create tools for engineers and designers who are creating next-generation products. 

Throughout the course of my work at Loomia, I have developed e-textile prototypes and workshops for companies like North Face, Google, PVH, Flextronics, Adidas and Corning. 

In addition to e-textiles, I have performed computational design and physical computing work for the F.I.T Museum, Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit, CNBC’s Jump Jive and Thrive and Google Creative Lab. I also held creative technology residences at the School of Visual Arts, Autodesk, and Pratt’s BF+DA where I won the BF+DA Technology Innovation Award. 

My work has built the foundation for 5 granted patents and has led to invited lectures at Universities such as Columbia University, Parsons School of Design, NYU and University of Illinois Champagne Urbana. 

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https://ocadu.zoom.us/j/87389833606?pwd=SDl1SzNoWkd1bktING53c0hHeWF5dz09

Contact jpaglione@ocadu.ca for meeting passcode
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Free! All Welcome!
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jpaglione@ocadu.ca
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5 Things Every Designer and Engineer Should know about E-Textiles 

Keywords: E-Textiles, Engineering, Design 

Caption: Loomia Electronic Layer - is a soft flexible circuit 

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Digital Futures Conversations: Madison Maxey with Kate Hartman
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About the series: 

“Digital Futures Conversations” is an event series, each event consisting of a 30-minute talk by a featured guest followed by a 30-minute conversation facilitated by a Digital Futures faculty member. Digital Futures is a set of undergraduate and graduate programs at OCAD University in Toronto that focus on creative and critical approaches to existing and emerging technologies. OCAD University is one of Canada’s largest art and design schools, committed to the principles of decolonization, diversity and equity, and sustainability. 

About this event: 

Tess Takahashi is a Toronto-based scholar, writer, and programmer who focuses on the politics of experimental moving image arts. She is currently working on two books, On Magnitude, which considers artists' work in relation to questions of digital scale, and Impure Film (1968-2008), which connects the fields of documentary and art via medium specificity. She is a member of the editorial collective for Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media. Takahashi's writing has been published there as well as in Cinema Journal, the Millennium Film Journal, Animation, MIRAGE, and Cinema Scope, among others.  

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https://ocadu.zoom.us/j/85749009582?pwd=akw3TTdBOHhpd09WM3FJS1BQSVY4Zz09
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Free! All Welcome!
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Our featured guest Tess Takahashi will present the talk “The Murmur of Digital Magnitude: Minor Voices and Data Visualization”. 

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Tess Takahashi
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About the guest speaker:

Auriea Harvey is a 3D artist producing simulations and sculptures that bridge physical and digital space. Harvey is half of the artist duo Entropy8Zuper!/Tale of Tales/Song of Songs, known for their pioneering works in Internet art, video games, and XR. Her videogames and VR works have had international success, including exhibitions at the Tinguely Museum, Basel; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the New Museum, New York; Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York; and ZKM, Karlsruhe. Harvey is the recipient of a Creative Capital grant and a winner of the Independent Games Festival Nuovo Award. She is represented by bitforms gallery, NYC. 

About the series: 

“Digital Futures Conversations” is an event series, each event consisting of a 30-minute talk by a featured guest followed by a 30-minute conversation facilitated by a Digital Futures faculty member. Digital Futures is a set of undergraduate and graduate programs at OCAD University in Toronto that focus on creative and critical approaches to existing and emerging technologies. OCAD University is one of Canada’s largest art and design schools, committed to the principles of decolonization, diversity and equity, and sustainability. 

Date
-
Venue & Address
https://ocadu.zoom.us/j/86890843429?pwd=eWhKMCsyenpSWDR3Q3d3MWpXN0toQT09
Cost
Free. All welcome!
Email
jpaglione@ocadu.ca
Type
Department
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Digital Futures Conversations” is an event series, each event consisting of a 30-minute talk by a featured guest followed by a 30-minute conversation facilitated by a Digital Futures faculty member.  We are pleased to host Auriea Harvey for this talk.

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Digital Futures Conversations: Auriea Harvey with Emma Westecott
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Kite aka Suzanne Kite is an Oglála Lakȟóta performance artist, visual artist, and composer raised in Southern California, with a BFA from CalArts in music composition, an MFA from Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School, and is a PhD candidate at Concordia University. Kite’s scholarship and practice investigate contemporary Lakota ontologies through research-creation, computational media, and performance. Recently, Kite has been developing a body interface for movement performances, carbon fibre sculptures, immersive video and sound installations, as well as co-running the experimental electronic imprint, Unheard Records. Kite has also published in several journals and magazines, including in The Journal of Design and Science (MIT Press), where the award winning article, “Making Kin with Machines,” co-authored with Jason Lewis, Noelani Arista, and Archer Pechawis, was featured. Currently, she is a 2019 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar, a 2020 Tulsa Artist Fellow, and a 2020 Women at Sundance x Adobe Fellow.

About the series: “Digital Futures Conversations” is an event series, each event consisting of a 30-minute talk by a featured guest followed by a 30-minute conversation facilitated by a Digital Futures faculty member. Digital Futures is a set of undergraduate and graduate programs at OCAD University in Toronto that focus on creative and critical approaches to existing and emerging technologies. OCAD University is one of Canada’s largest art and design schools, committed to the principles of decolonization, diversity and equity, and sustainability. Artwork Caption: Ínyan Iyé (Telling Rock), immersive installation. Kite and Devin Ronneberg, 2019. Song, power, sound, processors, machine learning decisions, handmade circuitry, gold, silver, copper, aluminum, silicon, fiberglass.

Join Zoom Meeting https://ocadu.zoom.us/j/81361207546?pwd=c0ZvWm4veUp1Zm5YT0p4UjlWdDN5UT09 Meeting ID: 813 6120 7546 Passcode: 0K*=35dQ

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https://ocadu.zoom.us/j/81361207546?pwd=c0ZvWm4veUp1Zm5YT0p4UjlWdDN5UT09
Cost
Free. All welcome!
Email
jpaglione@ocadu.ca
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"Digital Futures Conversations” is an event series, each event consisting of a 30-minute talk by a featured guest followed by a 30-minute conversation facilitated by a Digital Futures faculty member. This week we are please to host performance artist, visual artist, and composer Kite aka Suzanne Kite.

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Digital Futures Conversations: Susan Kite
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Jeff Watson (far right) with OCAD U students.
Jeff Watson (far right) with OCAD U Digital Futures undergrad students during Atelier class. Photo courtesy: Adam Tindale.

The OCAD University community is deeply saddened by the passing of Jeff Watson, former Assistant Professor in the Digital Futures program, on November 9, 2020.

Watson, an award-winning artist, game designer, writer, and educator, was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1973. He received a BA in Cultural Studies from McGill University, an MFA in Film and Video from York University and a PhD in media arts and practice from the University of Southern California.

During his tenure at OCAD U, Watson founded the Situation Lab with futurist Stuart Candy. In 2014, the Lab released its first game, The Thing From The Future – an award-winning imagination game that challenges players to collaboratively and competitively describe objects from a range of alternative futures.

Most recently, Watson was Assistant Professor of Interactive Media and Games at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, where he was a Director at the Situation Lab, a design research laboratory cross-sited at USC and OCAD University.

Over the past few years, Watson and his wife, Kiki Benzon, another important member of the OCAD U community, worked with the Digital Futures program as external thesis examiners.

As a designer, Watson consulted and produced commissioned work for a variety of institutions and companies, including Intel, BMW/Mini, the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Boeing, Tiltfactor, Take Action Games, the USC World Building Institute, and the Institute for Multimedia Literacy.

The University extends its deepest condolences and support to Kiki Benzon, his family and friends, and to all who knew him at OCAD University.

Memorial services will be held at later dates in Toronto and Los Angeles. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to Birds Canada. His obituary has been posted on the Calgary Herald website.

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News Summary
The OCAD University community is deeply saddened by the passing of Jeff Watson, former Assistant Professor in the Digital Futures program, on November 9, 2020.
Watson, an award-winning artist, game designer, writer, and educator, was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1973. He received a BA in Cultural Studies from McGill University, an MFA in Film and Video from York University and a PhD in media arts and practice from the University of Southern California.
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Interested in applying for CGS-M (SSHRC, NSERC) and/or an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)? This session will provide students with further information about competitions, timelines and best practices. These are prestigious awards, and all full-time graduate students are encouraged to apply.

For further details about scholarships and funding please see our website here

This session will be held two times in October:

  • October 7, 2020 - 9:00AM to 10:30AM, Eastern (Toronto) time
  • October 9, 2020 - 1:30PM to 3:00PM, Eastern (Toronto) time

The information sessions will be held on Microsoft Teams. To sign up to participate, follow this link to the registration page, then select the date and select the time. Fill in your name and OCAD U 365 email address and submit.

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Interested in applying for CGS-M (SSHRC, NSERC) and/or an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)? This session will provide students with further information about competitions, timelines and best practices. These are prestigious awards, and all full-time graduate students are encouraged to apply.

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Kate HartmanNick Puckett

 

Kate Hartman, graduate program director for Digital Futures and Nick Puckett. Digital Futures Undergraduate Chair

Living in a COVID-19 world means businesses and institutions will need to pay more attention to the digital experience they offer.

As the coronavirus compels us to continue asking, What now? and What next?, we can be sure that technology, art and design will play a role in our collective recovery and in the reinvention of our lives. What’s also likely is that many of the answers will emerge from Digital Futures.

This one-of-a-kind area of study at OCAD University offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in Digital Futures, which probe the possibilities of current and emerging digital technologies for solving our biggest problems. The curricula and methods nurture blue-sky thinking about the potential of wearable tech, mobile apps, games, virtual and augmented reality, and more (take a look at the thesis projects of graduate students, they’re impressive!).

A conversation with Kate Hartman, graduate program director for Digital Futures and Nick Puckett, chair of the undergraduate program, about what the digital world holds for our life during COVID-19 gets into the “low-hanging fruit”: better videoconferencing. Because Brady Bunch-esque grid communication, where we all stare at each other simultaneously, is not at all awkward or distracting.

“This communicating by squares feels unnatural. We’re used to communicating with each other in a more three-dimensional way,” says Hartman, who is also an associate professor of Wearable and Mobile Technology, during our own three-rectangle video meeting, gesturing with her arms to indicate a bunch of people gathering together.

“This is the year we’ll see a million of these improved services pop up,” says Puckett. “Up until a few months ago, this is something we used to do occasionally. Now it’s something we spend every day doing. When it’s no longer a novelty, how do you make the experience interesting?”

Puckett, founding director of Puckett Research and Design, specializes in responsive architecture - using software, robotics, and specialized materials and engineering methods to make intelligent environments. His last architectural installation demonstrated a novel use for LiDAR sensors: provide real-time information on where people are located in a room. 

“At the time, I wasn’t thinking that in a few months, we’d all be eyeballing everyone around,” to keep distance, Puckett says, referring to our two-metres-apart. “If you start embedding technology in a space, when is it productive, and when is it just monitoring? Who has the data, and how are they using it? These become important questions.”

Kate Hartman has been working in wearable tech since before Fitbits became fashionable. In fact, she literally wrote the book on it: the 2014 how-to guide, Make: Wearable Electronics. The most obvious application during a prolonged public health crisis, she says, is for monitoring health: respiration, heart rate, sleep, etc. As we make inroads in wearable IoT-enabled textiles and devices for health reasons, she says, we’ll discover and develop new ways to interface with computational devices.

“It gets boring with just a mouse and keyboard,” says Hartman. “There is lots of research on bespoke ways to use computers. Bringing technology closer to our bodies helps us to express ourselves in new ways.”

Speaking of research, Hartman leads the Social Body Lab, a creative technology research group based at OCAD U in that takes the human body as a starting point from which to consider how humans interface with and relate to the world around them. Her research has focused on how can electronic textile techniques can used to create bespoke, alternative game controllers. 

Both Hartman and Puckett agree that, now that we are living more of our lives online – to complete projects, collaborate with colleagues, hang out with friends and much more – effective and engaging design is going to become more critical. This means that businesses, institutions and government agencies will need to pay more attention to the digital experience they offer to their stakeholders.

“Our tolerance for poor design choices is going to plummet. In the digital space, design is extremely important not just for how we use things, but it will affect our choices of what tools we use and how we use them, and the joy or frustration of the experiences,” Hartman says.

“As computer use becomes more ubiquitous and normal, the experiences have to be more interesting,” Puckett says. “It can’t just be about practical functionality. How do we design personality?”

To accomplish that goal, Puckett predicts more organizations will turn to game-design principles and elements for ideas and strategies. An increasingly sophisticated domain, gamification can provide inspiration for how to use immersive environments, avatars and storytelling as a way to create more fun, dynamic and interactive virtual experiences.

Integrating game-playing into products, services, tools and marketing is already being used by some organizations from various sectors to achieve objectives such as attracting and retaining clients, increasing employee productivity, encouraging healthy behaviour and educating students.

“The game design and development community have so much to bring to this context,” Puckett says. “Thinking about how much more we all interact online, I think gaming is going to be vital.”

Department
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News Summary
Living in a COVID-19 world means businesses and institutions will need to pay more attention to the digital experience they offer. As the coronavirus compels us to continue asking, What now? and What next?, we can be sure that technology, art and design will play a role in our collective recovery and in the reinvention of our lives. What’s also likely is that many of the answers will emerge from Digital Futures.

This one-of-a-kind area of study at OCAD University offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in Digital Futures, which probe the possibilities of current and emerging digital technologies for solving our biggest problems. The curricula and methods nurture blue-sky thinking about the potential of wearable tech, mobile apps, games, virtual and augmented reality, and more (take a look at the thesis projects of graduate students, they’re impressive!).
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