Assistant Professor Kim Knight has been recently published in The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media. This collection of works includes articles from university professors across the United States who are well-versed in the rapidly expanding field of Digital Media.
Kim’s two publications cover controversial and complex topics that have arisen from Digital Media and its user’s agency over technology as well as the implications of real-world application.
Her first article, ‘Race and Ethnicity’ looks at racial and ethnic divides created in the digital space and why this divide remains prevalent.
“Digital media and textuality are one way in which racial meaning is constructed. It is also one of the avenues by which racial meaning can be challenged. The relationship between digital media/textuality and race/ethnicity is a complex interplay of multi-directional influences that must take into account both how race and ethnicity are given concrete expression in digital environments, as well as how digital texts and environments are shaped by racial formations.”
‘Gender Representation’ assesses how users are often constrained to gender binaries, inhibiting the exploration of gender fluidity in online and gaming platforms. The article also looks at how gender portrayal continues through means of objectification and stereotypes.
“As with avatar creation and video game characters, gender representation in the development of mobile computing applications suggests a rigidity of gender definition that aligns with the representational tendencies of most popular culture and mainstream digital media.”
Both racial and gender identity are topics covered in her course Fashioning Circuits (EMAC 3328) where students are encouraged to explore the commonalities of identity, collaboration, and originality between fashion and emerging media.
“The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media” will be considered the first comprehensive body of work that encompasses widely accepted concepts and terms from accredited sources in the study of Digital Media.
What Kim is teaching in the fall:
EMAC 3328 – Fashioning Circuits
EMAC 6372 – Approaches to Emerging Media and Communication
We are excited to announce new faculty members, Angela M. Lee, Olivia Banner, and Rosanna Guadagno to the Emerging Media and Communication program. Since EMAC began, we have been dedicated to providing our students with areas of study that involve the most recent technologies and topics that occur within a wide range of emerging fields. We welcome these new faculty members not only due to their successful efforts in their fields, but also because of their interest in the emergence of new technologies and means of communication.
Angela M. Lee is an incoming assistant professor in the Emerging Media and Communication program at The University of Texas at Dallas. Angela is completing her dissertation work in the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin, where she is the recipient of the William Powers Jr. Graduate Fellowship. She received her M.A. from the Annenberg School for Communication at University of Pennsylvania, and B.A. from UCLA with Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, College of Letters & Science Honor, and Departmental Honor in Communication Studies.
Angela’s work examines how audiences use emerging news media and how technological changes influence journalism routines and ethics. Her work is published in peer-reviewed journals such as Communication Research, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Journalism Studies, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, and Digital Journalism. She received the Top Faculty Paper Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the Patricia Witherspoon Research Award from the Annett Strauss Institute for Civic Life, and the Best Paper Award from the National Communication Association.
Angela’s collaborative work has been featured on the Nieman Journalism Lab website, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Reflective of her commitment to bridging academic and industry research, a survey she designed has been adopted by The Dallas Morning News to conduct audience research on its readers and she has been asked to offer analytical consultation. Her goal is to develop theories and conduct research to better understand audience behavior in the contemporary media landscape.
In her spare time, Angela enjoys oil painting, horseback riding, and video gaming.
Olivia Banner’s research focuses on new media technologies of the
body and mind. Her book, Biomediations: Identities after the Genome Projects (forthcoming, University of Michigan Press), considers digital health practices via critical race, gender, and disability studies. Her work has appeared in Signs, Discourse, and the collection Identity Technologies, and she is currently co-editing a special issue of Discourse on medicine, science, and animation. She received her Ph.D. from UCLA’s Department of English, and while at UCLA spent a year as a fellow at the Center for Society and Genetics. She then held an Andrew Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at Rice University’s Humanities Research Center, where she taught courses on media, literature, science, and medicine in Rice’s English department. She is a member of Medical Futures Lab (medicalfutureslab.org), which brings together scholars, physicians, artists, and students to develop innovative tools for the problems that healthcare and patients face today. Prior to her academic career, she spent time as a DJ as well as managing editor of the journal Signs.
Rosanna Guadagno received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology (Quantitative Minor) from Arizona State University in 2003. Her masters and dissertation examined gender differences in technology-mediated persuasion. Her postdoctoral work was at the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior at the University of California at Santa Barbara where she primarily studied social influence processes as they manifest in immersive virtual environments. Next, she moved to the University of Alabama where she was a founding faculty member of the Social Psychology Ph.D. Program, and its Director for three years. During this time, she also founded and still directs the Online Social Influence Lab. Most recently, she was a Program Director at the National Science Foundation serving three programs: Social Psychology, the Science of Learning Centers, and Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC). Her research interests focus on the confluence of three main areas: Social Influence and Persuasion, Social Behavior and Mediated-Communication, and Gender Roles. Dr. Guadagno joins EMAC as a tenured Associate Professor with a joint appointment in Psychology. As self-proclaimed nerd, Dr. Guadagno loves to play video games with her family and is very proud to share her birthday (but not year!) with the original Captain Kirk from Star Trek, William Shatner!
We see computing in our phones, robots, and tablets, but have you ever thought that computing can be found even in static objects like tables and rocks?
Computer Science and Arts & Technology professor, Dr. Paul Fishwick explains how he takes abstract concepts of computing and makes them concrete in everyday objects.
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.
At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event.
The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.
We often teach computing by having a student sit down in front of a computer. The assumption is that computing is done in computers. This is a bit like saying the mathematics is done with a ruler and compass.
I recently gave a TEDx talk at UTD where I showed the example shown above in addition to others. The task for the computer scientist is to see the world as information – its structures and behaviors. This is not to take away from the code movement because learning to code is essential as a way to learn how powerful computing can be, and how creative we can be when we do code.
But we should not stop there. Computing can be framed as a particular way to see the world around us. Take a trip to the park. You will see information in all of its glory.
Join us on Tuesday, May 13 for our Spring 2014 Capstone Celebration! Our students will share their semester-long projects beginning at 7:00 in the Alexander Clark Conference Center Auditorium (CN 1.112).
The EMAC program has grown so large that we had to change the structure of the capstone celebration. Graduate and honors undergraduate students will present their projects on stage, then the remaining undergraduate EMAC majors will share their projects during a series of digital poster sessions. These more informal digital poster sessions will give the audience and judges a chance to interact with the students and their capstones.
You can preview the projects using the following links, but we hope to see you at the Capstone Celebration to let our students impress you with their excitement and accomplishments. We are so excited for our Spring 2014 graduating class and cannot wait for the opportunity to learn from their hard work.
Arts and Technology students displayed their creative talents in the newest edition of The Exley, UT Dallas’ undergraduate research journal.
Creative projects published in the journal include poetry, game design, comics and an animated film.
The Fast and the Fjorious
Cara Curley and Kelly Padgett were among the 15 students who created The Fast and the Fjorious, featured in The Exley. The project is a 3D, two-versus-two racing game that features spring cartoon Vikings on a mad dash to obtain Thor’s hammer. The game was developed in the fall 2013 session of Game Production Lab taught by Monica Evans and supervised by Kyle Kondas and Skylar Rudin.
Curley is a junior arts and technology major. As a proud Bryce Jordan Creative and Performing Arts scholar, she aspires to become a professional graphic artist and illustrator.
Padgett completed a bachelor’s degree in arts and technology with a focus on game production in December 2013, graduating summa cum laude.
Bird in a Cage
Also featured is Bird in a Cage, a 3D animated short film that tells the story of an inventor who creates a set of wings enabling him to fly, only to realize that he is trapped inside his laboratory. Work for the short began in August 2011 and was completed in summer 2013.
“While the original creative team consisted of a mere handful of students, the final product is the cumulative work of more than 20 students,” said Greg Slagel, director for the short.
Slagel was a founding member and first president of the Animation Guild at UT Dallas, as well as one of the first members of the Undergraduate Dean’s Advisory Council. In his senior year, he was awarded the Presidential Achievement Scholarship, and upon graduating cum laude, received major honors for his senior thesis film, Bird in a Cage.
Projections and Reflections
Desirée Alicea-Aponte and Joseph Castillo’s piece “Projections and Reflections” explores identity and isolation.
“The comic revolves around the idea of who a person is versus how the world sees them. The final product, we hope, is something that the audience will be able to readily interpret and relate to,” said Alicea-Aponte.
Although he originally planned a career in biomedicine, Castillo changed course during high school and chose to pursue his dream of creating video games. Currently, he aspires to become a game writer but states that “becoming any sort of writer would be pretty great, too.”
Alicea-Aponte is a freshman majoring in arts and technology, with aspirations of becoming a storyboard artist and animator.
About The Exley
The Exley is named after UT Dallas supporter and former staff member Elizabeth Exley Hodge. She began work in the University’s administrative offices in 1967, when the institution was called the Southwest Center for Advanced Studies.
When the center became UT Dallas in 1969, Hodge transferred to the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, where she assisted faculty members in preparing research grant applications.
After a number of years in grants management in the school, and later in the Office of Sponsored Projects, she retired in 1986. She currently resides in Dallas.
FrightLite, an animated short film created by Arts and Technology animation students and faculty, has been selected for screening at the SMU Student Filmmakers Association Spring Film Festival. The film depicts a boy who grapples to overcome his fear of monsters.
The event will take place at the Mockingbird Station Angelika Film Center on Tuesday, May 6 from 7-9 pm. A question-and-answer session will follow the films.
Earlier in the year, the film pre-screened at the Self Medicated Film Festival (RxSM) in Austin, TX. RxSM, which takes place each year alongside South by Southwest, features boundary-expanding storytelling that falls outside of the mainstream.
FrightLite also screened in April at the USA Film Festival, where it was a finalist in the National Short Film and Video Competition. The USA Film Festival festival, now in its 36th year, encourages excellence in the film and video arts.
“The purpose of the lab is to make abstract computing concepts concrete,” says lab director Paul Fishwick. Fishwick is Distinguished Endowed Chair of Arts and Technology and Professor of Computer Science.
During this year’s Engineering Week lab researchers demonstrated to visitors of all ages several projects:
a representation of the Lotka-Volterra predator-prey relationship,
a mechanical integrator using simulated sand,
and the use of force feedback in embodied interactions with the distributive law of algebra.
The Creative Automata Lab explores how abstract foundation computing artifacts are represented. Representations include functions, equations, dynamic models, and formal automata as well as the control and data involved in them.
Researchers and artists work together to merge the scientific with the aesthetic to focus on human interaction with metaphor and analogy. Research includes historic mechanics for mathematical functions, such as mechanical and electronic devices.
Researchers seek to investigate the next generation of technology using games, cinema, 3D printing, consumer electronics, virtual and augmented reality, and Web-based interaction. They also seek to determine how humanities will be a part of the process.
About Paul Fishwick
Paul Fishwick joined UT Dallas in January 2013. He is Distinguished Endowed Chair of Arts and Technology and Professor of Computer Science. He has six years of industry experience as a systems analyst working at Newport News Shipbuilding and at NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia.
He was on the faculty at the University of Florida since 1986, and was Director of the Digital Arts and Sciences Programs there. His PhD was in Computer and Information Science from the University of Pennsylvania. Fishwick is active in modeling and simulation, as well as in the bridge areas spanning art, science, and engineering. He pioneered the area of aesthetic computing, resulting in an MIT Press edited volume in 2006.
He is a Fellow of the Society for Computer Simulation, served as General Chair of the 2000 Winter Simulation Conference (WSC), was a WSC Titan Speaker in 2009, and has delivered over fifteen keynote addresses at international conferences. He is Chair of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group in Simulation (SIGSIM). Fishwick has over 200 technical papers and has served on all major archival journal editorial boards related to simulation, including ACM Transactions on Modeling and Simulation (TOMACS) where he was a founding area editor of modeling methodology in 1990.
He actively pursues new connections between ATEC and STEM areas such as mathematics and engineering, especially computer science. His research area is in modeling and simulation. He is Director of the Creative Automata Laboratory which has a goal of exploring new representational approaches to automata as well as mathematical and computational models.
Arts and Technology animation faculty Eric Farrar and Todd Fechter have created an animated representation of Liz Larner’s X sculpture. The piece is part of Nasher XChange Exhibition Sites, a dynamic public art exhibition consisting of 10 newly-commissioned public sculptures by contemporary artists at 10 sites throughout the city of Dallas. The Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology building at UT Dallas is proud home to Liz Larner’s sculpture, X.
The girls attended the final event in the University’s inaugural ATEC Distinguished Lecture Series as special guests of UT Dallas, first meeting with female players of the renowned chess team before listening to Jemison’s talk.
Dan Williamson, a science teacher at Irma Rangel, said he brought the girls because he wanted them to see the struggles people endure to be successful.
“I want them to take pride in what someone from similar circumstances accomplished and gain hope that they too can be a success,” Williamson said.
Ashley Guevara, a junior at Irma Rangel, said she had done a project on Mae Jemison before seeing her in person and credited Jemison with teaching her about taking scientific approaches to solving problems.
“I really loved it,” Guevara said of the speech. “Mae Jemison said she was scared of heights, but she still managed to go into space. It made me realize I can go further than I thought.”
Jemison’s April 16 appearance capped a series that drew nearly 4,000 people to four lectures held in the University’s new Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building. The annual lecture series will continue in the future, with the emphasis remaining on the relationships between technology, engineering, behavioral and social sciences, and art.
Other series speakers includedMonument’s Men author Robert Edsel, Microsoft executive and datacenter chief Christian Belady, and Vinton G. Cerf, one of the recognized “fathers of the Internet” and vice president and chief Internet evangelist at Google.
Before Jemison’s appearance, Dr. James Reilly, a veteran space explorer and UT Dallas alumnus, welcomed the audience.
“Dr. Jemison and I have the shared experience of viewing the Earth from orbit,” said Reilly, who earned three degrees from UT Dallas: a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate, all in geosciences.
Reilly praised his fellow astronaut for championing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education during a time when the United States needs it the most.
“A recent international study that examined science and math proficiency among teens ranked the U.S. as 36th in the world. It is our challenge and responsibility to inspire those who follow behind us,” Reilly said. “Dr. Jemison is not only a role model, but is working to expand STEM opportunities and reverse the trends in science and math education in our nation. Hopefully her efforts will allow our successors to stand on our shoulders and carry the next generation into the unimagined future.”
In the spirit of the Arts and Technology program, Jemison spoke about her undergraduate years at Stanford University and how she was torn between following her love of dancing and her interests in medicine and science.
“I came to understand that I didn’t have to narrow myself down, to choose one or the other. I took ceramics and dance, but also investigated the powerful concepts of infinity and the Big Bang,” Jemison said.
Jemison, who was the first minority woman to go into space, showed pictures that were taken during her six years as a NASA astronaut. She also received big applause when she revealed a photo from her cameo on the television show Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Jemison explained how space exploration drives human advancement and new technological development, and builds a global network needed to achieve interstellar travel.
“We believe that building an extraordinary tomorrow will build a better today. The reason why is because the future never just happens; it is created by either our action or inaction,” she said. “The reason why we’re doing this is because the same capabilities we need to develop to travel to the nearest star are the same capabilities we need to survive here on Earth.”
At the end of her talk, Jemison invited questions from the audience.
UT Dallas senior Darrel Dunn explained his passion for dancing, which he said expresses art and technology, and asked Jemison how to best pursue his dreams.
Jemison said he had to be ready to share his craft and then invited him onto stage to perform. Dunn hopped on stage and spun across the floor, moving with light balance, arms gesturing toward the audience.
“I’ll say the first part of that is being prepared and willing to perform at a moment’s notice,” Jemison said as Dunn walked off the stage to loud applause. “That’s the most important thing you can do.”
Michelle Cedillo, one of the Irma Rangel students, also stepped to the microphone.
Cedillo said she and many of her classmates have similar backgrounds to Jemison’s, and they have dreams, but face tough circumstances.
“Basically, I asked her what she would say to the youth. And I was surprised. Her answer wasn’t corny,” Cedillo said later.
Jemison said to focus on looking beyond struggles and that the best way to make a dream come true was to “wake up” and find steps to take toward accomplishing goals.
“I felt like she was talking to my classmates and me,” Cedillo said. “Some things from her talk have really stuck with me, like her call to push for further understanding and to reconsider the way we approach difficult problems.”
As part of the Spring Arts Festival, Arts and Technology students will showcase game projects on Friday, May 2 from 6:30-8:30 pm in ATC 3.101. The games were produced in the fall 2013 and spring 2014 Game Production Lab (ATEC 4350 and ATEC 6345), a course structured to simulate the game development industry.
Games to be showcased
The vision of Comrade Quest is in two parts: one, to provide gamers with the chance to play a game together in person, and two, to offset all the games with negative portrayals of Russians.
Although many games feature multiplayer experiences online, there are few games that feature local multiplayer. Comrade Quest is a game in which a group of friends or strangers can play cooperatively in the same room. Local multiplayer is special, because it gives players a reason to invite friends over. Rather than just sitting alone in a home, chatting or typing to a screen, local multiplayer requires people to invite friends over to play. In a society where social isolation is becoming increasingly common, creating more games that foster face-to-face human interaction may help reverse that trend. For many, having genuine social interaction helps combat depression and anxiety from isolated living.
Secondly, Comrade Quest provides a counter a market saturated with McCarthyism. So many games currently on the market portray communism and Russians, as inherently bad. Video games, and Western culture in general, tend to relegate Russians to villain roles. Popular Western films, such as the James Bond movies and many other action movies, depict Russians as power-hungry villains with a thirst for blood. Instead of shoehorning Russians into villainous roles, Comrade Quest casts them as heroes.
In the vacuum of open space, Freelancers make their fortunes by collecting rare minerals from asteroid fields and collecting bounties on the less savory of their kind. This demo of Solar Rim puts the player in the boots of one such Freelancer and pits them against up to three other players across a network. The pace of the game shifts drastically when Freelancers meet each other and fight to the death. Multiplayer, full six-directional movement, and randomly generated asteroid fields keep players coming back time after time, and that’s only the beginning.
Unlike other mining simulators, Solar Rim is more about adventure than it is discovery. While it maintains the casual pace of similar games when players explore, mine, and build (not yet implemented), the pace of the game turns completely on end when players are pitted against their worst enemy: other players. Nothing in Solar Rim tells players that they have to kill each other, but the nature of having a gun and mining blocks that become ammo instantly pits players against anything that moves. The type of block used as ammo alters how this combat plays out, allowing players to choose between a “spray-and-pray” method or a skilled assassin at a moments notice, provided that have the resources to do so or the time to find them.
The essentials are in place to build an adventure upon. The pace shift and ammo mining system lay the foundation for a larger game that will muddy the line between cooperative and competitive multiplayer. The last piece of the puzzle is a task which unifies players against a common foe, but will they turn on their “friends” once the dust settles? How do you hold digital players accountable for their actions? What sort of story will develop when life and death–peace and war–hang on the building blocks of the world?
Shroud is a game designed to push the limits of player coordination without being overly punishing. The player controls two characters with an organic time limit meant to push the player to a solution within those constraints. The project takes common puzzle game conventions and subverts them by manipulating the way the player interacts with the environment, as well as applying cooperative gameplay to a single player experience. The game presents thematic undertones that propose the social issues such as big business and pollution, but handle them from a casual platform.
Fissure is a game where the player is able to navigate a space in unconventional ways. The game gives the player the experience of a tribal orc who has gained sacred powers and who must now escape the rocky terrain he has been trapped in. During the game, the player is given two powers that must be blended together to traverse the level. The player is given a magic bubble to float inside, which is useful for those less experienced and a teleporting power for the speed runners of the game. Our level shows both how the environment can be built around the use of the powers and the potential that these mechanics give for further development of Fissure.
The full list of games to be featured includes
Spring 2014 Semester
Spring 2014 Semester
Spring 2014 Semester
Spring 2014 Semester
Spring 2014 Semester
Castor and Pollux
Fall 2013 Semester
The Fast and The Fjorius
Fall 2013 Semester
Fall 2013 Semester
Fall 2013 Semester
Fall 2013 Semester
The Student Arts Festival features the work of over 600 students from more than 40 courses. The festival takes place over five days, offering audiences the opportunity to roam from one building to another, taking in classical, jazz, dance, guitar, piano and vocal performances, as well as an art exhibition and reception. View the full schedule for the Student Arts Festival.