Artist Sonny Liew to Discuss New Graphic Novel

SonnyLiew2014Singapore-based graphic novelist Sonny Liew will visit campus April 13 to discuss his latest work, The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye.

Liew is best known for the New York Times best seller The Shadow Hero with Gene Luen Yang, his contributions on Vertigo Comics’ My Faith in Frankie, his work on Marvel Comic’s adaptation of Sense and Sensibility and a new Doctor Fate comic series with Paul Levitz.

He studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design, and was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2011.

The talk is free with a reservation and will take place in the McDermott Library from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Copies will be available for purchase, and a signing will follow the talk.

Professor and PhD Student Advance Anticipatory Research

UT Dallas Professor Mihai Nadin continues to advance the emerging and significant field of anticipatory studies with the publication of two new volumes in the highly respected Springer Cognitive Systems Monograph Series:

9783319225982Learning from the Past. Early Soviet/Russian contributions to a science of anticipation. Cognitive Science Monographs. Cham, CH: Springer. 2015


9783319194455Anticipation Across Disciplines, Cognitive Science Monographs. Cham CH: Springer. 2015


The work of Nadin and an international cadre of researches is joined in Anticipation Across Disciplines by UTD PhD student Asma Naz with her paper, Design of an Interactive Living Space:  Anticipations of Spatial Articulation in Computer-Mediated Human-Space Interaction.

This paper proposes design possibilities of an interactively modifiable space intended to support the lifestyle of neo-nomads. The design combines embedded computing technology with traditional architectural space-making techniques. It constitutes of a single interactive space that constantly articulates itself to produce a variety of aesthetic and emotive spatial qualities.

The integration of the virtual in the architecture for the neo-nomads (the guys who make the Silicon Valley the most exciting place on earth!) is creative and quite unique.


About Anticipatory Research at UT Dallas

With the recruitment of Dr. Mihai Nadin in 2004, the antÉ—Institute for Research in Anticipatory Systems (aIRAS) continued its activity at the University of Texas at Dallas. The website provides details regarding the Institute’s goals, membership, activities, and accomplishments. Since the beginning of its activities, the following accomplishments are on record:

The AnticipationScope™: The first known applied method for quantifying anticipatory characteristics. Conceived by Dr. Nadin and implemented with the collaboration of ATEC’s Motion Capture Lab and faculty members from Computer Science and the School for Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Data generated in the AnticipationScope has supported 35 articles in peer-reviewed journals, three Masters degree projects, one PhD at UT Dallas and one in Europe. Two additional PhD projects are in progress.

Project Seneludens

Dedicated to the study of aging and how it affects anticipatory performance. Experiments were carried out, with IRB approval, with over 150 subjects to date (age between 6 years old and 94 years old). Of particular interest was the visit of Germaine Acogny (“The mother of African Dance”).  She performed her traditional program (in which almost everyone in her village in Senegal participates). The movements were captured in the AnticipationScope. These served as a movement prototype for the elaboration of a game, Amazing Grace. The game was entered in an international competition and internationally reported.

Play’s the Thing: A Wager on Healthy Aging, a study inspired by this experience, was published in 2010 in Serious Game Design and Development

Members of the Olympic Gymnastics team were tested in the AnticipationScope. Work on defining their Anticipatory Profile™ led to several publications, including “Anticipation – The Underlying Science of Sport. Report on Research Progress”.

In 2008, Dr. Nadin organized a special session on Anticipation and Risk Assessment within the framework of the conference Decision-Making Under Uncertainty (organized by Professor Alain Bensoussan, School of Management). Based on this session, a special issue of the journal Risk and Decision Analysis ( and was published.

The special issue dedicated to anticipation of the International Journal of General Systems (IJGS) provided an annotated reference bibliography on anticipation. The introductory article, Anticipation and Dynamics, was named IJGS Best Article of the Year 2010 by Taylor and Backwell Publishers. A second special issue of the IJGS (2015) was dedicated to the early contributions to a science of anticipation by scientists from Russia/USSR.

In collaboration with the Hanse Institute for Advanced Study, the Anticipation Across Disciplines Study Group was established in 2012. In this framework, three international conferences took place from 2014-2015. In writing to the participants, Dr. David Daniel (at that time UTD President) stated, “I am very proud that the Institute for Research in Anticipatory Systems at UT Dallas was able to play a vital role in bringing together such an esteemed international community. Generous funding from the Thyssen Foundation, German Science Foundation, and from the European Science Network is gratefully acknowledged and serves as an expression of the significance of the subject.” In this spirit, Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, President ad interim, provided assistance related to publication and the Institute’s continued international activity. (Conference details can be viewed at  and )

Faculty members of the UT system and from Texas A&M were invited (Dr. Frank Dufour, Dr. B. Prabhakaran, Dr. Daniel S. Levine, Roozbeh Jafari). Asma Naz, a Ph.D. candidate at ATEC, presented a paper at the second conference. Within the second conference, Elvira Nadin, Research Associate at the Institute, organized an event, Art in Progress, focused on anticipation (an article of the same title appears in the second volume).

So far, two volumes have been published:

Learning from the Past. Early Soviet/Russian contributions to a science of anticipation. Cognitive Science Monographs, Vol. 25 (508 pp.). Cham, CH: Springer

Anticipation Across Disciplines. Cognitive Science Monographs, Vol. 26 (373 pp.). Cham, CH: Springer (

The third volume, Anticipation and Medicine, will appear in 2016.

Funds from the Thyssen Foundation, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German National Science Foundation), the Metropole, as well as by the Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg, the antÉ Institute, and UT Dallas supported the conferences and publications.

The Institute provides data regarding anticipation to researchers world-wide, and supports new initiatives in education. In October 2015, Dr. Nadin met with faculty members at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg to discuss the focus on Anticipation in Cognitive, Literary, and Cultural Studies. A keynote address was delivered at the conference Modern Trends in the Neuroscience of the Human Brain, N.P. Bekhtereva Institute for the Human Brain of the Russian Academy (St. Petersburg, Russia; see, as well as at the Summer School in Semiotics at Tartu University (Estonia; see

Further contacts are in progress: the UNESCO Chair in Anticipation Studies, and a newly established graduate program, Anticipation in Engineering, at the University of Reading (England).

Currently, the focus is on experimental work in association with Duke University, in support of Asma Naz’s research focused on creating a new architecture for the “neo-nomads.” In keeping with the belief that medical practice is the best testing ground for anticipation, the Institute is also researching issues of Anticipation and Medicine (in collaboration with the Bemer Group, In parallel, predictive and anticipatory computing forms another concrete objective of the Institute’s.

The Institute maintains a vast international network of leading scientists. It also actively draws the attention of the Texas government to the significance of anticipation for the economy, environment, education, social policies, among other areas.







Chemistry Professor’s Research Strengthens Art Conservation


Dr. David McPhail, the newest professor in the chemistry department in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, is studying how ultra-slow surface processes can gradually change the appearance of museum objects over time-scales of tens, hundreds or even thousands of years.

McPhail, who is also the Distinguished Chair of Conservation Science in the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History, is an expert in the field of ion beam mass spectrometry — an analytical technique that can typify the composition of a material’s surface and tell you how that composition is changing over time as the surface interacts with the immediate atmosphere around it.

“The ultimate aim of my work is to provide conservators and curators with practical steps that they can take to arrest completely or significantly reduce the degradation so that the useful life of the museum objects can be extended for the many future generations of museum visitors,” McPhail said.

He also uses a range of complementary electron microscopy, optical microscopy and atomic force microscopy techniques to better understand physical changes in the surfaces over time such as the development of cracks and pores.

“This is an exciting new thrust for our campus and partner museums. The conservation science effort brings together UT Dallas’ strengths in science, engineering and technology and pairs them with critical needs in the arts,” said Dr. Bruce Novak, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

“We currently have several faculty members who are working on conservation projects, and we’re looking forward to initiating a much broader agenda under Dr. McPhail’s leadership,” Novak said. “He is a tremendous catalyst for new partnerships that will involve chemists, physicists and materials scientists working closely with the arts community.”

McPhail is also working closely with the O’Donnell Institute and the Dallas-Fort Worth area’s major art museums, including the Dallas Museum of Art and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, in collaborative research projects.

I am very keen indeed to reach out to all colleagues at UTD and beyond who are interested in conservation science so we can grow capacity in this area and become an international center of expertise in conservation science in the years to come.

Dr. David McPhail,
Distinguished Chair of Conservation Science

“David was unique among our international applicants to this joint professorship in being truly distinguished as a research scientist as well as deeply involved in the physical or forensic study of works of art,” said Dr. Richard R. Brettell, founding director of the O’Donnell Institute and the Margaret M. McDermott Distinguished Chair of Art and Aesthetic Studies.

“He will hit the ground running and become part of UTD’s important School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics as well as the region’s distinguished group of fine arts conservators,” Brettell said. “The art and science focus of the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History is splendidly embodied in our first chaired appointment.”

McPhail is working with conservators from the DMA to characterize the dyes used in Andean textiles to understand how the fabrics were made and how to best conserve them. He is also analyzing materials used by the Mexican printmaker José Posada with the Amon Carter Museum and, again with the DMA, technical studies of the working methods of Texas-based contemporary artist John Wilcox.

Previously, McPhail lectured and conducted research at Imperial College London, where he developed research collaborations with London’s major museums. He was deputy director of the Graduate School at the university from 2011 to 2015 and acted as the academic lead on a joint PhD program with the National University of Singapore from 2010 to 2015.

He has won the Imperial College Rector’s Award for teaching — one of the university’s highest faculty accolades — twice.

McPhail has a PhD in mass spectrometry from Imperial College London, a postgraduate teaching certificate from the University of London and a bachelor of science in physics from Bristol University. He is a Fellow of the U.K.’s Institute of Physics and served on its council from 2010 to 2014.

“I am delighted to have this amazing opportunity at UTD to carry out research and teaching at the interface between the arts and the sciences,” McPhail said. “I am very keen indeed to reach out to all colleagues at UTD and beyond who are interested in conservation science so we can grow capacity in this area and become an international center of expertise in conservation science in the years to come.”

Research Finds New Trends in News Consumption

angela_leeA new study from the School of Arts, Technology and Emerging Communication at UT Dallas investigates the willingness of consumer’s to pay for news.

In research published in Electronic News, Dr. Angela Lee — along with Dr. Hsiang Iris Chyi from UT Austin and Dr. Avery Holton from the University of Utah — discovered that paying for news online could be regarded as socially undesirable.

“We already know that people are less willing to pay for news online than in print,” Lee said. “This study goes a step further and attempts to explore the psychological underpinning of news consumers’ paying intent across different platforms.”

767 U.S. Internet users were asked how willing they were to pay for news in three forms: print, web and app. They were also asked to gauge their perception of others’ willingness to pay.

The study found:

  • 8 percent of respondents believed others would be more likely to pay for print news than they themselves would be.
  • 44 percent of respondents believed others would be more likely to pay for web news than they themselves would be.
  • 5 percent of respondents believed others would be more likely to pay for app news than they themselves would be.
  • The perceived difference in how much more likely others would pay for news than oneself widens from print to web and to app editions

Lee said the “third-person perception,” a theory that states people exposed to mass media messages perceive a greater persuasive effect on others than on themselves, helps explain why people think others are more likely to pay for the news.

“It’s human nature that most of us like to think that we are not just ‘smart purchasers,’ but that we are smarter than others,” she said. “The fact that many respondents think others are more likely to pay for news across different platforms than themselves suggest that paying for news is not perceived as a smart buy by those people, and this is especially true when it comes to news delivered in digital formats. Perhaps the question that news organizations should begin asking is, ‘How can we produce content that is deemed valuable to the audience?’”

Spring 2016 EMAC Courses


3284555653_203ddf91c8_z (1)We hope you’ve cleared any holds you may have in Galaxy because it’s time to register for Spring 2016 courses. As always, you can find course listings in Coursebook (, and you can access your registration appointment time in Galaxy. The following course descriptions may help you choose among courses emphasizing specific topics this spring:

  • COMM 3342.001 CHILDREN AND MEDIA (Drogos): This course will examine the role of media in the lives of children. Special attention is given to developmental differences in how children process and respond to the media. Major areas of consideration include children’s responses to media violence, educational media, and play with media. Each topic is examined in terms of major issues, research findings, and theoretical explanations of the findings.
  • COMM 3342.002 and COMM 3342.003 PHOTOJOURNALISM (Lester): This course explores through lectures, guest appearances, and field experiences the creation of words and images to tell stories for publication in print and screen media. The history, theories, ethical considerations, practices, and production techniques for analog and digital displays of journalism-based visual storytelling presentations are the main elements covered by this class. You will not only learn how to tell your own stories but also how to critically analyze work produced by others. Prerequisite: Junior status.
  • EMAC 3328.001 DIGITAL SOCIETY – Health, Disability, and Media (Banner): This course examines how emerging media and cultural representations shape the meaning of health, illness, and disability. We will consider how medical and psychiatric concepts are represented in film, television, the news, social networks, and digital knowledge publics such as Wikipedia, and we will examine how people use the affordances of digital media to define health, illness, and norms for bodies and minds in ways that challenge mainstream concepts. Our primary texts will include films, YouTube videos, social-networking sites, online news publications, cell phone apps, digital media health campaigns, and online memoirs. Throughout the semester we will be storming Wikipedia by joining Wikipedia’s Disability Project and improving Wikipedia’s representations of health and disability.
  • EMAC 6342.501 DIGITAL CULTURE (Lee): Drawing on a journalism ethics perspective, this course will examine a range of emerging media practices and dilemmas that make salient the benefits and confines of digital technology. Topics may include institutional norms and business models on online news, audience behaviors, media effects, and data journalism.
  • EMAC 6374 DIGITAL TEXTUALITY (Knight): One of the definitions of text is “something, such as a literary work or other cultural product, regarded as an object of critical analysis.” ( If we drill down far enough into any form of digital “text,” we arrive at the level of binary code: 1s and 0s. This includes other objects of critical analysis, such as digital images, sound files, animations, videos, etc. This material commonality draws our attention to the fact that any digital object has multiple layers – from the surface representation to the source code, down to those 1s and 0s. In addition to this kind of fundamental multi-mediality, it is very rare to encounter a digital text that is composed on the surface of only one type of media object. In other words, in digital textuality, words almost always co-exist with images, links, sound, and video, all built atop a foundation of code. This course takes these types of multi-mediality as its starting point and asks students to reconceive “digital textuality” as a more broad form of cultural product that can occur in multiple media formats and that explores the unique affordances of different kinds of text objects. Through this production-intensive course, students will explore the theoretical and material connections between analog and digital textuality, centered on text, image, sound, and moving image. Students will apply their theoretical understanding of digital textuality to the production of a portfolio, composed of four separate digital media objects and a short paper, each of which foregrounds certain modes of making meaning. The goal is to examine the shifts in writing and representation in digital environments.  The course situates “writing” within a networked, digital environment and, as such, will focus on the production of “texts” in different media forms.
  • EMAC 6381.001 PERSUASION (Guadagno): The course is a graduate-level, selected survey of theory and research on the social influence and persuasion process. As such, we will concentrate on the interpersonal factors that affect change–for without change we cannot lay claim to influence–in two principal domains: attitudes/beliefs and actions/behavior. In keeping with this division, the course will cover the psychological and communication literatures on persuasion and on compliance resulting from one’s exposure to some form of interpersonal pressure for change. Coverage is broken down further into a number of topics and connected readings. The role of technology-mediated interactions on social influence and persuasion will also be covered in this course. In addition, a serious effort will be made to consider how the material of the class may be applied to the construction of effective information campaigns of various sorts. Accordingly, time will be allotted toward the end of most class periods for students to collaborate in small groups on the development of a pair of information campaigns on topics of their choosing.


Also, undergraduates may use COMM 3352 Media and Culture as a prescribed elective.


Finally, undergraduate students planning to enroll in EMAC 4380 Capstone Project should check their UTD email for the application, which is due November 10. Undergraduates interested in pursuing major honors should consult with their academic advisors to determine their eligibility. Graduate students planning to register for the Advanced Project should contact Ellen Curtis.


Image: From Flickr @rcade

UT Dallas Professors Discuss ‘media art’ and Aurora 2015

imgresKim Knight, an assistant professor of emerging media and communication and Charissa Terranova, an associate professor of aesthetic studies discuss ‘media art’ with The Dallas Morning News as Dallas prepares for Aurora 2015. The expansive outdoor new media art event will return to the Dallas Arts District this fall on Friday, October 16, 2015 covering 19 blocks of downtown Dallas.

Read the full story at


ATEC Professor’s Exhibition Named Best in Dallas

The Dallas Observer has selected DreamArchitectonics, an audio-video installation by ATEC professor Frank Dufour and new media artist Kristin Lee Dufour, as the best art exhibition of 2015.


Best Art Exhibit

DreamArchitectonics at Dallas Contemporary


The installation was created by artistic duo Kristin Lee & Frank Dufour of Agence5970 an independent laboratory dedicated to conceptual art, using predominately sound, as well as image, exploring concepts emerging at the conjunction of perception and representation and of Time as a structural support of expression.

View the full artist statement on the Agence5970 website.


ATEC Creative Automata Lab Advances Personalized Learning


The UT Dallas ATEC Creative Automata Lab, under the direction of Dr. Paul Fishwick, has submitted a video entry to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges for Engineering Video Contest. The video shows the innovative work of the lab to create personalized learning experiences by representing complex systems through multiple models. Sharon Hewitt from the Creative Automata Lab designed and produced this video. Sharon is currently pursuing her MFA in ATEC, exploring interactive documentary and semiotic phenomenology of temporal media. She received her Bachelors in ATEC exploring educational technologies. The video segments include representations of a virtual analog computer based on the sand-like flow in PowderToy, as well as several personalized models of the Lotka Volterra model.

Creative Automata Lab at UT Dallas seeks to make abstract concepts in mathematics and computer science concrete through the use of models. The mission contains two component activities: (1) Seeing Information Everywhere (that mathematics and computing are ubiquitous within the natural and artificial world around us), and (2) Making Immersive and Physical Models guided by the aesthetics of the information carrier (e.g., the observed phenomena in component 1).

Visit the Creative Automata Lab website.

Announcing Publication of Leonardo-MIT Press eBook: Arts and Humanities and Complex Networks

The e-book Arts Humanities and Complex Networks captures the excitement of creators and scholars pioneering the application of network science to culture.

Beginning in 2010, the AHCN symposia tracked breakthrough moments as network theories, big data, and inventive visualizations triggered new insight in fields ranging from 16th century political history to 21st century art. These papers were presented at the Leonardo Days at NetSci conferences, the High Throughput Humanities conference, and in the Leonardo Journal at MIT Press.

Authors include experts in visualization,  sonification and data exploration from universities and corporate research and development departments internationally. Their research is still unfolding and the ebook is coupled to a regularly updated web companion at UT Dallas.


  • I Networks in Culture
  • II Networks in Art
  • III Networks in the Humanities
  • IV Art about Networks
  • V Research in Network Visualization
  • VI Arts Humanities and Complex Networks 2014

Leonardo was founded in 1968 in Paris by kinetic artist and astronautical pioneer Frank Malina. Malina saw the need for a journal that would serve as an international channel of communication between artists, with emphasis on the writings of artists who use science and developing technologies in their work. Today, Leonardo is the leading journal for readers interested in the application of contemporary science and technology to the arts.




Google Vice President Talks Old, New Technology at ATEC Lecture

As a crowd filled the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building’s lecture hall, the lights glowing around the walls of the room were a bright blue, red, yellow and green.

The multicolored arrangement was a tribute to the third speaker in the inaugural ATEC Distinguished Lecture Series, Google’s vice president and chief Internet evangelist Vinton G. Cerf.

“Typically we give our guest speakers a gift to remember their campus visit, but what do you give the person who created the Internet?” joked Aaron Conley, vice president for development and alumni relations, as he introduced Cerf. “This is our gift to him, the Google-logo-colored lights.”

Cerf is recognized as one of the “fathers of the Internet” due to his work with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, in the ’70s and ’80s. Fittingly, his lecture on the Internet was just days after the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web.

When Cerf took the stage, he began by recognizing the forward-thinking nature of the University.


“This is my first time here, and today has been a real gift. There is some tremendous research happening at this University that is pushing the boundaries.

“I look forward to returning often,” Cerf said.

In his talk, Cerf spoke about his early years working on the architecture of the Internet, but also about new technologies Google is creating, likeGoogle Glass and a self-driving car. He spoke at length about the “Internet of Things” and the potential for billions of everyday devices connected to the Internet, like a refrigerator that can search the Web to find recipes based on ingredients it contains.

Cerf also expressed his concerns about bit rot — data that is inaccessible due to the evolution of software.

“We can save bits, but we have a problem interpreting them due to bit rot,” Cerf said about files created today that will not be readable in the future. “What will our descendants know about the 21st century if data isn’t readable?”

He also spoke about his role as chief Internet evangelist and how he is trying to bring the Internet to populations without access.

“What is so striking about Cerf is his global radar,” said Dr. Roger Malina, who is the Distinguished Professor of Arts and Technology and professor of physics. “He is not a pioneer in the historical sense — he is still creating the future and clearly thinking of what comes next.”

Cerf finished the evening by fielding a series of questions from the audience. When asked what he’s working on now, he described some of his current projects, including his role in the100 Year Starship — a DARPA project to make human travel beyond our solar system a reality within the next 100 years.

When time ran out and the crowd gave him a long, gracious applause, he volunteered to stick around and meet those who wanted to talk more. Dozens of audience members lined up for the opportunity.

Before his lecture, Cerf spent the day touring labs and meeting with faculty and students in the Edith O’Donnell ATEC Building. Among the many labs that Cerf visited was the Virtual Humans and Synthetic Societies Lab, where PhD student Gary Hardee is among those working on creating game-based simulations that provide cultural-based communications training.

“It was great to see someone of Dr. Cerf’s experience and stature take such an interest in our lab. He offered thoughtful observations and expressed encouragement on the genuine need for virtual environments and Web-based simulation as means for improving distance-learning education,” Hardee said. “When he started his evening lecture, it was gratifying to hear him recognize the research that is going on here. We are trying to push the limits in many areas, and he acknowledged how well we are doing that.”

Even after touring the labs, meeting students and faculty members, giving his lecture and fielding questions, Cerf’s time on campus was not done. The next day, he gave the keynote address at the 2014 Global IPv6 Forum Summit, a conference for computing and business professionals, students and educators to better understand the coming changes in Internet Protocol.

“Dr. Cerf is an Internet pioneer, and a source of inspiration for all networking scientists and engineers,” said Dr. Ravi Prakash, professor of computer science in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. “It was a privilege to have him on campus to participate in the IPv6 summit. His keynote speech was both very informative and highly entertaining.”