Fall 2016 Interactive Finals

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Interactive Cinema & New Media Fall 2016 graduate course.

Students had a choice between a final research paper (accompanied by a multimedia adaptation of their paper) or a final project (accompanied by an analytical paper). These are the outcomes of this theory-practice and critical making approach:

(Scroll down for photos from final presentations.)


Cristina Cajulis, Guestbook. Guestbook is an attempt to make tangible the intangible, ephemeral, and immaterial labor of born-digital work. Yahoo’s Geocities service is a particularly interesting case study through which to explore this due to its boom in the 1990s and its eventual shutdown in 2009 that demonstrates the impermanence and instability of the web despite the caveat “what you post online will be there forever.” I specifically focus on fifteen homepages hosted on Geocities that were successfully archived by various individuals to create a book inspired by Raymond Queneau’s One Hundred Thousand Billion Poems. Guestbook highlights the near infinite possibilities of unique webpages through deliberate decisions made by the person behind the page in the source code, which is divided into nine interchangeable strips. I use my own labor, having printed, cut, and stitched the book by hand, to make visible the countless hours and subjective histories that were almost completely lost in the closing of the web hosting service. In doing so, the (digital) trace becomes remediated into a new (physical) object. Read more about this project.

Matthew Ari Elfenbein.  Information and knowledge has changed how it is disseminated across cultural and social boundaries.  Looking at museums as the case study to figure how interactive technology has expanded the amount of information and the methods of learning, becomes the overall focus of this paper and supplemental film.  By exploring interactive apps, touch-screen monitors, maps, and virtual museums the research expounds on the methods of communicating to the growing diverse society. This all comes down to how other teaching institutions can reinterpret their methods, in order to make knowledge inclusive to all children and adults.  The supplemental interactive film to the research paper can be found at Eko.

Eric Hahn, Election! An Interactive Documentary. Election! An Interactive Documentary allows the viewser to explore the ways in which mediatic flows generated and reinforced narratives and counternarratives in particularly problematic ways during this volatile election cycle and how access and interaction to/with these discourses effectively amplified their ideological effects. The process of “liking,” sharing, and anonymously commenting has created a perversely “democratic” culture where vitriol and hate speech have been freely circulating as a sort of cultural, political, or affective capital. This interactive project positions the viewser within a sample microcosm of the larger mediaverse in an attempt to illustrate the ways in which the dispersal of “news” sources—I’m using this term quite broadly to incorporate memes, comments, articles, etc.—both allows for more open and critical approaches to national and international events yet paradoxically generates, perpetuates, and quickly disperses diverse propagandistic narratives that shut down any avenue for sensible political discourse. Trailer and More

Zhaoyu Zhu. Aura Located Online: A Case Study of Miao Ying’s Internet Artworks. Aura is the concept that Walter Benjamin (1931) defined to circumscribe the tradition and the uniqueness of art. The aura can be described as the “unique existence” in the authentic version of an artwork, displayed in its particular exhibition place.  Casetti’s (2012) concept of relocation states that “the media experience” of any traditional form of art can be “re-activated in a new environment.” Borrowing the term relocation from Casetti, this case study of Chinese Internet artist Miao Ying’s artworks will prove that the auratic experience can be relocated into the virtual environment of Internet. To be self-reflexive of my research subject on Internet art, I made a website to reinterpret my essay.

Victoria Eloise Zunhiga, TV Show Bibles For The XXI Century. The development of treatments for new television series has traditionally been done in a textual format, restricting the level of detail that a screenwriter can convey in it. By mixing a hypertextual publishing tool with basic HTML5 and CSS elements, it is possible to create a tool to ease the writing and pitching processes of a new TV show, as I aim to exemplify with the series I am currently creating. Because of intellectual property concerns, the project is password-protected, and is currently hosted in Scalar.

Conan Ito, New York Derive 360New York Derive 360 – interactive VR project – is a presentation of my personal mental map of New York. This projects uses a 360-degree videos in order to allow for an immersive experience inside an urban space. The viewsers (“viewer” + “user”) are allowed to freely drift through extremely subjective and multi-sensory (visual and auditory) exploration of my perception of the city. Inside the 360-degree video, the viewsers  could click on visual annotations embedded in the virtual space, which reveal images that are related to those places. It is an experiment in which the interactive mode of spectatorship gives viewsers access into the cognitive process of how one perceives and constructs an image of the city. Would you like to explore the city of New York seen through my perception? Images from multimedia presentation.

Emir Fils-Aime. Peer: A VR Short Film. Peer is a short film that offers a glimpse into a young man’s mind as he grapples with his growing cynicism, as it pertains to questions surrounding his identity. This project incorporates 360-degree, 4k video footage and an engineered sound track. By doing so, the film intends to simulate the character’s mental scape while also immersing the viewer in the physicality of his chaotic emotions. The film equally wrestles with critical questions surrounding VR ethics, simulation & empathy, post-colonial identity, and the extended mind and/or consciousness. This is the 1st of many experiments, that aim at creating a larger narrative piece that will incorporate such elements. Here is a link to the piece. (In order to best experience the film, it is advised to utilize a VR headset setup- such as a “Google Cardboard” headset and a smart phone)

Karen Sadler. The Light Painting Project. The most recent studies of interactive cinema and new media suggest that the dynamic educational experiences available in Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality are equally beneficial to users with and without disabilities such as autism. This paper presents an idea for a new, location-based VR/AR/MR environment that manipulates focused beams of light to form three-dimensional artistic drawings, called Light Paintings. The paper proposes use of this creative environment to increase haptic and kinesthetic connections during play for all users. The media presentation that accompanies this paper highlights an inclusive educational community. Professor Ralph J. Savarese: “two branches of situated cognition––embodied and embedded––can help to illuminate how a different body and a different kind of environment generate a different kind of thought. Embodied cognition repairs the traditional mind-body divide, whereas embedded cognition reveals the extent to which we all depend on our physical and social environments to think.”ArtLifeFilm

Jessica Leader. I.D. is an interactive video that re-appropriates found footage to promote a non-binary understanding of queer identity. The queer community is a leading force in the fight for equality, yet popular LGBTQ personalities on YouTube often reinforce demeaning stereotypes through pastiche, and satire. The primary purpose of this project is to address the gendered understanding of queer identity (i.e. lesbians need to have short hair and wear flannel shirts, and gay men need to be in peak physical shape and obsessed with fashion). These examples are only referencing appearance, but superficial understandings of queer identity further divide the community. This project is an in-depth and critical look at trends that have repressed individuality, and encouraged division instead of solidarity. https://video.helloeko.com/A917GA?autoplay=true

Elyse Singer. “Private Interactions: Intimacy, Attractions, and Time in Early Cinema and VR.” This paper examine the interactive natures of early peephole cinematic devices through the lens of new media theory. In what ways may the Mutoscope be seen as a form of interactive media? When self-referential peephole films are viewed through a peephole device, what is the effect? How does “attraction” function? How is the sexualized corporeal body experienced through these pre-cinematic machines? This paper also looks at questions regarding embodiment and voyeurism in Lynn Hershman’s “Room of One’s Own” (1990-93) and the theoretical Edison Telephonoscope (1879). Some inspiration for the paper may be found on my blog.

jso300. “ME, THE GENTRIFIER? A Multimedia Augmented Reality (AR) Portrait of People Living in South Williamsburg.” I have been inspired by Marsha Kinder‘s concept of “database cinema” and the interactive cross-media adaptation of Killer Berlin (1998). Both deal with several narratives that are being told from different overlapping and contradicting perspectives. I tried to transfer that approach to my own experiment and construct a kaleidoscope of diverse stories being told by the residents themselves. I want the participants of my project to have the chance to tell their own stories from their unique perspectives. Augmented Reality adds virtual content to a given space, which is then experienced in real-time and in semantic context with the real-world environment. Transforming the streets of South Williamsburg into a hybrid space through the use of technology seemed like a perfect format for the aim of my experiment – to re-map the increasingly diverse neighborhood and their inhabitants and to build an interactive platform for a discourse about gentrification. http://methegentrifier.wordpress.com

Anila Gill. Life Underground: Mapping Interactive Intimacies. My final project asks my friends who have moved away from New York – who I will call “expatriated” New Yorkers – to inform me of their favorite artwork in the New York City subway system. I then went to visit that piece, make a short film on my iPhone or iPad, and created an interactive map on mapme.com from the films. Initially, the project was intended to explore displaced cinematic experience in the vein of Dinkla’s Floating Work of Art and Francesco Casetti’s The Relocation of Cinema. I had expected responses from the project to include Bill Brand’s Masstransicope or Roy Lichtenstein’s panorama on 42nd street to construct some theory about how an individual New Yorker’s movement through the Subway system produces moving images, and how that moving image remains embedded in their memory. Eventually, I encountered some problems with the predetermined nature of this approach and its limitations on the potential for discovery. To allow for the evocation of unexpected ideas, I minimalized my call to its core purpose – to create a map of invited, interpersonal participation. https://story.mapme.com/e450117f-39de-464b-9453-b1adbbcc3e49

John Marchi. Understanding Participatory Culture in 21st Century Interactive Art: The Modern Milieu of Multiplayer Mannerisms. My research paper analyzes participatory behavior/culture as it relates to engagement with the most modern of artistic interactive mediums: multiplayer video games. My argumentation offers a tri-fold categorization of the types of behavior elicited by this medium so dominantly shaped by user input, and attempts to offer nomenclature exclusive to the context of technologically-mediated human interaction. By breaking behavioral patterns/proclivities down into the explicit, the implicit, and the tacit, we’re able to see the emergence of a credo of digital moralism that is unique and distinct from that which we adopt in reality. Invoking pre-established theoretical frameworks, supplemented with new ones of my own, the intent of the paper is to obtain a more holistic understanding of the psychological underpinnings of why we behave the way we do in a virtual setting, and how multiplayer video games are the unequivocal mecca for studying the disparity that exists between tangible milieus and virtual milieus, and the often unsavory pockets of “acceptable” conduct that result. The multi-media presentation is meant to be the visual illustration of the tri-fold taxonomy, and a placeholder/universal template for all other modern multiplayer video games’ place amongst the aforementioned categorizations. Participatory Behavior in Battlefield 1

Zoe Meng Jiang. Towards A Historicity of Documentaries in/of Crisis. This research paper exams what theoretical shifts and aesthetic perspective changes surrounding documentaries that are made about the current refugee crisis, particularly through a close reading and comparing of two works: Gianfranco Rosi’s art house auteur documentary Fire at Seat (2016) and Chris Milk’s virtual reality documentary Clouds over Sidra (2015). Both documentaries employ the coming-of-age genre by structuring their stories around the experience of a 12-year-old child. While Milk places the Syrian girl Sidra within an immersive environment of the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan, letting her directly address the audience about her one and a half year’s life in the camp, Rosi locates an Italian boy Samuele on the island of Lampedusa, a primary European entry point for immigrants from Africa, only to show the complete separation of the 2 worlds of the Sicilians and the refugees. I argue that, though both rightly keep a critical distance from journalism, Milk’s intensification of representation and Rosi’s rejection of representation fail to recognize that the affect of documentary does not stem from the indexicality of cinematographic images, but from a potentiality in between the real and the virtual, mediated through the presence of the filmmakers.

Olusola Babajide-Kassim. Interactive Art: Culture & Narrative Cinema.  This is a discourse on culture and narrative in interactive cinema with focus on cultural perspective (moral sense of right and wrong), using selected media for analysis.Having Thomas M. Powers argument on virtuality and reality as a stand point, i argue on cultural notion as i categorized morality (right or wrong) in different aspects. I base my analysis of chose media in respect to importance of culture to interactive cinema in my discourse. Multimedia Presentation: Interactive Art: Culture & Narrative Cinema_OlusolaBabajide-Kassim

Ender d. Ozdemir. Re-Creation of Cinema. This research paper tries to explain the reasons behind the evolution of cinema. It conveys the idea that cinema had a laborious journey from its beginning in order to satisfy the basic artist instinct, which is “to tell stories”. Today, with Interactive and participatory movies, cinema has reached a form that allows the viewer to be the part of the creation. The paper examines this interactive/participatory form throughout the re-created perspective of cinema.

Photos from final presentations by Konan (Conan) Ito:

One response to “Fall 2016 Interactive Finals

  1. Pingback: Fall 2016 Finals | Interactive Media Archive·

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