Author Archives: WIP

44 Gaukel is clustering!

From The Record.com Sun 05 2013

by Terry Pender, Record staff

Local digital media cluster gathering momentum

Marcel O'Gorman is seen inside the space at 44 Gaukel St. that is being prepared for the Kitchener Studio Project.

Marcel O’Gorman is seen inside the space at 44 Gaukel St. that is being prepared for the Kitchener Studio Project. Philip Walker/Record staff

KITCHENER — Marcel O’Gorman’s voice echoes in the old post office as he walks through the latest cutting-edge addition to the downtown’s growing digital media cluster.

“This is going to be a display area,” O’Gorman says of the area just inside 44 Gaukel St. that is flooded with natural light.

O’Gorman heads the University of Waterloo’s critical media lab, and he helped bring together The Kitchener Studio Project in this city-owned building in the core.

City council is on board, so is the college and the University of Waterloo has approved it in principle.

Art and technology will come together in this building and some of the best work will be exhibited in the display area. At the back of the building, off the loading dock, the Creative Enterprise Initiative will have low-cost studio space for artists.

There is 10,000 square feet of space on the first floor of the building that will be filled with students and faculty from the area’s three post-secondary institutions — The School of Media and Design from Conestoga College, the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University.

Christie Digital, the local company that makes digital projectors, and Communitech, the industry association for the area’s high-tech firms, is also part of the studio project.

O’Gorman oversees the graduate students doing a master’s in experimental digital media — XDM for short.

“The collaboration with Conestoga is a great fit,” O’Gorman says. “I can see our students finishing an XDM degree for example and then doing a post-grad program for a summer, or one-year program in 3-D animation.”

The digital-media sector needs creative people for animation and graphics, music, storytelling, photography, (both video and still), editing-digital video and designing hardware. And that’s where the Kitchener Studio Project comes in.

Communitech is based at The Hub in the former Lang tannery building at Charles and Victoria streets. Startup companies head there with good ideas. They are provided space for working in, mentors, legal advice and marketing expertise.

“A huge part of this is collaboration with Communitech,” O’Gorman says. “When they get the applications from all the people who want to be startups and be part of The Hub, they are going to look at some of them and say: ‘These people would benefit from being in a creative environment.’ So they are going to send them over to Gaukel.”

Read the rest of the article here.

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To what purpose, April, do you return again?

Now that the winter’s gone, the earth hath lost
Her snow-white robes; and now no more the frost
Candies the grass, or casts an icy cream
Upon the silver lake or crystal stream.

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Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

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All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair—
The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing—
And Winter slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!

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A little madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown —
Who ponders this tremendous scene —
This whole Experiment of Green —
As if it were his own!

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You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.

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The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
April
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

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With thanks to Thomas Carew, William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Make a Game or DIY Trying

Submitted by Amber West.

Ever wanted to make a video game? Think you have the chops?

On Friday, April 26, Kitchener City Hall Rotunda will host the first annual Games Institute game design workshop and tournament, “Make a Game or DIY Trying.” With no programming experience necessary, attendees will be treated to a full day specifically devoted to game design and entering the video game industry.

The morning will feature game design workshops and panels led by video game industry professionals. Confirmed panelists will include:

The afternoon will be spent in groups, working on the perfect game design proposal, to be judged by the panelists at the end of the day. The top three proposals will win a prize!

This simple, yet significant event is meant to raise awareness of the Games Institute and raise awareness for the burgeoning video game industry in Kitchener-Waterloo!

Event details

  • Admission: $5 (Catered lunch will be provided)
  • Location: Kitchener City Hall, Rotunda
  • 200 King St W, Kitchener, Ontario
  • Date: Friday, April 26, 2013
  • Time: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Registration

http://diytrying.eventbrite.com

Contact

The Englies, 2013

Every year we celebrate the excellence of our students by handing out cash and prizes for superior work in the production and dissemination of knowledge in literary and rhetorical studies. These awards are known to all as the “Englies.”

The precise orgins of the Englies are lost in time.

The precise origins of the Englies are shrouded in something–possibly a mystery.

The Englie process begins early in the winter term, when the awards director (this year it was Dr. Dorothy Hadfield) reminds us, the professors, to think back through the various pieces of writing and design we’ve seen in the previous calendar year and to nominate the very finest for consideration. For other awards–particularly the creative writing awards–students themselves are solicited for entries. For still other awards, there is no nomination, no submission: the GPA awards go to those students who have demonstrated mastery across the entire range of their courses in the previous year.

Long before the nomination and entry deadline has come around, the awards director has tapped us to adjudicate, using a blind selection process, one or more of the categories. uWaterloo Fun Fact: Entries aren’t always judged by those whose comfort zone falls within that particular award category–this, under the assumption that “things done well and with a care, exempt themselves from fear” (though some of us, curiously, have never been asked to pass judgment on an essay about Shakespeare). Generally, we’re expected to have modest familiarity with all the fields under the sun of English studies and so are uniformly competent to divide the best from the rest.

Shakespeare

Shakespeare

After we have deliberated with one of our colleagues over the merits of the entries (read: listened patiently to his wrong opinions and then convinced him to abandon them), we arrange the entries in the order in which they seem to fall or, rather, rise, and report these results to the firm of Price Waterloohouse, which in turn reports them to the awards director. In some cases, we ask leave to split prizes because two entries appear equally meritorious, or we name a runner-up (who must always bear in mind that she missed the brass ring by only the slenderest of margins). So far as we can recall, there has never been a three-way tie.

At this point, the awards director communicates the news to the naturally delighted winner personally (or by email, which today is pretty much the equivalent of a registered letter). This is the happy part of the job–to tell the winner she or he will be honoured at the annual English award ceremony.

Surprise

No explaining to do here.

Then the real fun begins. A room and a date are chosen. A stage and a winners’ podium are built in the Engineering machine shops, then transported to the site. New paint is splashed on the walls. Whiteboards are installed. Vincenzo’s is notified. Special awards tables and comfortable chairs are freighted in from Central Stores.

Dr. Hadfield lists the reasons why our students are the greatest.

Dr. Hadfield lists off the reasons why our students are the greatest. She needed more than ten fingers.

If you attended the 2013 Englies, either as a winner or supporter–or perhaps as a cheese plate inspector–you’ll know that we professors were out in force. We presented the prizes, and some of us gave witty introductions to the awards and to the awards winners. Can anyone forget John North’s eloquent remembrance of Dr. George Hibbard? Or Katherine Acheson’s nod to the late Dr. Co-op? Others of us, less articulate or more froward, simply clapped vigorously and ate crackers.

HH 280 made for a nice venue. Don't knock the view: those sculptures are worth a small fortune.

HH 280 made for a nice venue. Don’t knock the view: those sculptures are worth a small fortune.

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At one point the awards were coming so fast and furious that our camera shutters could not keep up with the action.

We professors look forward to this event because it embodies a basic principle we think is worth upholding: give credit where credit is due, and when a lot of credit is due, give money. We spend too much of our time critiquing our students’ performances. It’s nice for us to bask in the reflected warmth of writing that demands only praise. It’s one of the times when we know that we have either done a good job teaching or at least got out of the way of good learning.

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Everybody who was anybody attended.

As always, the English department staff was on hand to ensure smooth sailing, documentation, and hospitality.

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Undergraduate studies coordinator Jennifer Crane frames a shot.

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Spinach dip was there. Were you?

The winners of this year’s Englies:

Academic Awards (Undergraduate)
The ENGL 251A Special Prize Exam Award: Kathleen Moritz
The Hibbard Prize for Shakespeare: Nicole Kuiper
The Canadian Literature Prize: Ralph Neill
The Dugan Prize in Literature: Alana Rigby
The Dugan Prize in Rhetoric and Professional Writing: Alana Rigby
The Co-op Work Report Award: Lindsay Kroes
The History and Theory of Rhetoric Award: Sarah Rodrigues; 
Runner-up: Aaron Hernandez
The Rhetoric and Professional Writing Award: Pravneet Bilkhu; 
Runner-up: Matt Mendonca
Academic Awards (Graduate)
The Beltz Essay Prize, MA: Hari KC
The Beltz Essay Prize, PhD: Sarah Gibbons
Creative Writing Awards
The Albert Shaw Poetry Prize: Lindsay Kroes
The English Society Creative Writing Award for Poetry: Lindsay Davison
The English Society Creative Writing Award for Prose: Lindsay Davison
Graduate Creative Writing Award for Poetry: Morteza Dehghani
Grade Average Awards (Undergraduate)
Second Year Spring: Lindsay Kroes
Second Year Fall: Unita Ahdifard
Third Year: Evelyn Mak
Fourth Year: Matthew Wilson
Grade Average Awards (Graduate)
MA: Eric Talbot
PhD: Mari Vist
Jack Grey Award: Jack Pender
Teaching Awards
TA Award for Excellence in Teaching: Sarah Gibbons
Independent Graduate Instructor Award for Excellence in Teaching: Jesse Hutchison

Theatre review: Transience

Review by Walter Monheit Jr.

“Transience”
Created by Robert Motum
Advisors: Dr. Andy Houston and Dr. Marcel O’Gorman
A Fourth Year Honours Project, Department of Drama and Speech Communication

“What you are witnessing is a performance created by a senior drama student at the University of Waterloo. We’re extremely sorry if this has negatively impacted your commute—this was not our intention.”

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The evening was sultry. It whispered of Chaos and Old Night. What terror awaited you on…The Old Number Eight?

You catch the 8 bus at the Charles St. Terminal. The bus takes a 42 minute loop through Kitchener Downtown, Old Westmount, and the University, before returning to the bus station. You’ve been given a late model HP IPAQ personal digital assistant, a clunky looking device that works like a walkie-talkie with ear buds. You’ll be able to hear the narrator.

This worthy fellow begins with some existential musings on the isolation and forced distancing that we undergo when riding a bus, despite being crammed cheek to jowl with our fellow human beings. The bus is a metaphor, you suppose. You hear his voice in your head, droning on, subtly commandeering your attention, directing you to start noticing things going on around you. After a while, you do.

Somebody across the aisle asks you for the time. Too soon, the same person will ask again. Time requesting becomes a motif: people–actors, you presume– solicting you and other bus riders to provide that information. At one point, someone who has asked you for the time announces in a loud voice to the whole bus, “It’s 9:28!” Another person–a well-dressed young woman–turns in her seat and yells back sarcastically, “Thanks for sharing!”

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You begin to notice other mini-dramas, if that is what they rise to, transpiring in the seats around you: a young man crosses the aisle to speak earnestly for a moment to another person, hand to her elbow; a woman stands in the aisle and shakes her hands as if to air-dry them; a burly man bellows about something to do with his favorite seat; a woman with pale skin is trying hard not to cry. At every stop, the principles get up, move to new seats, stand elsewhere in the aisles. But you start to lose track of who’s who. Are the folks who get on part of this thing? Some of them seem to be. They certainly act like they’re acting. But maybe that’s not an act. Is all this for your benefit? Who is the audience, anyway?

The line between actor, audience, and unwitting bus passenger blurs. You’re no longer sure who’s in this play and who isn’t. People get on and off, some in pairs and groups, and you notice they are carrying on their own conversations and interactions. Are they part of the performance? Are they merely performing their own lives, which aren’t part of this drama, yet which take on a reality that, otherwise unnoticed, the performance itself has served to cast in relief? We’re all on the bus together, and now you’re noticing your fellow travellers as discrete and crucial entities, as if in the past they had only been stage dressing for you, the only character who really mattered.

Meawhile, a tall, lanky fellow is sharing some hand lotion with another young man. Not something you see every day. He’s describing with fluid hand gestures…what?… a video game, a movie, an event? You can’t tell. The burly man is still whining about his favorite seat, insisting someone move so he can sit there; the attractively dressed young woman from before is on her feet, looking pensive.

In what seems to be a dramatic climax, a scruffy man takes a young woman into his arms for a swooning kiss. Then a bus stop is reached and he leaps off. “Did you know him,” someone asks? The young woman, looking distressed, waves the question off. She disembarks at the next stop, and appears to walk back toward the previous one.

It’s all become too much. You fiddle with the IPAQ, try to return to your own space, to screen out these impingements on your armor.  You know you have failed some kind of test. You were a voyeur, but you didn’t learn to embrace those whom you viewed. What of it? It was all a play. There was no fourth wall, but thank god you had a fifth. You are ready to get off.

When you do, you return your device to the director, Robert Motum, shake his hand, thank him for the experience, then return, somewhat gratefully, to the solitude of your own car. One the way home, you notice there are a lot of people standing around, waiting at bus stops, lining the sidewalks. Not everyone is standing stalk-still. Some look to be conversing, some are moving in inscrutable ways under the faint city stars. They must all imagine they are at the centre of things, possibly seeing from the corner of their eyes your black car speeding past, a ghost in the night.

Bus Stop

Erratum

In “Welcome 2013, with climate change,” WIP erroneously suggested that the planet was suffering from anthropogenic warming and that the winters of his youth were a thing of the past. As the last few days of cold, spring weather (complete with flurries and bitter, driving wind) have proved, climate change is a myth–probably perpetrated by grant-seeking scienticians and the rest of the anti-pipeline crowd. WIP apologizes for the fuzzification.

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Unretouched photo from April 1, 2013. Note the massive snow drifts. This is the face of global warming?! Shame on you, James Hanson!

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Yeah, that’s snow all right. Next time you hear some guff about melting glaciers, just remember that Mother Nature can turn water back into ice faster than you can say “Bill McKibben”!

Public and private life in the 18th century

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Heather Smyth explains a finer point to Hortense Spillers. Meanwhile, Fraser Easton and Katherine Acheson discuss the Long 17th Century.

Hortense Spillers capped off her visit to Waterloo with a talk entitled “Women and the Republics: Intimate Life and Revolution During the 18th Century.” Spillers discussed the example of Sally Hemmings (1773-1835), Thomas Jefferson’s slave and the mother, it is believed, of several of his children. Spillers was concerned that the “archive threatened to overcome the real Sally Hemmings.” In part, this claim was meant to indicate that the fixation on Hemmings’ unique place in the great man’s life–and consequently in the history of the Federalist era–tends to create historical amnesia about her absolute status as human property. Fiction and film, which have helped secure Hemmings’ place in the popular imagination, ironically serve mostly to obscure her true subjugation.

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What might be called the Nick Noltification of black American history. With Thandie Newton as Sally Hemmings.

Spillers wished to recover for her audience a sense of the unbearable subject position occupied by all black women in the slaveholding period in America. Female slaves had no private space at all; they were susceptible to even more horrors than the male slave. Their entire lives were lived as “public” subjects: routinely subjected to sexual depredations, they enjoyed no intimacy, no “aloneness,” no love. While white women had the sentimental space of the home, male blacks the masculine roles derived from the power relations in white society, for the female black slave there was only a kind of identity limbo: there was no raw material, no “coding structure” available upon which to build a sense of private identity.

Spillers will deliver a fuller version of this talk later in the year at Harvard.