Category Archives: Digital Media

A funeral for your flip phone

digital rituals
Is it time to say your final goodbye to that old and broken iPhone SE? BlackBerry Curve?? Flip phone??? The University of Waterloo English’s Critical Media Lab presents “Digital Rituals.” Bring your old cell phones and smartphones to 44 Gaukel and give them the funeral service they deserve. “Digital Rituals” runs every Tuesday, June 5, 12, 19, 26 from 5-7 PM and Saturdays, June 9 and 30 from 1-4 PM.

All phone e-waste will be responsibly recycled by Ontario Electronic Stewardship.

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Lock up your demons–or just your phone

resistor case

Finding it hard to put down your phone? Drop by the University of Waterloo English’s Critical Media Lab, 44 Gaukel, on Wednesday, May 30 from 6-8pm for a FREE PUBLIC “Resistor Case” workshop. Make a case for your smartphone, and we’ll make a case for putting your phone in it.

As CBC reports, in an interview with English’s Dr. Marcel O’Gorman:

The Resistor Case is essentially a pouch you make for your phone. It comes as a kit — you get fabric, rivets, nails and Velcro — and you hammer it all together to make a small fabric holder.

The idea is that when you want to focus, you put your phone in the Resistor Case. Your device stays on you, but it’s out of sight. Access is hampered only by the very loud Velcro.

As O’Gorman says, you can check your phone, but everyone will know what you’re up to. “It prompts [the user] to self-regulate,” he said. “You can do it, but there are consequences.”

By creating a buffer between the person and their device, the Resister Case can be “a call to conscience,” without triggering the anxiety a number of people have when they are separated from their phones.

“The ‘take the phones away’ approach isn’t going to work,” he said. “That’s why the case is a semi-permeable membrane. You can still access it, but it’s not easy to access.”

Defy the snow: come to the XDM exhibition!

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It’s snowing and it’s April, and it’s AWFUL, I know. I just helped a 93 year-old with a walker who couldn’t make it across campus in the snow. But he still came out to an event on campus today.

Let him be your inspiration. Defy the snow and come out tonight to the English department’s MA program in Experimental Digital Media (XDM) annual XDM Exhibition. This year’s exhibition is Codes of Conduct and will feature works from students and community members that provides critical commentary on theoretical areas such as code and algorithm, our digital habits and behaviours, and other sociotechnical intersections. This event will be held in conjunction with the Digital Playground exhibition of Computer Science and Fine Arts students’ projects in the Computational Art course.

The event will be catered and licensed.

Date: Friday, April 6 Time: 6-9 pm
Place: Critical Media Lab
44 Gaukel St. Kitchener

Dr. Marcel O’Gorman on locking up your smartphone

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In case you missed it, Dr. Marcel O’Gorman of UWaterloo English has an article in The Atlantic discussing his research on digital abstinence, titled “The Case for Locking Up Your Smartphone.” An excerpt:

“Michael I. Norton, Daniel Mochon, and Dan Ariely coined the “IKEA effect” to name the increase in value people assign to self-made products. With the Resistor Case, I’m counting on a similar effect, that students who fist construct and then choose to make use of their DIY phone lockers might be more compelled to use them. Of course, the kit will only work if the teacher provides a context for it that includes a discussion of responsible smartphone use. (The kit provides a series of cards to prompt this conversation.)

When I teach these workshops, I introduce students to the French translation of paying attention: faire attention, or “making” attention. It suggests that attention is not something to be bought or sold, but something to craft. This is a concept that could benefit anyone who considers adjusting school, work, or entertainment plans to accommodate the supposedly shorter attention spans of digital life.”

Image source here.

 

Leave the house!

Screenshot 2018-01-29 21.55.17It may be winter, but that’s no reason to never leave the house: consider attending one of the many winter semester events at UW English’s own Critical Media Lab, at 44 Gaukel St., Kitchener.  Check out the schedule below for details on Digital Wednesdays, salons, and other workshops. Also, keep your eyes out for calls for projects :

Tentative Term Programming:
Feb 7 – Arduino Workshop: LED Rave
(Sat) Feb 17 – Zineathon / Drinks
Feb 28 – Power of Plain Text: HTML, CSV, XML, JSON Workshop
Mar 7 – Arduino Workshop: Myoduino (Myo Armbands + Arduino!)
Mar 14 – Glitch Art Workshop
Mar 21 – Meme Stream
Mar 28 – Electronic Printmaking Workshop

*Events may be subject to change. For more information, see the Critical Media Lab page.

Open House at the Critical Media Lab

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UWaterloo English’s Critical Media Lab is hosting an Open House on Friday, December 1, from 4pm – 7pm.
There will be demonstrations of new CFI-funded equipment such as a laser cutter, 3D printer, brain wave interface controller, and MYO armband developed by local startup Thalmic Labs. Come and join us in imagining how to critically deploy these instruments in a manner suitable to the arts and humanities. CML Lab Technician Matt Frazer will facilitate the demonstrations.

Three students from the English Department’s XDM MA programJulie Funk, Miraya Groot, and Caitlin Woodcock — will have their final projects on display in the lab, and they will be present to take questions and give demonstrations.

Students from ENGL 760: Things in Philosophy and Literature, co-taught by Dr. Kevin McGuirk and Dr. Marcel O’Gorman, will also be showcasing their “things.”

Finally, Professor Matt Borland, a CML collaborator from Systems Design Engineering, will invite us to play some of his experimental digital music instruments.

Refreshments will be served.

Hope to see you at the lab. 44 Gaukel Street, Kitchener, ON, adjacent to the Charles Street Bus Terminal.

Image: BasketCase by Caitlin Woodcock

End of summer round-up

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Sometimes so many interesting things are happening at UWaterloo, it is hard to keep up. Here are a few of the news items about our faculty, alumni, and students you might have missed this summer.–JLH

UWaterloo Arts News published an article on the Games Institute, the brainchild of English’s Dr. Neil Randall. The accompanying photos–however unintentionally–provide an excellent tour of their new space.

UWaterloo English’s Dr. Win Siemerling and alumnus Dr. Kris Singh both contributed essays to a special issue of The Puritan celebrating Canadian author Austin Clarke. See “Myth Grounded in Truth”: Sound, Light, and the Vertical Imagination in Austin Clarke’s ’Membering and “Bread like peas!”: The Gastronomical Dialogue of Austin Clarke and Sam Selvon.

Dr. Norm Klassen received an Association of Catholic Publishers 2017 Excellence in Publishing Award — Theology, 3rd Place for The Fellowship of the Beatific Vision: Chaucer on Overcoming Tyranny and Becoming Ourselves.

UWaterloo PhD English graduate Robert Clapperton has been hired in a tenure-track position at Ryerson University.

English doctoral candidate Jessica Van de Kemp has published her second poetry chapbook, Daughters in the Dead Land (Kelsay Books, 2017).

Congratulations to all!