Category Archives: Digital Media

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!

Intersectional Identities in a Networked World

Join us for a talk “Not One: Intersectional Identities in a Networked World,” a lecture by Dr. Susan Brown, Friday, January 27, 2017 – 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM EST, Hagey Hall 373.

Susan Brown is Professor of English at the University of Guelph, where she holds a Canada Research Chair in Collaborative Digital Scholarship, and Visiting Professor in English and Humanities Computing at the University of Alberta. She directs and co-edits Orlando: Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present, an ongoing experiment in digital literary history published online by Cambridge University Press since 2006. She is also President (English) of the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities / Societé Canadienne des humanités numérique, and leads the development of the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory, a CFI-funded online repository and research environment for literary studies in Canada. Her current research focuses on using digital technologies for literary history, and spans aspects of text encoding, text mining, visualization, interface design and usability, and the impacts of technological innovation on Victorian literature.

Digital Abstinence Strikes Again

You are invited to join us for a Digital Abstinence Symposium & Posthumanism Potluck, this Wednesday, December 7, 2016, 4 – 6 pm, at the University of Waterloo English’s Critical Media Lab (44 Gaukel, Downtown Kitchener). The symposium features work by students from Dr. Marcel O’Gorman‘s fall 2016 graduate class.
– Short Introductory Remarks by Stephen Trothen and Marcel O’Gorman
– 15 x 2-Minute Presentations and Objects-To-Think-With from a “Digital Abstinence” Grad Class
– Critical Response by Professor Ron Broglio (Arizona State University)
– Posthumanism Potluck
Lucy Barnett
     “Ping/a Lonesome Heart
Shawn Dorey
     “Traversing the Divide: Intentional Digital Abstinence as a Form of Empathy”
Julie Funk
     “Pace-Taker: Getting to the Heart of our Digital Anxieties”
Miraya Groot
     “Entrepreneurship and Technique: A Conversation with the Conservative Mennonite Managers of the Wallenstein General Store”
Omar Gutierrez
     If (human)

= {survive}
else if (robot)
= {we are doomed}

Stephanie Honour
    “Ditching Devices: Re-enchanting the Self while Disenfranchising Others”
Megan Honsberger
    “(Un)Wearable Tech: From User to Nonuser”
Farzaneh Irani
     “Digital Purity: Discovering and Coping with the Anxieties and Social Oppressions of Digital Abstinence”
Zahra Jafari
    “Rhetorics of Invasion: A Narrative”
Salman Jivani
     “The Sands of Digital Time: An Experiment in the Art of Waiting”
Hari Jnawali
    “Reflections on Digital Fasting: Exploring the Paradox of Agency and Changed Social Perception”
Randy Lawrence
     “The Camera Obscurascope”
Marcel O’Gorman
    “Treachery: Digital Rituals for the End of the World.”
Onie Tam
     “Shush, you’re safe in my hands now”
Caitlin Woodcock
    “Basket Case
CRITICAL RESPONSE by Professor Ron Broglio, Arizona State University

How do you Define Privacy?

The University of Waterloo English Department’s Critical Media Lab is pleased to host Dr. Giuliana Cucinelli from Concordia University, who will screen her new interactive documentary, Define Privacy. This project investigates how young people understand the many roles of digital devices in their lives, focusing specifically on the topics of identity formation, rhetoric, and power dynamics. Additional details about her project are provided below, in addition to a “video teaser” found here:
Time: Thursday, November 17 at 5:30 pm
Location: Critical Media Lab, 44 Gaukel, Kitchener
Project Description:
Define Privacy is an interactive documentary that explores how young people engage with digital devices for learning and living in an increasingly technologically-mediated society and how they define privacy in their own words, and according to their own contexts and lives. We want to know how young people define privacy and what it means to them. We asked them about their daily use of digital devices and what their thoughts were on privacy settings. We found eight common words they use to describe privacy in their lives: share; information identity; control; boundaries; choose’; power; and consequences.  This documentary takes a look at the historical context of these words in contrast to how youth understand them in relation to privacy.
Dr. Cucinelli’s visit is funded by SSHRC, in the context of a CML research project on the topic of “Digital Abstinence.” We hope you can join us for a stimulating and provocative conversation. 

Christian Metaxas: grad school and the unexpected

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How do you peacefully engage a first-person shooter video game? That’s the question University of Waterloo graduate student Christian Metaxas addressed in his final project for the English Master of Arts in Experimental Digital Media (XDM). Titled Assembly: Peacemaker, Metaxas’s project appeared at Kitchener’s Themuseum, and was featured in the Record. Read on for an interview with Christian and more images from the project. Thank you to Christian for participating in Words in Place.–JLH

JLH: What drew you to University of Waterloo’s English MA program in XDM?
CM: I came across XDM while researching various graduate programs. I spent a lot of time on the internet growing up, so naturally the program  appealed to me that way. University of Waterloo PhD students Evelyn Deshane and Travis Morton were my  upperclassmen at Trent, so I asked them if I could visit them in  Waterloo and if they could show me around the campus. It all felt like  a near perfect fit for me academically. I didn’t apply to any other  graduate programs.

JLH: How did you find your cohort of graduate students? 
CM: I was worried that there would be a weird, hyper-competitive edge but that hasn’t really been the case at all. Pretty much everyone I have  met from my year is smart, friendly and engaging. Getting to study  with such cool people definitely added to the experience.

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JLH: Can you tell us a bit about how your final MA project came to be? 
CM: One night I accidentally got off the bus three stops too early and had  to wait another half hour or so for the next one. I was just sort of  dancing by the side of the road, listening to music, when it all  clicked in my brain. The installation evolved with each academic term,  finally getting realized as Assembly: Peacemaker. Every XDM class I  took was awesome, each gave me something new that I used to help shape  the project.

JLH: What kind of response have you had? 
CM: People didn’t have too much to say about Peacemaker, but I think that’s a good thing. For me the project is an autobiographical  expression, but it’s also about taking that aggressive violence and  transforming it–showing people a quiet sort of beauty. People that  find themselves feeling curious, or seeing things differently, is what  I aim for.

JLH: Any thoughts on what you will do next? 
CM: Not too sure, something pretty I hope.

To read more about some of our XDM students and their projects, click on the Digital Media tab, or visit the XDM website.

Podcasts from our People

Did you know you can listen to podcasts featuring some of our UWaterloo English scholars? It’s all courtesy of First Person Scholar, the online scholarly games journal founded and edited by our graduate students working at the forefront of Games Studies. Check out the interview with Chris Park from Arcen Games, or maybe episode 7 (“Nintendon’t”), or the latest, episode 9, billed as “ALL ZELDA ALL THE TIME.” A little bit of levity, a little bit of fandom, and the scholarly all meet.

You can support thepairabirds, who created the image above, by visiting their Etsy shop and buying something.