Category Archives: Digital Media

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!

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.