Research Interests

My first assignment is due later this week.  It is an oral presentation where I must briefly synopsize 1 or 2 examples of past research work and discuss how they may lead to new investigations in Thesis.  Additionally, I am asked to present some artists, designers, or curatorial projects that are of interest to me.

I have several (somewhat divergent) interests.  Too many to include in a 10 min. presentation.  So, in the interest of organizing my thoughts, reviewing and surveying my past projects, and storing the ones I’m most proud of, I am uploading them here.  I will then whittle these down to a short powerpoint (to be posted later this week).

Mobile Technologies/Augmented Reality and the Museum/Gallery

I currently work in 3D Animation and Motion Graphics and have a fair amount of experience with interactive installations.  I have some experience programming and have sparingly dabbled in mobile devices and web design.  Naturally, I am interested in bringing some of my technical background into my thesis project.  Perhaps, I am am just thinking too practically, but I am drawn to the idea of realizing some kind of mobile/web based augmented museum experience.  Last year I took a course offered as a joint partnership between OCAD and the Art Gallery of Ontario about art in/as education (esp. in the museum setting).  The pedagogical theory introduced in that class will inform much of the project.

Past projects of mine within this line of inquiry:

r u part of the art? was a project I realized in 2008 for Toronto’s Nuit Blanche event.  Now, this is an art piece that had more to do with instruction and performance, but it utilizes mobile devices and SMS messaging as a delivery mechanism.  I’m really interested in how the ubiquity of mobile technologies reshape and reframe experience.

Once Upon a Map is a web based hyperlinked project that I did for my Future Cinema course this summer.  It was during the creation of this project that the idea of an augmented mobile project began to germinate in my mind.

Other curatorial projects that relate to this theme:

The London Museum released an iPhone app called Street Museum that uses GPS information to overlay archival photos of London through the camera view of the phone.  http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/london/hi/things_to_do/newsid_8700000/8700410.stm

Th Brooklyn Museum has also been doing some pretty net things with iPhone apps.  Theirs works like the Genius option in iTunes, except with their collection.  It’s like a choose your own adventure museum guide. http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/32437/choose-your-own-adventure-at-the-brooklyn-museum/ They also have a mobile website called Gallery Tag! that plays like an in museum scavenger hunt where gallery goers tag pieces in their collection. http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/community/blogosphere/bloggers/2010/03/25/gallery-tag/

Posthumanism

Past projects of mine within this line of inquiry:

The video below Aeshetic Prosthetics was a slideshow created for a CRCP course I took last year.  I’m interested in how technology is refashioning the human body, and the repulsion/attraction that this provokes.

The Eden Institute was a curatorial project that myself and fellow student LIam Wylie created for a Sculpture and Installation class last year.  We were asked to create a hypothetical exhibition for OCAD’s Professional Gallery (complete with curatorial essay and maquette) that included one work each of our own and two additional pieces from other artists.  Here is sample of the essay and some photos:

The Eden Institute: Artifacts from an Imagined Future

Welcome to The Eden Institute, where paradise is the future that was.

Donna Haraway wrote in her Cyborg Manifesto that “the boundary between science fiction and social reality is an optical illusion” (149).  Taking cue from this statement, The Eden Institute investigates a speculative future-past at the permeable boundaries between nature and technology, belief and science, myth and tool.  The artworks on display in The Eden Institute reclaim an imaginative realm once reserved for parable and fable.  In the modern industrial age these speculative fictions interrogate and tame scientific audacity, and serve to negotiate each new technology’s integration into the fabric of society.  Mythical impulses of chimeras and medicine pouches become alarmingly real in the face of advanced science. “Each new hybrid that arrives on the technological scene – test tube babies, Prozac, human genome sequencing – pushes us further into a no mans land between nature and culture, an ambiguous zone where science, language, religion and mythology overlap and interpenetrate” (Davis16). Is science the new belief system? Through it can we find redemption?  Does it hold the promise of paradise? Fulfillment of the spiritual self? Edens lost?

The Eden Institute .pdf

Afrofuturism

I took a Postmodernism course last year and I had an assignment to pick a cultural artifact that I think is postmodern and write about it.  I initially chose the synthesizer, but as I started investigating it, I felt that I was pulling at a thread that seemed to unravel into other realms and questions beyong the scope of a 500 word essay (in the end, I chose to pick another subject for that project).  I began to wonder why, in the hands of black musicians, science fiction and space alien tropes accompanied the musical subcultures that exploit synthesized music.  I have only begun to scratch the surface of Afrofuturism, but it seems that the main attraction of new technology to marginalized groups is that these technologies don’t carry the burden of colonial history.  Below, you will find a couple of papers I wrote on the subject:

Afrofuturism and the Funkification of the Cyborg

HerbieHancock-Sextant

Let Us Compare Mythologies (pdf downdoad) is a review of the Wangechi Mutu Exhibition titled This You Call Civilization? at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I entered it in C Magazine’s New Critic Competition and won 2nd place!  Unfortunately they only had enough space for the winner, but I will be writing a review for the March issue, so stay tuned.

Artists that I’m interested in (who are not mentioned above):

Brendan Fernandes:

http://www.brendanfernandes.ca/

http://www.diazcontemporary.ca/Artists_Fernandes1.html

Brendan Fernandes, Dada Afrika I-IV, 2010

Brendan Fernandez, Foe, 2008. DVD video 4 min/39 sec

Brendan Fernandes, Neva There, 2008

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