Projects

Cabinets of Curiosity

Students from Professor Marcel O’Gorman’s graduate course, ENGL 794 Cyberbodies, and undergraduate course, ENGL 293 Introduction to Digital Media Studies, created “critical arcade cabinets” and displayed them during a public reception at the CML. They were later installed in THEMUSEUM in Kitchener. The students assembled the cabinets, created digital games to be played through the arcade interface, and programmed the arcade controllers. The “critical arcade cabinets” were created as “objects to think with.” The goal of the project was to engage with critical theory by applying it to the development of a digital media project.

Teat Tweet: Dairy Diary

In collaboration with a dairy farmer, members of the CML (Ron Broglio, Pouya Emami, and Marcel O’Gorman) established a Twitter-based application that would enable cows to tweet every time they were milked by a robotic milking system. The team created a Twitter profile for each of the twelve cows involved in the project. The result is a live and ongoing twitter feed for each of the cows that relays their milking activities in conversational terms, and sometimes quoting lines from Virgil. The project is an intervention in the process of modern-day dairy farming, in which farmers have little to no contact with their livestock and the cows are tended to and milked by robotic systems. The mobile application allows the farmer to regain intimacy with his cows and lets the general public learn about where its milk comes from. See the bovines’ Twitter feeds here.

Geomosaic

Students from Professor O’Gorman’s Spatial Theory and Practice graduate course created a public art activity called “Geomosaic,” with the help of Sean Doherty in the Dept. of Geography at Wilfrid Laurier University. Participants in the project drew a design on a satellite photo of Victoria Park, and then walked to the park with a GPS-tracking blackberry to replicate the design by foot. When they returned to the gallery, the students showed them the results. The project confuses the boundaries between participatory public art and academic research. The software used in this project was designed by Doherty to help medical researchers better understand the spatial patterns of diabetics, people with disabilities, etc. It is also being used in an obesity research project that attempts to disrupt the sedentary media usage habits of adolescents. In this case, the researchers will collect not only GPS data but heart rate from the participants as well.

“Technology, Death, and the Posthuman: New Approaches to Terror Management”

This study investigates the philosophical and psychological relationship between death and technology, guided primarily by the philosophy and applied theories of Ernest Becker. In particular, this study will draw on the data-driven methods established in social psychology by Terror Management Theorists to test Becker’s philosophical propositions as they are applied in a “digital culture.” Terror Management Theory (TMT) is a well-established method of psychological inquiry that examines the role of death anxiety in human motivation, and the role of cultural hero systems in mitigating that anxiety. This study will engage in some of the very first TMT experiments that test the potential of technocultural rhetoric and gadgetry to mitigate death anxiety.

“Mobile, Engaged, and Socially Active Digital Game” (M.E.S.A.D.G.)
The M.E.S.A.D.G. is designed to examine the relationship between technology, obesity and environmental awareness by means of a mobile digital game that combines geocaching, social networking, and biofeedback. As there is a clear correlation between “screen time” and obesity, and between the consumption of digital technology and environmental degradation, this project aims to develop a “disruptive computing” application for adolescents that will enhance their physical fitness, encourage them to explore the built environment, and develop environmental awareness. The M.E.S.A.D.G. utilizes biofeedback mechanisms (such as heart rate monitors) to prompt users into a geocaching exercise; users then share their experiences with others via social networking sites. Thus, users are engaged in a digital game which requires active and critical, rather than sedentary and uncritical, particpation.

OncoGeiger

This project involves harnessing the residual radiation from cancer patients, and transforming it into a projected media display designed by the patients. The goal of this work is to develop a “quality of life” program for cancer patients that: a) raises awareness about cancer without commodifying it, and; b) makes use of digital media to turn radiation treatment into a source of therapeutic self-expression. OncoGeiger will draw on the radioactive tactics of the Reverend Luke Murphy

See a schematic of how it will work here

Cycle Of Dread

Cycle of Dread combines the concept of “Dreadmill” with Dane Watkins web-based animation, “Empty Days.” The project will invite users to pedal a stationery bike and determine the plot line of a multilinear animated narrative by adjusting their speed and heart rate. The goal of this piece is to encourage users to achieve the state of “flow” while simultaneously engaging in a critical examination of technology. This project is funded by a SSHRC Seed Grant. A beta version of “Cycle of Dread” will be launched in summer 2009 as a public art piece commissioned by the City of Kitchener. This version, entitled “Bridge of Infernal Methods,” will involve a large-scale projection onto a walkway over King Street in downtown Kitchener.

Dreadmill
Dreadmill is a treadmill hardwired to a laptop so that a runner’s speed and heart rate interact with a multimedia display. In performances of 5-7 kms, O’Gorman runs, manipulates an interface, and lectuers about the impact of technology of the body. Dreadmill has been performed at several galleries and universities across North America.

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