Archive for the 'lectures' Category

Visiting UCSB to talk about Virtual Reality

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

My friend and computational geometry genius Pablo Colapinto invited me to give a talk on VR at the Media Arts and Technology Graduate Program in his alma mater UCSB. I met Pablo a while ago when visiting Colombia for a similar reason, where we quickly bonded over symmetry groups, OpenGL and cinema.

Instead of talking about what’s usually understood as Virtual Reality, I decided to talk about what Virtual Reality means to a person like me, currently working in the field within the constraints and requirements of an overly supportive yet confused and almost pathologically optimistic entertainment industry. In that context, there were three points that I wanted to make as clear as possible:

There are ways to talk to the Web that go beyond the page/scroll metaphor —imagine pulling data from the web like you pull thoughts, impressions and memories from the corners of your mind.
Immersive video matters and it requires a language of its own —memories and other sampled content are at least as important as simulations.
The web browser is today the most powerful storytelling machine —the web browser is the only platform we have today that can fully touch across all aspects of digital media.

The content of my talk will eventually be available online here.

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After my presentation and the discussion that followed, I was invited by Director JoAnn Kuchera-Morin to play with their AlloSphere, and I spent the next few hours immersed inside the most spectacular stereoscopic scientific visualizations you could ever imagine. There is something about the AlloSphere that makes it incredibly effective at rendering virtual objects in space when wearing 3D glasses. You can almost touch the damn things floating around you. I took some pictures but none of them make it justice. Just like with Virtual Reality, you have to experience it yourself before you can fully understand what it is.

New Context Conference – From Cinema to Virtual Reality

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

The New Context Conference, an annual conference hosted by Digital Garage and Joi Ito, co-founder of Digital Garage and current director of the MIT Media Lab, took place this year at Toranomon Hills in Tokyo, and focused on The Future of Digital Currency and Virtual Reality.

I was invited by Digital Garage to represent Wevr and talk about our virtual reality cinematic work. I also participated in a panel moderated by Joi with Daito Manabe and Rei Inamoto. I was proud to be part of such an impressive line-up.

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Artes Mediales desde Colombia

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

En un comunicado electrónico desde Colombia, Maria Paula Lorgia me acaba de informar que ha presentado al público el Catálogo Razonado de Artes Mediales correspondiente al Seminario Transmedia en que participé hace casi exactamente un año con la charla intitulada Propagación de Ficciones.

Este catálogo incluye mi texto Espacio público y participación narrativa en la era digital, escrito en su totalidad en el zoológico de San Diego, donde hago una reflexión alrededor de los trabajos que he tenido oportunidad de realizar en el espacio público geográfico y digital a partir de mi estancia en el MIT, donde trabajé con Antoni Muntadas, John Maeda y Henry Jenkins alrededor de temas relacionados con los medios digitales, sistemas de participación, y espacio público. Estos trabajos incluyen Querida encogí el barrio y Branches The Nature of Crisis.

El catálogo completo se encuentra disponible como PDF en la biblioteca en linea de la Secretaría de Cultura, Recreación y Deporte de la Alcaldía Mayor de Bogotá.

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Propagación de Ficciones

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

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Maria Paula Lorgia y AnaDK me invitaron a participar con una plática en el Seminario Transmedia y Narrativas Audiovisuales 2013 en Bogotá, Colombia. Después de mucho deliberar, AnaDK y yo decidimos expresarnos en forma conjunta, y combinar nuestros pontos de vista con el objeto de discutir los populares conceptos de Transmedia y World Building:

Los términos importados World Building, originado en la ciencia ficción estadounidense para describir la construcción de escenarios capaces de albergar mitologías y épicas completas, y Narrativa Transmedia, originado en discusiones académicas recientes de teoría crítica para describir métodos de propagación de historias o superhistorias a través de plataformas múltiples, describen en si mismos técnicas de construcción narrativa que aprovechan al máximo los recursos de comunicación característicos del medio digital.

Esta charla busca despejar el aura esotérica que rodea ambos términos al examinar conceptos paralelos y ejemplos que aprovechan técnicas similares para crear sistemas narrativos abiertos, y establecer, de una u otra manera, un espacio de agencia creativa y participación para el público que los consume.

La charla completa se encuentra disponible en YouTube para quienes puedan estar interesados:

En el ámbito del evento tuve el privilegio de conocer y convivir con fascinantes personajes en la impresionante ciudad de Bogotá. Entre ellos cabe mencionar a nuestro viejo amigo vVvA y su paisano/tocayo Andrés Burbano, que hablaron de Modos y Logicas Transmedia, y Arqueología de la Ficcion, respectivamente (y fueron condensados en el mismo video, a pesar de hablar por separado), y el artista metamático digital Pablo Colapinto, quien nos habló de los laberintos en su cabeza.

La ciudad de Bogotá respira profundidad, color e historia. Una vez más, estar de visita en América Latina me hizo revivir lo familiar, todas las cosas que me han hecho falta durante mi exilio Norteamericano, incluso viviendo en una ciudad invadida por mexicanos como es Los Ángeles. Aquí hay unas imágenes que jalé del Instagram:

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IML400 Spring 2013: Done

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Today I finished the second iteration of IML400 at USC. It was a delight to sit through the final project presentations and witness my students walk us through the culmination of their semester work. Most of them tried programming for the first time in my class, and managed to express themselves using javascript in the web by the end of the semester. I guess I must be doing something right.

You can check out their projects in the IML400 website for now. I have heard the Storm server gets wiped every once in a while like other academic servers (something similar happened to us at the Media Lab PLW), but I am hoping the class work will be online for a while and you will be able to check it out.

I am proud of most of my students’ achievements, but I’m going to point a spotlight on Alexander Swenson’s project: the SOOTHSLAYER ELECTRIC TAROT, a playful interpretation of a fortune-telling experience through the reading of a Tarot-like card deck. In his own words, he didn’t want to deliver a useful product like everyone else, where a practical approach dominated the scene. Most of the students chose to develop projects that could have some degree of professional value. Online portfolios, company websites, product websites, etc.

Instead, Swenson focused on play, and used his newly acquired interaction design skills to craft a user interface where mystery and chance are experienced one Tarot card at a time. The website becomes the cards, the shuffle and the fortune teller. The reason for this? To make something cool.

On the technical side, he combined RaphaelJS with jQuery in an interesting way, where interactions with his SVG based animation trigger a series of events that request and load the right card from the deck into sliding iframes, very smooth!

Next is a sequence of snapshots from the final project defense session.

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Gira TelmexHub UNAM

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

@Nachotl de PaseUsted me invitó a participar en la Gira TelmexHub UNAM, donde impartí una conferencia enfocada en el tema de La Experiencia Narrativa en La Era Digital. Básicamente propuse la misma linea argumental con que participé la vez pasada, explorando la intersección entre comunicación social, teoría de la información y cultura, pero más interesado en el espacio en que contamos y consumimos historias, en lugar del espacio del arte en general. Como era de esperarse, el resultado termina poniendo más atención a la industria del entretenimiento que al sistema del arte.

Me llenó de gusto tener la oportunidad de compartir mi trabajo y mis ideas con los estudiantes de la UNAM –mi alma mater– y haberme encontrado con una Cultura Digital vibrante, llena de propuestas y preguntas.

Al igual que cuando estuve en Puebla, la Gira TelmexHub demostró reunir una buena colección de talentos, entre quienes tuve oportunidad de conocer y convivir con el educador e inventor Raul Gutierrez, el cineasta experimental Jacob Krupnik y su productora Youngna Park, y el poderoso taquero electrónico Redmarker, a quien ya conocía por cierto.

Boxing versus Judo

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Max and I recently finished this video for the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics. The video illustrates Chris Caplice’s talk on Scenario Planning, a brainstorming technique that helps prepare for abrupt changes in the future.

We use Boxing and Judo to compare between different planning techniques. Boxing represents the traditional approach, based on precise predictions of specific events, and Judo represents Scenario Planning, where it is more important to outline a number of potential futures and prepare for them. This way, specific events become less relevant as the effects they might produce. It makes sense, because lots of different events may cause the same effect over a given system. Preparing for this effect is a lot better strategy than the nearly impossible task of trying to predict each one of these events.