Museum of Forbidden Technologies

  How do you make a museum out of things that don’t exist? What’s the line between fact and fiction? 2014 5CollDH microgrant recipient Emily Esten (UMass–Amherst Junior) built a “Museum of Forbidden Technologies,” inspired by the popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale to ask just those questions. Learn more, in her own words:     Welcome to Night Vale is a bimonthly podcast structured very much like a radio station, announcing community updates for a small desert town somewhere in the … Read More

IMDB and Queering Media

  For her 2014-15 undergraduate fellowship project with the 5CollDH, Cade Johnson blurs the line between art and scholarship, with a queer feminist online installation cum analytical essay on the strange life of body horror in cinema and the digital age. The following is an update from her work in the trenches:   As the gist of my project is rewriting film studies scholarship, a major, perhaps the major, preparatory task for my project was compiling the list of films to watch and work … Read More

Generative Music and Video Games

  What lies at the intersection of analog and digital sound? What would a “feedback loop” of compositional practices, grounded in digital technologies and experimental musicality, look and sound like? 2014-15 5CollDH undergraduate fellow Andrew Wang asks those questions, and more, in a series of musical pieces he’s developing for his project. In his own words: Generative music refers to a system in which sound elements with limitless possible combinations are set into place, creating a piece of music that is infinitely changing. Steve Reich’s “It’s Gonna Rain” … Read More

Creating a Virtual Reality Game: The Process

  Virtual reality—it’s the hottest thing in the tech world. But how can we use VR in academia? What can VR teach us about how we live in our own bodies? And how can we use VR to teach others about the experience of living in different kinds of bodies? Using Oculus Rift technology, 2014-15 5CollDH undergraduate fellow Coralie Pardo is building a game that teaches players about the ubiquitous nature of race and gender, and how they permeate even seemingly neutral interactions. … Read More

The Iron Streets of Pompeii and the Curious Case of Liquid Roman Iron

  One of the great joys and frustrations of academia is coming up against a phenomenon that defies explanation. In 5CollDH undergraduate fellow Juliana van Roggen’s case, it’s asking why there are small iron deposits scattered around the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. In collaboration with an ongoing archaeological project, she’s creating a public, digital resource that maps the city in new and unusual ways. In her own words: Unlike my colleagues, my project does not focus on creation. Instead, I am … Read More

Parables for Proto-Space: An Introduction

    Digital humanities offers the opportunity to imagine the future of how we live with and through our technologies. 2014-15 5CollDH undergraduate fellow Craig Campbell’s project speculates on the architectures of cyberspace, and explores the ways that we already (and have always) live in digital space. In his own words:    In mathematics, the parabola is defined as the arching shape that results from intersecting a cone with a plane parallel to one of its sides. The parabola is immediately evocative … Read More

An Imagined Product Launch for a Very-Not-Imaginary Product

    Where does the device stop and you begin? What’s it like to live as a machine? These are familiar questions to science fiction literature, but take on shocking new stakes in 2014-15 5CollDH undergraduate fellow Wouter Schievink’s project. Through a series of public art installations exploring robotics, organic material, and interactivity, his project interrogates our physical relationships with ephemeral technologies. In his own words:    Hello, my name is Tom, co-founder of Skinskin.I’m so glad that all of you could make … Read More

A Video Game Practicum: Recapping the Week

This past January, I taught a week-long January term course entitled “Winners Don’t Smash Buttons: A Video Game Practicum.” This blog post is a summary of what happened over the course of the week; if you’d like a more detailed, day-by-day version of what happened, visit gaming.thecritical.is. If you’re interested in reading a digital essay on the experience, the course website (gaming.5colldh.org) explores issues of death, reincarnation, play, and so much more. Course syllabus is available here.Given all the snow … Read More

PEER2PEER:
Democracy, Deregulation, &Discontents

Image: Zach Blas / Queer Technologies   For two weeks in January, I taught an undergraduate intensive course at Hampshire College on network culture and its discontents as part of my post-baccalaureate residency with 5CollDH.I had been planning the course for months—refining the topic, gathering material for the syllabus, and refining it even more. When I started my digging, I knew I wanted to discuss possible politics and philosophies of networks, but I had no idea where that might lead. My research … , , , , , , ,

E.LIT/NET.ART, A J-Term Course in Pictures

Last month, I taught a week-long course on electronic literature and Internet art called (imaginatively, I know) E.LIT/NET.ART: An Extraordinarily Brief Survey of Digital Literature, 1975 – 2015. The course was a self-consciously brief introduction to major themes, forms, and genres of electronic literature: eight students and I trawled through hypertext, Flash animation, interactive fiction, and then some, paying attention to how electronic literature reconfigures not only our understanding of what “literature” means, but how an expanded view of textuality … Read More

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