Teaching and Research

A boggy, soggy squitchy picture….

“On one side hung a very large oil-painting so thoroughly besmoked, and every way defaced, that in the unequal cross-lights by which you viewed it, it was only by diligent study and a series of systematic visits to it, and careful inquiry of the neighbors, that you could any way arrive at an understanding of its purpose. . .  A boggy, soggy, squitchy picture truly, enough to drive a nervous man distracted. Yet was there a sort of indefinite, half-attained, unimaginable sublimity about it that fairly froze you to it, till you involuntarily took an oath with yourself to find out what that marvellous painting meant.” (From “The Spouter Inn,” M-D)

pollock, moby-dick

Jackson Pollock’s Moby-Dick (Not as “squitchy” as Melville’s, methinks)

Since Fall 2014, I am working as a Biträdande Professor (Associate Professor) in Media Arts, Aesthetics, and Narration within the School of Informatics at the Högskolan i Skövde (University of Skövde). I work under the general  research umbrella of “computer game development,” but in reality I focus on digital media and its varied expressive forms (from film to literature to digital art and video games), experimental methods for immersion and storytelling, and issues of design and aesthetics.  Prior to working at Univ. of Skövde, I was in the Faculty of Computing in the Department of Technology and Aesthetics working on digital media/culture research and teaching at Blekinge Tekniska Högskola (Blekinge Technical Institute, or BTH) in Karlskrona, Sweden. I was formerly the Director of the Literature, Culture, Digital Media (LCDM) Programs and the English program at BTH, and I worked with colleagues there to develop and establish the Digital Culture and Communication (DKK) undergraduate program, one of the first of its kind in Sweden.

I have a PhD and MA in English (University of Georgia, USA), with a focus on American Literature, Digital Media and Critical Theory, and I have a BFA in theater performance (York University, Canada). However, I like to say that since graduate school, when I was located in a Department of English, I have rarely worked in a department or taught within an educational program with only one “subject” in its title: from “literature, communication, and culture” to “literature, culture, and digital media,” to “digital, culture, and communication,” to “technology and aesthetics,” and now “media arts, aesthetics, and narration,” I have been part of a very mixed bag of motley (thus dynamic) students, faculty, and research groups. (A boggy, soggy, squitchy, indeed….)

Prior to moving to Sweden in 2005, I worked at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA within the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture. There, I worked with, among others,  Prof. Jay D. Bolter, Wesley Chair of New Media, coordinating an ABD & Post-Doc teaching fellowship program focused on communication, culture studies and electronic pedagogy. I also taught a range of cultural studies courses, working with grads and undergrads, and served as the Director of Electronic Communications for the Ivan Allen College at Georgia Tech.

I generally teach within interdisciplinary courses with a focus on digital culture, emergent media forms, comparative media analysis (literature, film, games), digital media production, and critical media theory. My research is driven by an interest in emergent media developments and new forms of digital expression (from social media, to gaming technologies, experimental literature, and mixed media and augmented reality). As such, I  have very interdisciplinary interests and work to marry my humanities background within more technical subjects. I enjoy exploring “other” mediated interfaces, encounters, and innovations, and I am drawn to the new material phenomena, aesthetics, and “texts” circulating within our convergent media ecology.

While at BTH, for example, the Cultural Practices and Applied Technology Lab (CP@T-Lab) served as focal point for  research projects that actively engaged undergraduate students in experimental digital projects informed by issues in digital culture.  A conceptual, rather than a physical space, the lab was a useful and creative way to experiment with new ideas and interfaces, work with students, and short-cut some development issues.  My work as a project director in the lab engaged me with colleagues and undergraduate students on projects that included mobile phones and city space, digital mapping, mixed media and cultural heritage, and mixed reality performance.

Currently, I have a particular interest in social and mixed media forms that engage issues of performativity, embodiment, (new) materialism and affect, as well as digital cultural heritage projects that reimagine the cultural space of the traditional museum and visitor experiences supported by gaming technologies and playful, mediated encounters.

Current and Recent Research Projects

Art Line  (2011-2014)art line logo

I am a lead researcher in a three-year  EU-Funded project  Art Line (2011-2014) engaging 14 research partners in 5 different countries within  the Southern Baltic region exploring art innovation in physical and digital space.  In this project, partners from academia, cultural institutions, and tourism work in a number of related projects to promote cross-cultural communication and interdisciplinary practices mediated by artistic interventions. I am currently working within the Telling the Baltic (TTB) initiative—an  art/storytelling/International exhibition project engaging the Baltic Sea as inspiration for bridging cultures—and  the Digital Art Platform—a  research group developing seminars and workshops based on innovative digital art practices across platforms. My work in this group focuses on performativity and innovation in mixed media spaces.

Related Links:

(s)AND

group photo, (s)AND

Team (s)AND Documents the Nida Dunes (Dec 2011)

In the interactive installation piece (s)AND, I am the project director working with collaborators to explore the physical landscape and cultural histories around Nida, Lithuania and the Blekinge Region in Sweden. We focus on shifting sites of narrative (dis)location and forms of additive content. (Hence the project title which alludes to “sand” as a physical property characterized by its shifting nature, at the border between solid land and liquid water, as well as the additive possibilities that such shifting allows when new alignments and spaces are revealed.) If borders shift, then what, one may ask, is lost or gained as the renegotiation occurs? What are the Baltic stories held within, washed away, shared, and re-deposited in the iconic (s)ANDs and dunes of Nida and the stony shores of Blekinge? More information about the project is  available in more detail elsewhere on this blog.

(re-) Mapping Moby

karlskrona

Karlskrona Map

In (re-)Mapping Moby, I explore a classic literary novel (Herman Melville’s 1851 Moby-Dick), in conversation with contemporary digital mapping strategies and mixed reality media technologies. Using the literary text as an inspirational base text, my collaborators and I are exploring ways to re-map the novel to reveal the liquid borders at the heart of its narrative form. More information about the project is  available in more detail elsewhere on this blog.

Designing Digital Heritage Network (Fall 2014 and ongoing)

Digital Heritage Seminar Poster

Seminar Poster

 

I am currently working at the University of Skövde to establish a network of digital media researchers, academics, technology developers, museum specialists and culture workers to establish a platform for collaboration in the field of digital cultural heritage and game technologies. We hope to integrate educational programs and share resources (students, faculty, technologies) in an International network to establish a foundation to explore how gamificationb, play, and new forms of digital immersion and engagement can alter and enrich user-expereinces at museums and cultural sites. The kick-off event, a seminar with International speakers and other workshop participants, will be held at University of Skövde in Dec 2014.  More information is available on the seminar website and elsewhere on this blog.

 

Research Residencies:

Posthumanities Hub, Nov-Dec 2011 posthumanities hub

In November-December 2011, I was invited as a resident researcher and scholar at the Posthumanities Hub in the Department of Gender Studies at Linköping University in Linköping, Sweden. The Hub focuses on transdisciplinary gender research and is particularly informed by “the ontological turn” and new material discourse practices across the humanities and natural sciences. During my residency, I was able to extend my research context for developing the (Re-) Mapping Moby project. In particular I was able to research and reflect on new materialist practices and how they may influence artistic and aesthetic expressions. Surrounded by a range of scholars at the research hub (“hubbers”) working in interdisciplinary materialist feminist practices, including fellow visiting researcher Prof. Stacey Alaimo, author of, among many influential works, for example Bodily Natures, a study of trans-corporality. Discussions in seminars and lectures (mine and others), and/or just over coffee and dinner, with this vibrant group was truly enriching and epitomized what a residency should be and do.

Nida Art Colony, Dec 2011-Jan 2012

bottles

Assembling “Deep Blue,” my Message in a Bottle Project, Nida Art Colony, Jan 2012

In December 2011-January 2012, I was an invited artist/researcher in residence at the Nida Art Colony, an extension of the Vilnius Art Academy, situated within a World Heritage UNESCO site on the Curonian Spit in Nida, Lithuania. In this amazing and inspiring location by the sea, and in the midst of the highest sand dunes in Europe, I was able to focus on creative research. In particular, I developed components for Art Line projects relevant to Telling the Baltic and the Digital Art Platform.

dune

sunrise on the dunes

I worked primarily on the (s)AND project, gathering media documentation of the dunes with my collaborators and writing texts and conducting research to support the narrative and historical structure of the application. Working with my fellow artist-residents at the Colony, we also (spontaneously) collaborated on a Message in A Bottle project, exploring the boundaries of slow and uncertain communication and correspondence across cultural borders.

 

Gullkistan Artist Residency Program/Listhús Artist Residency Program, Iceland (Jan & Feb 2013)

In January and February 2013 I was part of an invited 8 week research residency in Iceland (4 weeks in each location) as part of their Artist in Residence Programs. During my stay I worked on media projects and organization for the Digital Performance Festival (Karlskrona, Spring 2013)  for the Art Line Project, and I developed content for the iSLAND project, an AR touchscreen story, scheduled for exhibition in the Swedish Naval Museum in Fall 2014. The amazing landscapes and the unique opportunity to be in Iceland during its darkest months, which were also somehow richly enlightening was an experience I will never forget.

 

Recent Publications

  • Telling the Baltic: Digital Bridges and Liquid Borders:  Everyday Story-Telling and/as Baltic Identity” Art Line Catalogue: A Baltic Collaboration (Feb 2014)
  • “Performing Exhibitions and Acting Innovation in Art and Media” Art Line Catalogue: A Baltic Collaboration  (Feb 2014)
  • “Performing Materialities: exploring mixed media realities and Moby-Dick.” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies  (February 2014)
  • Remaking Moby-Dick: A Multivocal Text. (Co-edited anthology with Trish Harris). Pea River Journal and Lulu Press (2013) *Available for free download at Scribd and for sale at LuLu
  • “Beyond Representation: Embodied Expression and Social Media.” Digital Humanities Quarterly, vol 6.2. (2012)
  • “YouTube/My  (twittering) Body: exploring embodiment and inscription practices in social media.” El Cuerpo en Mente: versiones del ser el pensamiento contemporaneo (2011)
  • “Mapping Motility: Affect, Interface, and (Post-)Human Trace.” Towards the Third Culture: The Co-Existence of Art, Science and Technology (2011)

Recent Presentations/Conferences

  • “Performing the Archive: emergent media, re-composition, and historical re-vision.” CCCC 2011 Computer Connection, Atlanta, GA. April 2011
  • “Motility: Affect, Interface and (Post-)Human Trace.” Towards the Third Culture: Art and Science Meeting. Laznia Contemporary Arts Center, Gdansk, PO. May 2011
  • “Herman Melville: Digital Media Artist.” Melville International Conference, University of Roma (Sapienza). Rome, IT. June 2011
  • “Mediating Histories and Dis(re)Membering the Archive.” People, Places, Stories International Conference. Linnaeus University, Kalmar, SE. Sept 2011
  • “Digital Bridges and Liquid Borders: Story-Telling and/as Baltic Identity.” People, Places, Stories International Conference. Linnaeus University, Kalmar, SE. Sept 2011
  • “Everyday Aesthetics and Affective Display: self-rendering in/as social media(tions).”Rewire Conference 2011, Liverpool, UK. September 2011
  • “Urban Organic Matter(s): Spontaneous Art and Transformative Space.” Art and Science: Erasmus Intensive Program Workshop, University of Gdansk, Gdansk, PO. October 2011
  • “Sc(re)enplaying: defamiliar aesthetics and new spaces for display.” Media/Art/Culture/Innovation: Art Line International Seminar. Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Karlskrona, SE. October 2011
  • ”Sea-ing Stories/Telling Borders.” Telling the Baltic International Art Line Seminar and Artist Workshop. Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Karlskrona, SE. March 2012
  •  “Mapping Moby: digital cartography, affective bodies, and a whale of a text. Gender, Bodies, and Technology International Conference. Virginia Tech, Roanoke VA. April 2012
  • “’Call me Ishmael’ and other (new) material performa(c)tivities and ontological entanglements.” The Non-Human Turn in 21st Century Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee WI. May 2012
  • “Re-enacting Katie King: Networked Reenactments and Transdisciplinary Media Materials,” Entanglements of  New Materialisms International Conference: Invited Keynote Respondent, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden. May 2012
  •  Touching Echos and Making Waves: a media performance.” Performing Exhibitions: displaying digital art and media, An International Artist Seminar, Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Karlskrona, Sweden. October 2012
  • “Dangling Monkey-Ropes and Sharing Strong Spirits: entangling affects and performing dangerous digital pedagogies.” ATGENDER Conference, Univ. of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden. April 2013.
  •  “Performing Embodiment and Thinking With (Moby-Dick).” The Posthuman: Differences, Embodiment, Performativity Conference, Rome, Italy. September 2013
  • “Severed Heads and Maternal Recovery: Julia Kristeva, Artistic Rendering, and Moby-Dick.” Kristeva Circle Conference, Vanderbilt University, Nashville TN, March 2014
  • “Augmenting Neptun: enhancing visitor experiences ‘inside’ a submarine (Naval Museum, Karlskrona).” Culture Heritage and Game Technologies Seminar, Univ. of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden, Oct 2014
  • “Inside Neptun: Using interactive panoramic displays to enhance visitor experience in a museum setting,” NODEM 2014 (Nordic Digital Excellence in Museums Conference), Warsaw, Poland, Dec 2014

 Recent/Current Teaching

Spring 2012 (BTH)

  • Culture Studies 2: a course focused on theoretical and practical explorations of digital culture studies from an historical media perspective (Digital Culture and Communication Program, Year 1)

    students in class

    learning is not a spectator sport

  • Digital Rhetoric: I am teaching a short module based on landscapes, cityscapes and Situationist practices in this foundational media rhetorics course (Digital Culture and Communication Program, Year 1)
  • Applied Research/Thesis: I am also supervising student research and thesis work on a range of topics in digital culture (Literature, Culture and Digital Media Program, Year 3)

Fall 2012 (BTH)

  • old school teacher

    pedagogical prowess means staying on trend

    Culture Studies 1: A course exploring visual culture in its various manifestations in art, media, and social practice. (Digital Culture and Communication Program, Year 1)

  • Digital Bodies in Lierature: A course exploring literature, film , art and media  reflections on “the body” and how it is transformed and re-presented by scientific and media innovation. (Digital Culture and Communication Program, Year 2)

Spring 2013 (BTH)

technology innovation means teamwork

technology innovation means teamwork

  • Culture Studies 2: a course focused on theoretical and practical explorations of digital culture studies from an historical media perspective (Digital Culture and Communication Program, Year 1)
  • Digital Culture: a course focused on exploring the artifacts, theories, and tools contributing to digital culture and its expressions in the late 20th and early 20th century. (Digital Culture and Communication Program, Year 2)

Fall 2013 (BTH)

  • modern communication means modern tools to keep pace

    modern communication means modern tools to keep pace

    Innovation and Communication in Digital Media: a course exploring the ways that museums and cultural heritage are impacted by a variety of digital and social media tools and practices within contemporary and historical contexts. (Digital Culture and Communication Program, Years 1 & 2)

  • Digital Humanities: In this course students study the disciplinary subject of Digital Humanities to understand how technological tools and methods have transformed traditional humanities research practices and texts. (Digital Culture and Communication Program, Years 1 & 2)

Fall 2014 (Univ. of Skövde)

video game figures

fun, fun, fun

Currently I am teaching within a range of collaboratively taught courses in the  Computer Game Development Programs, including  “starring roles” in graduate and undergraduate courses focused on Game Design and Analysis, Game Narratives, Image Analysis, Media Production, and Academic Writing and Research Methods for Media-Based Projects.

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