Critical Media Lab Salon

Hello! I recently did a talk at the University of Waterloo’s Critical Media Lab, as part of the “CML Salon” research share series. This was my second time participating in one of these, as I love the opportunity to present work that, for graduate scholars, could benefit from some feedback outside of doctoral committees, or is still in the experimental phase. Or, work that’s just cool, and maybe you want to share it with some people and promote the lab that you work at at the same time. Either way, I am happy to be part of the CML and everything that they do, including but not limited to “maker” workshops using Arduino kits and soldering stations, film nights with discussions, and exhibitions from the Experimental Digital Media MA program at Waterloo.

For this talk, I was paired with Jane Tingley, Assistant Professor in Hybrid Media in the Department of Fine Arts at both the University of Waterloo main campus and the Stratford Campus. Her presentation focused on her art, specifically her solo and collaborative projects since 2006. She talked about her responsive and interactive installations, performative robotic projects with MoNo, and her gestural game with Researchers at the Technoculture Art and Games Research Centre.

My talk was called “Head-Mounted Displays: Altering Reality through Telepresence and Embodiment,” and has helped me formulate my research on virtual reality vs. augmented reality devices. Here is the abstract:

Historically, there has been a tendency for digital realms/cyberspace to be regarded as platforms for the body’s abandonment of its physical flesh, and the re-materialization of the self in a purely digital form. As pervasive technologies have advanced to the point where humans can switch between digital and physical environments, blending traces of one into another, the physical body’s significance as a site for experience is brought back into the equation. With the recent resurgence of head-mounted display technologies, we are starting to see more reality-altering devices being incorporated into video gaming and social networking that step outside the virtual reality mindset of full cognitive immersion, focusing instead on utilizing the body to blend real and virtual life. This talk is part of a larger project that explores various head-mounted devices and the differences between experiencing digital life through simulated virtual reality, mixed reality, and augmented reality systems that overlay the physical world with holographic imagery.

The next CML Salon will be on April 15th from 4-6pm featuring Dan Vogel, at the UW English Digital Space at 44 Gaukel St., Kitchener. More info on future Salons and events can be found here.

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