Sunday, May 21, 2023

Shadowcasting and TORCH

I'm hugely looking forward to chairing a roundtable next weekend with good friends Asiphe Ntshongontshi (Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre), Joahnna Berti (Debajehmujig Storytellers), and Maurianne Reade (Northern Ontario School of Medicine University).

You can catch our conversation, titled "Shadowcasting from Manitoulin to Masiphumelele: 'Citizen Science Fiction' as Mixed-Reality Role-Play for Civic, Scientific and Media Literacy," at 1:30pm on May 28th. 

The Film and Media Studies Association of Canada conference is part of the 2023 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, hosted this year on my home turf at York University.

May 29 update: Pics!

Zoom's-eye view of the roundtable

Asiphe Ntshongontshi joining remotely from Florida

Maurianne Reade, Joahnna Berti and Alison Humphrey

One month later, I get to participate in another exciting panel, this time on AI and Theatre, chaired by Wes Williams, director of The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH)

This conversation on "the current and future uses of AI and immersive technology in theatre and performance" features the Royal Shakespeare Company's Director of Digital Development Sarah Ellis, multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker Ruthie Doyle, and immersive producer & curator Dan Tucker.

The June 26th event is part of Oxford University's Artful Intelligence Season, "a forum to discuss and shape key questions at the intersection of AI and Creativity," hosted by the Humanities Cultural Programme and The Institute for Ethics in AI.

While I'm there, I'm also excited to talk further with Prof. Williams and his team about their upcoming project Fantasy Futures: Imagining Immersive Innovation, which will use motion capture and augmented reality to "harness the energies and enthusiasm that are generated by worlds peopled by monsters – from Ancient cultures through Tolkien’s monstrous imaginings to the Marvel universe."

"The project emerged out of a desire to reimagine for the twenty-first century the Humanities Division’s centuries-long expertise in unearthing fascinating research narratives from the worlds of Ancient and Fantasy Literature. 

"By synthesizing this research excellence with the UK’s world-leading gaming sector, the project is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the opportunities afforded by the latest cutting-edge advances in immersive storytelling."

Serious fun!

Monday, April 24, 2023

Media Arts Futures

To celebrate the end of term, I'm posting a playlist of all the Media Arts Futures guest speakers I've been lucky enough to host in CMA 1123 Writing for Games and Interactive Media over the past two years.


Friday, March 24, 2023

Starship Titanic 25th anniversary

Forget ChatGPT. A quarter of a century ago, a point-and-click CD-ROM adventure game from Douglas Adams featured a groundbreaking conversation engine called "SpookiTalk", which allowed you to chat with actual robots.

To celebrate the release of Starship Titanic 25 years ago this April, here's a panel discussion with members of the dev team which I hosted as part of my York U course Writing for Games and Interactive Media this time last year. 

March 2022 was the 25th anniversary of the game's original deadline whooshing by, and as I'd actually worked at The Digital Village back in the day, I figured I'd introduce my old colleagues to my first-year Media Arts students, none of whom were alive when the game was released, so we could all feel old together.

In preparation, I assigned for homework J.C. Herz's 1998 New York Times review, PushingUpRoses' 2014 YouTube review, and the following brief audio interview of Douglas Adams by Aram Sinnreich on the release of the new game: 

(CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0. Excerpt from original audio file "Aram Sinnreich interviews Douglas Adams," publication date 1998-04-21, at Photo by Robbie Stamp of Douglas Adams working on Starship Titanic in 1997 at The Digital Village, Camden, London.)

With the table set, the class welcomed our guests in from three timezones. Here are our contemporary portraits and job titles at TDV:

Clockwise from top left:

• Robbie Stamp (Chief Executive, The Digital Village)

• Emma Westecott (producer)

• Neil Richards (writer)

• Yoz Grahame (web technologist)

• Jason Williams (software engineer)

• Alison Humphrey (web producer)

Enjoy the chat!

For extra credit: