Monday, August 2, 2021
Saturday, October 10, 2020
The artist's capsule "Shadowpox: Citizen Science Fiction" will be part of the exhibition “Life, A Sensorium,” presented by Sensorium: Centre for Digital Art and Technology as part of the International Symposium of Electronic Art, (e)Montreal, October 13-18, 2020.
I'll be presenting Shadowpox alongside the lovely and talented David Han (Friend Generator) and Michaela Pnacekova (Symphony of Noise VR), in Life: A Sensorium – Artists' Talk on Art & Video Games on October 13th. Please join us!
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
I'm thrilled to announce the publication of the special issue of the journal Imaginations: <Immune Nations> Research-Creation at the Intersection of Vaccine Science and Global Health Policy.
Initiated in 2014, <Immune Nations> brought together scientists, policy experts, academic scholars, and artists to work on an interdisciplinary and collaborative research-creation project tackling complex issues related to the use and distribution of vaccines in the world today.
The project… aimed to address a gap between knowledge about vaccines and how they work, and vaccine reception in the public imaginary, including fears and misinformation.
All the contributions to the <Immune Nations> special issue are worth a read, but I'm going to link here to the two I wrote or co-authored:
"Shadowpox: The Antibody Politic - Thoughts and Reflections" with Caitlin Fisher and Steven Hoffman
"Imagining Co-Immunity in Shadowpox: The Antibody Politic," a deeper dive on the development and theory behind the video game installation.
Monday, April 20, 2020
Here's a video from the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Canada, where the game was part of Public Notice, a prescient 2018 exhibition looking at the ways "fear and disease go hand in hand." (Click here to watch the video in full resolution on Facebook.)
I'm half design geek, half drama nerd, so it was even more exciting when the storyworld expanded into its second, participatory-storytelling phase.
This 2019 video from York University's Office for Research and Innovation sets the game in the context of the wider research-creation project:
"In a world plagued by a deadly new disease composed of viral shadows, young, healthy volunteers across the globe step forward to test a breakthrough vaccine.
"Shadowpox is an immersive science-fiction storyworld that imagines community immunity both as a public health phenomenon, and as a metaphor for any voluntary collective effort."
As the coronavirus pandemic turns all eyes to the development and testing of new vaccines, the third and final phase of the Shadowpox project will be an unusual new undergraduate course I'm developing to teach at York's School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design in the 2020-21 academic year.
Science & Fiction (FILM 3841, Digital Culture) takes a mixed-reality approach to experiential education, blending academic study with dramatic composition and digital production.
In addition to more traditional ways of learning about the biology and sociology of immunization, students will create videos in which they play volunteers in the Phase I trial of a vaccine against the shadowpox virus.
Designing a networked sci-fi narrative to build scientific, civic and media literacy, Shadowpox invites participants to grapple with one of the thorniest political dilemmas of public health: voluntary participation in the collective good.
|Shadowpox workshops at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (photo: LaLaine Ulit-Destajo), Debajehmujig Storytellers (photo: Lynda Trudeau), and the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre (photo: Jenn Warren)|
It's hard right now to visualize what our world will look like by the end of the year, but I also can't picture anything I'd rather be doing than collaborating with young people to imagine and build a future of co-immunity.
Saturday, April 18, 2020
To play the game, visit: shadowpox.org/game
Big thanks to CTV health reporter Pauline Chan, and to Anjum Nayyar in York's media relations office, for making this piece possible.
Kudos too to Shadowpox technical director Lalaine Ulit-Destajo for pulling together the behind-the-scenes footage in record time!
Update, April 25:
My York colleague Justin Baillargeon gave Shadowpox: #StayHome Edition a shout-out en français on Radio-Canada this weekend.
He mentions us at the 6-minute mark, alongside Assassin's Creed: Origins, in a discussion of ways to learn through video games:
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Play Shadowpox: #StayHome Edition here:
Check out the announcement from York University, "Online video game brings to life the impact of staying home during COVID-19 pandemic."
Why #StayHome? "Shadowpox: #StayHome Edition", new online game by @alisonhum and informed by data from @gstrategylab helps players visualize – in a fun and engaging way – the impact of deciding to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch 📺— York University News (@YorkUnews) April 8, 2020
Read more: https://t.co/kfMcJlGADw pic.twitter.com/yQUy3Q7az0
And let the team know what you think!
Monday, February 24, 2020
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
The Sensorium Research Loft
4th Floor CFA, Room M333
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alison Humphrey plays with story across drama, digital media, and education. As a Vanier Scholar in Cinema and Media Arts at York University, her research-creation doctoral dissertation explores how a participatory science fiction storyworld, Shadowpox, can help young people build scientific, civic and media literacy by exploring immunization and vaccine hesitancy through a superhero metaphor.
|Lazola Nkelenjane (left) and Zanele Melapi experiment with solar-powered visual effects in a 2019 Shadowpox workshop at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre, Masiphumelele, South Africa.|
For more, please see www.alisonhumphrey.com
Sunday, September 15, 2019
|Life Sciences Building, York University (NXL Architects)|
Here's the précis:
Shadowpox: How "Citizen Science Fiction" Can Boost Immunity
Alison Humphrey will discuss how her research-creation project, Shadowpox, a participatory storyworld exploring immunization through a superhero metaphor, can help young people build scientific, civic and media literacy. A full-body Shadowpox videogame debuted during the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva, where The Lancet called it “one of the most powerful and playful ways to illustrate both the individual and population-level implications of community immunity."The other three presentations sound fascinating:
Your Brain in Action
Denise Henriques - Professor, School of Kinesiology & Health Science
Humans surpass all other animals and robots when it comes to the diversity and malleability of movements produced — we are the world’s most versatile movers. Dr. Denise Henriques explains how the brain’s remarkable control systems make this possible.
Transgender Studies: What You Should Know & Why It Matters
Sheila L. Cavanagh - Associate Professor of Sociology
This presentation will introduce you to the burgeoning field of transgender studies. Transgender studies is based on the experiences of those who identify as transgender. Transgender is an umbrella term that includes everyone who is, in some way, gender diverse or gender non-conforming including, but not limited to, transsexuals, bi-genders, non-genders, Two-Spirits, etc. Transgender studies is not only concerned with the study of transphobia (discrimination against people who are differently gendered), but with questions relating to sex and gender embodiment.And this one is especially timely the morning after Toronto's #FridaysForFuture Climate Strike. I only wish I weren't speaking at the same time!
Is a 100% Renewable Energy Future Possible? Advances for Community Participation in a Low-Carbon Energy Transition
Dr. Christina Hoicka - Assistant Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies
Over 80 percent of Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are energy related and Canadians are among the highest per capita energy users and GHG emitters. Under the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming by 2°C, Canada committed to a 30 percent reduction below 2005 levels of GHG emissions by 2030. However, scientists now caution there are clear benefits to keeping warming to 1.5°C, requiring an acceleration of carbon mitigation activities. This talk discusses the important factors to acceleration of a low-carbon energy transition, such as the innovation-diffusion of low-carbon energy innovations for communities, made up of individuals, households and organizations, to adopt, as well as diversity and inclusion in the energy and innovation sectors.
Friday, August 23, 2019
Check out the first lecture clip below, then head over to the course website and the innovative, interactive Biology of Story documentary for more:
"What if there was magic? A mysterious power, hidden in plain sight, all around us, touching us, touched by us – daily. Wouldn't we want to learn how this magic works? How to work with it, consciously and effectively. How to ensure that it works for the benefit of ourselves, our communities, our world. How to use this magic to cast good spells – and to break the bad ones.
Well, that magic, that mysterious power, does exist. Its name is Story."
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
HASTAC is "an interdisciplinary community of humanists, artists, social scientists, scientists, and technologists changing the way we teach and learn." This year's conference theme is "Decolonizing Technologies, Reprogramming Education," and there are some inspiring plenary speakers lined up, including Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Karyn Recollet, and Elizabeth LaPensée.
I'll be part of a panel titled Communications, Transformations, Futures, presenting a talk on "Building Co-Immunity in Wiikwemkoong and Masiphumelele: Participatory Science Fiction to Inoculate the Civic Imagination." If you're in Vancouver on Friday, come say hi!
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Huge thanks to the inspiring team at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation for the opportunity to present at their research meeting yesterday at the University of Cape Town's Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine.
Happening now! @alisonhum presents on her #participatory #sciencefiction #storytelling #Shadowpox project with @DTHF_SA at @UCT_news @UCTIDM Institute of Infectious Disease & Molecular Medicine Centre #immunize #VaccinesWork #masiphimelele #cowpox #smallpox pic.twitter.com/PamxIBjJHJ— Jenn Warren (@jennwarren) March 15, 2019
Thanks too to talented photographer and communications consultant Jenn Warren for documenting the talk!
We do not live in isolation! Your #immunity is part of the community. @alisonhum talks #shadowpox, #Participatorystorytelling for #research, Superhuman embodiment, projection and protection, and the #Cytokine storm #coimmunity #community @DTHF_SA @UCT_news @UCTIDM @yorkuniversity pic.twitter.com/5uriXv4dO0— Jenn Warren (@jennwarren) March 15, 2019