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New Media from the Microbial to the Transnational
Visiting researchers connect the local to the global with innovative art projects
Project by Craig Dietrich 
MARCH_24-26_2008. Today's headlines seem to jump from the nanoscale of stem cells and gene sequencing to the global scale of international politics and climate change. Here to bridge that gap are intermedia researchers Craig Dietrich and Vanessa Vobis, whose innovative projects help connect the dots between local environments and global imperatives--from dust mites to presidential candidates, from Aboriginal images to the World Cup.

Project by Vanessa VobisMonday 24 March

Presentation: "Intermedia and the Transnational Moment"

100 Lord Hall
Craig Dietrich and Vanessa Vobis ask their viewers to zoom across expanses of time and space to view our shiny new gadgets from a broader perspective. Following an alternative history of new media starting at 4.5 billion years ago, Vobis presents the custom-built ecosystems she has exhibited in international exhibitions and film festivals.
Project by Vanessa Vobis

Project by Vanessa VobisDietrich discusses his collaborations designed to widen media's geographic and thematic reach. These systems harness network protocols such as PHP and HTML, AJaX, RSS, SMS/MMS, and Dashboard widgets to push of-the-moment news to their users in real-time, whether it's where US presidential candidates stand on pressing issues, TV reports from community elders, or updates from World Cup soccer.  

Project by Craig DietrichWorkshop: New media scholarship and creativity

Still Water lab, 4th floor of Chadbourne (tbc).
Craig Dietrich and Vanessa Vobis meet with Intermedia grad students and faculty to demonstrate new tools and techniques available to today's authors and creators. Dietrich will focus on some of the Flash- and DHTML-based interfaces he has helped produce for USC's Vectors journal, which publishes cultural meditations in a dynamic digital vernacular.

Past Vectors projects have included Jennifer Terry's Killer Entertainments, an interpretive analysis of videos shot by soldiers in Iraq; Sharon Daniel's Public Secrets, a view of women in American prisons from behind the bars; and Trevor Paglen's Unmarked Planes and Hidden Geographies, a realtime map of flightpaths of CIA "Black Ops" planes.

Of special interest to new media authors may be ThoughtMesh, a Vectors project Dietrich recently produced with Still Water co-director Jon Ippolito and Research Fellow John Bell. Hailed as a "dynamic and compelling mode of structuring and interlinking scholarly texts," ThoughtMesh gives readers a tag-based navigation system that uses keywords to connect excerpts of essays published on different Web sites. Upload an essay to ThoughtMesh and your readers can navigate across excerpts both within the original essay and from related essays distributed across the mesh. 

Tuesday 25 March

Project by Craig Dietrich

Visit to first-year Interaction Design class

311 Lord
Craig Dietrich discusses varieties of online interaction with students from Mike Scott's NMD 102 class, from AJaX to Dashboard widgets to his Dynamic Backend Generator.

Beyond Copyright and Copyleft

5 Chapel Road
Potluck at LongGreenHouse
Craig Dietrich talks about the Mukurtu Archive he helped to design for the Warumungu people of Australia and the balance it strikes between providing access while preserving cultural norms of privacy and sacred knowledge. The demo of this innovative software serves as a point of departure for a conversation about the connections between indigenous and electronic networks, as well as the role of local determination in an age of global politics.

Other participants include elders from the Penobscot, Mi'kmaq, and Wampanoag communities and New Media faculty and students.

Optional: Visit to second-year Interaction Design Class

Craig Dietrich meets with students of Mike Scott's NMD 202 class.
Still Water Lab, 4th floor of Chadbourne

Wednesday 26 March

Visit to senior Capstone reviews

420 Chadbourne
Craig Dietrich reviews capstone projects by Jon Ippolito's NMD 499 class related to participatory online communities.


Craig Dietrich and Vanessa VobisArtist-researcher Craig Dietrich engineers interfaces for creative and scholarly examinations of transnational culture. Armed with early exposure to online environments such as LamdaMOO and Silicon Valley's TechMOOseum, and a 2008 Intermedia MFA from the University of Iowa, Dietrich works in both traditional and new media. His offline production includes plywood recreations of airports and mall storefronts for the project USA Today, while his online collaborations have harnessed streaming video (Senior Center TV Online), database-driven Flash interfaces (such as Public Secrets by Sharon Daniel), cell-phone texting (Z1SMS), and Dashboard widgets (The Electoral College). His collaborations in the intersection between digital media and transnational culture include the World Cup news feeder Goal 2006 (with artist Jon Winet), the tag-based publication system ThoughtMesh (with Still Water co-director Jon Ippolito), and the innovative Mukurtu Archive of Aboriginal media (with anthropologist Kim Christen), recently featured on the BBC. Dietrich is also the User Interface Engineer of USC's Vectors Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular.

German-born Vanessa Vobis is an installation and multimedia artist whose research focuses on the underside of biological and cultural systems. Her custom-built ecosystems such as Plot, Body Beasts, and The Crystal World suggest natural history dioramas that are both otherworldly and familiar, repellent and compelling. Vobis co-founded the Species Science Lab with Craig Dietrich to explore on the continuum from the microscopic to the transnational. Her quirky subject matter ranges from dust mites and microflora to oddities found at Walmart and Dollar Stores. Recently exhibited in Sweden, Estonia, and the Netherlands, Vobis' videos have won a Silver Eddy at the Cedar Rapids Film Festival. Vobis has a degree in art history and art practice from UC Berkeley and is currently an MFA candidate in Printmaking and Intermedia at the University of Iowa.

Sponsored by Still Water: what networks need to thrive.


Updated: 2008-04-05 by Jon Ippolito
Posted 2008-03-16 13:14:46 by Jon Ippolito
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