Director of the Institute of Multimedia Literacy, USC [Keynoter]
- Interactive Media Division, School of Cinema and Television, University of Southern California
- XFR: eXperiments in the Future of Reading, Interactive Museum Exhibit
- HASTAC: Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory,
a consortium of humanists, artists, scientists, and engineers dedicated to developing human technologies and technological humanism
Research Sample: “Alphanumeric Adventures: Exploring New Contexts and Audiences for Humanistic Knowledge”
A proposal for the creation of a Collaboratory at USC, Spring, 2005
PIs: Anne Balsamo and Todd Richmond
Site: Annenberg Center for Communication
Electronic technology is often said to initiate sweeping and irreversible changes in the cultural landscape. In some of the prophetic scenarios that have been offered to describe this future, books disappear, to be replaced by endlessly malleable, never definitive “e-texts”; authors shed their authorial privilege, to become co-participants with their readers in a story they make together; reading melts into viewing as multimedia becomes the rule; a technological dialect of English erases the history of all other languages and styles. With such prospects before them, commentators have often found the apocalyptic a congenial mode, reading in the widespread use of linked computers signs of an end to subjectivity, narrative, individuality, democracy, or materiality. Apocalypse being a long favored genre of humanistic discourse, scholars of language and culture have often been content to reflect on these changes as if from a distance. Fewer have asked–or tried to work out in practice–how these new technologies might offer opportunities for positive and, indeed, creative reconfigurations of the space of the humanities in the broader cultural landscape.
The purpose of the proposed collaboratory, called the “Tinkering Space,” is to create a hands-on collaboration space for researchers to explore the opportunities presented by a range of new media to make connections among humanistic knowledges, new technologies, public audiences, and non-academic contexts. Projects created within this space will explore how the humanities, and its constitutive knowledge domains might circulate in the cultural spaces made possible by the creation of networked new media technologies. In the museum, on the video game console, or in school yard playground, the sites for these projects will address audiences far removed from the traditional humanities classroom. Yet each project is built upon and deeply informed by the knowledges, scholarship, and intellectual traditions that continue to mark the “humanities” as an cultural domain of abiding value.
A Sample of Proposed projects
- Meet Me at the Wall: An Interactive Digital Wall for Distributed Design
- The Playground of the Future: The Physciality of WiFi Games
- The Play between Code and Context: An Interactive Human Genome Browser