Martha Ladly

Dr. Martha Ladly is a Professor of Design, and Graduate Program Director of the Digital Futures program. Martha specializes in teaching and practice-based research in design, art, media and technology, which she teaches in the Digital Futures Graduate and Undergraduate Programs and the Interdisciplinary Master's Program at OCAD University. She is the former Associate Dean, Graduate Studies, former Graduate Program Director of the Interdisciplinary Master's Program, and founding Chair of the Research Ethics Board at OCAD U in Toronto, Canada.

Portage at ACM Multimedia 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008 - 4:00am to Saturday, November 1, 2008 - 4:00am

The ACM MM Interactive Art Program is a premier international venue connecting the arts and digital multimedia. MM-ART is a stage for digital art innovation utilizing multimedia technology, and a research venue advancing multimedia technology through the innovation of the arts.

Professor Geoffrey Shea presents Portage, an aesthetic, technical and social research project based out of the Ontario College of Art & Design which has, as one of its outcomes, a publicly installed interactive artwork, mediated largely through mobile phones. We have created a number of interactions that facilitate both haptic and digital experiences. Users choose among a range of activities that are completed individually or in collaboration: playing musical instruments via mobile devices, viewing themselves as video surveillance subjects, or setting off a series of visual and aural feedback loops based on the presence of mobile devices. The experiences created go beyond cell phones; they include elements of sculpture, performance, and other forms of site specificity.

Venue & Address: 
Science World British Columbia 1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver, British Columbia

Book Launch: Mobile Nation

Mobile Nation
Wednesday, September 17, 2008 - 9:00pm to 11:00pm

The Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD), Riverside Architectural Press and the Canadian Design Research Network/Design Research Canada are pleased to announce the publication of Mobile Nation, a landmark anthology devoted to the emerging field of mobile experience design.

“Mobile devices such as cell phones, BlackBerries and the iPhone are a part of our day-to-day lives — by the end of 2007, over 3.3 billion people were mobile phone users worldwide,” says co-editor Martha Ladly. “Mobile Nation is one of the first books that looks at the social nature of mobility from a broad range of perspectives. From art and design through to engineering, architecture, and the social sciences, our authors discuss exciting new approaches in the mobile realm.”

Based on the 2007 OCAD conference of the same name, Mobile Nation brings together more than 50 leading international experts to explore the impact of mobile platforms on cultural industries, architecture, engineering, industrial design, advertising, entertainment, recreation, and education. Ladly, an associate professor in OCAD’s Faculty of Design, co-edited the book with Philip Beesley of the CDRN/DRC and University of Waterloo’s School of Architecture.

Authors, partners and contributors to Mobile Nation will join Ladly and Beesley at the launch.

Venue & Address: 
David Mirvish Books 596 Markham Street, Toronto, Ontario

Portage at Science Rendezvous

Saturday, May 10, 2008 - 4:00am

On Saturday, May 10, members of the public will have the chance to play with three dynamic, interactive art installations as part of the Ontario College of Art & Design’s participation in Science Rendezvous, a new daylong festival celebrating cutting-edge science and technology research in the Greater Toronto Area.

“We’re setting up multimedia art installations that people will literally be able to play with,” said Paula Gardner, a principal researcher at OCAD’s Mobile Experience Lab. “It’s a chance for the public to experience first-hand our research into public surveillance and privacy issues and people’s comfort with mobile technology in a way that’s fun and engaging.”

Three installations — all part of a larger research project named “Portage” — will be located on Queen Street West and John Street:

Soap Box, a repurposed newspaper box displaying an electronic newspaper that allows people to manipulate its content by uploading their own photos or headlines (via text messaging) using their mobile phones (Location: Pages Books & Magazines, 256 Queen Street West).

Sound Sculpture, a three-piece sound installation (with instruments such as cowbells on drum petals and an xylophone) played manually, by singing into a mobile phone or by downloading drum-machine software (Location: corner of Stephanie and John streets, south of Grange Park)

Cycle Erasure, a hybrid virtual-mechanical bicycle in a shop window that can be operated with vigorous, on-screen arm or hand movements. Participants are eventually informed that their image has been captured and are given the opportunity to download it to their mobile device, or erase it from the system (Location: Urbane Cyclist, 180 John Street).

OCAD’s participation in Science Rendezvous will run concurrently with its 93rd annual Graduate Exhibition, “Evolving DNA” (for more information on the Graduate Exhibition, visit

For more details about Science Rendezvous, visit

Venue & Address: 
Various locations along John Street between Queen and Stephanie Streets. John Street and Stephanie Street, Toronto, Ontario

PORTAGE Open house

Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 11:00pm to Friday, March 14, 2008 - 1:00am

The Mobile Experience Lab at the Ontario College of Art & Design is hosting an open house for the OCAD community and the professional design community as an opportunity to present the innovative research on cell phone experience done by the Portage research team.

Experience design on cell phones means much more than screen interfaces and ring tones. Emerging location sensitive phones and two-way multimedia is positioning the mobile platform as the successor to the Internet. Participatory and social experiences will overtake game playing and storytelling.

The researchers at Portage are currently creating a virtual streetscape theatre in downtown Toronto. A range of interactive experiences will be knit together and accessible through the mediation of the cell phone.

Come and see some working prototypes and participate in a dialogue about the future of mobile design.

Venue & Address: 
Mobile Experience Lab 52 McCaul Street, Floor 3, Toronto, Ontario
Free; Space is limited, please RSVP