Digital Futures Open Show 2018

Thursday, February 1, 2018 - 5:00pm to Saturday, February 3, 2018 - 5:00pm

The Digital Futures OPEN SHOW is an annual exhibition where we show our best and most interesting work that’s happening RIGHT NOW. The collection of work presented is intended to represent a survey of current ideas, concepts, themes, theories, tools, techniques, and trends being explored by the Digital Futures community.  Last year’s inaugural OPEN SHOW was a big success and we’re excited to do it again.

OPEN comes from the fact that this call is open to our whole community. The show will include works from current Digital Futures undergraduate students, graduate students AND faculty. Works include physical computing prototypes, data visualizations, digital entertainment, games, wearable technology, interactive installations, and performance. For anyone who has asked the question “What IS Digital Futures anyway?” - we’re hoping this exhibition will continue to provide some answers.

Opening Night*: February 1st, 5-8PM (RSVP here:

*At 6:30 PM on Opening Night we will have opening remarks followed by a performance - Inte Sett by J:S:K and Enna Kim.

Open Exhibition Hours: Friday, February 2nd and Saturday, February 3rd, 12-5PM
DF Talks: Saturday, February 3rd at 2PM
Kids Tour: Saturday, February 3rd at 1PM
General Tour: Saturday, February 3rd at 3:30PM

Location: 49 McCaul St, Toronto, M5T 1V7

This event is free and open to the public. We look forward to seeing you there!

DF Open Show Planning Committee

Venue & Address: 
49 McCaul St

Creation & Computation End of Semester Show!

Void Setup: A Creation & Computation Show  Monday, December 11th, 6-9PM OCADU Graduate Gallery @ 205 Richmond St West
Monday, December 11, 2017 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Creation and Computation is a first semester foundations course for the Digital Futures Graduate Program in which students produce 5 pieces over the course of 10 weeks.  This End-of-Semester show will feature interactive projects made throughout the semester including experiments in physical computing, coding, networked objects, games, installations, wearables, and more!

Everyone is welcome. Bring your friends and family!

Venue & Address: 
OCADU Graduate Gallery @ 205 Richmond St West
Void Setup: A Creation & Computation Show  Monday, December 11th, 6-9PM OCADU Graduate Gallery @ 205 Richmond St West

Controlling sound and animation with gestures

Digital Futures grad student and visual artist Afaq Ahmed Karadia, has designed a machine learning system which uses cognitive data and gesture technologies to recognize and interpret movements of the human body to create sound and animation.

Afaq’s performance uses a “virtual instrument” controlled by gesture-based movements. The instrument creates sound and these sounds create visualizations in real-time. These real-time visualizations replaces pre-made animations using shadow and light.

The prototype is part of his larger research project that examines the non-functional characteristics of gesture, such as expressivity, which remains a challenge for computers.

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Graduate Programs Info Nights and Online Webinars

Join a Graduate Program Info Night and/or online webinar this November. They are your opportunity to meet instructors, students and alumni from the program to help you learn more about courses, the learning environment and degree outcomes.

"The Last Days of Reality" talk & Q/A with guest speaker Mark Pesce

Balloon Dog
Monday, October 30, 2017 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm

On the 3rd of October, Snapchat released an augmented reality ‘collaboration’ with artist Jeff Koons. Plopped in the middle of New York’s Central Park, Balloon Dog heralded a new form of presentation - and appropriation. Within 24 hours, artist Sebastian Errazuriz had ‘tagged’ the work (again, entirely virtually), in a “symbolic stance against imminent AR corporate invasion.”

That invasion is already here, marking ‘The Last Days of Reality’, when the boundaries between authentic and manipulated experience collapse into a newly-emerging ‘post-real’ era. What are the rules of the post-real? Who controls our senses - and, by extension, what we think and believe? What other sorts of interventions, appropriations and responses would undermine this latest assault of public space?


Mark Pesce is an inventor, author, educator, broadcaster and entrepreneur.  In 1991 he founded pioneering consumer VR startup Ono-Sendai, inventing a orientation sensor (US Patent 5,526,022) licensed to Sega Corporation for Virtua VR. In 1994, Pesce co-invented the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), the standard for interactive 3D graphics on the Web, and went on to found BlitCom, delivering streaming VRML entertainment into the browser. Last year Pesce announced plans for the Mixed Realtiy Service (, an open-source Internet-scale system to arbitrate and annotate augmented realities. Pesce founded postgraduate programs at both University of Southern California’s Lucas School of Cinematic Arts, and the Australian Film, Television & Radio School. He currently holds appointments as Honorary Associate at the University of Sydney, and Honorary Adjunct at the Animal Logic Academy of the University of Technology, Sydney. Pesce writes fortnightly a column for The Register, and hosts podcast The Next Billion Seconds.

Presented by the CFC Media Lab, Strategic Foresight & Innovation & Digital Futures Graduate Programs


Venue & Address: 
OCAD University 205 Richmond St. W. 410 sLab
Presented by:

2020 Media Futures

2020 Media Futures is an ambitious, multi-industry strategic foresight project designed to understand and envision what media may look like in the year 2020; what kind of cross-platform Internet environment may shape our media and entertainment in the coming decade; and how our firms and organizations can take action today toward capturing and maintaining positions of national and international leadership.

The purpose of 2020 Media Futures is to use open-source strategic foresight for the benefit of the creative cluster — the book, magazine, music, film, television and interactive digital media industries – to help organizations and individuals “future-proof” themselves and their creative livelihoods. These creative professionals include writers, filmmakers, producers, music label executives, game developers, programmers, and other media franchise specialists. To help them prepare for the future, we employed strategic foresight research methods and practices. You can learn about our strategic foresight research methodology and project structure. But before recounting that material, we present the heart of the project, the narrative and contextual scenarios developed through this consultative, participatory process.

These scenarios are the result of analytical and synthetic work described in the pages that follow: horizon scanning for signals and trends in consumer behaviour and the media industries; collaborative workshops with industry experts and professionals; and sense-making exercises led by sLab team members to understand the data that we gathered.

In many ways, the scenarios were the ultimate goal of the project: four unique visions of possible futures that members of the creative cluster could read, critique and engage with. But as we discovered, the research process that led to their writing was its own reward. Ontario’s creative community is diverse, highly opinionated and innovative.

Through our interactions together we gained experiential learning about the needs of these industries, but also a rich understanding of their hopes and fears for the future. Our participants in turn clearly took advantage of opportunities to establish new network connections with one another at our events. We are grateful for the honesty and energy of their contributions to this project.

–Greg Van Alstyne and Madeline Ashby

Other Partners Include:

  • Achilles Media
  • Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP)
  • Breakthrough New Media
  • Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)
  • Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA)
  • Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC)
  • Corus Entertainment
  • GestureTek
  • GlassBOX Television
  • Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. (MLSE)
  • Marblemedia
  • National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
  • Nordicity
  • OCAD University
  • Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)
  • Screen Industries Research and Training Centre (SIRT), Sheridan Institute
  • St. Joseph Media
  • Universal Music Canada
  • York University


For more information, please visit

2020 Media Futures: Cover Image featuring title in white font on a purple background with OCADU and sLab logos
Monday, October 23, 2017 - 11:30am
Lab Member: 
Greg Van alstyne
Lenore Richards
Suzanne Stein

Grad Studies Common Room October ---> "Stand By And" Exhibition

Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm

The October 19th edition of Common Room: "Stand by And", will feature the work of participating Digital Futures, Inclusive Design and Strategic Foresight & Innovation masters students. The theme is experimental, immersive, and digital artwork.

Performances by:

Adam Tindale

Afaq Ahmed

Artwork by:

Jen Serdetchnaia

Alana Boltwood

Kristi Poole-Adler

Samaa Ahmed

October 19th

6:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m.
Graduate Gallery, Ground Level, 205 Richmond Street West (Level G)

Cash bar + light refreshments provided.

What is Common Room?
Common Room is a monthly casual, comfortable and collegial social gathering for the graduate community of students and faculty.

Venue & Address: 
Grad Gallery (Level G) 205 Richmond St. W.
Stand by And Poster


Friday, October 27, 2017 - 8:00am to Sunday, October 29, 2017 - 1:00pm

In her introduction to The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin writes that “the future, in fiction, is a metaphor.” In uncertain times, we look to the future as a blank screen for projecting our anxieties about the fraught present and unresolved past. Our fantasies about the future reveal the ideological constructs of our contemporary moment. “Science fiction is not predictive,” Le Guin writes. “It is descriptive.”

What does the future look like for Americans and observers of American culture in the 21st century? How have past Americans used the future to address lingering uncertainties about their own eras? In an age of fractured politics, environmental devastation, neoliberal innovation, and deadly imperialism, what hope can the future hold? And what can American Studies hope to teach us about the role of uncertainty and futurity in our daily lives?

This event is free and open to the public.


For more information, visit:

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University
All panels, presentations, screenings, and plenary speakers are open to the public. To participate/present: $175 for full-time faculty ($220 after September 1st, 2017) $90 for students, part-time faculty, postdocs, and independent scholars/artists ($135 after September 1st, 2017)
Uncertain Futures

Digital Futures Graduate Students present digital media prototypes @CFCMediaLab

MDes student, Bijun Chen presenting her prototype to industry partners
Professor Immony Men and MDes Student, Shreeya Tyagi try a VR prototype
L to R: Dr. Emma Westecott welcomes Industry Partners, Dr. Martha Ladly & DF Students
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

As part of an eight-week project for CFC Media Lab and Prototyping summer course, Digital Futures Masters students developed an interactive digital project in their chosen specialty area, with feedback from faculty and industry partners at OCAD U and the CFC (Canadian Film Centre) Media Lab. The course culminated in a final critique and public exhibition of the students' digital media prototypes in which each student presented their work. Some highlights of the eighteen student projects included:

Master of Design student and visual artist Afaq Ahmed Karadia, designed a machine learning system which uses cognitive data and gesture technologies to recognize and interpret movements of the human body. Afaq’s performance uses a “virtual instrument” controlled by gesture-based movements that interacts with a musical interface to generate sound. The prototype is part of his larger research project that examines the non-functional characteristics of gesture, such as expressivity, which remains a challenge for computers.

Thoreau Bakker's project, "Sculpting with VR," uses Virtual Reality to both generate and visualize digital maquettes for future fabrication of digital sculptures at larger scales. This tool allows curators to visualize exhibitions and works before investing capital and resources into their production.

Sara Gazzaz's project, "Islamic Prayer Rituals," examines how Muslims cope, reflect, and explore spiritual seeking prayer rituals in new secular spaces. Her project emphasizes the importance of preserving cultural identity within Muslim immigrant communities in Canada. Sara created a prototype of a prayer mat equipped with sensors that trigger LED lights in sequence with prayer movements. The interactive mat will help to collect data for the creation of a documentation video of prayer rituals.

MA student Katie Micak presented, "The Alexa Experiment," which explores what it's like living with the artificial intelligence and home assistant, the Amazon Alexa. Footage was captured twenty-four hours a day via surveillance cameras in order to record discrete moments, changes in behaviour, and the evolution of the relationship between Micak and her Alexa. This will be a year long project which asks; what does the Alexa mean? 

Interestingly, many of the students’ prototypes involved technologies that limit or eliminate the need for human-to-human interaction. This was a common theme identified by the panel of industry experts; an area in the digital technology field where more research is needed to better understand new social realities.

Students began the prototyping process with the research and development stage, followed by model building, user trials, instantiations, and other forms of prototyping to help focus their primary research interests.

Dr. Emma Westecott, Associate Professor and instructor of the CFC Media Lab summer course, moderated the prototype presentations and panel discussions throughout the day: "I was thrilled to work with CFC Media Lab to enable our students to complete initial prototypes for their thesis projects. Feedback from CFC experts and industry advisors was invaluable in connecting student concepts to future application, offering them expertise central to ongoing work."

Students were also tasked with creating an “elevator pitch” to convey their prototypes in five minutes or less. After presenting their pitch, each student received feedback and advice from an expert panel of judges on how to improve the product's marketability, viability and revenue model.

View more CFC Media Lab Prototype Day pictures here:

Want to know more About Canadian Film Centre Media Lab (CFC)? Visit:

Want to know more about the Digital Futures Master’s Program? Visit:

OCAD University showcases Virtual Reality at VRTO 2017

Sunday, June 25, 2017 - 10:00am to Monday, June 26, 2017 - 6:00pm

OCAD University students and faculty are showcasing their work in virtual reality and augmented reality at VRTO 2017, with workshops, keynotes, and experiences in virtual and augmented reality, spanning the breath of technology and techniques that have contributed to the success of virtual and mixed reality technologies today.

OCAD U staff and students receive a discount of 45% off when they use the code OCAD2017 on Eventbrite.

President, Dr. Sarah Diamond will be delivering the keynote address.

OCAD U participants:

  • Michael Page will be speaking about Holography, and showing some of his work in the Multimodal Experience Pavilion
  • Alex Mayhew is showcasing his AR work in the Multimodal Experience Pavilion
  • Claire Brunet will be speaking about her work on 3D scanning, and demonstrating in the Innovation Room.
  • Hector Centeno Garcia will demonstrate spatial audio and physical interactions in a virtual reality
  • Fasun Uzun is showing her short film experience in VR.

Date: June 25th and 26th

Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Daily.



Venue & Address: 
Rogers Communications Centre, 80 Gould St., Toronto, Ontario