City as Stage: A Shakespeare-themed digital experience

Monica Virtue

Few authors have had as profound and lasting an impact on global culture than William Shakespeare. Four hundred years after the death of that extraordinary English playwright and poet, Digital Futures MDes candidate Monica Virtue is mining the Bard’s enormous influence in one of two research projects she’s conducting as part of her studies at OCAD University.



Virtue came to the Digital Futures master’s program with a longstanding project, a facet of which formed the basis for her thesis. For that project, she’s creating an interactive documentary on Ipperwash Beach, an Ontario tourist attraction that’s home to the controversial WWII-era army training base called Camp Ipperwash and site of the 1995 police shooting of First Nations activist Anthony “Dudley” George. Virtue’s thesis builds on her many years as a documentary film producer — work that’s made her adept at historical and investigative research as well as the rooting out of underlying stories in unexpected places.



City as Stage, Virtue’s independent research project for Digital Futures, represents one such surprising take on story. First, there’s the location. In investigating “the potential for an illuminated walk around the Stratford Festival,” Virtue is engaging in a way never before seen with a beloved and internationally known repertory theatre; a point of pride for many Ontarians. Then there’s the fact that she’s looking to Shakespeare, one of the world’s greatest storytellers, to thematically bring to life an interactive multimedia experience.

This is how Virtue describes City as Stage:

My research focuses on the feasibility of developing a major digital multimedia exhibition for a prominent Canadian cultural attraction. The study involves two industry and cultural partners: the Stratford Festival, an internationally-known repertory theatre company located in Stratford, Ontario; and Moment Factory, a creator of multimedia environments based in Montreal, Quebec.

For this study, I am using a previous Moment Factory exhibition as a case study. The exhibition is Foresta Lumina, a nighttime illuminated walk created in 2014 for Le Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook in Quebec. The Foresta Lumina installation combines storytelling about the provincial park’s myths and legends with advanced digital technology such as projection mapping.

Applying general knowledge gleaned from Foresta Lumina and other Moment Factory creations, as well as employing strategic business planning and foresighting techniques, my research focuses on areas of specific importance to the Stratford Festival: high-level storytelling possibilities that offer audience engagement, current resources and infrastructure, and potential partnerships with other organizations in the Stratford region.


Template: 
Standard Template
Admissions Segment: 

City as Stage

Monica Virtue and Poster of Midsummer Nights Dream at Stratford Festival
Wednesday, February 24, 2016 - 5:00am

The research focus of Monica Virtue, a Digital Futures MDes (2016) Candidate, centers on the feasibility of developing a major digital multi-media exhibition for a prominent Canadian cultural attraction. Her study involves two industry and cultural partners – the Stratford Festival, an internationally-known repertory theatre company located in Stratford, Ontario, and Moment Factory, a creator of multi-media environments based in Montreal, Quebec. For this study, Virtue is investigating the potential for a Shakespeare-themed multi-media experience for the Stratford Festival, using a previous Moment Factory exhibition as a case study. The exhibition is Foresta Lumina, a night-time illuminated walk created in 2014 for Le Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook provincial park in Quebec. The Foresta Lumina installation combines storytelling about the area’s myths and legends with advanced digital technology such as projection mapping. Applying general knowledge gleaned from Foresta Lumina and other Moment Factory creations, as well as employing strategic business planning and foresighting techniques, Virtue's research focuses on areas of specific importance to the Stratford Festival: high-level storytelling possibilities that offer audience engagement; current resources and infrastructure, and potential partnerships with other organizations in the Stratford region. Working separately with representatives from both organizations, Monica Virtue is compiling her research into an interactive report that can be shared with the Stratford Festival, Moment Factory, and other stakeholders. 

More about Monica: http://monicavirtue.com/

More about the Digital Futures Program: http://www.ocadu.ca/academics/graduate-studies/digital-futures.htm

Are games art?

“The first question I asked myself is are games art?,” says OCAD U Digital Futures student Saffron Bolduc-Chiong. “How can we make games a more artful experience?”
 

Saffron and her fellow Digital Futures student Emma Burkeitt, are exploring this question with their thesis project Sunken – an immersive game space installation in which players can navigate, interact and play with both physical and digital elements.
 

Sunken explores how gameplay can be combined with theme park design, lighting and environmental narrative to create an artful and engaging mixed-reality experience. They’re also incorporating interactive digital elements including a motion-activated Leap controller, water-activated switches, light-up objects and an augmented reality app. Players can hover over objects with the app to reveal hidden information.


Sunken’s room is set up to look like the underwater lab of a late-1800s scientist, revisited with 1950s technology and experienced in 2016. The aesthetic is inspired by Jules Verne and more modern works such as the video game Bioshock and the immersive theatre experience Sleep No More.

 

 

 

Digital Futures students Emma Burkeitt and Saffron Bolduc-Chiong

Digital Futures students Emma Burkeitt and Saffron Bolduc-Chiong

Reliving memories through video games

Corey Dean, a fourth year Digital Futures student at OCAD University

Ever wished you could hang out again with a loved one who has passed away? Listen to and experience a grandparent’s stories?

Corey Dean, a fourth year Digital Futures student at OCAD University, has created “Faded Memories,” a personal video game based on his grandfather’s memories.

Corey’s grandfathers both suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and later in life, didn’t remember who he was. In Corey’s game, he can interact with his grandfather again – each game level features a story from his grandfather’s life. The user can play through the memory and experience it as Corey’s grandfather. For example, one level features Corey’s grandfather’s childhood memory of his friend falling through the ice and dying.

“Hopefully this game will help people who experienced something like this to open a dialogue,” says Corey. “Because, I know I didn’t talk about my feelings even though it affected me so much.”

“Faded Memories” is in alpha build mode and Corey hopes to release it online when it’s finished. The game is Corey’s fourth-year Digital Futures thesis and you can follow along with his progress on his website.

Admissions Segment: 

Building a better Diabetes app

Mudassir Iqbal noticed his Diabetic father was keeping track of his glucose levels on pieces of paper. “We need to find a better solution,” says Iqbal. “We need something on the market that’s as easy to use and efficient as a pen and paper.”

So, Iqbal and two other OCAD U third year Digital Futures students Parth Soni and Sally Luc created an app called Diose. 
 

Diose is an app to help people better monitor and manage their diabetes. The team looked at other tools and apps and discovered they weren’t easy to use or intuitively designed. 
 

The team is also working toward creating a Bluetooth glucometer that syncs with the app and adding games to lessen the daily tedium of measuring glucose levels.
 

The app started as a Digital Futures class project but the team expanded it to develop their app-making skills. The app has finished Beta version and the team hopes to make it available on the App Store by summer, 2016. 

OCAD U Digital Futures students Parth Soni, Sally Luc and Madassir Iqbal
Admissions Segment: 

Pitfall Planet makes indie game finals

Pitfall Planet video game image
Pitfall Planet video game image
Pitfall Planet video game image
Thursday, January 7, 2016 - 3:15pm

A game designed by team of OCAD University and University of Toronto students has made it to the finals at the 2016 Independent Games Festival in San Francisco. Pitfall Planet is a co-operative puzzle-solving game where players help two robot astronauts return to their home planet.

Pitfall Planet is one of five games vying for the $3000 prize for Best Student Game, which will be awarded during the festival taking place March 14 to 18. Named Best Overall Game at last year’s Level Up showcase in Toronto, Pitfall Planet is the creation of the team behind Bonfire Games:

Digital Futures Alum Profiled by the Torontoist

Yifat Shaik
Friday, October 9, 2015 - 4:00am

OCAD U Digital Future’s alum, Yifat Skaik (MDes ’14), is already making waves within the city’s digital landscape. She was recently interviewed by the Torontoist for their I Want Your Job Series, as the current Toronto Public Library Innovator in Residence. Through her classes and lectures, Yifat is bringing intimidating practices, like 3D Modelling, to a general audience, helping Torontonians without any previous technical abilities create finished 3D models.

To learn more about Yifat’s work, and the Toronto Public Library Innovator in Residence position, check out her full profile on the Torontoist.

Congratulations Yifat!

The Torontoist:
http://torontoist.com/2015/10/i-want-your-job-yifat-shaik-library-innova...

Digital Futures Graduate Program:
http://www.ocadu.ca/academics/graduate-studies/digital-futures.htm

Image courtesy of Yifat Shaik.

Making beautiful art through code

"There are people making beautiful art through code,” says Luke Garwood, a student entering his second year in OCAD University’s Digital Futures program. He’s also an accomplished dancer.

Luke moved to Toronto from Montreal when he was 16 to study at the National Ballet School. After graduating, he worked in Europe and spent five years working at the Toronto Dance Theatre. Luke has been freelancing since then in modern dance, music videos and theatre. 

“I’ve always been interested in technology,” says Luke. “The dance world and its ephemeral quality has its limitations — it exists only while it’s being performed. With digital tech becoming more immersive, this can change.”

Digital Futures is a unique program where students can blend their interests in art, computer programming, design and business. Digital Futures is already feeding his dancing, says Luke. He’s created an augmented reality dance app that’s available via iTunes by searching “Ephemeral App."  

Luke’s ideas about how digital media can help dancers

  1. Digital is our current environment. Dance can either choose to be a time capsule of what it used to be, or run with the current times and push ahead.
     
  2. Digital media is a great creative tool. For example, 3D mapping with a camera can do amazing things with body movement. It can also create immersive experience such as Beck’s recent 3D video concert.
     
  3. Digital media is a way for dance to last beyond a live performance. Right now, digital tech is seen as a marketing tool for live dance performances. In the future, the digital platform could host or be part of the performance, not just promote it.

Digital Futures graduate students exhibit at City Hall anniversary

3D City Magic installation by Mehnaz Aydemir
Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - 4:00am

1965 was a rather amazing year: Canada got its own flag, Martin Luther King, Jr., marched from Selma to Montgomery, Sonny & Cher released their hit single “I Got You Babe” and Toronto’s futuristic new City Hall opened for business.

As part of the 50th-anniversary celebrations for City Hall – one of Canada’s most distinct architectural landmarks – two students in OCAD University’s Digital Futures graduate program created and mounted installations (OCAD U was an official exhibit partner for the anniversary event).

Beam Me Up!

With her interactive installation Beam Me Up!, Monica Virtue sought to transport visitors through time. Inspired by the Star Trek transporter set, Virtue incorporated sensors and wireless radios, as well as videos she created from images drawn from the City of Toronto Archives, Toronto Reference Library and Toronto Film, Television and Digital Office.

3D City Magic

Mehnaz Aydemir’s interactive installation featured a replica of City Hall created on site during the day by a 3D printer. In addition, Aydemir produced a children’s game that involved participants selecting and holding Plexiglas models of 12 historic Toronto buildings and activating a screen that provided information on the structures they had selected.

 

“There are people making beautiful art through code” - Where dance and technology meet

Image of two men dancing.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 9:00pm

“There are people making beautiful art through code,” says Luke Garwood, a student entering his second year in OCAD U’s Digital Futures program. He’s also an accomplished dancer.

Luke moved to Toronto from Montreal when he was 16 to study at the National Ballet School.  After graduating, he worked in Europe and spent five years working at the Toronto Dance Theatre.  He’s been freelancing since then doing modern dance, music videos and theatre. 

Luke also competed in last weekend’s Street versus Stage dance battle at the SummerWorks Festival. 

“I’ve always been interested in technology,” says Luke.  “The dance world and its ephemeral quality has its limitations – it only exists while it’s being performed. With digital tech becoming more immersive, this can change.”

Digital Futures is a unique program where students can blend their interests in art, computer programming, design and business.  The program is already feeding his dancing, says Luke.  He’s created augmented reality dance app that’s available in iTunes by searching “Ephemeral App”.  

Luke’s three reasons how digital media can help dancers:

  1. Digital is our current environment. Dance can either choose to be a time capsule of what it used to be or run with the current times and push ahead.
  2. Digital media is a great creative tool. For example, 3D mapping with camera can do amazing things with body movement. It can also create immersive experience such as Beck’s recent 3D video concert.
  3. Digital media is a way for the dance art form to last beyond a live performance.  Right now, digital tech is seen as a marketing tool for live dance performances – but, in the future, the digital platform could host or be part of the performance, not just promoting it. 

Pages