Atlas of an Ambiguous Utopia: Explorations in Place, Machines and Waste

Promotional image for the exhibition
Wednesday, September 12, 2018 - 10:45am

The Office of Research & Innovation is pleased to announce that Atlas of an Ambiguous Utopia: Explorations in Place, Machines and Waste by OCAD U Alum and Social Body Lab member Hillary Predko will be shown at OCAD U's Graduate Gallery (205 Richmond Street West, ground floor). The show will run on Saturday, September 15th and Sunday September 16th from 12-6pm with an Artist Talk scheduled for Sunday, September 16th at 6pm.

About the show:

In collaboration with OCAD U's Social Body Lab and Audodesk's Pier 9 Technology Centre, artist and researcher Hillary Predko completed a four-month residency in San Francisco focused on global systems of infrastructure, craftsmanship, and computer numeric controlled (CNC) machines. This work explores themes around globalization, waste and cartography through meticulously finished sculptures. 

Form and structure served as motifs for investigating the material possibilities of advanced manufacturing machines in an artistic context. Using the globalized movement of scrap materials and the impact of China's trash ban from the starting point of the San Francisco Bay, Predko looks past techno-utopian narratives into a complex network of interconnected factors that shape our daily lives.

A zine collecting images and writing about this work can be found here: https://issuu.com/hilbot/docs/atlas

About Hillary:

Hillary Predko is a Canadian designer, researcher, and maker who creates beautiful products and experiences. Her practice is informed by human-centred design, strategic design, and hands on prototyping. She holds a degree in material art and design from OCAD University with a focus on textiles.

Predko worked as a Studio Y fellow at the MaRS Discovery District, tackling systems level problems with design. With Intel + Intel innovators she launched Vega Edge, a weareable cycling light, on Kickstarter. Hillary is currently an active leader in the Toronto maker community. She has worked as studio manager at Guild Eyewear and as an instructor specializing in wearable electronics at OCAD University.

Predko's work with OCAD's Social Body Lab has exhibited at the Stanford D School for TEI 15 and Eyebeam Gallery. She has served as installation director for Way Station (Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, 2010) and as artistic lead for James Street Circus (Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, 2011). As cofounder of Little Dada, Hillary has produced events with Intel and Design Exchange and exhibited work in North America, Europe and Asia. Her work has been recognized by Vice, CBC, Fast Compnany and Toronto Life. She is interested in the interplay between industrial production, sustainability and entrepreneurship.

Elders, Memory & Data Visualization: Changing Aging Cues with News Media

This project explores memory, embodiment, and the social interactions of elders and others using digital media experiences and simulated virtual reality, which targets memory. Through testing with personal images, and news video from the CBC Newsworld archives, with our current and prospective prototypes, we demonstrate the generation of new conceptual lenses, technological forms and experiences that may enrich the lives of elders and have potential benefits for their families and caregivers, and other communities of participants.

This project investigates how digital technology can stimulate the memories of older adults and improve their cognitive function by using an audio-visual dataset of historical CBC news.

Key Considerations:

  • How might a multimodal, personalized digital media application with embodied, social interaction create a form of “virtualized” reality?
  • Could this experience evoke memories and improve memory recall?
  • How might this experience enhance social connection?
  • How can we build user interfaces that optimally support seniors’ comprehension, use, browsing, and interactions with digital/mobile devices?
  • How can effective 2D/3D aesthetic visualizations be created to give non-expert users a sense of a personal relationship with the data they are observing?Can such new media and VR/AR applications assist elders by enhancing memory, and other cognitive abilities?
  • Can we produce feelings of pleasure and delight in our elder audiences, and enhance this joyful interaction by including caregivers, family and friends?

 

Premise and Research Question:

With an aging population, there is an increasing need for facilities, activities and technologies that support and enrich the experiences of seniors. Environments that foster mental acuity, cognition, and physical health are in increasing demand.

How might we create applications and digital/virtual experiences that can enhance self-actualisation, and support elder’s abilities, cognition, memory, and social interactions?

Experimental Prototypes:

Our researchers have created and demonstrated 2D and real and simulated 3D aesthetic visualizations to give non-expert users a sense of relationship with the data we are displaying. We have created new media applications that simulate “virtualized” realities, by stimulating memory and recall. These applications may assist elders by acquiring new technical skills, and enhancing memory, mental acuity, personal interaction and communication, and cognitive abilities.

This project is highly multidisciplinary (involving interaction design, mobile technologies, natural language processing, video search, big data, quantified self-actualisation, and data visualisation, gerontology, psychology) and employs multiple prior developments: Postcard Memories, a networked, tablet application that facilitates creative, interactive sharing of family memories, and the CBC Newsworld Holodeck, a gesture-based, immersive installation which  simulates a virtual experience using large digital audio-video multi-screen environments, a gestural interface, and content from 24 years of CBC Newsworld programming.

Participant Studies:

Through user studies and participant observations we have found that when an internalized virtual reality is created in participants, it can have cognitive and affective benefits, which are also replicated in the elderly and those with some memory loss. The analysis of results from a user study with the Postcard Memories application suggests that the application improved connection and communication between elders and their family members, friends, and caregivers. Elder participants agreed that both applications helped them to recall personal stories, which enabled them to communicate more openly with others. Participant observation studies of the CBC Newsworld Holodeck installation have similarly found an improvement in users’ social interactivity and memory recall. Participants have also reported feelings of increased self-actualization, while others have displayed increased conversational opportunities, and interests in technology, and the news content they viewed.

New Developments:

We are now developing a new geographical interface and a touch-screen environment, enabling multi-user data interactions, in collaboration with industry partner GestureTek. Our aim is develop data visualizations methods that will enhance user interaction with specific ‘drilling down’ to keyword sensitive data, to aid participants’ interaction with this multi-year CBC corpus. Our research points to innovation in novel search-and-display techniques which we will continue to refine and develop through iterations of additional ‘days’ in the data corpus, chosen by users for personal significance.

If valid evidence of positive health effects is derived, this could be a commercialisable method and product, delivering health effects to significant numbers. There is further potential to continue development of tools related to video browsing, search-and-display technologies and associated user interface-design, with committed industry partners GestureTek.

Conclusion:

Our efforts have yielded delightful results and some valuable insights. We have and will build user interfaces that support seniors’ comprehension and adoption, assisting them to build their social interactions, technological competencies, and feelings of self-hood.

Click here to see Visual Analytics Lab's video on the CBC Holodeck

Click here to see a demonstration of the Postcard Memories Application

See more from our contributors:
Dr. Martha Ladly
Dr. Gerald Penn
Dr. Frank Rudzicz
Kartikay Chadha

 

Photograph of a  person's hand, using a tablet to selecting images from the CBC News Holodeck
Photograph of two screens and computers displaying the Holodeck setup
Close-up of hand making selections in the Postcard Memories app
Photograph of an individual using the postcard memories app. Their selection appears on a tablet and a large wall mounte screen
Photograph of CBC Newsworld Holodeck - several news clips from different years displayed concurrently
GRAND NCE Funding Logo
Gesturetek corporate logo: blue text on a white background
Friday, September 29, 2017 - 12:00pm
Lab Member: 
Martha Ladly
Embed Video: 

First Person Narrative: Depictions of Mental Health in the Movies

first person narrative: film & discussion of mental health in the movies
Thursday, February 2, 2017 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Venue & Address: 
113 McCaul (MCC) rm 516
Email: 
jko@ocadu.ca
Phone: 
416.977.6000x2119
Cost: 
Free!