Creating a visual language of marks

Above image: a page from the Register of Liberated Africans, c. 1837

Creating a visual language of marks: approaching African identities through data visualization

Co-investigators: Martha Ladly, Ph.D. (OCAD University) and Katrina Keefer, Ph.D. (Trent University) 
Collaborators: Paul Lovejoy (York University), Dean Rehberger (Michigan State University), Mohammed Salau (University of Mississippi), and Abubakar Babajo Sani (Umaru Musa Yar'adua University, Katsina).

The trans-Atlantic slave trade was a centuries-long trauma that saw approximately 12.5 million Africans forcibly taken from their homes and transported to work in the emerging plantation societies of the Americas. The trauma of enslavement and sustained repression of language, culture and beliefs blurred memories of origins and birthplaces. Previous attempts at analyzing large datasets of names recorded in manumission records to unearth individuals and personal histories have been challenged by practices of slave renaming. Drs. Ladly and Keefer will work with their collaborators to develop a searchable visual database using the entries from the 19th century Registers of Liberated Africans to reveal individual identites and origins. Their research includes appropriate methods for collection, analysis and presentation of the sensitive personal information within these datasets. They will design and train an AI model to work in conjunction with ethno-linguistic and visual models, so that researchers and members of the public may extract meaningful information from the data.Working in the Visual Analytics Lab, the OCAD U design team will construct computational architectures for the visual/linguistic database, develop a mathematical model for data analysis, and design dynamic 2D and 3D visual models and user-intefaces.

 

 

This research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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Photograph of a page from the Register of Liberated Africans, circa 1837
Monday, July 9, 2018 - 9:30am
Lab Member: 
Martha Ladly

VVV: Volumetric Video in Videogames

VVV: Volumetric Video in Videogames is a practice based research inquiry that uses full motion video (FMV) videogame design patterns to scaffold the design of new games using volumetric (spatial 3D) video. It aims to advance critical discourse and design knowledge surrounding volumetric video and other emerging forms of hybrid captured media, within videogames and related immersive experiences. VVV is a multi-institution collaboration between experimental game designer Dr. Cindy Poremba (OCAD University), game historian Dr. Carl Therrien (Université de Montréal), and Prof. Nicolas Hesler (Sheridan College); in partnership with Simile, the engineers of the volumetric video platform DepthKit. VVV leverages an extensive historical archive of cinematic videogames housed at Université de Montréal, the advanced game development skills of Sheridan's students and faculty, and Dr. Poremba's research-creation work exploring captured media in game worlds (Poremba 2011), as well as her prior exploration into volumetric capture (Eyebeam 2013, Anderson Ranch 2016). It will result in opportunities for student training at both the undergraduate and graduate level, presentations to both academic and public audiences, the publication of two journal papers, the delivery of an advanced workshop, contributions towards a scholarly manuscript, and a creative work that will be showcased at high profile events locally and internationally.

Volumetric video is a computational fusion of digital video recording and depth sensor data, resulting in a spatialized, and potentially navigable, 3D captured moving image. Volumetric images are becoming increasingly prevalent and sophisticated, driven by interest in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) production. Although there is an emerging maker community surrounding this technology, creators have yet to explore its full expressive potential, particularly in procedurally intense, interactive forms such as videogames. Canada's videogame industry contributes $3 billion annually to our GDP, and 54% of Canadians identify as videogame players (ESA 2015). But games struggle to diversify their content, creator, and player base. Volumetric video content, appearing snatched from the world and evoking feelings of presence and actuality, could be a powerful addition to a game development toolkit, but it has properties that differ from what audiences and creators expect to encounter in games. A poor understanding of the use of this material, in both design and critical contexts, can damage our perception of the value and potential of emerging works before they have the opportunity to develop. How can we take an informed, critical approach to the integration of volumetric video in games? What theoretical and design resources can we draw upon to scaffold experimentation, critical understanding, and ethical critique in this area?

VVV: Volumetric Video in Videogames will investigate how design patterns (formal solutions and responses to common design challenges) from underexamined game genres such as fullmotionvideo (FMV) videogames can suggest future paths for design using captured content such as volumetric video. Taking a new materialist approach to hybrid capture technologies, this research aims to make visible the increasingly complex entanglements that make up digital media forms we casually refer to as "real." In doing so, it will support critical dialogue around hybrid captured media, particularly involving real people and places, and further reinforce Canada’s creative leadership in this emerging area. VVV will also contribute to a growing body of game design research on the application of design patterns to new work, and mobilize design knowledge from an underutilized body of research into early videogame design. It has the potential to expand and enrich artistic, documentary and commercial game development and audiences, and to broaden the expressive palette for other forms of media using volumetric content, including nongame AR and VR applications.

 

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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Creator: 
A screenshot of volumetric capture of a figure
Sunday, July 1, 2018 - 4:00am
Lab Member: 
Cindy Poremba

SSHRC Imagining Canada's Future: Dialogic Design Co-Lab

"In the face of intensified urbanization worldwide, what do we see as the highest impact social and human challenges for Southern Ontario, now through 2030?"

Southern Ontario is witnessing increasing urbanization, and with it a host of changes, challenges and opportunities.  For example, younger people are known as early adopters of new technologies, yet older people are experiencing technologies and their consequences in surprising ways. By 2050, we expect a third of Canadians to be older than 65.  What kinds of services, societies, and care do we envision to support our communities in the face of these changes?  

In an unprecedented study, Canada's research council for social science and humanities, SSHRC, has commissioned six regional panels to understand and imagine possible futures for the country in a global context. Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab) at OCADUniversity is leading University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Ryerson, Windsor and York universities and our combined intellectual communities.

sLab's participatory action research engages a diverse panel of academics, professionals, and students for a Co-laboratory workshop organized and facilitated according to principles of the Structured Dialogic Design methodology.  Dialogic Design is a multi-technique methodology based on human and computer-facilitated structuring of inquiry for a complex social or civic concern. Democratic by design, SDD produces strong consensus while avoiding cognitive biases, by adopting a series of language structures that conserve participant autonomy, authenticity, and shared commitment while mitigating group cognitive bias, power bias, and content complexity. 

The OCAD U-led project centred on an Expert Panel structured as a Dialogic Design (DD) Co-Laboratory to gather primary data, together with an Online Survey, a Public Workshop, and documentation of these activities on the Web. 

Focusing on urbanization as a key regional and global driver of change, the Expert panel was asked:

In the face of increasing urbanization worldwide, what future challenges
do we anticipate for Southern Ontario, now through 2030?

91 challenges were identified by the Expert Panel. On the Top Ten list are those challenges that are most influential on the other challenges, and highly related to the triggering question:

  1. Advancing a diverse and inclusive society
  2. Enabling equitable access to ICT
  3. Governing ourselves responsively
  4. Designing sustainable cities
  5. Overcoming fear of change
  6. Including indigenous rights in planning
  7. Transitioning to a digital economy
  8. Upgrading transportation systems
  9. Stewarding regional ecosystems
  10. Supporting our aging population

A follow up survey, and a public Design with Dialogue session correlated and expanded on the Expert Panel workshop findings.

In naming and assessing the influence of these future challenges, the expert panel considered both increasing urbanization globally and in Southern Ontario. Though urbanization trends will be most apparent in Canada’s large cities, all cities and communities will be affected by the transitions represented by the challenges.

For more information, please visit http://slab.ocadu.ca/project/sshrc-imagining-canadas-future-dd-co-lab.

 

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

A photograph of Southern Ontario at night taken from the International Space Station
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Monday, October 23, 2017 - 10:15am
Lab Member: 
Greg Van alstyne
Peter Jones
Suzanne Stein