Over the past year the Berkeley Center for New Media has discovered that its graduate students are struggling to fund both the training and technology services they need to complete their research projects. This year, thanks to the craigslist Chair endowment, we were able to support five graduates with awards of $1,000 to help defray these costs. Congratulations! We’re excited to hear how their experiences advance their research goals.
Bonnie Ruberg is using her award to help fund her attendance at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, where she will think critically about technological tools by training in coding and web development. At the 2014 meeting of the Modern Language Association, she found that the country’s top literary scholars were hungry for work that leveraged digital analysis. She hopes that her participation in DHSI will allow her to become a leading voice in these new methods through her various academic projects. Bonnie’s interdisciplinary dissertation, “Pixel Whipped: Pain, Pleasure, and Media,” bridges her background in the Arts & Humanities with her interest in media. She is an executive organizer of the Queerness and Games conference, a cross-industry event that explores LGBTQ issues and video games, and is a participant in the Net Difference Digital Humanities research collective that will author a volume entitled #Identity: Race, Gender, and Sexuality on Twitter.
Félix Treviño explores the manifestations of bodies and violence in literature. Part of his research project deals with the way literature uses New Media not just as a channel to build a narrative, but also as a medium to establish a critical discourse on how technology imposes specific behaviors on the “reader” and her formulation of what she understands as reality. As part of Félix’s journey to better understand the relationship between technology and literature, he will participate in the Digital Humanities Summer Institute and will enroll in courses that will assist him in textual analysis of electronic literature.
Lark Buckingham is the creator of Babump, a device posing as a business card holder that monitors heart rates. monitor that poses as a business card holder. Babump picks up signals from compatible heart monitors so that employers can track employee cardiovascular data in real time. It applies unique algorithms derived from big data to help employers gauge employee health and mood during meetings, with the aim of keeping employees focused on meeting their personal goals. Wellness plans that integrate wearable devices that communicate with Babump show marked gains in employee health and engagement, lower health insurance costs, and higher return on investment. Lark plans to use these funds to continue her training in coding to improve the Babump experience.
Naomi Bragin argues that hip-hop dance is an essential yet understudied technological medium that has supported collective protest strategies of black folk. Despite the popular belief that hip-hop dance is “non-technical,” technology continues to inspire the production, transmission and reception of these styles. Hip-hop dance revalues body-based ways of knowing, by transmitting sonic-kinetic speech-acts that require bodily participation. My project’s significance lies in the politics and ethics of participating in hip-hop culture, in a current context that continues to overlook and deny the lives of black people. Naomi will use the award to support the completion of her performance-ethnographic research and creation of a secure and accessible digital media archive of her project.
Rama Gottfried’s research explores musical composition as a transdisciplinary practice overlapping with spatial concerns in dance, theater, video, installation art, and stage design practices. As a context for this study, he is developing tools and techniques for fusing the perception of sound and spatial character across a variety of media. The results of the research will be a greater knowledge and experience in real-world transdisciplinary art practices, and in tangible form , a new work for performers, live video, and multichannels speakers system to be performed at the SF Exploratorium and possibly other venues.