The Great Unfriending: A Player's Handbook (2017-present)
The Great Unfriending: A Player’s Handbook challenges the recent popular discourse critical of unfriending practices on social networks. Through the form of a player’s role-playing handbook, The Great Unfriending advocates deliberate and thoughtful management of social media connections, including using the powerful act of unfriending. The handbook frames players as heroic agents tasked to neutralize the dangers of the network by presenting the network as a hostile cyberpunk wasteland rife with fantastic enemies and hazards that are particularly antagonistic, threatening, and vile toward women, people of color, and other marginalized identities. The handbook educates players about the fantasies of public discourse, free speech, and anonymity that actually facilitate flaming, trolling, and other forms of online/offline harassment. The Great Unfriending encouraging players to adopt new heroic roles, powers, and strategies to confront and take down the network. This project was first shown at the Queerness and Games Conference 2017 Arcade
Frack the Game (2015-present)
Frack the Game is a video game project for which I served as original project manager (until my departure from UC Davis). Initially conceived by Professor Joe Dumit as a rough board game to explore the ethical and socioeconomic landscape of fracking, Professor Dumit and several faculty and undergraduates are developing a digital version of the game. Players of Frack the Game assume the roles of fracking corporations that compete to survey, drill, and extract as much natural gas as possible to become the largest and wealthiest corporation before the world ends. Through the course of the game, players encounter difficult decisions as they must negotiate concerns around profits, environmental health, policies and laws, and public reception of fracking practices. I continue to provide consultation on the project, which is still in development at UC Davis.
IMMERSe postdoctoral scholar Amanda Phillips and I developed and coordinated a series of game design workshops leading to game jams at UC Davis under the banner of GameCamp!. The workshops cover a range of game design skills and strategies as well as technical introductions to game development tools including Unity®, GameMaker Studio, Twine, and Scratch to encourage involvement from the campus community by those interested in game design but who have little experience in programming. Record of the workshops held--including instructional materials to host the workshops--as well as game jam submissions are availabe on the GameCamp! website here. GameCamp! ran for two years while both Amanda and I were at UC Davis.
The Contours of Algorithmic Life (2014)
Several graduate students and I organized this conference in the spring of 2014 at UC Davis. After proposing the theme of "The Contours of Algorithmic Life," we generated a CFP and compiled an exciting program filled with presentations, performances, and demonstrations that explored how algorithms increasingly shape our world, our thought, our economy, our political life, and our bodies. The conference website, including the program, is available here.
Going to the Movies in Paris in the 1930s (2011)
This immersive multimedia project about cultures of film spectatorship in 1930s Paris was developed in Second Life on the Humanities Innovation Lab island. It is a collaborative project through the UC Davis ModLab. More information about the project and the lab can be found here. The Second Life teleport link is here.
The Civility Project (2011)
The Civility Project is a four-part interdisciplinary project that examines what we mean by the term 'civility,' through an original documentary theatre piece, an archival exhibit of hate speech pamphlets, a sociological study of campus discourses of civility, and an online presentation of the history of civility, free speech, and hate crimes in the UC system. I served as a graduate fellow and concept designer for the web components of The Civility Project, working mainly on the online history "The Limits of Civility" and the online presentation of the sociological study "Making Sense of (In)Civility."
This project was sponsored by the the National Endowment for the Humanities, the UC Davis Office of the Chancellor, the UC Davis Humanities Institute, the California Cultures Initiative, the Office of Campus Community Relations, the Peter J. Shields Library, and the Department of History.
freak! is a project I developed to involve community members in the work of environmental health research with a playful approach that uses game technologies. Inspired by 1990s virtual pets, freak! is a Nintendo DS that has been modified and instrumented with various sensors to detect different kinds of pollution: air pollution, electromagnetic radiation, and noise pollution. In order for the virtual pet freak! to stay alive, the player must expose the device to high levels of the detectable pollutants. In working to care for the pet, the player endangers him or herself. The motivation behind this project is to provide a playful means by whicheveryday users can explore their environment, searching for pollutants. Additionally, it is intended to spark conversation about pollution levels, interpretations of sources of pollutants, as well as the nature of toxicity levels in terms of what is deemed as pollution. The project debuted at the ACE 2009 Graduating Show at UCI.
Data Glove (2007)
While playing around with an Arduino microcontroller, I decided to build my own data glove. Using lengths of plastic tube and infrared emitters and detectors, I created my own bend sensors that determined the relative bend of the tube based on the amount of infrared being detected. I then sewed the sensors to the fingers of a simple cotton glove. I used an Arduino to process the sensor data and send gesture information to the computer in a rock-paper-scissors game for demonstration.