Blog Post

My introduction

Apologies that this introduction comes so late.  Time got away from me this month.

I am in my second year of an Interdisciplinary MA at York University.  My thesis topic is "A Creative Exploration of the Use of Intelligent Agents in Spatial Narrative Structures".  I'm also a lab demonstrator at Brock University in St. Catharines this semester teaching Deep Mapping in the Digital Humanities.

This year has already been very busy and productive.  As part of the public art exhibition Land|Slide by Janine Marchessault, I developed a mobile app built with an experimental distributed authoring interface I've been tinkering with for a while.  The framework is a web interface that allows users to contribute points of interest to a collective map and then displays all the points of interest either using geo-fences or augmented reality markers.  Some of the works incorporated augmented reality directly into the work and the app included videos, websites, walking audio tours and 3D sculptures.  It was a real learning experience (diving into Java and Android development for the first time) but it really made me learn the nuts and bolts of how systems form the way they do (particularly because of idiosyncratic constraints).

Currently I'm working with 4 PhD students who are developing a Deep Map based on William Least Heat-Moon's concept of a Deep Map.  The exercise involves augmenting physical objects and spaces to create a 4D collage of history in a narrative derived from interviews and primary texts.  It's really been a tremendous exercise in rethinking my own experience working in locative media, particularly changing the focus from a longitudinal to a localized, layered experience.  The project I published for Land|Slide could be retooled to work especially with this idea of a deep map.  When multiple experiences appear at the same location, a list of icons appears for the user to choose from.  It's a naive approach to displaying layers but could serve as a launching point for better understanding how intelligible these "layers" are to a user.

I look forward to continuing as part of this community and have accepted a new position in the digital humanities that I can't wait to begin in the new year.  More details on that to follow.  I will also be posting draft excerpts of my thesis so that I might get some feedback from scholars in this community and that it can hopefully be of use to others in their own endeavors.

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