Blog Post

Introductions and Coming Attractions

Hello fellow HASTACers and other wanderers!
As you can tell from the bio box at the right, I'm John Bell, an ABD PhD student at the University of Maine.  My doctoral program is interdisciplinary with a focus on Intermedial collaborative practices, and follows up on an Intermedia MFA (the studio art counterpart to my research-based PhD) and a New Media BA.  If you parse through all that you end up with a programmer-artist who spends a lot of time thinking about how to play well with others, which is fairly accurate; my dissertation is on how to apply online methods of collaboration and mediation to offline creative work.
The artistic side of my practice includes everything from algorithmically generated visual art to interactive theater and installations.  Much of it takes place with two main collaborators, which is something I'll be discussing in more detail in my next post and so won't get into much here.
The code side of my life, though, is based around building online tools for various scholarly, artistic, or open culture uses.  Right now my current projects include:
  • The Media Ecology Project - moving image scholarship and access project
  • Scalar - media-heavy web publishing platform
  • PABO - currently pre-release; OBI-compatible badge builder
  • - currently pre-release; semantic web taxonomy tool
...all of which I'll be talking about here at some point in the future.  I've previously worked on things like The Pool, The Variable Media Questionnaire, and many projects that have already turned to digital dust.
For the past few years I've become more heavily involved in curriculum development, mostly for UMaine's Digital Curation and Innovative Communication Design online grad programs.  Though I've abandoned my one-man effort to write a replacement for BlackBoard, I'm still working on other ways to push new pedagogical platforms that break out of the simplistic assignment/response or forum-based course delivery systems that I view as a beautiful fusion of the worst aspects of on- and offline education.  Depending on the semester, I teach in both of the online programs mentioned above as well as in the Intermedia and New Media programs, so yes - I eat my own dog food.
In short, HASTAC is nicely centered on several aspects of my work to date so I'm really looking forward to the chance to engage with the community here!


Hi John,

Nice to meet you! Thanks for offering up something I could respond to with my own introduction. I'm looking forward to exploring with you (especially in relation to some of your cool coding projects).

Alex // @AlexFink


Hey John!

Thanks for sharing! I'm excited to read more about your dissertation and collaborative interactive installations.


bk | @bklvnc