TrIP: Kicking off the Artist in Residence Program

TrIP’s artist residency has begun!

The Transit Interpretation Project: TrIP

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Hey there! My name is Nathan Selikoff and I’m an artist and programmer based in Orlando, Florida. I participated in TrIP last November – you can read my first and second posts from that phase – and now I have the privilege of being TrIP’s first Artist in Residence. Thanks to Pat Greene for the invitation.

Since this Artist in Residence program is brand new, it’s pretty flexible, and Pat’s instructions to me are basically to “have fun” while exploring Orlando via transit and using art (loosely defined) to tell stories about our city.

I took my first TrIP of this residency about a week ago, deciding to ride the Lynx bus from my house, which is near John Young Parkway and L.B. McLeod, to one of my favorite places to work and hang out, Downtown Credo in College Park.

Having planned my route with Google Maps, I left my…

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GAYME and @deadquarewalking will be featured in Screencity Journal’s PLAYING LIFE: GAMIFICATION BEYOND GAMING

Peer reviewed journal
PLAYING LIFE: GAMIFICATION BEYOND GAMING
Emanuela Zilio, Matteo Bittanti ed.

OBJECTIVES
Screencity Journal #5 aims to support policy makers and private investors in understanding the economic importance of videogames and gamification approaches in relation to such fields as Cultural Heritage & Arts, Science, Communication, Entertainment, Urban Studies, Health, Learning and Education.

FRAMEWORK
Scholars, designers, players, and artists are invited to participate in PLAYING LIFE: GAMIFICATION BEYOND GAMING, a special issue of Screencity Journal entirely dedicated to the the topic of gamification, i.e. “the use of game design elements or game mechanics in non game contexts”.

We are looking for proposals that critically and playfully engage with gamification, a notion whose popularity has transcended the academic sphere thanks to a series of publications, workshops, conferences, and events throughout the United States and Europe. Currently, several contrasting concepts of gamification coexist – and frequently clash – within multiple conversations, contexts, and discourses. Seen as a marketing tool by some, gamification has often been dismissed and/or criticized by scholars. At the same time, others have highlighted its potential to enrich and augment various cultural, creative, political, pedagogical, and artistic practices.

PLAYING LIFE: GAMIFICATION BEYOND GAMING will critically address several questions raised by gamification, especially its ethical, political, ideological, educational, and aesthetic implications. How can gamification question existing structures and conditions of inequality, disparity, and injustice? What does it mean to live in a “gamified” society? What does such world look like? Is it utopian or dystopian?

THEMES AND TOPICS
Screencity Journal #5 will examine multiple themes related to gamification in relation to Cultural Heritage & Arts, Science, Communication, Entertainment, Health and Learning.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Critical literature reviews of gamification (for example, the rhetoric and discourses surrounding gamification, historical precedents, ideological and functional frameworks, etc.);
  • Gamification between labor and play, commodification and exploitation, surveillance and sousveillance;
  • Gamification and economic theory;
  • Gamification and political science;
  • Gamification and Game Art: appropriations, subversions, and interventions, from hacking to modding, from performances to happenings;
  • Gamification and ethics;
  • The potential of gamification for research and learning (gamification as a training tool, conceptual framework, form of pedagogy etc.);
  • The uses of gamification in health-related contexts;
  • Gamification in marketing, communication, and media.

Authors are invited to address the ethical, political, social, ludic, and artistic aspects of gamification; critically engage with the scholarly literature on the topic; be familiar with the history and evolution of this practice; examine or discuss case studies; and suggest possible strategies to develop and apply gamification for projects related to Cultural Heritage & Arts, Science, Communication, Entertainment, Urban Studies, Health, Learning and Education.

One of the purposes of Screencity Journal #5 is to provide a critical overview of key case studies, best practices, and gamification strategies that have been applied or could be used in the future by policy makers and entrepreneurs as well as scholars and institutions. The editors are also looking for possible implementation plans of gamification project specifically conceived and designed for the Italian context.

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#OrangeistheNew…

#OrangeistheNewBlack #OITNB…”The real evil are the companies that are killing us without consent. Monsanto. Rio Tinto. Big Pharma, BP, Halliburton..there’s some dark shit goin’ down…But the real criminals, they don’t bother with us small-timers.” ~Cindy

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@DifferentGames, @NextCityOrg and @TrIP_Orlando, Oh My!

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Screen shots from @deadquarewalking

Writing my MFA thesis has kept me pretty busy throughout the first quarter of 2014. My final thesis submission was approved this past week and as the dust settles, I am slowly getting re-oriented to life outside of writing, editing, defending, formatting, etc. an ETD.  I think I am now pretty much set to finally graduate on May 1! This in itself is such a thrill!

Yet it has dawned on me that I have had some really amazing and wonderful opportunities materialize over the past couple months including working with Pat Greene on TrIP, collaborating with TheArtStarter.com, presenting at Nathan Selikof’s Processing Meetup, being a guest on Ryan Price and Kathryn Neel’s BATT podcast and having my geo-social photography featured in The Orlandoan. I can’t thank all of these individuals and organizations enough for their support and promotion of my creative work. I’m definitely feeling the love in Orlando as well as in Brooklyn and Chattanooga!

I am beyond thrilled and honored that @deadquarewalking was featured as an arcade game selection this past weekend at the Different Games Conference in Brooklyn, NY.  We now have a working prototype published online as well! Thank you to everyone involved with Different Games for considering this project that myself and Dr. J. Michael Moshell have been working day and night on for the past several months.  The prototype is still somewhat barebones, but I think we have a thought-provoking concept which will continue to evolve.

This coming Wednesday, I head to Chattanooga, TN for Next City’s Vanguard Conference.  This is another mind-blowing opportunity, and I cannot wait to join the rest of the Vanguard 2014 class in Tennessee.  I think this is going to be a life-changing experience.

This has been a great year so far.  I truly believe the best is yet to come, and we still have a lot more work to do in terms of pedestrian and transit rider advocacy, community-building, coalition-forming, creative-placemaking, etc. in the Orlando metro region. I’ve also been behind on dedicating time to supporting Pat Greene with the TrIP project so I’m looking forward to focusing more energy on this important public art collective over the upcoming weeks. We have many, many, more submissions to post from #TrIP_Roanoke (which I unfortunately missed out on at the last minute…kind of a long story) and TrIP: The Knight Fantastic.

Onward!

 

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GAYME: The development, design and testing of an auto-ethnographic, documentary game about quarely wandering urban/suburban spaces in Central Florida

GAYME: The development, design and testing of an auto-ethnographic, documentary game about quarely wandering urban/suburban spaces in Central Florida

Announcing the Final Examination of David Thomas Moran for the degree of Master of Fine Arts

Date: Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Time: 2 p.m.
Room: UCF Visual Arts Building Conference Room
Thesis title: GAYME: The development, design and testing of an auto-ethnographic, documentary game about quarely wandering urban/suburban spaces in Central Florida

GAYME is a transmedia story-telling world whose primary goal has been to conceptually explore the dynamics of queering game design through the development of varying game prototypes. The final iteration of GAYME is @deadquarewalking. It is a documentary game and a performance art installation that documents a carless, gay man’s journey on Halloween to get to and from one of Orlando’s most well-known gay clubs – the Parliament House Resort. “The art of cruising” city streets to seek out queer/quare companionship particularly amongst gay, male culture(s) is well-documented in densely, populated cities like New York, San Francisco and London, but not so much in car-centric, urban environments like Orlando that are less oriented towards pedestrians. Cruising has been and continues to be risky even in pedestrian-friendly cities but in Orlando cruising takes on a whole other dimension of danger. In 2011-2012, The Advocate magazine named Orlando one of the gayest cities in America. Transportation for America also named the Orlando metropolitan region the most dangerous city in the country for pedestrians. Living in Orlando without a car can be deadly as well as a significant barrier to connecting with other people, especially queer/quare people, because of Orlando’s car-centric design. In Orlando, cars are sexy. At the same time, the increasing prevalence in gay, male culture(s) of geo-social, mobile phone applications using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and location aware services, such as Grindr and even FourSquare and Instagram, is shifting the way gay/queer/quare Orlandoans co-create social and sexual networks both online and offline. Urban and sub-urban landscapes have transformed into hybrid “techno-scapes” overlaying “the electronic, the emotional and the social with the geographic and the physical” (Hjorth 2011). With or without a car, gay men can still geo-socially cruise Orlando’s car-centric, street life with mobile devices. As such emerging media has become more pervasive, it has created new opportunities to quarely visualize Orlando’s “technoscape” through phone photography and hashtag metadata while also blurring lines between the artist and the curator, the player and the game designer.

This project particularly has evolved to employ game design as an exhibition tool for the visualization of geo-social photography through hashtag play. Using hashtags as a game mechanic generates metadata that potentially identifies patterns of play and “ways of seeing” across player experiences as they attempt to make meaning of the images they encounter in the game. @deadquarewalking also demonstrates the potential of game design and geo-social, photo-sharing applications to illuminate new ways of documenting and witnessing the urban landscapes that we both collectively and uniquely inhabit.

*In Irish culture, “quare” can mean “very” or “extremely” or it can be a spelling of the rural or Southern pronunciation of the word “queer.” Living in the American Southeast, I personally relate more to the term “quare” versus “queer.” Cultural theorist E. Patrick Johnson (2001) also argues for “quareness” as a way to question the subjective bias of whiteness in queer studies that risks discounting the lived experiences and material realities of people of color. Though I do not identify as a person of color and would be categorized as white or European American, I think “quareness” has an important critical application for considering how Orlando’s urban design is intersectionally racialized, gendered and classed.

Outline of Studies:
Major: Emerging Media M.F.A. – Digital Media Concentration

Educational Career:
B.A., 2005, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University

Committee in Charge:
Dr. J. Michael Moshell
Dr. Si-Jung Kim
Dr. Rudy McDaniel
Dr. Tison Pugh
Dr. M.C. Santana
Dr. Peter Smith
Dr. Stephanie Vie

Approved for distribution by J. Michael Moshell, Committee Chair, on March 11, 2014.

The public is welcome to attend.

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Body-Weapon

outforawalk

Out for a Walk, Digital Painting, Brushes app, iPad, David Moran, 2013

In pondering the queer modalities of [the suicide bomber], one notices a pastiche of oddities: a body machined together through metal and flesh, an assemblage of the organic and the inorganic; a death not of the self or of the other, but both simultaneously; self-annihilation as the ultimate form of resistance and self-preservation.  This body forces a reconciliation of opposites through their inevitable collapse –a perverse habitation of contradiction.  As a figure in the midst of always already dying even as it is the midst of becoming, like the homosexual afflicted with HIV, the suicide bomber sutures his or her status as sexually perverse.  Mbembe also points to the queer becoming of a suicide bomber—a corporeal experiential of “ballistics.” The dynamite strapped onto the body of a suicide bomber is not merely an appendage; the “intimacy of weapon with body reorients the assumed spatial integrity (coherence and concreteness) and individuality of the body that is the mandate of intersectional identities; instead we have the body-weapon.  The ontological affect of the body renders it a newly becoming body; queerly.

~ Queer Times, Queer Assemblages, Jasbir Puar, 2005, pg. 129

In Orlando, the pedestrian…the jaywalker…the street walker is a “traitor” to the societal norms and geo-political aspirations of the American South in ways similar to Puar’s discussion of the HIV-infected homosexual  or post-9/11 suicide bomber.

The pedestrian in Orlando threatens the suspension of disbelief which perpetuates car culture/motordom/automobile hegemony or what author Junot Díaz refers to as the “negative hallucinations” that bodies are not meant for public, street life and that pedestrian mobility is not a functional, acceptable or even a real form of movement. More than likely Marxist notions of commodity fetishism and false consciousness as well as Foucault’s considerations of technologies of self and power are at play here.

In a metropolitan region that has been labeled as the most dangerous city in the country for those who walk along/across/about/on/AGAINST metro Orlando’s streets and roads (or STROADs as Chuck Marohn might label much of Central Florida’s asphalt)…in a city that is dangerous by design, pedestrians controversially embody the social, economic and cultural forces at play that seek to keep certain bodies in their dictated places and spaces through the design and accessibility of urban infrastructure.

The pedestrian as a body-weapon is a visible, vulnerable and ultimately volatile form of resistance walking along/across/about/on/AGAINST the technological determinism of car culture, consumerism and ultimately sexual selection thinly veiled under the guise of the privileged, socioeconomic status conferred to those who own/rent/inherit/drive automobiles.

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A TrIP through Haussmann’s Paris: Creatively Investigating the Emergent City Modern

MedievalParis_Haussmann

A map of Paris before Haussmann redesigned the city.

“It is not, I think an accident that social critic Victor Hugo—one of thousands of republicans exiled under the empire—used the images of sewers to animate the persecution of Jean Valjean in his 1861 masterpiece , Les Misérables. Nor was it an accident that the new boulevards became a central character in the paintings of the Impressionist school and on the picture postcards of the era. The city’s transformation aroused the pain and the wonder of the population.

ModernParis_Haussmann

A map of Paris showing the Haussmann system’s implementation of boulevards, new buildings and other public works.

In 2000, I spent two months living in a neighborhood bounded by two great Haussmann* boulevards—Boulevard Saint-Michel and Boulevard Saint-Germain-des-Prés.  Every day I walked through the old city into the new, examining the manner in which Haussmann had cut the great boulevards at an angle through the urban fabric and had pasted the new Paris over the old.”

~Dr. Mindy Thompson Fullilove, Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do About It

Caillebotte_Impressionism

Boulevard Haussmann in the Snow, Gustave Caillebotte, Completed 1881. Caillebotte’s paintings of Parisian urban life were somewhat controversial for their exaggerated perspective. Critics speculate this was a technique used to convey a sense of loneliness and alienation as the emerging edifices of the modern city came to engulf the city’s inhabitants.

As Dr. Thompson Fullilove states above, Parisian creatives of the time responded to their changing urban environment through writing and painting among other forms of artistic investigation. Charles Baudelaire’s poem The Swan is particularly well-known as a monument to the altered Parsian cityscape now inescapably Haussmann’s Paris.  Years later, Walter Benjamin’s essays on Baudelaire would popularize Baudelaire’s flâneur or the wanderer of the modern city – an urban spectator/investigator and symbol of the alienation of both the city and capitalism.  Below is an English translation of the poem:

ANDROMACHE, I think of you! The stream,
The poor, sad mirror where in bygone days
Shone all the majesty of your widowed grief,
The lying Simoïs flooded by your tears,
Made all my fertile memory blossom forth
As I passed by the new-built Carrousel.
Old Paris is no more (a town, alas,
Changes more quickly than man’s heart may change);
Yet in my mind I still can see the booths;
The heaps of brick and rough-hewn capitals;
The grass; the stones all over-green with moss;
The débris, and the square-set heaps of tiles.

There a menagerie was once outspread;
And there I saw, one morning at the hour
When toil awakes beneath the cold, clear sky,
And the road roars upon the silent air,
A swan who had escaped his cage, and walked
On the dry pavement with his webby feet,
And trailed his spotless plumage on the ground.
And near a waterless stream the piteous swan
Opened his beak, and bathing in the dust
His nervous wings, he cried (his heart the while
Filled with a vision of his own fair lake):
“O water, when then wilt thou come in rain?
Lightning, when wilt thou glitter?”

Sometimes yet
I see the hapless bird — strange, fatal myth–
Like him that Ovid writes of, lifting up
Unto the cruelly blue, ironic heavens,
With stretched, convulsive neck a thirsty face,
As though he sent reproaches up to God!

II.

Paris may change; my melancholy is fixed.
New palaces, and scaffoldings, and blocks,
And suburbs old, are symbols all to me
Whose memories are as heavy as a stone.
And so, before the Louvre, to vex my soul,
The image came of my majestic swan
With his mad gestures, foolish and sublime,
As of an exile whom one great desire
Gnaws with no truce. And then I thought of you,
Andromache! torn from your hero’s arms;
Beneath the hand of Pyrrhus in his pride;
Bent o’er an empty tomb in ecstasy;
Widow of Hector — wife of Helenus!
And of the negress, wan and phthisical,
Tramping the mud, and with her haggard eyes
Seeking beyond the mighty walls of fog
The absent palm-trees of proud Africa;
Of all who lose that which they never find;
Of all who drink of tears; all whom grey grief
Gives suck to as the kindly wolf gave suck;
Of meagre orphans who like blossoms fade.
And one old Memory like a crying horn
Sounds through the forest where my soul is lost . . .
I think of sailors on some isle forgotten;
Of captives; vanquished . . . and of many more.

~The Swan, Charles Baudelaire, 1857

*Georges-Eugène Haussmann was selected by Emperor Napoleon III to redesign the urban landscape of Paris between 1853 and 1870.  The extensive development program erected new boulevards, parks and public works throughout the city.  Haussmann’s system arguably improved the quality of life in Paris combating the spread of disease, improving traffic circulation and updating many of the city’s buildings.  It is estimated that 60% of the city’s buildings were affected by the project with much of Paris’ medieval structures dismantled arguably transforming what was once a medieval city into a modern metropolis still recognizable today.

Critics of Haussmann argue that the development projects which were alleged to also help the lives of the poor simply dispersed lower-income residents to the suburbs so that bourgeoisie housing could be built in place of neighborhoods the poor formerly inhabited (a phenomenon many refer to as urban renewal or gentrification).    Lewis Mumford additionally claimed that the widening of Parisian streets was also a tool for the authoritarian regime to better control the populace and more easily quell social resistance.  The displacement of working-class communities also arguably led to a significant social disruption that made it more difficult for these communities to organize and challenge policies that negatively affected them.

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