Monday, December 01, 2008

12/4: Virtual Worlds and Second Lives

During the final meeting of the semester we will discuss Chapter 7, "Community," of Tom Boellstorff's Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human (2008). Also included as optional is Chapter 3, "Method."

The meeting will take place, as usual, in the New Media Commons next to the Free Speech Movement Cafe. Start time: 5PM.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

11/20: Textuality, Storage, and Computer Forensics

At the 11/20 meeting of the New Media Working Group we will discuss chapter 3 of Matthew Kirschenbaum's Mechanisms (MIT Press, 2008). "'An Old House with Many Rooms': The Textual Forensics of Mystery_House.dsk" is an investigation of a floppy disk containing the 1980 Apple II game Mystery House. You can download a PDF of the chapter from the NMWG website.

Kirschenbaum is a rising star in new media and digital humanities. His latest book is an exploration of the materiality of digital media, and as such presents a much-needed counterpoint to theories of new media which focus on its supposed immateriality and mutability. This chapter will be of interest to people studying games, as he does a "close reading" (with hex editor!) of the first story-based adventure game to feature graphics. But it also happens to be very readable and generally interesting, as Kirschenbaum pulls together everything from William Blake to Aphex Twin to make a coherent case for why we should pay attention to the mechanical minutiae of digital media.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Nov. 6 Meeting: New Media & Law

The next meeting of the New Media Working Group will be on Nov 6 at 5pm in the BCNM commons. In conjunction with Takeovers and Makeovers, the BCNM-sponsored conference planned by Kris Paulsen and other new media students, we will be reading a piece by Rebecca Tushnet called "Payment in Credit: Copyright Law and Subcultural Creativity." The conference is among the first to bring together artists and art scholars, lawyers and legal scholars, and technology professionals all together to discuss the issues around appropriation and fair use.

The full paper is up on the NMWG reading list here:

Takeovers and Makeovers: Artistic Appropriation, Fair Use, and Copyright in the Digital Age:

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Next Meeting THU 10/16: Stanford Bound

Our next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 16th but will be nontraditional in two respects: 1) We'll be traveling across the bay to Stanford and 2) We'll probably leave from Berkeley around 12:15 and head back around 3, so it will involve a longer time commitment than usual.

Why, you might ask, is it worth your time to visit our historic rival, and on a weekday no less? Because Henry Lowood, Curator for History of Science & Technology Collections and Film & Media Collections at Stanford ( as well as current co-director of the Stanford Humanities Lab (, has very graciously offered to speak to us and even show us around (with our very own Eric Kaltman's help).

Lowood's current research interests include the following areas:

* History of computer game design
* Creation and curation of digital archives
* Computer games as a medium of performance
* History of military simulation

Most recently, Lowood has helped develop a gaming collection/archive at Stanford and is part of a new multi-institution initiative for "Preserving Virtual Worlds," funded by the National Digital Information Infrastructure Preservation Program of the Library of Congress.

Please let Alenda Chang ( or Ryan ( know if you would like to come on the 16th, and if so, whether or not you need a ride, can drive others, or would prefer to get there/leave on your own.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Next Meeting THU 10/2, 5-6PM (340 Moffitt)

Join us for a special visit from Abigail De Kosnik, the Berkeley Center for New Media's most recent faculty addition and a new assistant professor in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies.

We will be discussing a short piece, "Performing Transnational Anti-Fandom: Filipinos Protesting The Daily Show and Desperate Housewives Online," available at the following URL:

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Next Meeting THU 9/18, 5-6PM (340 Moffitt)

We will be meeting to discuss the last chapter from Lisa Nakamura's most recent book, Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet (2008), entitled "Measuring Race on the Internet: Users, Identity, and Cultural Difference in the United States."

Please note that we will NOT be meeting in the Rhetoric/Film library. The new location for our meetings is the recently opened Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM) Commons, 340 Moffitt Library, right next to the Free Speech Movement Cafe ( We will be meeting twice a month, on Thursdays, for the remainder of the semester.

For NMWG announcements:

For our schedule and links to our readings:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Meeting TUESDAY 9/2: 5-6PM

Please join the New Media Working Group for its first meeting of the year on Tuesday, September 2, from 5-6PM in the Rhetoric and Film Library (7337 Dwinelle Hall). We have an exciting semester planned on a broad field of topics, ranging from "Virtual Worlds and Second Lives" to "Textuality, Storage, and Computer Forensics." In October, new TDPS/BCNM assistant professor Abigail De Kosnik will meet with us to share some of her work on new media, race, and minority discourse, and Henry Lowood, Curator for History of Science & Technology Collections and Film & Media Collections at Stanford, has agreed to host us for a visit to the new gaming collection at Stanford with an opportunity to discuss his work on Preserving Virtual Worlds.

We welcome all those interested to join us for a discussion of the proposed schedule, and participants will be encouraged to contribute their own ideas about readings, speakers, and activities, with the potential to lead sessions on subjects close to their research interests.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Big Bang and 01SJ

Join us at the Berkeley Big Bang Symposium and the San Jose ZeroOne digital arts festival. E-mail for tickets and rides...

+++San Jose ZeroOne++++
The 2nd Biennial 01SJ Global Festival of Art on the Edge is North America’s newest and largest festival of digital arts, and a great deal more. From a hip hop, multi-media meditation on Antarctica to robot art, from conversations with artificial intelligence to operatic performances of Google headlines about the environment, from avant-garde cinema to new musical forms - well over 100 artworks, performances, screenings, talks, and workshops will be featured at 01SJ. Festival organizers expect it to be a perspective-altering experience that entertains, enlightens, educates and involves attendees in a new understanding of our changing world.

++++Berkeley Big Bang 08 New Media Symposium and Art Festival++++

Join us for Berkeley Big Bang 08, three days of new media and art hosted by BAM/PFA and the Berkeley Center for New Media, timed to link with 01SJ: A Global Festival of Art on the Edge, a new media art biennial taking place June 4–8 in San Jose. Occurring together for the first time, these two events combine to create one of the nation’s
largest gatherings of new media art, a virtual “big bang” of innovation and creativity.

The Berkeley Big Bang program will include a two-day symposium on new media, art, science, and the body in partnership with Berkeley Center for New Media and Leonardo: The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology; a campus media lab demonstration and open house; and an alternate reality game. Berkeley Big Bang is presented in tandem with BAM/PFA exhibitions of work by media artists Trevor
Paglen, Jim Campbell, Lynn Hershman Leeson, and Scott Snibbe.

SFIFF new media events

Join us at the following new media events at the San Francisco International Film Festival (e-mail to arrange tickets and rides)

Generator Thu, May 1 / 1:45 / Kabuki / GENE01K and Sun, May 4 / 8:30 / Kabuki / GENE04K
The 20 short videos in this program run quickly between intensely complicated structures and achingly beautiful abstractions. These works use computers and software design as a bridge between traditional media like film and sculpture. Each of these animated works, presenting finely crafted visions and sounds, is an example of “generative art.” The term defines artistic production generated through algorithms or other computational processes. In essence, an animator, engineer, designer or group produces parameters within which particular works materialize randomly. It is as if the artist produced her own counterpart—the artist she wishes existed—and had her make the video you will watch in this program. Another unique aspect of generative work is that the media produced through specific virtual algorithms or processes can in many cases vary wildly. The algorithms that generate the videos could just as easily make sculptures, music, drawings, paintings or poems the form of the finished works. In this program, SFIFF will present single-channel video work only. The bulk of the program was assembled by Lia and Miguel Carvalhais for a Generative Art program presented at the 2006 Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria. Three other works were taken from the forthcoming DVD Advanced Beauty, assembled by Matt Pyke of Universal Everything and Freeform.

Scott Arford: Static Life Wed, May 7 / 7:15 / Kabuki / SCOT07K
Over the last decade-plus, Scott Arford has quietly been shaping the Bay Area’s new media culture, producing video and musical works, developing exhibition spaces and engineering at (among other places) Recombinant Media Labs. This program presents Arford’s artistic practice through both a retrospective and his latest multimedia performance, Still Life (almost) Another Day in Three Acts. One trope reworked throughout Arford’s artistic career is that of “static.” Arford’s incredibly soothing, ethereal pieces conjure stillness and contemplation. But Arford also visualizes the intense dance of minute structures like electrical static that appears when objects are closely examined. His works tend to oscillate between the poles of movement and stasis, and Still Life is no different in this regard. In it Arford edits and condenses a classic Italian horror film, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (directed by genre master Jorge Grau), into a super slo-mo series of stills. He transforms the violent epic into a rich visual feast, while composing a new soundtrack for it live and onstage. The zombie film is a perfect vehicle for Arford’s interests, as he kills the film and brings it back to life—the undead being both a little more still and intense.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mon 5/5: Christiane Paul on Curating New Media Art

Please join the New Media Working Group for our last official meeting of the semester, a discussion on new media curating with visiting professor Christiane Paul, Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum. At the Whitney Museum, Paul directs artport, the museum's online portal to net art. (

"Curating New Media Art" with Christiane Paul
Monday, May 5th, 2008
3117B Etcheverry Hall

We will be reading two of Paul's essays on new media curatorial practice in preparation:
Our NMWG meeting w/ Paul will be combined with a CNM201 class of mostly architecture grad students, which should make for an interesting discussion!