Life as a new media student

Net Art

After viewing many different examples of Net Art (webart, web-art, internet beautification etc etc.) in David’s class on Friday Sept 26th we were asked to find our own examples of Net Art and share it through our blog. I personally have a vast number of resources that I check on a daily basis linking me to all types of art…well because I’m an art student and clearly love art. Through my explorations and Internet savvy I have found a wonderful example of Net Art to share with David and the rest of MPM32.

News Map is an application created to visually represent the Google News roll. Ironically it also highlights the bias in today’s news media, top stories are show in a bigger box then others, these headlining stories can at times be seen as ‘superfical’ news. This application appealed to me because it is much easier to read and sort through, probably as I am a visual learner, than Google News. The navigation is also much easier to control, allowing its user to categorize by different countries and type of news (business, sports, entertainment etc). News Map allows its user to view news from different countries at the same, displaying the diversities in important news and also once again the medium’s biases.  The older the news the darker the box it will appear in, without reading you can automatically know that a story headlined over an hour ago. You can also look through archived stories in the past week by navigating through a simple calendar in the application window. News Map relates to the examples shown in David’s class because it is a visual representation of information, News corporation networks and correlations between countries and news stories. It is an aesthetically pleasing application, much like the examples shown, and although it contains a lot of text the navigation still remains effortless. News Map is a great example of the usability of Net Art and that art can convey a clear and simple message while still providing information.

Credits and resources for News Map can be found in ‘About’ on the top left-hand corner of the application.


Here we go again…

Three year! Yippee?? I’m not even going to lie, I’m excited for the beginning of a new school year but at the same time I always expect the worst. Pessimistic…maybe. I guess it really didn’t help that for Steve’s production class he announced out first project. A pass/fail “Breaking Down Barriers” assignment. To be quite honest, with this assignment I was worried over the fact that I was not worried about the absolute serious of this assignment…did that make sense to you? I won’t delete that last sentence, I’ll read over this post in a few months and laugh at myself  – I can name one thing I don’t take seriously, me. With that in mind I might as well go into detail about this pass/fail project.

This is what Steve has asked of the class “Using ANY media, create something that can be transformed by its user”. At first I was afraid of this assignment, but as soon as I sat myself down to brainstorm my genius idea came to me. CUPCAKES, yes that right I was going to be making cupcakes for my third year new media Ryerson University production class. Kick-ass right? At least I hoped Steve thought so. There were a few moments during the week I tried to talk myself out of baking cupcakes but I didn’t feel like anything else I make/bake etc would have the same impact on the class that bringing two dozen cupcakes with icing and sprinkles would. This was also a representation of myself as a care-free, anything goes, people loving person who wanted to see everyone else in the class express themselves by decorating a cupcake. I must say, watching my peers in class decorate cupcakes brought out my inner Peter Pan and hopefully others felt the same way I did. I think I passed the assignment…right? Steve…did I pass??

Click here to see some pictures of the baking process

Now that I’m done with my first project of the class…should I start on the last project?…oh dear *freak out*

Last week already?!

This weekend I worked on my Object as Interface assignment for Theories of Representation. I was expecting its completion to take much longer then it actually did, only about a full day of sitting in front of my computer and I finished it! I chose to take a motorcycle helmet, analyze it and transform it into a new media interface. I thought of using a motorcycle helmet as my object because I’m re-creating two motorcycle helmets in Norm’s class for my final project. For this project I wanted to create something in the realm of new media similar to my Physical Computing project, but that also had some usability. Therefore I thought to integrate a GPS (global positioning system) into the visor of the motorcycle helmet. I needed to research the history of motorcycle helmets for this project, and I must say I’m very disappointed with the lack of helmet history available on the internet, aside from a fifty dollar book on which I would not waste my money buying. I used what I could find though and made it work.
This week I’ve also begun catching up on my readings for Theories of Representation and New Media History, the exams are coming up quickly and I better be prepared. I also have Brian and Robert’s projects to work on, and honestly I’m still blanking on any ideas. I guess a whole year of creativity will do that to you, I’m completely drained. Ahhhhh! So much work to be done and so little time. I just remember I have one more project due for Visual Studies and I need to talk to Pierre this week about my ideas. The project is beauty in art, so basically what I find beautiful and make a piece out of whatever medium I want. No ideas on that yet though…Maybe a beautiful watercolour?

My group is meeting with Norm this week to discuss the Daft Punk helmets. Work on those have slowed to a crawl and we really need to get those done, thats my main priority right now. Tonight though I need to finish a mind map that goes along with my Object as Interface assignment, we did mind maps last year in Concepts and Theories with Ed Slopek so this should be a piece of cake to get done. Its been years since I’ve maintained a blog and I must say keeping this one really rekindled my love of blogging. I think I might even continue this next year too, its good to write down ideas but also this blog helped me keep on top of my school work. Reminding me weekly what things I needed to get done.

In the famous words of Jim Morrison “this is the end.”

Week number…??

So close to the end of the semester and even more projects to finish!! How will I survive? Only two weeks until the end…deep breathes and calm blue oceans.

This week my group for the Collaborative Story Explosion completed the daunting task, I though it was never going to end! From my interviews we chose Erin V’s story of being deaf in one ear, but made the character completely deaf. From Erin’s interviews we chose the one she did with Jessica, which helped us greatly because jess was in our group and could really help us with the narrative. Finally from Jessica’s interviews we chose the one she did with her boyfriend on the topic of a man he knew when he was in the army. We then proceed to pick which elements and setting from the interviews we wanted to use in our story explosion. We made our final decision to base the story on a train in China, Jessica was a great help with this because she knew all the technicalities and had first hand experience. The two characters are a couple, Wallace who was in the army and has some crazy ideas, and Sarah who is deaf but can read lips. It took a couple hours to map out our plan, we made an algorithm to help us sort everything out. The hardest part was organizing the writing so it wouldn’t be extremely difficult to put online and have a good flow to it. Heres how the story begins:

“It was a damp and cold morning in Guangzhou, China, and the train station was packed. It was by all means an ordinary day and furthermore ordinary business for a Chinese train station, but one element—or perhaps two—stuck out like a sore thumb. Amidst the bobbing sea of black-hair crowding around the train, two blond heads—pitched noticeably higher than the rest—were weaving and pushing their way through the crowd to get to their platform.

Sara and Wallace were your typical foreign couple living abroad in Asia – Sara had recently finished her degree and was feeling some wanderlust, and had found it easy enough to persuade her long-time boyfriend that he should leave the militia and come teach English with her in the “exotic far east”. They were both blond, blue-eyed, and consequently figures of extreme interest as they’d journeyed through mainland China together in the last year.

Now, climbing aboard a train bound for an airport in Shanghai, they prepared themselves for the strange and unique experience known as: A Chinese Sleeper Train.”

Also I found out this week that my After Affects animation for Visual Studies was chosen to be featured in CineFranco. I was shocked to say the least because I really didn’t think my project was really that good. But, hurrah!

I finished my third project for Flash Programming. It was a game in which you move your character around the space and avoid other characters which make you lose points and find characters that will give you more points. I changed the design of Brian’s original game to a sort of Space Invaders style game. This was a tricky project but in the end I was extremely happy with what I accomplished, I should really stop doubting my abilities!

Best/Worst of Web Design

This weeks project for Ira’s class is finding the best and worst examples of web design. Here are mine.


This is website for an independent filmmaker or I guess you could say “video artist”. I found it quite a while ago during my late night internet surfing. I think there was an actual intent to make the site absolutely hideous, because the video art this guy makes are not only crazy but look as though they were produced in the early 90’s which is not actually the case here. I think this is a great example of bad web design for many reasons. The first of which, and probably the most important being there is no layout to the site. The front page is static with ugly serif and sans serif default fonts, all underlinded with a random mix of capitalization and a horrible looping of audio.  The colours are puke-tacular, black background with bright lettering makes my eyes bleed.  The website has no flow, you click a link and get lost in a maze of different links going to random pages with no clear path, the only way to get back to the homepage is the back button in your browser.  After entering the site the horrid gifs and random noise is enough to give anyone a migraine. Therefore : WORST!!!


I stumble upon this website quite recently and immediately thought it could be categorized as the best in web design. The simplicity of the site is what really gets me. It loads quickly, isn’t overwhelming and gets its message out in a clear manner.  It only uses one MAYBE two beautiful sans-serif type through out the web site and flows easily with a green colour scheme. The menu is easy to follow and well organized. Really there isn’t much to say about this website other then it kicks ass. A beautiful example of 21st century web design, and seriously the “don’t click” concept is awesome. I found myself trying to click a couple times to navigate through the site.

Interactivity without computers

So I went ahead with my original idea of creating a shoebox maze for my interactivity without computers project.

For this project I used:

  • A shoebox to hold the maze
  • Newpaper (for beautification)
  • A cereal box for the maze walls
  • A ball of green painting tape for…the ball.

It turned out exactly how I intended it to. It’s a fairly simple maze due to the fact its hard to get anything complicated to fit inside of a shoebox. The maze really won’t be hard for anyone to figure out, but there are decisions to be made when playing it (ie which way to take in the maze to make it to the end).


The box!

  The inside!

Moving right along…

If you didn’t know this is a process blog for my new media production class with Ira Nayman. It will be a summary of the school work I have done every week, and essentially be an exploration of my creative processes. Before typing up all the work I have done in the prior weeks I guess this is the best time to talk about what I have going on this week.

For Ira’s class this week’s project is interactivity WITHOUT COMPUTERS, scary huh? I thought so. At this point I really have no idea what I’m going to do for it. There is only one simple requirement for the project, other then not using a computer, that is to provide the user with at least three choices/things to do. Okay, I lied I have something in mind that might actually fulfill the requirements, making a maze!! Mazes are cool, right? Heres my basic idea: get a shoe box, build a maze inside of it, and get a small ball. The user of the piece will have to navigate the ball through the maze by tilting the box and also make numerous choices in which direction to move in. Does that work? I hope it does, for some reason it sounds too simple to me. But lets be serious here interactivity without computers is going to be simple, k?!

Peace out for now, pictures will follow soon.

Life after reading week

    Reading week is unfortunately over and that means its time to get working again.  Around this time the stress really starts to hit me as I’m nearing the end of the school year. So many projects to finish and so little time, and I need to find a summer job soon!! Oh dear…

For Brian Lesser’s production class I have just finished my Flash Programming second assignment. As I predicted it was a much harder task then the first assignment. In class he gave us another tutorial on how to complete the assignment, but left some parts of the actionscript blank that we had to fill in ourselves from what we had learned in class. With the help of my peers I completed the assignment, which was a number game. The user is to pick a number between one and nine then drag the number into a bucket, the game would then tell the user if the number was correct or if they should guess higher or lower.  I think this class is really helpful, and I know the knowledge I will gain in it will help me post-graduation.

I have also completed my After Affects short for Visual Studies. I stuck with my original idea of animating a gnome in a whimsical manner. I didn’t really find any problem with the project as I feel I have a good understanding of how to work in AA, the work was really tedious though but that is common to animation projects. I also stuck in a song from the Amelie soundtrack, Yann Teirsen – La Valse Vieux Os, I thought it really fit with the theme of my project. Pierre also told us that a couple of the projects might have the chance to be featured in the actual festival, it would be wonderful if mine got picked but I think others in the class are at a higher skill level then me so I really doubt that it would.

In Norman’s production class my group, Erin Kjaer, Jessica Gurd and myself, have finally decided on what to do for our final project. We’re going with the original idea to re-create the Daft Punk helmets. Obviously we are amateurs in this type of work so they probably won’t end up being exact replicas, but more so something along the same lines as the Daft Punk helmets. One of the helmets will be silver and will feature an LED scrolling screen across the front (where a visor would normally go) that could be programmed to show different words. The other helmet will be gold and will have colourful LEDS running up the left and right sides, these LEDS will hopefully be programmed to ‘jump’ to the beat of music or at least seem like they move to the beat of music.

Until next week….

Reading Week

I am  currently house-sitting for my parents while they are in Mexico.

Short Story!

Right now I’m working on my short story for Ira’s class. I did end up going with Shannon’s interview to base my story on, it was the only interview I could actually see being turned into a short story. There is only a little bit of conflict on the story she told me, so I think I’m going to exaggerate it in my re-telling. Right now I only have the first paragraph done, but I think the project is coming along swimmingly. The only thing I’m worried about doing is the story explosion, it seems like its going to take a lot of work and I might possible have to re-write my story to make it an explosion. Here is the first little bit I have done so far with Shannon’s story:

“It was a beautiful summer afternoon, the best kind for a road trip. It was hot outside, no doubt about that, but not hot enough to have the air conditioning on. The perfect kind of hot where most of the car windows are down and the July air is running through my long blonde hair. I was particularly nervous this afternoon as I was in the car with my boyfriend, Alex, and his parents. We were on our way to Peterborough to stay at his aunt’s house. As fifteen year olds we had been dating for quite a while, two years so far, and I was finally getting closer with his family. I prayed to God during the two-hour trip to please let this weekend go smoothly. I’m not one to care much about what other people think of me, but when it comes to my boyfriend and his family I wanted to make a positive and lasting impression. Even though I was young, I knew Alex was the one and we were in it for the long haul. I knew any family related disasters at this point would haunt me for the rest of my life.”

Bob’s production class I’ve complete the second assignments. for Bob’s side of the course all i had to do was re-make my avatar to be more personally suited to me. I created a 16 image loop of the animation I made the first time around but left out the check boxes. I also added a colourful background to the looped animation, any time someone calls my cellphone this avatar will play on their phone. As suggested I look at and took some inspiration from the pieces this artists creates. I think I successfully created a good visual representation of my personality with this project. 

Next week….Reading Week!!!