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Announcing our Spring 2015 Graduating Class

We are proud to announce our latest cohort of graduating BCNM Designated Emphasis and Masters Certificate students. We’ll miss their energy and their intellectual curiosity around BCNM, but wish them all the best in their new endeavors and look forward to the amazing intellectual, artistic, and technological contributions we know they will produce.

Designated Emphasis

ThumbnailNext year Naomi Bragin (Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies) will be continuing her ethnographic-historical research on black street dance as a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Riverside English department, under Professor Fred Moten’s mentorship. In Fall 2016, she will join the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences at University of Washington, Bothell as assistant professor of performance studies. This year, Naomi and BCNM Professor Ken Goldberg began collaborating through an Arts Research Center Fellowship. They are currently planning a project with first-generation street dancers from Oakland, Richmond, and San Francisco, exploring the question of Singularity in AI discourse and the 1960s California origins of robot dance. This summer Naomi will perform and present work in Florence, Italy for “Black Portraitures II: Imaging the Black Body & Restaging Histories”, and Athens, Greece for the Society of Dance History Scholars. “From Oakland Turfs to Harlem’s Shake: Viral Hood Dance and Screening Antiblackness,” a chapter about hip hop dance on YouTube, is forthcoming this year in the Oxford Handbook of Screen Dance Studies.

ThumbnailR. Stuart Geiger (School of Information) The subtitle of his website is “technically human”, and R. Stuart believes that is as good of a summation of his work as any. He both builds information technologies and studies how they change the way people experience and interact with each other and the world. Most of his research so far is on highly technologically-mediated, globally-distributed communities of knowledge production, specifically Wikipedia and ecological research networks. Like any modern city, these massive enterprises doesn’t just happen; their social structures and technical infrastructures are both crucial to their success but all-too-often ignored. R. Stuart approaches this topic from a number of disciplinary angles, integrating fields like computer science, information science, social psychology, and organization/management science with fields like philosophy, sociology, and history of science and technology. He has been published in the proceedings of CHI 2014, Information, Communication, and Society 2014, WikiSym 2013, American Behavioral Scientist 2013, and various other works.

ThumbnailAndrew Godbehere (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) is a student of the Dean of the College of Engineering, S. Shankar Sastry, and is involved in research that focuses on state estimation of uncertain dynamical systems, and the application of said theoretical techniques to efficient building energy control and to New Media. Andrew has also worked on “Are We There Yet?”, interactive audio installation which was on display between March 31, 2011 and July 31, 2011 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. The installation combined intelligent cameras and acoustics to create a reactive sound environment that encouraged visitors to reconsider the history and future of curiosity. He worked on this project from Spring 2010 – Spring 2011 as the Computer Vision System Engineer, under the guidance of Ken Goldberg. He has been published in the proceedings of the 13th ACM International Conference on Hybrid Systems in Stockholm, the 8th International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression in Genoa, and the 17th International Symposium on Heavy Ion Inertial Fusion in Tokyo.

Rama Gottfried (Music) is a composer and sound artist. Next year, he will serve as a Lecturer at UC Berkeley, teaching Max classes at CNMAT. Prior to joining us at Berkeley, he completed composition studies at the Universität der Künste Berlin, the Manhattan School of Music, New York University, and the University of Vermont. Recently he has had pieces featured at the MATA, Klangwerkstatt, Wet Ink, and Machine Project/Hammer Museum festivals, and sound installations at the Berliner Congress Center, Stadtbad-Wedding, and Pacific Basin Building. Since 2002 he has collaborated closely with New York based Ensemble Pamplemousse working in electro-acoustic music and the merging of sound, installation, and performance arts. His work Trinoc was recently published by Edition Nova Vita, Berlin. In 2012, Rama was in residence at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) working with the Acoustic and Cognitive Spaces Team on aesthetic applications of Wave Field Synthesis (WFS) and Higher Order Ambisonics (HOA). While at BCNM, Rama collaborated with Greg Niemeyer, Chris Chafe, and Perrin Meyer on PolarTide, which was featured in the Maldives pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2013. He also devised the world’s first-ever interactive carillon performances with Greg Niemeyer and Tiffany Ng, and worked with Naomi Bragin on improvisational dance/music projects that were performed at the BCNM Salon and 10th Anniversary Gala. Additionally, Rama has published about on his innovative use of spatial audio, including through an Ircam Compose in Research Report: http://ramagottfried.com/texts/Gottfried_SpatialComposition.pdf

ThumbnailBonnie Ruberg (Comparative Literature) will be joining the Interactive Media and Games Division at the University of Southern California in Fall 2015 through Spring 2017 as a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar. Bonnie will be teaching and conducting research under the guidance of game industry veterans Tracy Fullerton and Richard Lemarchand, as well as top digital media scholars like Vicky Callahan. We’re thrilled for Bonnie and so glad she’ll be keeping a presence in the Bay Area and at the Berkeley Center for New Media as a co-organizer of her and Chris Goetz’ amazing Queerness and Games Conference. She has worked as a full-time journalist, and has been published in Escapist Magazine, Forbes.com, Joystiq, Macworld, Nintendo World Report, PC World, SF Weekly, Terra Nova, the Economist, The Onion A.V. Club, Village Voice Online, and Wired.com. Bonnie is a founding member of the “Net Difference” Digital Humanities research collective, which develops software to make social media data accessible to a wide range of scholars, has designed a mobile app that combats urban street harassment, and has worked to create an interactive article investigating the use of participatory technologies in art exhibits. Congratulations, Bonnie!

Masters Certificate

Kelsey Brennan (Architecture) explores how the digital and physical can help inform each other such that human need is better met in the development of virtual and built environments. Her research interests include machine listening, interface design, augmented reality, tactical media/urbanism as well as the broader intersection between art, architecture, and technology. Kelsey’s Masters thesis “Not Exactly” deals with mistranscription: “The ‘incorrect’ translation of something into a different medium from the one in which it is originally written or, more appropriate to this context, as a mutation or a faulty copy.” She considers representation practice based not only on users’ exploitation of a tool, but also by allowing the tool to exploit the user via a designed interface. “In this case, interactions/interfaces that re-draw or re-perceive spaces in a way that explores translational voids that exist between physical architecture, digital environments and human interaction. The space that is drawn and emergent from this interaction serves as a means to explore the balance between technological determinism and human agency in representational practice.” Prior to Berkeley, Kelsey was involved in the marketing and product development at several San Francisco startups, including one of the first apps to launch on the G+ Hangouts API. For more information about her work, visit http://www.kelseybrennan.com/

Leslie Dreyer (Art Practice) is an interdisciplinary artist and organizer creating sculptural works, installations and performance/interventions from within a movement, which demand a right to the city and an end to the commodification of our public and private lives. Her latest activities embody a hybrid form of public spectacle, guerilla theatre intervention, performance art, and smart mob. These collaborative interventions have been featured in outlets such as BBC, ABC, CNN, AP, The Progressive, Huff Post, The Nation, and the SF Bay Guardian. Recently, Leslie planned and designed several actions with Heart of the City Collective to stop Google buses in their tracks and spotlight the tech boom’s impact on displacement and wealth disparity in the Bay Area. She’s also working on projects that highlight the hypocrisy of the tech industry’s “sharing economy” and “disruption” exposing its appropriation of progressive language, its for-profit surveillance and control of our data and communications. Through a combined practice as artist/activist/educator, she continues to ask: What tactics and strategies can be deployed to both reveal and destabilize neoliberal trends exacerbated by the tech boom? And how can socially engaged cultural works challenge the status quo, while resisting capitalism’s ability to fold all cultural production into its agenda? One of these powerful pieces — Reclaim Disrupt— is installed on campus at the BCNM Commons! Read more at http://www.lesliedreyer.com/

ThumbnailShaun Giudici (School of Information) is from Boston, MA where he earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Engineering. Prior to joining the Masters program at Berkeley, he worked for five years as a web developer, system administrator and technical advisor. Outside of work and school, Shaun contributes as a Role Model (tutor) at 10BooksAHome, a reading program for preschool children in East Palo Alto. He has placed 1st in the 48-hour Hackathon (Visualizing the Bitcoin Blockchain) and 2nd in a 24-hour Hackathon (Rapid Prototype Development). He participated in the development of Ladybug, a tangible user interface that encourages child development through exploration and creative thinking, and the project Justice International Online, which is an online platform for Venezuelans to meet and participate in political activity. He was also involved in developing Engineering Lab Management System (ELMS), which is a datacenter for inventory tracking, common interface for remote utilities, and equipment reservation system.




Michelle Ott (Art Practice) uses photography and drawing as her medium. Her work has been published and exhibited in the U.S., Paris, and Antarctica. Her PostCard Machine (Possibly from the Future) has been featured at art and craft fairs, fashion events, and at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts with the Institute for the Future. In her most recent studio works, she utilizes cutting as a form of drawing on the surface of photographs as a way to redirect viewers’ focus. Read more at http://michelleott.virb.com/








Pablo Paredes (Computer Science) researches new technologies to improve mental health through affective computer interventions. His thesis topic discusses Human POtential and Stress Management Technology, focusing on sensing without sensors, intervening without interventions, and mining stress meaning. He coordinates a team studying technological interventions for productivity and mental health, and collaborates with Microsoft Research and Northwestern University. Pablo’s interest in the field stems from helping a family member who suffers from a debilitating mental disorder. Upon witnessing the role technology can play in democratizing and spreading effective and simple mental health treatments, Pablo traded in a successful business career to study technology and mental health at UC Berkeley. Before joining Berkeley, Pablo led wireless market broadband developments in South America at Intel, served as a Fulbright Scholar at Georgia Tech, built his own nationally recognized business in Ecuador, and developed a well-regarded music career! For more information on Pablo Paredes, visit https://bid.berkeley.edu/pabloparedes/

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