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New Media Research Fellowship

New Media Research Fellowship

Applications for Summer 2021 are due March 17, 2021

The Berkeley Center for New Media offers a variety of fellowships for its doctoral and certificate students. The Summer Research fellowship is awarded annually to five candidates.

Summer Research Fellowship

Applications for Summer 2021 are now open! To apply, fill in this online form only by Tuesday, March 16, 2021.

This year projects that focus on women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Global South, ability diverse, and socioeconomically disadvantaged peoples as makers and users of new media will be prioritized. If relevant, please explain how your project foregrounds one or more of these communities.

Interested in other BCNM resources? Check out all the graduate opportunities here!

2020

View the recipients here.

Haripriya Sathyanarayanan

Priya is a third year PhD student in Architecture (Building Science & Sustainability) whose research focus is on Patient-Centric Design and Spatial Perception. Healthcare experiences of a patient are largely driven by clinical outcomes, their interactions with healthcare providers, and their perceptions of care. An emerging trend in healthcare design and delivery is the new way of listening to all stakeholders in a healthcare system including clinicians and patients, also known as ‘human centered design’. The research adopts a mixed methods approach using immersive technology for collaborative design of patient spaces in a paediatric setting for enhanced patient experience. The research builds on the significant role of the built environment on patient/staff experience, stress and healing process, and the need for user engagement in the process of co-creating solutions through an evidence-based design approach. This summer Priya will continue qualitative studies with key stakeholders in healthcare settings such as patients and family, professionals from healthcare design and research, while also preparing for a pilot study in a non-healthcare setting to test VR prototypes she has been developing for field studies in the future.

Chris Chan

Positioned as both a former urban designer and a participant observer, Chris' project aims to explore from within the design process a series of artistic urban interventions to the transformations of a contemporary urban space. This summer fieldwork research will examine technology and the city through a series of transnational artistic interventions between designers and publics in China and around the world. The research will utilize key methodologies including participant observation and ethnographic interviews, as well as experimental videography and transnational curatorial collaboration and will take place through a period of approximately two months within a multi-sited collaboration between partnering testbeds in China (Chongqing and Chengdu), as well as other collaborating cities including Hong Kong and Taipei. The study will lay the ground work for a curation in progress for urban artistic expression in collaboration with local artists and the creation of new publics between two coronavirus-battered and spatially precarious locales across the globe in a union of digital art and expression.

Nicholaus Gutierrez

This summer, Nick Gutierrez will be studying the papers held in the Morton Heilig collection of the Hugh Hefner Moving Image Archive. Heilig was an inventor best known for creating an analog simulator machine called Sensorama, a coin-operated arcade cabinet that used stereoscopic film, vibration, stereo sound, chemical scents and a wind generator to create an immersive “multisensory” experience for its users. His work has taken on a second life as several prominent Virtual Reality (VR) researchers, beginning in 1980s and carrying through to the early ‘90s, became aware of his work and considered it a precursor to their own. Consequently, for the last thirty years, Heilig’s work has been consistently valorized by many in the VR research community as the direct precursor to VR, with Heilig himself treated as VR’s untimely prophet both by VR researchers and in popular accounts of VR history.

Nick’s aim in viewing Heilig’s papers is to trace any possible connections between his personal philosophy and prevalent postwar social theories that were influenced by Norbert Wiener’s cybernetics and Claude Shannon’s information theory. Nick’s argument is that the narrative of Heilig as VR’s prophetic figure is more myth than truth; a close examination of the technologies he invented shows that they were neither as novel, nor as relatable to VR, as it would seem. But his true significance to VR lies precisely in how that myth was constructed, because it serves as an illuminating example of how the VR community constructed its own mythology.

Tina Piracci

As a Master of Science in Architecture student focusing on technology and sustainability, Tina Piracci’s research is centralized around natural paste deposition 3D printing and how programming creative tool paths can yield specific desired results. In Summer 2020, she plans to 3D print a series of terracotta water filter vessels which are based off analytical research gathered at the Berkeley National Laboratory, of which she is a research affiliate. The data collected during Spring 2020 will inform the infill geometry of the proposed water filter study. This project is now a research collaboration with Potters for Peace, an organization which has provided millions of terracotta water filters to those in need and has over 50 factories run by locals all over the globe. The hopes of this collaboration is to create a more efficient design as their current design is ram-pressed and leads to design complications and inefficiencies.

At the end of the summer, Tina will have a series of terracotta vessels that function as prototypes for these water filters as well as art objects. For NCECA 2021, Tina plans to build on her proposal from this year and exhibit a totem of these water filters stacked up (tall and switching direction) at the Potters for Peace gallery in Cincinnati along with an array of infill samples, results of various patterns and verbiage on the creation process. If this study continues to go well, the director of Potters for Peace has shown interest in collaborating by placing 3D printers in current Potters for Peace facilities around the globe. The printers cost less than the ram press, and would be able to produce more efficient and plentiful filters. Each location to receive a printer would also receive training on how to produce the object, however it will be drastically less complicated for one with little experience to 3D print these objects because the files will be pre-designed and print-ready.

Kevin CK Lo

Kevin CK Lo will be reapplying LiDAR technology for artistic use. Building on Richard Mosse’s use of military grade technology in his exhibit at SFMOMA, Kevin will be repurposing this high-grade technology for an upcoming performance/exhibition. An upcoming multimedia solo show for DROUGHT SPA (with alex cruse) will use LiDAR to activate a sound-based work, able to be modulated by audience movement through the gallery space.

For Kevin’s live multimedia performances, combining spatialized audio, projections, movement, and text, sensor technologies have always been an integral component. In detourning LiDAR technologies and bringing them from industrial contexts to the highly embodied realm of performance, Kevin hopes to demonstrate new artistic possibilities and facilitate critical conversations around the contexts that these technologies typically inhabit. LiDAR’s ubiquity in automation, surveillance, industry and global supply chains have particular resonance as they are all frequent subjects of his practice.

Emily Gui

Emily Gui will collaborate with new media artist Jess Medenbach. Jess is an acclaimed video and media designer, filmmaker, editor and producer. She has worked on projects ranging from documentary, music video and video installation to media for live events, theater, and opera. An expert in Virtual and Augmented Reality technology, Jess has created many VR experiences and installations, focusing on the tension between isolation, togetherness, aura and documentation. As a sculptor and printmaker invested in materiality, process, objects and space, Emily
is fascinated with Jess’ usage of new media technology to explore the depths of human emotions embedded in space.

Emily plans to collaborate with Jess on a project exploring architecture and objects in relation to global warming and memory. This project will draw from their shared interests in infrastructure bringing us to unusual sites. As a part of this work, they will research the history of these spaces and then plan to experiment with projection and phone based technologies to create interactive and embodied installations. They will also use photogrammetry and VR to expand and enrich Emily’s existing sculptures and found, discarded objects. Emily is currently working on a series of sculptures that utilize digital printmaking in conjunction with projection and sculptural screens.

Through intensive exploration, Emily looks forward to returning to UC Berkeley in the fall with a new body of work, research and skills.

2019

View the recipients here.

Brian Bartz

Brian Bartz seeks to interrogate object-recognition computer vision algorithms that proliferate in our daily lives both for commercial and militaristic/security purposes. He is interested in approaching the subjectivity of this technology in a way that gets beyond questions of data bias, instead asking: what are the deeper ontological beliefs embedded into computationally systematizing vision, and how might we identify them? In order to do so, he is interested in breaking down the mechanisms on which they operate, examining what are essentially processes only legible to machines in a way that would improve human literacy around this technology. In order to develop an art about machine algorithms that is relatable, Brian will intern with BCNM alum Trevor Paglen’s studio this summer, where he will work on a forthcoming iteration of his Sight Machine performance with the Kronos Quartet, a work which deals with precisely these topics.

KC Forcier

This summer, KC's research will examine the technological loop in moving image culture to map shifting notions of temporality in the digital age. A central concept in computer programming languages, the loop is essential to algorithmic culture, arising across multiple platforms and mediums, from the animated GIF and cell phone formats such as Instagram’s Boomerang effect and the now-defunct Vine video, to motion graphics in computer games and film. Her work will center on an analysis of three contemporary artists producing looping moving images in a variety of digital formats. These works – in installation, video art, animated GIFs and computer games – engage with the indefinite temporality of the network and its relation to the iterative logic of computer code. I will consider how these works articulate co-existing attitudes towards the indeterminacy of networked temporality: on the one hand anxiety about the pressures of the “always on,” “24/7” temporality of the network, and on the other a curiosity about a contemplative and expansive visual culture based on code.

Tory Jeffay

Tory Jeffay is a second year PhD student in Film & Media whose research centers on questions of evidence across film and law. This summer she’ll be attending two summer seminars, the Surveillance Studies Summer Seminar at Queen’s University and the Princeton-Weimar Media Studies Summer Seminar in Weimar, Germany. There, she will be presenting a paper that explores how that the beeping sound emitted by body cameras operates as a locus where different tensions in the act of mediated witnessing intersect. While the beep is described as a prompt to remind the officer that the camera is recording, patents reveal it to be a tool to facilitate increasing automation, delegating the moral weight of bearing witness to algorithmic operation. She’ll also be undertaking archival research at the archives of the New York City Police Department Photo Unit housed in the New York City Municipal Archives, researching early uses of photography in policing. Current new media practices of surveillance have roots reaching back to the origins of photography. By uncovering the practices from which these technologies emerge, she hopes to better understand our enduring fascination with visual evidence.

Juliana Friend

This summer Juliana will conduct follow-up dissertation fieldwork in Dakar, Senegal, exploring the ethics, politics, and material cultures of sexually explicit images. In historically persistent yet contingent ways, the Wolof ethics of sutura (glossed as privacy, modesty, or discretion), have predicated one’s honor and, co-constitutively, legible gender identity on proper management of public/private boundaries (Mills 2011). When the Senegalese press widely reported a cybersecurity team’s search for the founder of the first porn website advertising content “made in Senegal,” this brought the question of sutura and digital media to the forefront of debate. Through a working concept of “virtuous vulgarity,” she will explore two sites within erotic economies where images considered to violate sutura - and thus undermine normatively gendered honor – bolster practices of ethical self-making. Her dissertation explores how subjects differently positioned in relation to gendered norms of sutura renegotiate relationship to and definitions of sex, digital media, and privacy when faced with unexpected “leaks” or ambiguities in projected boundaries between concealment and revelation, virtue and sin. This research responds to the need for porn studies research outside Euro-American contexts. It also responds to the need for “on the ground” porn studies research. However this requires expanding and interrogating the ethnographic “ground” on which porn can be apprehended. Furthermore, by reading new media practices through gendered legacies of sutura, I look to African ethical concepts for theorizations of digital circulation, in order to analyze practices and understandings of exposure that exceed established analytics of “publics” and “publicity.”

Rebecca Levitan

Rebecca will be embarking on a systematic study of preserved polychromy (ancient paint, usually invisible to the naked eye) on fragments of architectural sculpture of the 5th century in the Athenian Agora using XRF and UV fluorescence photography. This initiative will be conducted as part of the larger research project on the High Relief Frieze from the Temple of Ares by Andrew Stewart. The Agora staff and Rebecca will begin a large-scale search for preserved color amidst the storerooms of the Agora and identify those pieces that would require further analysis. As of June 2018, the director of the Agora excavations has also granted her permission to study about a dozen examples of figural graffiti, including depictions of mythological figures, portraits, and sculpture. Because this material does not fit neatly within the categories of scholarship present in the Agora Volumes (the graffiti are neither epigraphical/letterform nor are they statues themselves), this group of objects has never been subject to systematic study. However, recent studies of representational graffiti at other sites in the Roman world has been valuable in understanding later interpretations of classical monuments and changing use practices of public spaces.

2018

View the recipients here.

2017

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2016

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2015

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2014

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Technology Services and Training Fellowship

Over the past year the Berkeley Center for New Media has discovered that its graduate students are struggling to fund both the training and technology services they need to complete their research projects. This year, thanks to the craigslist Chair endowment, we were able to support five graduates with awards of $1,000 to help defray these costs. Congratulations! We’re excited to hear how their experiences advance their research goals.

Bonnie Ruberg

Bonnie Ruberg is using her award to help fund her attendance at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, where she will think critically about technological tools by training in coding and web development. At the 2014 meeting of the Modern Language Association, she found that the country’s top literary scholars were hungry for work that leveraged digital analysis. She hopes that her participation in DHSI will allow her to become a leading voice in these new methods through her various academic projects. Bonnie’s interdisciplinary dissertation, “Pixel Whipped: Pain, Pleasure, and Media,” bridges her background in the Arts & Humanities with her interest in media. She is an executive organizer of the Queerness and Games conference, a cross-industry event that explores LGBTQ issues and video games, and is a participant in the Net Difference Digital Humanities research collective that will author a volume entitled #Identity: Race, Gender, and Sexuality on Twitter.

Félix Treviño

Félix Treviño explores the manifestations of bodies and violence in literature. Part of his research project deals with the way literature uses New Media not just as a channel to build a narrative, but also as a medium to establish a critical discourse on how technology imposes specific behaviors on the “reader” and her formulation of what she understands as reality. As part of Félix’s journey to better understand the relationship between technology and literature, he will participate in the Digital Humanities Summer Institute and will enroll in courses that will assist him in textual analysis of electronic literature.

Lark Buckingham

Lark Buckingham is the creator of Babump, a device posing as a business card holder that monitors heart rates. monitor that poses as a business card holder. Babump picks up signals from compatible heart monitors so that employers can track employee cardiovascular data in real time. It applies unique algorithms derived from big data to help employers gauge employee health and mood during meetings, with the aim of keeping employees focused on meeting their personal goals. Wellness plans that integrate wearable devices that communicate with Babump show marked gains in employee health and engagement, lower health insurance costs, and higher return on investment. Lark plans to use these funds to continue her training in coding to improve the Babump experience.

Naomi Bragin

Naomi Bragin argues that hip-hop dance is an essential yet understudied technological medium that has supported collective protest strategies of black folk. Despite the popular belief that hip-hop dance is “non-technical,” technology continues to inspire the production, transmission and reception of these styles. Hip-hop dance revalues body-based ways of knowing, by transmitting sonic-kinetic speech-acts that require bodily participation. My project’s significance lies in the politics and ethics of participating in hip-hop culture, in a current context that continues to overlook and deny the lives of black people. Naomi will use the award to support the completion of her performance-ethnographic research and creation of a secure and accessible digital media archive of her project.

Rama Gottfried

Rama Gottfried’s research explores musical composition as a transdisciplinary practice overlapping with spatial concerns in dance, theater, video, installation art, and stage design practices. As a context for this study, he is developing tools and techniques for fusing the perception of sound and spatial character across a variety of media. The results of the research will be a greater knowledge and experience in real-world transdisciplinary art practices, and in tangible form , a new work for performers, live video, and multichannels speakers system to be performed at the SF Exploratorium and possibly other venues.

Data Literacy Fellowship

This is a historical award, last given in 2014. Please see here.