BCNM Around the Web June 2020

17 Jun, 2020

BCNM Around the Web June 2020

Here's the recap of what our amazing BCNM community has been up to from the web this past month!

BCNM Director Abigail De Kosnik's book, The Survival of Soap Opera, was mentioned in People Magazine and Soap Hub features about serialized storytelling.

Becca Gitlitz, executive producer of the documentary "The Story of Soaps," names De Kosnik as the main person who put soaps into context for the team. She told Soap Hub that the book was "phenomenal." Read more about Gitlitz's two-hour ABC special here.

De Kosnik also offered her commentary on why General Hospital included a rape storyline between the main characters.

From the People article:

"Gloria Monte, the executive producer of General Hospital, essentially was told she had two weeks to save the show and ABC was going to cancel it if she couldn’t bring ratings up in that time," says De Kosnik. "In Luke and Laura, she saw potential there to maybe make things happen that shouldn’t happen, and that was electric."

"Then the question became, 'Why did Luke do that?'" she adds. "And the answer the show’s writers gave was that Luke did it for love. They became popular not despite the rape, but partly because of it."

Professor Ken Goldberg has been involved in a variety of engagements this past month.

As part of the ongoing conversations surrounding COVID-19, he participated in an online symposium about robot-assisted tele-surgery and will speak at a broader pandemic-themed panel for Robotics Science and Systems 2020. See the online symposium description here and RSS workshop agenda here.

Additionally, Goldberg's art project AlphaGarden was mentioned in an Arte Fuse interview with curator Christiane Paul (former ATC speaker). It is one of the many art pieces included in her newest exhibition.

From the interview:

TX: Both Tega Brain’s Deep Swamp and Ken Goldberg team’s AlphaGarden have explored the possibilities of guiding if not intervening in the development of natural environments with AI. Are any of these techniques used in agricultural or ecological practice, or are they more of a utopian vision?


CP: AlphaGarden explores the potentials and limitations of artificial intelligence in the context of 21st-century ecology, diversity, and sustainability by making deep AI policies learn from simulation and human demonstrations in order to control a three-axis robot that tends a garden that is a polyculture environment including invasive species.

View the entire feature here.

The Washington Post asked artists, photographers and students to depict "the aspects of life they will love again after the pandemic is over." Associate Professor Richard Koci Hernandez submitted a graphic with the text: "When this is over ... into the light we will live again."

You can look at the gallery of submissions here.

Associate Professor Alex Saum-Pascual and her team launched Viral: Imagina, an online art performance and workshop series dedicated to electronic digital literature. It is broadcast live and weekly, and is open to the public for free. The only catch is that in order to attend a workshop, participants must also give one on the topic they like most.

Visit the official website (Spanish-language) to learn more about how to contribute.

Video games and the climate crisis may seem like disparate spheres, but the carbon footprint from the electricity and hardware these games use is undeniable. The Verge asks alum Alenda Chang to weigh in on the ethical implications of environmental sustanbility in video game development.

From the article:

Regardless of its long-term effects, Playing For The Planet is symptomatic of an industry that increasingly views environmental responsibility as an asset...

"It’s great that they’re getting producer and manufacturer buy-in because oftentimes a lot of the environmental rhetoric is focused on the individual level,” says Alenda Y. Chang, professor of film and media studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of Playing Nature: Ecology in Video Games. “But there’s no questioning of having to replace your PlayStation every few years.”

Read the full investigation here.

Alum Jane McGonigal's philosophy of gamifying life was mentioned in a number of pieces across the internet. One CEO told Fast Company readers to pick up her book, SuperBetter, as a way to "[get] through times of crisis with a gamer's mindset." A Medium article also referenced her famous 2012 Ted Talk where McGonigal came up with a game to overcome her concussion.

Furthermore, McGonigal had speaking arrangements at IBM's Think Digital 2020, according to DQ India — which deliberated on accelerating recovery and transformation. See the list of speakers here. She was also slated to speak at New America's "Gaming Now More Than Ever," but the event was cancelled and has plans to be rescheduled at a later date. Keep updated on the lecture here.

Artworks created by alum Trevor Paglen are receiving high praise from publications.

Artsy points out great works from contemporary landscape photographers. Categorizing Paglen's pieces as "landscapes of conflict," it goes on to say that:

"American artist, Trevor Paglen, too, balances unease and beauty. Paglen creates painterly compositions that look like star trails, gradient skies, and hilltop retreats, but in reality, they’re black sites, offshore prisons, drones, and satellites shot with astro-telescopic lenses. Has government surveillance ever looked so ethereal?"

Check out other contemporary artists in Paglen's field here.

Frieze highlights the DeYoung Museums's "Uncanny Valley" exhibition, the Bay Area’s first curated gallery that critiques how artists are battling with the technologies that emerge from the very region. In particular, Paglen's latest work is featured: "a wall montage of lustrous silver-gelatin portrait photographs" titled They Took the Faces from the Accused and the Dead … (SD18) (2020). He compiled mug shots from the American National Standards Institute database. Learn about more of the works in the DeYoung exhibition here.