Announcing Our Summer 2023 Research Award Recipients

23 Mar, 2023

Announcing Our Summer 2023 Research Award Recipients

We are thrilled to share our 2023 Summer Research Fellows from Architecture, Art Practice, Design, Education, Film & Media, Geography, and Theater, Dance and Performance Studies! Read more about their projects below!

Elnaz Bailey

Unprecedented times such as the COVID-19 pandemic increased the demand for remote collaboration, altering the way we practice architectural design. With the increased prevalence of remote collaboration technology comes an opportunity to include the community in the design process. This growth in the remote design collaboration technology space for architecture combined with the perennial problem of exclusion of community voices was the motivation behind the design of Elnaz's PhD research project, InsightXR. InsightXR is a platform that allows remote participation of users while exploring novel uses of interactive genetic algorithms (IGAs) to modify 3D designs. InsightXR enables expert and non-expert users to visualize 3D designs and guide the optimization process using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology. InsightXR is focused on early stage architectural design, and specifically focuses on early stage massing for 3D design optimizations. Users’ feedback in this process is collected using two methods: direct feedback as markups on the 3D model and the user’s eye tracking data which can be visualized as attention maps on 3D geometries. In Elnaz's proposed workflow, a designer’s initial parametric designs are used as seeds in the first genetic population presented to the users. At each generation, users are presented with the 3 most distinct massing options based on shape similarity by calculating mesh similarities, and are asked to provide markups and a qualitative fitness value to be used in the IGA. In the end, the designer will have access to a database of best option results, guided by interactive feedback from users with different expertise, backgrounds and expectations. This research tries to answer the question: how can we propose a new method for interactive architectural design optimization in AR and VR where users’ feedback are included to improve the design optimization process in remote conditions?

Weiying Li

Weiying Li is designing an online science inquiry curriculum for a rural middle school in China, focusing on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), in partnership with local rural community leaders, local TCM doctors, and science teachers in rural Wuhan, China. TCM has its own cultural characteristics such as the balance of Yin and Yang (a human body ecosystem) and strengthening the body resistance to epidemic diseases. TCM also has significant contributions to science and medicine. But in Chinese school science classrooms where western science dominate (Medin & Bang, 2014), science education is seldom recognized as a set of cultural practices, there's a huge gap between everyday practices and what takes place in school. The gap is due to the tensions of epistemology of TCM and western science and the epistemological orientations of science education in China. School science has traditionally been socially and culturally constructed as inequitable and oppressive, especially for minority groups. The needs of rural students and the rich natural and cultural resources of rural contexts are often neglected. By using an online platform, in partnership with the local community leaders, TCM doctors, and teachers, Weiying aims to develop a TCM related science online inquiry curriculum for rural middle school students.

Haripriya Sathyanarayanan

Haripriya is working on her dissertation project titled, "Immersive Virtual Environments and Patient-Centered Design in the Pediatric Healthcare Built Environment."

About 1.3 million children and adolescents are hospitalized yearly in the US and the design of supportive healthcare environments is critical for better health outcomes. This summer, Priya will focus on the data analysis from two ongoing experimental design studies at the XRLab on immersive virtual environments and patient-centered design in the pediatric healthcare built environment. The studies use immersive virtual technology to assess patient room design, gathering data on the physiological and emotional responses of hospitalized children and their parents to spatial and environmental design. The mixed-methods study will involve a population of hospitalized children aged 8-17, with clusters of subjects experiencing different patient room designs through virtual reality.

The expected outcomes of the study include deeper knowledge on the preferences and perspectives of hospitalized children and their parents on design, as well as the impact of spatial design on patient experience and health outcomes. The research aims to fill critical gaps in understanding the emotional responses of hospitalized children and their parents to design through objective measurements and harnessing children's potential to serve as agents of architectural knowledge. The research aims to empower patients, including those from underrepresented communities, to have a voice in the design process and improve health and well-being outcomes for all individuals and communities.

Sophia Perez

In February of 2023, Sophia Perez received notice from Pacific Islanders in Communication (a PBS-affiliate) that her documentary was chosen for a $25,000 grant to support the creation of a short film on the impact on the Marianas Islands of colonialism through the US Departemnt of Defense's military installations and the tourism industry. As a graduate student pursuing a PhD in Geography with an emphasis in New Media, Sophia's research encompasses not only the topic of this film, but the process of indigenous filmmaking itself. She seeks to explore production methodologies that not only tell indigenous stories but are themselves active examples of traditional indigenous storytelling and cultural perpetuation, while being located within a digital realm and created with a global audience in mind. With this in mind, she plans to return to Saipan, capitol of the Northern Mariana Islands, this summer to complete production and post-production of this project.

Her slated activities for the summer include the following: 1) Assemble a team of indigenous filmmakers and curate mentorships between those who are more and less experienced to foster the growth of digital storytelling in the Mariana Islands; 2) Collect and curate archival material relevant to the story including photos, documents, and films relevant to the history of colonialism in the Marianas and greater Pacific; 3) Perform additional research about US military presence in the Marianas, including the creation of a timeline of infrastructure development and environmental findings spanning back to the Spanish-American War; 4) Plan and execute interviews; 5) Collect b-roll and cinema vérité-style footage that provides context and character to people and place; 6) Maintain detailed notes about the processes through which production and post-production occur, with special attention to the collision between Western and traditional cultures - how does Indigenous become digital? What obstacles block that pathway, and how can they be navigated? What cannot or should not be translated? What must be achieved, and what must be avoided?

Elena (Ellie) Hoshizaki

Elena Hoshizaki is researching vibes, specifically how vibes can be measured using context-aware sensors and transmitted into outputs of New Media. Vibes are defined as a person's emotional state or the atmosphere of a place as communicated to and felt by others. Her research uses context-aware sensors, AI/ML, and LED art to create a device that can sense and transmit vibes. Context-aware sensors including EMF and user-sourced data will measure basic human emotions. Data snapshots will be collected and sent to a cloud database where AI/ML will be trained to detect patterns in the data that could help us research how vibes can be measured. Elena is interested in using New Media to visualize vibe data once measured. She is currently exploring New Media in the form of a series of personal LED artifacts that can be chained and synchronized by infrared or radio frequency technology.

Dongho Shin

As an artist and researcher, my focus is on creating tools and experiences that empower underrepresented communities in the art world. Through Dongho's research project, Dongho will explore how to expand oil and watercolor painting through new media to meet the needs of women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled artists. By collaborating with artists and organizations that represent these communities and showcasing their work, Dongho aims to promote greater equity and inclusivity in the world of painting in fine art and new media.

Julia Irwin

Julia Irwin will be traveling to Berlin, Germany to present a chapter of her dissertation Patterning Recognition: A History of Automated Visual Perception as part of a summer academy on the subject of media and cultural change.

Julia's dissertation, Patterning Recognition: A History of Automated Visual Perception, is a prehistory of contemporary artificial intelligence and global-scale surveillance practices. She examines how researchers and practitioners in United States military, industrial, and academic institutions in the twentieth century began to conceive of embodied perception as an automatable act, a time-based program that could be interchangeably performed by a human or a machine. She analyzes how specific forms of visual mediation—film, photography, and text—were employed both to study human (and nonhuman animal) sensory-motor activity as a basis for computer-simulated models and to directly address and reorganize individuals’ visual sensing to be machine-readable, replicable, and militarily useful. These materials reveal institutions’ deep-seated ambivalence about the definitional distinctions between “human” and “machine.” She shows how such ambivalence corresponded with moves to artificially modulate the conceptual distance between the two—and therefore the perceptual possibilities—in the pursuit to automate the administration of social and political life.

Vincente Perez

Sonic Blackness: Hip-Hop Poetics traces the way that western modernity has attempted to categorize, order, and control the meaning of Blackness to prop up its rhetoric of human differentiation that it then saturates along the senses. Vincente turns to Black feminist theory, Hip-Hop studies, and afropessimism to explore how Black poets carry on a rich tradition of refusing and interrupting the terms of whiteness’s ontological order. He argues poets produce Sonic Blackness to preempt and disturb the temporal logic of whiteness and code different meanings by working within an alternative register that is both turned away from whiteness and a turn inwards, into Blackness. This summer he will access key poetry archives in Chicago, IL to provide a brief genealogy of spoken word poetry, slam poetry, and the local Hip-Hop scene.

Valencia James

Landship Valiant Star is a multimodal research project that explores the history of the Barbados Landship, a socio-cultural movement established by the Black working class for collective survival in the harsh racial and economic climate before and after the abolition of slavery. By asking the question, “How can Landship be reimagined for today?”, the project seeks to find new ways of preserving this tradition. The first phase of the research resulted in an art installation and dance performance that explored the creation of a historical fiction that brings Landship into a new relationship with the artist and the viewer. The next phase will take place in Barbados, where Valencia will interview members of the Barbados Landship Association, cultural scholars and community organizers to understand the needs of the local community. Valencia also plans to conduct archival research as well as record the Landship performances. Through these conversations and full immersion in the specifics of the geography, Valencia would like to investigate the ways in which both ancestral and emerging technologies are already being harnessed by Barbadian communities and identify the benefits and risks of employing emerging technologies in efforts to preserve and imagine new futures for the Landship.

Alexis Wood

Alexis Wood is working on Disorienting the Map: Alternative Cartographies for Alternative Futures. This project explores the possibilities of reimagining a user-focused geographic information system based on principles of anticolonialism, anti-racism, accessibility, localization, and sovereignty. As she has worked on this reimagined map for the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, reorienting and reprojecting the world via Ohlone values, Alexis has been exploring the question: can a redeemed cartography, reimagined via principles of anticolonialism, antiracism, accessibility, and localization, be used to redeem a condemned community?

Alexis's broader PhD work focuses on understanding the relationship between right-wing socio political movements, acute effects of climate change (e.g., fire, flooding), and social media, specifically within the context of rural state secessionist movements. In remaking the map, Alexis hopes to retell the story of her fieldsite, the right-wing, rural Northern California.

Alexis will spend a week at Mt. Shasta in Northern California, conducting informal interviews, observing how people interact with the mountain and its surrounding area, drawing and mapping burn scars from recent fires, mapping hiking trails, monuments to indigenous populations, nods to the State of Jefferson (the region’s state secessionist movement) - all through the lens of developing erosion as method. This remapping has to occur from the geomorphology up, starting from the movements of the tectonic plates to the mountain’s potential volcanic activity. Then, laying on and cutting through the geomorphology, are indigenous stories of how Mt. Shasta came to be, John Muir’s prose which inspired generations of mountaineers and naturalists, its symbolism of Northern California's natural majesty and unforgivingness. Its surrounding poverty and climate anxiety, juxtaposed with summer vacation goers and Bay Area winter skiers. All within and (co)producing, as Raymond Williams would say, the larger “narrative structures of the age” - stories and feelings and the literal rock of the mountain eroding and depositing somewhere else. How might we capture the essence of it all, and what might it tell us about the larger socio political state this region found itself in? In this way, Alexis's work develops erosion as method.