Announcing BCNM's Spring 2024 Conference Grant Recipients

21 Mar, 2024

Announcing BCNM's Spring 2024 Conference Grant Recipients

The Berkeley Center for New Media is thrilled to provide small grants to our graduate students to help them share their innovative research at the premiere conferences in their field. We look forward to seeing the work of these students spread across the globe!

Katherine Song

The ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) CHI conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

Füpop: "Real Food" Flavor Delivery via Focused Ultrasound

Food and flavors are integral to our existence in the world. Nonetheless, taste remains an under-explored sense in interaction design. We present Füpop, a technical platform for delivering in-mouth flavors that leverages advances in electronics and molecular gastronomy. Füpop comprises a fully edible pouch placed inside the mouth against a cheek that programmatically releases different flavors when wirelessly triggered by a focused ultrasound transducer from outside the cheek. Füpop does not interfere with activities such as chewing and drinking, and its electronics may be integrated into devices already used near the cheek, such as mobile phones, audio headphones, and head-mounted displays. Füpop’s flavors are from “real foods,” not ones imitated with synthetic reagents, providing authentic, nutritive flavors. We envision that with Füpop, flavors may be synced to music, a phone call, or events in virtual reality to enhance a user’s experience of their food and the world.

Sophia Perez

American Association of Geographers

Island Time

"The Mariana Islands are the ancestral homeland of the indigenous Chamorro people, who have occupied the archipelago for approximately 4,000 years. Today, the archipelago is split across two political statuses - Guåhan or Guam is an unincorporated US territory, while the islands to the North compose the UC Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Neither status affords residents the right to vote for US president or be represented by a voting member of Congress. Both statuses allow for unilaterally enforced military development across and around the archipelago, regardless of historical and ongoing damage to Chamorro bodies, culture, and economic opportunities. Grassroots indigenous activist efforts resist US mainland-centered narratives that portray the Mariana Islands as an ""indispensable military foothold"" in the Pacific, rather than an ancestral homeland to indigenous people.

""Island Time"" is a Chamorro children's show pilot created by and for the Chamorro community. This Sesame Street-style live-action variety show teaches the Chamorro language and celebrates the Chamorro culture with comedy, drama, puppets, animations, and musical numbers supported by an all-Chamorro cast and majority Chamorro crew. The production of this pilot occurred with minimal financial support and required not only the production of the film itself but of basic filmmaking infrastructure from scratch, an immensely creative and collaborative task taken on collectively and voluntarily by the Chamorro community on Saipan.

This paper analyzes Island Time as a method of decolonial counter-mapping, framing the Marianas as an indispensable home as opposed to an indispensable military foothold.

Meg Everett

American Educational Research Association

Centering Student Experiences with TikTok in a Critical Media Literacy Course

When viewing media as a key component of the infrastructure of contemporary society (Silverstone, 2013), it becomes imperative to create space within our educational institutions for students to develop the discourse, critical capacity, and reflective praxis to engage with new media technologies. This includes social media applications like TikTok, which boasts more than 80 million users in the United States, of whom 60% fall under the age of 30 (Wallaroo Media, 2023). This study evaluates how students examined the role of social media in society and in their lives through the creation of TikTok videos, collaboration with their peers, and weekly reflections on their own social media usage in an undergraduate course.

William Morgan

POM Aachen 2024: Politics of the Machines Lifelikeness & Beyond

Human-AI Interaction Design (HAIID): Synthetic Personae, Shoggoths and Alignment

This paper argues for a new way of thinking about human-AI interaction by addressing three shortcomings in the current discourse. First, it relies on outdated spatial and anthropomorphic metaphors to apprehend AI, an approach that is both inaccurate and inadequate. Second, it fails to realize its own dependence on those metaphors, impeding developments in the philosophy of AI. Third, because technological innovation outpaces philosophy, scholars currently lack good models with which to theorize developments in the field. Since the 1960’s, human-computer interaction (HCI) has proven that the more that computational space can be made to feel like physical space, the more humans will understand innately how to interact in it. The spatial metaphor system, populated by buttons, folders, files, and clouds, is the output of a design philosophy that successfully leveraged human sensorimotor intuition into metaphorical spaces such that people and machines could communicate. The command line. The graphical user interface. Search. Rather than teach humanity computing, HCI designers taught computers peopling. Consider skeuomorphic design—computer desktops that look like their physical cousins, notes apps that resemble notepads—whereas previously one needed to code for something like web design, now one designs directly, as if sculpting noumenal clay without the involvement of mathematics or voltages.

Cynthia Rahman

Richard Macksey National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium

The Intersection of "Second-Wave" Feminism and Population Control in the Aftermath of Bangladesh’s 1971 War of Independence

Following the Liberation War, Bangladesh's announcement of independence from Pakistan, led to rape of 200,000 Bengali women by West Pakistani forces and local collaborators. In a mission to ‘purify’ the nation, and re-establish Bengali identity, the government decided to put an exception to the abortion ban Penal Code 1860. This allowed private and state-controlled American population control experts, eugenicists, and so-called “Second-Wave” elite White feminists to set up abortion clinics in Bangladesh. The US spent millions of dollars on abortion in Bangladesh during the neo-Malthusian era of “development” which believed that poor people shouldn’t reproduce, while women in the US had no such access. There is also evidence of large numbers of forced sterilization of Bengali women in the years following the war. While most women did voluntary abortions especially right after the war, it isn’t clear that all women understood what was happening or gave informed consent. While we know that American reproductive rights activists were rallying for access to this right from their governments, how did they feel about their government providing that to Bangladesh? Similarly, how did Bangladeshi women’s rights activists dealing with the aftermath of the 1971 war time rapes view American reproductive rights activists who came to Bangladesh? This research seeks to shed light on the relationship between the US feminist demand for reproductive rights in the early 1970s (in a pre-Roe v Wade US context) and the desire to “empower” women in the Global South, specifically post-1971 Bangladesh through population control policies.

Alexis Wood

American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting

Living Cartographies

This is an ongoing project being conducted in collaboration with Maggie Camillos under the direction of Clancy Wilmott. What is vital? What is not? Are living beings sympoetic, or autopoetic? What really makes life on Earth different from the rest of Earth's self-organizing, entangled, flouring systems? Is Western science's effort to spell out life's exclusiveness outlining a great mystery, or rather an argument within itself? The assumption that some things are alive and some are not, underpins Western worldviews classificatory presumptions that we argue, hinder our capacity for relationality -- both lived and represented. This binary has been reproduced in our systems of cartography and GIS. How can we rewrite the principles of cartography, and in this, geospatial systems, to account for the relationalities overlooked via Science and ""scientific knowledge""?

Haripriya Sathyanarayanan

8th Annual Virtual Reality and Healthcare Global Symposium

Exploring Pediatric Patient Room Environments: Integrating Virtual Reality and Biofeedback

In our study, 'Exploring Pediatric Patient Room Environments: Integrating Virtual Reality and Biofeedback,' we redefine healthcare design paradigms by immersing pediatric patients and families in meticulously crafted virtual environments. Through the seamless integration of virtual reality experiences with cutting-edge biofeedback technologies, such as fEMG and eye tracking, we examine the subtle interplay between design elements and the emotional well-being of young patients and their families. This innovative approach not only illuminates the specific room components influencing pediatric healthcare experiences but also charts a course for patient-centered design solutions. Our research, delving into windows, positive distractions, art, social support mechanisms, and perceptions of privacy, provides a detailed understanding of how these factors impact the emotional well-being of young patients in acute care settings. Join us for an engaging presentation as we unveil tailored insights poised to redefine the landscape of compassionate and responsive pediatric healthcare environments.

Jillian (Lee) Crandall

American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting 2024

Spatializing Cryptoeconomic Imaginaries

In this paper I argue that critical analysis of cryptocurrencies, blockchain technologies, and their varied economic imaginaries requires a spatial approach. What is unique to blockchain technology are the specific ways it is being used as a plot device to reorganize economic geographies, to remap and reimagine economic relationships with people, space, and time. These cryptoeconomic imaginaries are connected – in contradicting ways – to various techno-political and socio-spatial imaginaries. In addition to being understood as texts, various cryptoeconomic fictions (including those in whitepapers and utopian crypto-city proposals) can be read, understood, and analyzed geographically as maps or plans for future techno-economic socio-spatial reconfigurations. Some utopian spatial imaginaries utilize architectural plans and maps as illustrative fictions, certain other spatial reconfigurations may intentionally be more opaque and hidden via exclusive platforms like the Security Token Offering (STO). In this case critical geographers and cartographers may work to uncover silences and sites of extractions, revealing the complexities and interconnectedness of firms, institutions, individual and collective actors, all of which may require new mapping methodologies. In addition to opening the potential to dream new techno-economic futures, I suggest that blockchain also has the potential to foreclose alternative economic futures. The futures mediated by blockchain, like a text or a map, are highly contingent upon the specific setting, cast-of-characters, author’s positionality and power, narrative framing, and structural systemic issues, and modes of methods of writing and drawing place into being.

Arianna Khmelniuk


Olfactory Narratives in Cinema

"Artistic research ""Olfactory Narratives in Cinema"" collects and archives movie scenes that mention odors. Due to the surprising number of movies that mention smells, stinks, or fragrances, I started documenting them on the @movieolfaction Instagram page, with more than 280 Instagram scenes, and the number continues to grow. Patterns emerged as I collected screenshots and quotes. It quickly became clear how often assumptions, binaries, and generalizations are used for odors or stinging humiliation. Language about smell and prejudice are intertwined. Sanitation and deodorization are often well-intentioned, but artists and researchers have criticized them in recent decades because odorlessness can divide or unite people. What does today's cinema ""teach"" us about smells with such bias? We need moviegoers' skepticism to solve it.

Maria Pettis

American Association of Geographers

Reconstructing a Black Sense of Place: Landscape and Spatial Media as Technologies of Memory

This paper asks how the digital can help attend to local-particular ways of seeing, how space/landscape can function as a mnemonic device, and how co-creative methodologies can help recover Black Agrarian senses of place. There is something unique about the mental maps of aging generations of Black Americans, those who’ve lived through the fall of Jim Crow, the Delta’s Cotton Kingdom, and Black Agrarian life. Those who’ve founded the internal diasporas of the Great Migration, left and returned, too often the only ones left with memories of home, directions to isolated graves and fast eroding material sites of Black Agrarian heritage. If landscape and spatial arrangements function as material and mnemonic devices, how might immersive spaces of the digital, e.g. augmented and virtual reality media, combined with studies of landscape and material culture reconstruct and potentially situate these eroding histories, and senses of everyday life? Here I explore the utility of the Oculus Quest 3, and 3D modeling and animation platforms to aggregate and scale different forms of spatial, visual, and sonic media. I experiment with techniques of reading archives, oral histories, and accounts of local ecology, to spatialize and visually reconstruct the landscape transformation of “Frog Island,” a historic Black neighborhood in Waukegan, Il, as a case study. I conclude by reflecting on landscape, 3D modeling, and immersive reality media as technologies of memory and their experimental potential as a form of mapping and a critical co-constructive geographic method.

Weiying Li

Annual Meeting of the International Society of the Learning Sciences 2024

Using Epistemic Network Analysis to investigate how students combine ideas during a Natural Language Processing adaptive dialog

We investigate how Epistemic Network Analysis (ENA) captures the connections between students' ideas as they refine their understanding of energy transfer and transformation in photosynthesis and cellular respiration during an adaptive dialog orchestrated by Natural Language Processing (NLP). We analyze how 746 6-8th graders interact with two rounds of adaptive guidance during a dialog on an end of year inventory. Informed by Knowledge Integration pedagogy, we use ENA to visualize how each round of prompts function to support students to increase the coherence of their science understanding. Specifically, eliciting prompts pivot students to express ideas about energy transfer from sun to plants to animals and distinguishing prompts help students link mechanistic ideas. ENA deepens our understanding of how students link and combine ideas to develop increasingly rich explanations of scientific phenomena

Evan Sakuma

Association for Asian American Studies 2024 Annual Conference

Undoing, Unbecoming: Grief, Care, and Asian American Artist-Scholarship

This paper is about locating the Asian American in the tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. I reference Macbeth here because I am interested in death as an opaque surface for relationality amongst Asian Americans. In new media, film, and Asian/Asian American performance studies there has been a turn to sitting with a type of social death– an acceptance of an already unknowable, already disaffected, already asocial. Instead of problematizing the burden of liveness for the minoritarian performer, scholars like Xine Yao, Summer Kim Lee, Vivian L Huang have been taking these forms and pondering their teleological function as feminist and queer practices that don’t need to be legible from an outside gaze. So where do we go here? Is it enough to turn inward and away from what Glissant would consider the “humanizing function” of becoming legible to the colonizer’s linguistic codex. Where my paper hopes to depart is looking at the politically viability in an Asiatic intimacy with death. As weak theory, I’m sitting with artistic augmentation/modding/ornamentation as cyborgic entanglements which remix the body. If being with death can be an aesthetic, creative practice through modalities of distance, of visibility, of silence perhaps these texts hold other surfaces of relationality whose opacity, beauty, and violence has yet to be gleaned by other queer Asian diasporic feminist theorists.