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 …a semi-annual update! 

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Yes, it’s that time — some new stuff!

The past few months have been busy with lectures in Lviv (and with them, a chance to visit the Ukraine for the first time); a keynote on emerging story forms at Alternate Realities at the Sheffield Doc Fest (and with it, the chance to see a ton of new projects — the perks of being on the jury!); and an opportunity to talk about the coming media scene with my colleagues at the amazing Utrecht Data School. The EYE Institute, the old Nederlands Filmmuseum, invited me to give a lecture on VR and its relationship to cinema. It was a good opportunity to think through the relationship — and they posted a decent interview with me on the topic linked below.

Utrecht, where I’ve been a professor since 1993 (!!) was also the site of the first Media in Transition (MIT — clever, huh?) conference away from MIT. It was remarkable to see so many international colleagues in Utrecht! And it turned out to coincide with a really touching retirement celebration organized by my colleagues. I’m still on the job at MIT, but the Dutch — wisely, I think — have mandatory retirement.

The Netherlands is also the site of an exciting new initiative called PublicSpaces, an endeavor to construct a new digital public space for public service media, archives, museums, universities, etc. This currently fragmented (and increasingly pressured) public sector has tremendous potentials; but there should be ways to reach this material, and share thoughts with one another, in ways that don’t require data scraping and being sold to the highest bidder by big tech giants. We are taking the first steps, and with hard work and a bit of luck, this could go global.

The fall brings the usual teaching at MIT, as well as the kick-off of a new ‘co-creation studio’ with Kat Cizek (Emmy Award winning maker of the Highrise series, and a descendant of the NFB’s Challenge for Change initiative!!). We are holding a conference (‘Collective Wisdom’) in September. The Studio is part of the MIT Open Documentary Lab.

That event will be followed in short order by a keynote in Siegen, Germany (for a conference organized by Tristan Thielmann)on — among other things, co-creating with AI and in particular algorithmic storytelling; and I’ll be giving a two day workshop on innovative research methodologies with my old student and colleague, Asher Boersma. Then on to the University of Michigan for a very promising discussion of new approaches to studying globalization and media organized by another old student and colleague, Aswin Punathambekar. I’ll talk about 19th C undersea cables, news services, and distributions of power. Then… Beijing for talks at the China University of Communication and Hefei for talks at the China University of Science and Technology. Can’t wait!! A couple of weeks later, I’ll be back in Germany — Hannover this time — for the Comics|Games: Aesthetic, Ludic, and Narrative Strategies symposium organized by Daniel Stein, Jan Thon, and Andreas Rauscher. Then it’s IDFA time … and a chance to celebrate the anniversary of the amazing DocLab and the work of Caspar Sonnen. Throughout, I’ll be doing the good work at MIT … it promises to be a full semester.

When December rolls around, I’ll have a chance to see some dear friends in Hawaii, and then spend two weeks on the ‘forbidden’ island of Ni’ihau.

Stay tuned for word of yet another iteration of the Media in Transition conference #10@20, which is to say, the tenth iteration of the conference that happens to fall twenty years since the first! It will be held at MIT on May 17 and 18, reprising the theme of the initial conference, democracy and digital media, but in a very different cultural and technological environment!

recent videos:

(a number of my recent talks can be found via a Google video search …)

Amsterdam 2018

London 2017

Cambridge 2016

Stockholm 2009