Some thoughts on this moment at the New Media Lab:
New Media Lab Intersections:
There are many inviting physical spaces in programs and centers at the Graduate Center where discussions occur about research, methodologies, pedagogy, etc. The New Media Lab has been one such space that is interdisciplinary and not tied to any one Graduate Center program. At any one time, we have students from a dozen programs developing digital projects, tools, apps, and ideas that relate to their doctoral research. They each have an online presence on the current Lab website. NML and ASHP staff, students, and assorted GC faculty and staff meet monthly to share and support each others work in an informal, unpressured, and collegial atmosphere.
Over the years we have seen certain unintended occurrences at the Lab because of the intersection of disciplines and digital tools being employed. At the June 2012 general meeting, an English student presented her poetic sound-composition (Ordinary Language Poetry: A Talking Book) to a group that included 17 students from 7 doctoral programs. A Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences student (who is constructing a digital simulation of a hearing aid) and another in neuroscience commented from their perspectives, contributing points relating to how the brain responds to sound under different circumstances. The conversation flourished and the poet gained insights that she said she never would have come across in the English program. She had merged an abstract visual as a backdrop to the audio. Those of us with art backgrounds had certain responses to this and the students who had studied the brain in their own fields had completely different responses. All who were present recognized that this was an extraordinary moment that could not have occurred elsewhere.
coincidences (2 of my favorites):
I cannot resist mentioning coincidences. Not necessarily points of intersection or advancement such as the above mentioned, sometimes commonalities arise unexpectedly. One began with Ozan and Antonia when it seemed that suddenly, many projects related to Turkey: Ozan’s Musical World Map, a view of Kurdish music across borders; Antonia’s Black Sea Fish and Mollusca, an anthropologist’s exploration of the Turkish sea; Alice Lynn’s Documenting Cappadocia, Central Turkey’s byzantine structures with wall paintings; and most recently, Ozy’s Medea’s Map of Colchis, about an endangered language in Turkey’s Caucasian mountains.
Then, of course, everyone’s a foodie. The newly-formed doctoral program in public health brought a new cohort of students to the lab but they weren’t the only ones working on health and food related issues. First, there was Amy’s Fight the Fizz, an anti-soda campaign (public health); Collette’s Participatory Patienthood on women bloggers who have multiple sclerosis (environmental psychology); Chris’s Bodies on the Line, health and safety regulations in the adult film industry (Anthropology); and Suzanne’s Mobile Health App (computer science). More on food and health-related research later but this all leads to exciting intersections of work and interesting possibilities for visualizing it all.
tools/toys that play with co-occurances: (in addition to the very nice one Aaron found and started to test)
http://bost.ocks.org/mike/miserables/ — check out this cool way of showing characters presence in each chapter. Can be sorted in a few ways then roll over instance…
http://bost.ocks.org/mike/fisheye/ — The first visualization on this page is something like what I initially imagined but check out the others as well… Of course, each dot could represent a project or a person. But how to show the points of commonality?
Here are some initial thoughts of Marco Battistella on this. He’s thinking about using 3D:
http://x3dom.org/x3dom/test/functional/walkThrough.htmlImagine combining the planet view details (in which projects, departments and people could have their own window in which you view more details) with the car configuration (in which we could allow viewers to select which kids of tags they would like to focus on or similar things etc.…) and the walk thorough functionality (in which a viewer could follow paths from a project to another showing the relations)….
So, we’ll be playing with some of these ways to display NML work – less static, but hopefully as effective as the straight forward way we’ve been relying on thus far.