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It has been the semester/year from h@#*, teaching and finishing my dissertation at the same time, but I'm DONE! I defended the dissertation and am now a Ph.D. I guess it's the artist in me, but someone called me Dr. Stenner the other day, and it seemed wrong. I guess my response is conflicted because I see the degree as an institutional stamp of approval that is somehow counter to my self-image as an artist. I'm very proud of all the work, research, relationships, and knowledge I've gathered over the past several years. There is no way I would have learned as much as I did in any other way, but I'm excited to begin life again.

I still have some cleanup and improvements I want to make to the actual dissertation document before I submit it to the university, and I'll be working on that for the next few weeks. Once I'm happy with it, I'll post all 260+ pages here.

For those who don't know, the title is Critical Reflection in a Digital Media Artwork - Playas: Homeland Mirage. I am interested in critical reflection and its relationship to digitally mediated aesthetic experience. In some circles it is fashionable to dismiss aesthetic experience as outmoded or limited to issues of beauty. In others, the idea of critical reflection is rejected as a vestige of Adornian elitist aesthetic philosophy. In the dissertation I look at the art-historical-cultural development of these ideas, as well as, contemporary concepts of dialogism and relational aesthetics, and find a need for artists to synthesize these theories rather than lapse into narrow-minded ideology. This requires artists working with complex digital media to engage in research to begin to understand the impact technology has on the experience of their work, and to share that research with fellow artists so they can build upon each other's work. As a model of this process, the dissertation includes a case study analysis of my installation, Playas: Homeland Mirage, which is dissected using research methods from Naturalistic Inquiry.

In all, I'm glad to be done because in reality it's a new beginning :-)

new installation image

Max Becher took some wonderful shots of the installation, so I wanted to post one here:


Here are some new screenshots.
Here are more installation shots.

I'm busting it to finish up my dissertation. I still have a lot to do before defending in April. Of course, I'll continue to work on it up until I actually submit it to the University, but once the defense is over, perhaps I can get more than a few hours sleep, and take Sydney to the movies or something :-)

lots of great things

It's amazing how much has been going on in the last week. I have SOOO much I need to do and so much I want to do.....there just isn't time for it all.

This past weekend I made some time to attend part of Invent-L: Imaging Place, hear an inspiring talk by Gregory Ulmer, and have lunch with Will Pappenheimer after his presentation. Tuesday, Brody Condon visited and we had a great time discussing his process and work. The students really seemed to respond to his art and his open way of talking about it. This afternoon I gave a talk at the World Building: UF Games and Digital Media Conference. I met a number of people doing interesting work and hope to attend a panel or two tomorrow. I met Nick Montfort, who will be giving a keynote presentation tomorrow night. He seems like a really nice guy and had some thoughtful things to say at the one panel discussion I was able to attend today. And if that wasn't enough, this evening Sergio Vega gave a wonderful talk on his work over at the Harn Museum.

Now I've got to crawl back in my hole and get some work done!

dual purpose

Yes, this could be considered dual purpose; research and leisure. Couldn't it?

My ideal Christmas present, hint, hint :-)

Force Dynamics Simulator

studio setup

Here are some pics of the space where I'll be doing testing. It's pretty much ready to go. Friday, I'll install canvas on the frame to create a false wall/projection surface.



I'm still waiting on the people who manage the network in this building to enable the ports. Once that's done, I can update the applications and get going, collecting data.

okay, now.....

Alright, after a few bumps in the road, the server should be back "online" again...finally! I received IRB approval from the UF board, so I'm good to go with testing Playas. I've got some setup work to do in the studio first, but hopefully in the next week or two I can actually begin interviews. It looks like the football team is headed to Jacksonville to play Georgia, so I should be able to get into the studio this weekend (my studio is in the stadium, so access is limited on game day). ....all for now.

getting functional...

I'm slowly getting things up and running again. I had my computer system(s) pretty well established in B/CS and between moving, ISEA, starting the semester and generally hooking things back up, it's been a mess. I still need to get my xml-rpc stuff running on the server, and get my apps capturing the transcripts of the news broadcasts so I don't get behind on that. With the exception of the last several months, I have all the CBS news transcripts since December 2003, so I don't want to get behind.

All the equipment for Playas is in my studio space, finally. This week my plan is to get it hooked up and running. This week I'll find out what needs to be done to notify the UFL IRB regarding my TAMU IRB approval. I'm sure I'll need to deal with some sort of bureaucratic red tape.

update: playas hid

I'm absolutely snowed. Just finished my preliminaries, so I'm now ABD (all but dissertation). Lots to do to get ready to move to Florida (sell the house, prep playas, setup the new house, etc). Steph has been great at doing most of the house-related things.

Torque doesn't support joysticks and other alternative hardware interfaces on the Mac. I had hoped to use mouse emulation (GamePad Companion) to enable the use of a gamepad in Playas, but there's too much delay, and the thumb control isn't smooth enough. So, I decided to implement HID using Apple's HID Utilities. So far it's looking good. It has been pretty straight forward to hook the utilities in with Torque's Input Manager class. With a few tweaks I should be able to get the DDR pad working as well.

...back to work!

The Plan

[cross posted from personal blog]

Well, after selling Purse Building Studios in Houston (2000) and coming to the end of my Ph.D work at the VizLab, "The Plan" is finally resolving itself. This Fall, I'll be an Assistant Professor of Digital Media in the School of Art and Art History at the University of Florida. We're excited about the change. Sydney thinks we'll be visiting Disney World every weekend. We always said we wanted to end up on the east or west coast, although, I never imagined we'd leave one "Bush" state for another (Jeb), LOL! Supposedly, Gainesville is a blue island. I keep reminding myself that, unlike Texas, the decision to elect George the first time was a close call in Florida.


I have to work on my dissertation, as well as prepare Playas for exhibition at ISEA over the summer. I'll be teaching a Hypermedia class as well as a Graduate Seminar this first semester, in addition to preparing to defend my dissertation back at Texas A&M in December. Steph will be preparing us for the big move to sunny Florida and getting the house ready to sell. To say the least, it's going to be EXTREMELY busy for the rest of this year!

I'm really excited about the opportunities to work with a great set of people. There's a lot of cool work going on in Florida, and some great facilities that should provide exciting opportunities for the students as well as my own research and art.

thought interface


Now, this would make a great interface for a video game/installation: 'Mental typewriter' controlled by thought alone