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Civic Arts Series: Erik Loyer

== Co-hosted with the MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology == Erik Loyer‘s award-winning work explores new blends of game dynamics, poetic expression and interactive visual storytelling. From his best-selling Strange Rain story-playing iPad/iPhone app, to his visually stunning digital fiction The Lair of the Marrow Monkey (powered by Shockwave software animation), and his interactive explorations of post-Katrina racial politics in Blue Velvet, Loyer’s interactive artistic...


Imperial Arrangements: South African Apartheid and the Force of Photography

This talk by Kimberly Juanita Brown considers the prominence of graphic photographic images during the decades of apartheid in South Africa. Specifically, she is interested in an archive of indifference that permeates the era and orchestrates the viewer’s relationship to black subjectivity. For the talk she focuses on US news media coverage of apartheid in the last year of its existence, and the images that anchored viewers’ interpretation of the event. Kimberly Juanita Brown is Martin...


Bunk and the History of Hoaxes with Kevin Young

Before fake news dominated headlines, Kevin Young was tracking down its roots. The author of 13 books of poetry and prose, poetry editor for The New Yorker and director of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Young has spent the past six years tracing the history of news-worthy fraudulence all the way back to the 18th century. Young’s latest book Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News chronicles the racially...


Between Participation and Control: A Long History of CCTV

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) has become synonymous with surveillance society and the widespread use of media technologies for contemporary regimes of power and control. Considered from the perspective of television’s long history, however, closed-circuit systems are multifaceted, and include, but are not limited to sorting and surveillance. During the media’s experimental phase in the 1920s and 1930s, closed-circuit systems were an essential feature of its public display, shaping its...


Republican Resistance in the Age of Trump

Stuart Stevens believes Republicans are in a “GOP apocalypse,” and he’s urging Republicans to resist. Stevens is a Republican political consultant who’s worked on presidential campaigns for Bob Dole and George W. Bush, served as the lead strategist for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, and helped elect more governors and US Senators than any other GOP consultant working today. He’s also an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, starting from the earliest days of Trump’s candidacy....


The City Talks: Storytelling at the New York Times's Metro Desk

As attention spans shrink and the representation of factual information is under scrutiny by the public, news organizations need clear, engaging storytelling that reaches readers where they are. In this talk, Emily Rueb, a reporter for The New York Times, shares insights gained in bursting boundaries of traditional storytelling for The New York Times’s Metro desk. Weaving video, audio, illustrations and text across multiple platforms, she chronicled aspects of New York’s complex but rarely...


Intimate Worlds - Reading For Intimate Affects In Contemporary Video Games

== Kaelan Doyle-Myerscough: "Intimate Worlds: Reading for Intimate Affects in Contemporary Video Games" == Leveraging affect theory and video game studies, I examine Overwatch, The Last Guardian and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for intimate affects. I read for intimacy as a way to understand how sensations of vulnerability, the loss of control and precarity can become pleasurable in contemporary video games. == Sara Rafsky: "The Print that Binds: Local Media, Civic Life and the...


When To Start Freaking Out - Audience Engagement On Social Media During Disease Outbreaks

== Aashka Dave: "When to Start Freaking Out: Audience Engagement on Social Media During Disease Outbreaks" == How do perceptions of risk contribute to sensationalized social media spectacles, and how might social media practices further such a practice? This thesis will explore sensationalism and gatekeeping through an examination of how news and public health organizations used social media during the most recent Ebola and Zika outbreaks.


The Motives Of Narrative And Style In Food Text Creation On Social Media

== Vicky Zeamer: "Internet Killed the Michelin Star: The Motives of Narrative and Style in Food Text Creation on Social Media" == Food porn has become mainstream content on social media sites and digital streaming sites. With this comes a change in status—from expert to everyone. As a result, the role of authority figures, in particular chefs, has changed. This thesis illustrates the convergences and divergences in the creation and consumption of food texts today.


Music Fandom and the Shaping of Online Culture

From the earliest days of networked computing, music fans were there, shaping the technologies and cultures that emerged online. By the time musicians and industry figures realized they could use the internet to reach audiences directly, those audiences had already established their presences and social norms online, putting them in unprecedented positions of power. Even widely-hailed innovators like David Bowie, Prince, and Trent Reznor were late to the game. This talk traces the...


The Tip of the Iceberg: Sound Studies and the Future of Afrofuturism

Iconic developments in the artistic and intellectual ethos known as Afrofuturism are closely linked to music: Sun Ra’s experimental jazz, Parliament Funkadelic’s Mothership, John Akomfrah’s film Last Angel of History. What else is on the soundtrack to a livable future? How do we pursue further innovation in the human sensorium without reproducing an “audiovisual litany” that conflates rationality with the colonial gaze and isolates Black creativity to moments of sonic disruption? andré...


Designing for a Neurodiverse World

An MIT Communications Forum: The world is a neurologically diverse place, but the resources, workspaces and technologies we use often don’t reflect that. Sometimes simple changes can significantly expand accessibility to people who have neurological differences like autism, dyslexia, ADHD, or epilepsy, but designers and policymakers frequently aren’t aware of issues affecting this neurodiverse...


The (Non)Americans: Tracking and Analyzing Russian Influence Operations on Twitter

In late 2017, Twitter and Facebook revealed that agents backed by the Russian government had infiltrated American political conversations for years. Posing as concerned citizens from across the ideological spectrum, these agents surreptitiously spread propaganda disguised as home-grown political chatter. Two challenges, one theoretical and the other methodological, confront researchers interested in studying this campaign of information warfare. First, the fields of communication and...


ICTs for Refugees and Displaced Persons

Expanding use of information and communication technology (ICT) together with the humanitarian reform agenda are changing both the experience of being a refugee as well as humanitarian response. These forces are giving rise to the digital refugee and a new form of humanitarian operations, digital humanitarian brokerage. In this talk, Carleen Maitland presents these two concepts, evidence of their emergence and differences in the role information plays in each. The concepts emerge from a...


Eric Klopfer: "From Augmented to Virtual Learning"

Mixed realities that combine digital and real experiences are now becoming a true reality. These experiences are being delivered over smartphones as well as increasingly accessible and practical head mounted displays. This ubiquity of devices is in turn making mixed reality the next digital frontier in entertainment, education and the workplace. But what do we know about where these technologies have value? Where do they add to the learning experience? And what theories and evidence can we...


Has Silicon Valley Lost Its Humanity?

Silicon Valley innovations have given rise to a class of tech titans wielding immense economic and political influence and has paved the way for a cultural shift towards individualism. Has this resulted in historically marginalized groups being left behind once again? Noam Cohen, a former New York Times technology columnist and author of The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball, argues that the disruption touted by Silicon Valley occurs...


Fall 2017 Alumi Panel

Hear from four alums of the graduate program in Comparative Media Studies as they discuss their experience at MIT and what their careers have looked like in the fields a CMS degree prepared them for. Panelists include: Matthew Weise, ’04, a game designer and educator whose work spans industry and academia. He is the CEO of Empathy Box, a company that specializes in narrative design for games and across media. He was the Narrative Designer at Harmonix Music Systems on Fantasia: Music Evolved,...


Cloud Policy: Anatomy of a Regulatory Crisis

Jennifer Holt examines the legal and cultural crises surrounding the regulation of data in “the cloud.” The complex landscape of laws and policies governing digital data are currently rife with unresolvable conflicts. The challenges of distributing and protecting digital data in a policy landscape that is simultaneously local, national, and global have created problems that often defy legal paradigms, national boundaries, and traditional geographies of control. She examines these challenges...


Mapping Climate Change: Contested Futures in New York City’s Flood Zone

As seas rise, coasts erode, deserts spread, and permafrost melts, climate change is altering everyday life in many places. Even with immediate, drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, sufficient warming is already “baked in” to ensure ongoing disruption. What this disruption will look like, however, depends not only on the extent of global warming and its effects but also on the way these effects and their attendant risks are measured, mapped, and managed. This talk explores how...


An Evening with Sarah Vowell

Overthrown Hawaiian queens, religious zealots, swindlers, cranky cartographers, presidential assassins, and the people who visit their memorials on vacation are all fodder for historian and humorist Sarah Vowell. Vowell’s seven nonfiction books, many of which have topped the New York Times’ best sellers list, explore America’s not-so-squeaky-clean past and creates a framework for understanding our modern day values. Vowell brings her wit to the MIT Communications Forum for a moderated...