YouTube research funded

This week the The Knowledge Foundation, or the KK stiftelsen (in Swedish), announced their funding of our research project  YouTube as performative arena. It is a project desiged to explore how youth use YouTube as a medium of performance and exploration – as well as the ‘boundaries’ of the concept text. The 4 million crown, three year project will be conducted in three parts, an ethonographic study of three Swedish youth groups currently using YouTube as a performance space (for which Stephanie Hendrick  is responsible), a discourse analysis of medialized reactions to youth’s usage of YouTube (for which Simon Lindgren is responsible), and a collaboration between HUMlab, Umeå’s kulturverket and the author Peter Kihlgård in a project where Umeå youth and Kihilgård will explore the concept ‘text’ through a YouTube mediated film series.

For more information, see the funding announcement, or various press releases (all in Swedish).

For contact information, please contact the project leader, Patrik Svensson

energetic meetings

We had a workshop in the DINO project today in the lab (Digital Idea Places North) which tries to bring together people interested in the media and creative industries (with a particular focus on games, web media and film). A most interesting group of people turned up for the workshop (focus on art/culture and the industry) – more than 20 people. Game company people, artists, film people, an indy game producer, a scripwriter, a cultural analysis student, program leaders for degree programs at the university (interaction and design, scriptwriting), in total three company CEO:s and a managing director, an interactive history group, a few university people, students from the school of fine arts and others.

After the workshop there was an open seminar in the lab on the history of computer game industry. Ulf Sandqvist (economic history) talked about his research for a crowd of at least 30 people. The talk dealt with the history of the industry globally and nationally as well as current perspectives and a discussion of the current situation in Umeå. We have quite a few game companies here, some of which emerged out of Daydream. Ulf showed that most game companies historically have not really been doing well in Sweden. Things are better now (on the whole), but it is still not a really big industry in Sweden. But the potentialis large – partly because of the way a company can grow very quick if you pick a few major titles. And Umeå is well positioned I think.

I really enjoyed talking to so many interesting people. For instance, I got to know a bit about Nifflas’ work. Great stuff!

Abandoned Space Recovered by HUMlab

This morning I was the first person to step into the HUMlab world in ActiveWorlds since abut 2004. From 1999-2004 the Virtual Wedding Project was run in EVE the HUMlab world in the 3D virtual world Active Worlds. It was reawakened this week. It was a strange feeling to be moving around a virtual space that I once spent months in. I took part in the Virtual Wedding Project in 2003 and it was my introduction to HUMlab.
It seems like getting EVE online again is going to be a process. The version we opened this morning is not the last one we have on the server and my own project is not part of the world at this stage. We will be updating the world in the next few days.
After having spent so much time in Second Life over the past two years (and having had a year or two -2004 & 2005- in the now defunct Adobe Atmosphere worlds) Active Worlds has such a different aesthetic than Second Life. It is faster and sparser compared to Second Life (SL). There is now a voice chat in Active Worlds (AA), which did not exist before. Avatars are not as elaborate as in SL, where they are an art form in themselves. Audio is important in AA. I think there is still potential for AA in teaching. Especially considering that not all students in other global regions have superfast connections. Perhaps AA could be used to run international versions of courses that are run in Sweden using SL or something of similar bandwidth weight.
In the above images you can see an advertisement for a party by the Hispanic-American society, a carnival that took place on Feb. 18 1999. I felt like the discoverer of some abandoned city as I strolled among the buildings of EVE.

Professor Reed Riner’s evaluation of the Virtual Wedding project can be found here.

Here is the final report of the project.

Busy day in the lab

I have been away for about a month, but when I returned to the lab yesterday for a little peaceful reading – I was surprised by the amount of activity! It seems that people were having to shuffle from space to space in order to incorporate all the activities that were going on. While it was not the most conducive environment to read in, it did provide just the right amount of energy to be excited about my first day back. Below you can see a few photos of the different events.

Ele working on the tent

Ele checking the tent’s seams (really I think she just wanted to wear it as she just finished running a loop through the lab wearing it as a cape :-P)

The ongoing open source embroidery station (there are a few pieces left, if you are up for it).

The photo edit course

Fredrick on a conference call in the new lab.

You can only sort of see it, but the ‘glass cage’ is full of people talking about the School of Research.

Some kind of meeting…