And so, this year’s ACTLab Conference came and went…
From May 18th through May 20th, over 30 participants, 10 presenters, and 2 keynote speakers filled the esteemed halls of the Institute of Texan Cultures for 3 days of unparalleled technological and cultural discussions. The level of engagement among participants captivated everyone present, and it would be remiss to say that what took place was anything short of a true confluence of thought on the rapidly morphing field of new and emerging media. What follows is an attempt in vain to capture a mere portion of the menagerie of the weekend’s happenings:
The overarching themes of the conference included robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, big data, civic engagement, unity, contemporary hacking, cyber liberties, conference documentation, digital archiving, cyborg culture, theater and ACTlab/Convergent Media lore.
A consensual highlight among all attendees was Jason Scott’s presentation about his journey as a digital archivist and his work with Archive.org. He shared some very thought-provoking insights into the collections he curated, including his work on video game archives and the concerted effort to have in-browser video game console emulation.
Brandon Wiley’s presentation on cyber liberties spanned the theoretical framework of why cyber liberties and obtaining creditable news sources remains paramount in our current geo-political climate to showing off custom designed wireless hardware devices that utilize the Iridium satellite network when internet blackouts occur.
Stan Renard gave a big data, geo-location rich presentation about the music industry landscape in San Antonio, TX which led to great discussions about big data in general. The presentation also covered an array of civic engagement topics comparing and contrasting Austin and San Antonio’s metropolitan cityscapes.
Show and Tell
Part show and tell, part demo day, Saturday night resounded as a huge success among all attendees. The event evoked an environment similar to an “ACTLab Final Presentation,” consisting of several key components, including pizza, creative projects and cool working demos. Some highlights of the night included joey lopez, ph.d demonstrating a 300 in 1 Radio Shack-developed synthesizer and Jeremy Zunker and a friend presenting the “Z Fader,” a ground-up fader for scratch DJ artists. They showed their process from conceptualization to circuit board creation to DJing demos. Aaron Peña also showed off some data visualizations and Knut Graf showed off two of his custom built synthesizers.
Another crowd pleaser was Brian Ledden, who showed off his “Fulgore”, a custom built flash projection device that syncs with your DSLR to project images in your photos. Heather Barfield showed excerpts of her cyber liberties based play that sold out all three nights at the Vortex and Kevin Welch presented on Cyber Techwoir and the intricacies of technological existentialism in film over the past 50 years. To say the least, some amazing demos came out of this conference, and the attendees enjoyed a weekend of new ideas, concepts and innovations, topped off by an awesome group photo by Brian Ledden.
The conference went so well and reviews by both attendees and online attendees came back so positive that we have agreed to host another ACTLab conference next year. Heather Barfield, director at the Vortex in Austin, TX offered to host the conference with date TBA. We look forward to developing this conference over the coming year, and if you have an interest in participating or being a sponsor of our next conference please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organized by the Convergent Media Collective and the ACTLab Community, the conference was hosted and underwritten by UTSA’s Institute of Texan Cultures; catering was provided by Sabor Cocina Mexicana and Marvaz Events and Catering Service; and Dreamonoid’s HiFi provided an epic creative space for an Saturday night’s presentations and demos. The Convergent Media Collective would like to formally thank everyone involved in making the 2018 Conference a reality and looks forward to many more partnerships to come.
2018 ACTLab New Media Conference at the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio Texas Actlab Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/The-ACTLab-C…
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