Category Archives: News

2018 ACTLab New Media Conference Re-Cap


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  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.

In Summary

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:

Special Thanks

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.

Additional Information

2018 ACTLab New Media Conference at the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio Texas Actlab Facebook Page:…

Actlab Event Page:…

A talk Series by The Convergent Media Collective…

San Antonio Conference Venue:…

Ernesto Cuevas, Artist, Graphic Designer and Community Advocate


Written by:  joey lopez phd

This is the mural I met Ernesto at. He was one of the facilitators and I (and my wife) was a community participant.

It is always a pleasure to have new collaborators join us.  I have known Ernesto Cuevas for some time.  He has attended a couple of our meet ups.  But I met him initially through a community mural project I participated in and then further when I documented his Barrio Works project on our blog.

Recently Ernesto and I began working out together at the gym (gotta stay healthy to Make Stuff).  Our work outs have basically turned into weekly platicas where we share our work and creative ideas together, many of which have trickled into the CMC realm.

An example of Ernesto’s ability to bring community into his art.

Ernesto’s experience as an Artist, Graphic Designer and Community Advocate has been a humbling yet amazing journey to hear about.  Ernesto’s ability to engage communities to develop their own identities and express them through intermodal art murals, canvas work and other mediums has been very inspiring.  His own journey of growing up as a son of migrant farm workers definitely gives a foundation to his own art work that transcends into the 21st century in a very beautiful way.  Working both on Canvas and digitally with a Wacom, amongst other mediums.  Ernesto’s ability to create unique works that tell stories of both personal and humanistic adversity gives patrons of his work a visual experience that leaves them wanting to see more.

Owning a Hi-Fi shop, I love this piece.



One project we have collectively been discussing is a series of children books that explore various experiences as a youth.

So Ernesto the Convergent Media Collective tips our hat at you.  Your Art work and Community Advocacy is inspiring.  And last but not least, Ernesto’s graphic design as you can imagine is very professional and on par with some of the greats.  We look forward to future collaborations and wish you the best of luck as an artist and professional graphic designer!

Check out his websites:

Artist Site:

Graphic Design Site:

Online Store:

Click on the gallery below to check out some of his awesome work.

Southtown Vinyl Synth Meet Up


It’s always cool when you hear about an event your interested in happening at a cool space near you.

This is exactly what happened when I heard about a synth meet up at Southtown Vinyl, a local record store in downtown San Antonio. I have been a big fan of Southtown Vinyl as they have a great selection of records and cool electronics.

As a local HiFi Shop (Dreamonoid’s HiFi) owner it’s awesome to see other retail spaces hosting events that are open to the public and encouraging artistic endeavors.

I showed up right at noon as I was super excited and sure enough was greeted by Luis Faraklas of Faraklas Electrical and Tommy Newman of Southtown Vinyl. Both of whom had synths ready to demo and allow people to get hands on experience with them.

I spent a good hour and a half picking their brains and learning all about hardware analog synths. Luis showed me a breadboard designed synth hooked up to an oscilloscope he had put together. It was awesome getting some nitty gritty details about the IC’s (integrated circuits) used and how simple it can be to get started making your own synth.

Then Tommy gave me a full tour of his synth case going into awesome detail about all the various components/modules. I learned a ton. From VCO’s to VCA’s to ASDR’s I got a slew of acronyms thrown at me and am now digesting it all and hope that at the next meeting I can show up with my own home brew synth.

So yeah, it was a great event, I highly recommend checking out future synths meet ups hosted at Southtown Vinyl.

And yes, as you might have guessed, since I am a vinyl junky and supporter of local music I did find an album I couldn’t leave without, Central Texas rap trio Third Root. Having had Marco Cervantes, a member of Third Root aka Mexican Step Grandfather give presentations to my students about Mexican American studies and hip hop, it’s amazing to be able to purchase their music on vinyl.  Good times for sure!

If you know of other cool new media events happening drop us a line and we can try to make our way out.

-joey lopez phd