Digital Projects

Ongoing Projects


title screen background 3 Buypartisan is a video game that illustrates the impact of money on elections. Players take on the role of political parties in competition to win an election in an imaginary nation. The dynamic of the game is such that it gradually illustrates the corrupting influence of unregulated money on the democratic process.


Critical Wearable Computing


Lilypad This project utilizes research based design methodologies to explore the capacity of current technology to explore and express a broader horizon of human subjectivity. Rather than developing a consumer driven deliverable device, we instead intend investigate the area of wearable computing devices and self-tracking utilizing approaches variously referred to as “adversarial design” or “critical making” (DiSalvo, Hertz, Paulos).


“Economusic: Keeping Score” is a performance concept by Larry Bogad which he has performed live in New York, Helsinki, Barcelona, Buffalo, San Francsico (at SFMOMA and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts), and on the UC Davis campus.  In this piece, economic data is converted into music and performed with a great deal of audience participation.

Frack the Game

frack_title_screen A game about the environmental and sociopolitical implications of fracking.

Intangible Body

Intangible Body This project offers an opportunity to connect research on movement for virtual environments with practices of gesture, media, and gender in the Muslim world. Working with a dancer who performs under an abbreviated name in order to avoid state surveillance, the project draws parallels between sousveillance and the anonymity produced via the motion capture process and between veiling as a gendered and policed activity and “veiling” as a technocultural practice of character animation.


harrymeKanimatorck-e1395793009769 Mekanimator is a framework that makes animating digital characters easy. It runs a Windows-based web server to expose information gathered and processed by the Microsoft Kinect. Because client programs are written in Unity, the data can be accessed on any supported development platform. Character motion and audio can be mapped onto 3D models for use in various applications, including low-cost motion capture for games, theatrical karaoke, and live remote avatar control.


Multi-User VR Environment

The ModLab hosts a hybrid multi-user VR environment. It consists of a front-projected stereoscopic 14’x9′ screen and a NaturalPoint OptiTrack optical tracking system, as well as one or more head-mounted displays (currently Oculus Rift DK1). System developed by Oliver Kreylos

Performative Speech Analysis

 poetryperformance This project adapts and improves pitch-tracking tools—commonly used by linguists to analyze the fundamental frequency of the human voice and intonation patterns—in order to refine methodologies and terminology used by humanities scholars concerned with sound and performance. The first phase will develop a simple, user-friendly interface for pitch-tracking, drawing on two open-source software programs, Praat and ARLO (Adaptive Recognition with Layered Optimization). These tools will then enable new empirical research on recordings of individual performances, as well as distant listening projects (analogous to distant reading), using machine learning on the “big data” of audio archives to study trends in performance and oratory.

Play the Knave

This project uses our Mekanimator platform to enhance understanding of Shakespeare in performance. Play the Knave is a Kinect-enabled game for Windows that offers players an immersive, embodied experience of staging Shakespeare. We believe that interactive, gamified engagement with theatrical production not only stimulates audience interest but also helps spectators build the competencies required for theatergoing. The game is designed for theater installations, K-12 education, and literary entertainment.


 Archived Projects

Scoring Beckett (2014)

Scoring-Beckett_John-Zibell Scoring Beckett is a multimedia, mixed-reality performance project developed by John Zibell in collaboration with Oliver Kreylos, featuring Elena Atanasiu, Nina Galin, Anna Kritikos, Emelie Mahdavian, Caro Novella, Linda Noveroske, Wendy Schmidt, and Juan Hernando Vazquez. The project is an inquiry into listening practices and methods of playing improvisational theatrical scores, engaging with the work of Samuel Beckett. Scoring Beckett uses various virtual reality environments to examine presence and exhaustion. The performers and researchers in Scoring Beckett use improvisational theatre techniques built from Beckett’s plays alongside motion capture devices, 3D imaging technology, and visualization tools designed for creation and manipulation of large data sets to reveal alternative ways of reading (and performing) Beckett.


Going to the Movies in Paris in the 1930s (2011)

colin-in-cave This multi-platform project about cultures of film spectatorship in 1930s Paris currently exists as a VRUI 3D CAVE experience and in Second Life, on the Humanities Innovation Lab island. [SLURL teleport link]. Developed by Eric Smoodin, Joseph Dumit, Caren Kaplan, Ingrid Lagos, Josef Nguyen, Oliver Kreylos, and Colin Milburn.


Precision Targets (2010)

precisiontargets3 Developed by Caren Kaplan and Erik Loyer, Precision Targets is a multimedia study of GPS in the current era of seemingly endless war. It asks how “dual-use” technologies blur the distinction between military and civilian spheres. What are our expectations and assumptions about information technologies? How can we say “no” to war when we say “yes” to militarization every single day? Precision Targets is designed to raise these questions and others by moving through the multimedia piece to engage the animated possibilities of GPS in everyday life. Developed by Caren Kaplan and Erik Loyer,


freak! (2009)

freak! is a ludic means for local residents of a given neighborhood to participate in the work of environmental health research. Inspired by 1990s virtual pets, freak! is a Nintendo DS handheld gaming device that has been modified and instrumented with various sensors to detect different kinds of pollution: air pollution, electromagnetic radiation, and noise pollution. Developed by Josef Nguyen