working groups

Working groups were collaborative research projects which focused on one theme for the semester (or the year). The first meeting for each working group was a brainstorming session where students collaboratively decided how to move forward on the project. Groups then met for about 45 hours over the course of the semester to research, explore, create & build.

Analog Cultures

(with Krista Caballero) Everything is “retro” – – but do you know what a slide projector is? Have you ever held a piece of film? We are going ‘back in time’ to re-imagine how we use our ‘digital’ tools. We will be creating and using our own cameras, experimenting with polaroids, 35mm photography, the dark room,and 8mm film, while exploring the relationship of analog to digital. Fall semester will focus on still images and Spring semester will incorporate moving images.

Creating Interactive Environments

(with Quint Gregory) In a space in which visualization has primacy, in which a 22′ x 9′ curved wall dissolves into imagined worlds, spaces and art that, through their sheer scale, overwhelm our senses, wouldn’t it be amazing to extend that world into our own and our own into it? The Kinect sensor for Xbox holds great promise as a device to make the viewer a controller. However, what would happen if not one sensor but two were positioned in such a way to capture the entire space of the physical room? DCCers consider this an invitation to take up the challenge of solving the challenge of building an interface between the human body and 3 dimensional software for the Collaboratory.

Games and Play

This working group explores critical concepts in games and play, beginning with a critical analysis of games and free play (from card and board, to legos and dolls, to computer and console). Key questions asked: what is fun? How do the rules get subverted? What are house rules and how do they function? How might we change the games we are playing to consider difference? The second half of the semester will be spent brainstorming, creating and test-playing a game of our own.

The Gwydion Project

“Help me find my father.” Posters printed with those words have been appearing in the Los Angeles area along with a faded photo of a mysterious bearded man and a link to a website. The same image has appeared on various social media outlets. The link leads to a blog maintained by Cassandra, a teenage girl whose seemingly normal life is haunted by her father’s absence. Of course, she is not the first to seek an estranged parent through the connectivity of the Internet. However, when she receives her father’s will she realizes that he might still be alive—and the stakes to find him are even higher.

Meanwhile, at the Museum, a new intern by the name of Simon has been developing an original outreach program in the form of a game. When it is released, however, participants find that the tasks involve more than just observing various paintings. After completing these tasks they are led to Simon’s office, where he promotes his website and upcoming book. For some reason they don’t want to trust him, and if they follow the link to his website, they will start to figure out why. As players progress deeper into the story, they uncover the web of mystery linking Cassandra, Simon, and the museum. Come join us as we continue to build and then deploy this game for a local Museum.


This is an in-depth, hands-on approach to digital journalism- including skill building and production processes with a focus on producing across multiple media. During our first meeting a brainstorming session culminated in a semester-long plan to create an interactive user’s guide to the iPad for aspiring journalists. This includes primary research using various apps, considering workflow, pre-production and production, and then developing a digital platform for display and download of the user’s guide.

LUNGS: Pollution Sensor Design

Come design and prototype a pollution sensing kit that detects the presence of chemicals in the (outdoor) air. We will consider everything from what types of chemicals to sense, to how and where we will place the completed sensors. Then we will use this prototype to build and deploy detection kits in and around campus. We will analyze the data collected and use it to better understand not only the spaces where the sensors are placed, but also to find and understand patterns that hopefully will inform government and business practices as well as allow everyday citizens to make informed decisions. One component of this project is to connect the pollution data via SMS messaging for real-time feedback without needing expensive equipment or specialized software. Watch our research as it progresses