💃 “STRINGS” by ClĂ©mence Debaig

Last week ClĂ©mence Debaig brought her latest performance—STRINGS—to the Escapade Escape Arcade, a creative exhibition featuring experimental games and alternative controllers.

Clémence Debaig performing STRINGS

STRINGS is an interactive performance inviting the audience to control the movements of the dancer through networked wearables. It explores themes of agency, control and bodily autonomy. And it was presented in person in London for the first time!

Clémence Debaig performing STRINGS

The idea was born as a final project for Physical Computing 2, a taught module strongly connected to the MA Computational Arts, which explores creative ways to use electronics for alternative controllers, installations and performances.

At the time, Clémence was still a student on the course, and had performed STRINGS online due to the pandemic. Now Lecturer & Senior Research Assistant at Goldsmiths, Clémence Debaig is also running her own dance company called Unwired Dance Theatre.

Besides STRINGS, The Escapade Escape Arcade features many other interesting installations and playable experiences, including an escape the room game titled “The Keeper and The Fungus Among Us”, and a rather unusually shaped pool table.

One of the many games playable at the Escapade Escape Arcade

🎓 Graduation Ceremony: July 2022

Last week hundreds of students from the Department of Computing attended their graduation ceremony. This year the event took place at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, in the very heart of Westminster.

The ceremony was presided by Dinah Caine CBE, the Chair of Council, who opened with a passionate speech about the achievements students have accomplished.

Students celebrating after their graduation ceremony

This ceremony has been an opportunity for the students to celebrate their academic success along with their families. And as Professor Frances Corner OBE highlighted in her opening speech, it is made much more significant by the many challenges they have faced during their journey: from COVID to the recent war in Ukraine.

The Department of Computing was represented on stage by Dr Edward Anstead (BSc Computer Science), Fede Fasce (MA Independent Games & Playable Experience Design) and Alan Zucconi (Director of Postgraduate Studies, MA/MSc Computer Games). Dr Jennifer George, as Head of Department, had the privilege of inviting the students on stage one by one.

From left to right: Alan Zucconi, Imogen Burman, Dr Edward Anstead, Dr Jennifer George (Head of Computing), Fede Fasce

Imogen Burman, the Events Manager for the Department of Music, acted as College Bedel, guiding the staff through the crowd and holding the ceremonial mace.

«I adore graduation ceremonies—this is the reason why we are in education, to be with the students on their journey, and, like fledgling birds, they are then released into the world.

I always find it a wonderful occasion, especially this year where we celebrate those graduands who have struggled through the pandemic finally being awarded their degree, it is a great honour to bear witness to their achievements.»

— Imogen Burman, Events Manager & College Bedel

The entire event was also live streamed, for all the ones who unfortunately could not attend.

A student posing after their graduation ceremony

«It was a pleasure to join the graduation party and share in our graduates successes. This year’s ceremony was an especially joyous occasion as it included students from the classes 2021 and 2022 able to collect their degrees in person after the pandemic.»

— Dr Edward Anstead, BSc Computer Science

For many of you reading, this is not just the end of a long journey, but also the start of a new chapter. If you are coming to the end of your time at Goldsmiths, remember you can stay in touch by joining our alumni community.

📚 “Resisting AI”: Dan McQuillan

Dr Dan McQuillan, Lecturer in Creative & Social Computing, recently published a new book: “Resisting AI—An Anti-fascist Approach to Artificial Intelligence“.

The cover of “Resisting AI”

In the book, Dan argues that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is everywhere, yet it causes damage to society in ways that can’t be fixed. Instead of helping to address our current crises, AI causes divisions that limit people’s life chances, and even suggests fascistic solutions to social problems. This book provides an analysis of AI’s deep learning technology and its political effects and traces the ways that it resonates with contemporary political and social currents, from global austerity to the rise of the far right.

A 3D scan of Dr Dan McQuillan

“Resisting AI” argues that AI is harmful by nature and has already become a kind of algorithmic violence. Not only that, but its application to crises like austerity and climate change moves the needle quickly to far right and even fascistic solutions. The book argues for a different approach based on a bottom up politics of people’s councils that can not only resist AI but radically restructure it. The only acceptable future for advanced computation is to support socially useful production and the common good.

«The effect of AI on work & social life isn’t the alleviation of routine labour but the amplification of precarity. Our most advanced computation helps turn the clock back on 100 years of hard won rights & protections.»

— Dr Dan McQuillan, Twitter

With “Resisting AI”, Dr Dan McQuillan calls for us to resist AI as we know it and restructure it by prioritising the common good over algorithmic optimisation. He sets out an anti-fascist approach to AI that replaces exclusions with caring, proposes people’s councils as a way to restructure AI through mutual aid and outlines new mechanisms that would adapt to changing times by supporting collective freedom.

«AI advocates talk about Artificial General Intelligence without acknowledging its roots in Victorian eugenics. Meanwhile, real world deep learning is entangled with operations that come to decide who’s life is disposable.»

— Dr Dan McQuillan, Twitter

Academically rigorous, yet accessible to a socially engaged readership, this unique book will be of interest to all who wish to challenge the social logic of AI by reasserting the importance of the common good.

Dan developed his ideas after a lifetime spent studying how technology impacts impacts our lives from a social and ethical point of view. After a degree in Physics from Oxford and a PhD in Experimental Particle Physics from Imperial College London, his career focused on supporting and advocating for people’s right.

  • You can follow Dr Dan McQuillan on Twitter.
  • Resisting AI“, published by Bristol University Press, is available both in digital and physical form.

đŸ—Łïž “Moments Spent with Others” In Conversation with Rachel Falconer

Last week the digital art house GAZELL.iO inaugurated Brendan Dawes’ solo show titled “Moments Spent with Others“. The exhibition explores the beauty behind moments that may initially seem insignificant and how the concept of time and space is connected to the captivating feeling of interacting with others.

For the occasion, Rachel Falconer (independent networked curator and researcher and Head of Digital Arts Computing here at Goldsmiths) joined Brendan Dawes for a very open conversation. This special talk contextualises the artist’s show, sharing space around iterative memory networks, the resistance and agency of galleries in the age of NFT culture and the refusal of algorithmic aesthetic regimes. 

Moments Spent with Others consists of algorithmic visuals derived from mundane moments that somehow stick to one’s memory. After the recent lockdown period, human interaction became more precious as we grew used to detaching ourselves from other people. From personal yet universally relatable moments like sitting on a park bench in Soho, New York, whilst eating a slice of pizza, to people-watching in a bustling hub, Dawes embraces these moments by recreating them into datasets algorithms and data visualisations. Dawes draws much of his inspiration from popular culture and nature, often revolving his work around the concept of time and memory – and how these can intertwine. These analytical explorations have been an ongoing theme over Dawes’ career, as he questions our understanding of the surrounding world.

The AI algorithmic visuals will be presented in a unique, site-specific way to recreate the fleeting nature of memories. A new series of NFTs will accompany the exhibition.

If you are interested in the field of digital art, consider joining the BSc Digital Arts Computing programme at Goldsmiths.

Develop:Brighton

Every year the Department of Computing is organising field trips to various art and games-related events. This week it was Develop:Brighton, the largest UK-based event for game developers.

As always, Goldsmiths had a strong presence, with a small delegation of staff and students from various programmes!

MA/MSc Computer Games & MA Indie Games

  • Professor William Latham
  • Fede Fasce
  • Richard Leinfellner
  • Dr Lance Putnam
  • Gorm Lai

MA/MSc Virtual & Augmented Reality

  • Dr Sylvia Xueni Pan
  • Tara Collingwoode-Williams
Dr Sylvia Xueni Pan & Professor William Latham were attending in style

The biggest Develop yet! Great bumping into so many people from when I was in consoles games development over twenty years ago!  The message on the floor that I heard again and again is that there is currently a massive skills shortage in the UK Games Industry which bodes well for our games students and Alumni. Great seeing our star Goldsmiths PhD Students Gorm and Tara present to full rooms! – Professor William Latham

Several students were also volunteering. If you are a student yourself, this is a great opportunity to attend the event for free and establish a solid networking base!

Our students volunteering at Develop:Brighton

Talks!

Two of our fellow scholars also had a chance to talk about their research.

Tara Collingwoode-Williams attending Develop:Brighton

Tara Collingwoode-Williams talked about the exciting world of research on Virtual Humans, and how they have been utilized for training and collaboration in VR. Her talk, “Get Immersed! Virtual Humans in Training and Collaboration in Virtual Reality“, was part of the “Coding” and “Art” tracks.

People attending Gorm Lai’s talk

Gorm Lai, PhD Candidate in the IGGI Programme and indie veteran gave a talk July titled “AI Supported Tools for Game Development” as part of the “Coding” track.

Gorm Lai presenting his research

We are looking forward to attend Develop:Brighton next year. And if you see any of us, please do not hesitate to say hello! 👋

PHD STUDENT HAS PAPER ACCEPTED IN CHI CONFERENCE

The Goldsmiths computing department has recently received wonderful news that PhD student Timea Farakas had her paper submitted and accepted in the CHI Conference.

Pronounced ‘kai’, the CHI conference is a place where researchers and practitioners gather from across the world to discuss the latest in interactive technology and is generally considered the most prestigious in the field of human-computer interaction.

You can watch the full interview where Timea discusses her research below.

Timea is in her fourth year of her PhD programme and is enrolled on the IGI Programme Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence (IGGI) where students from partnering universities can study, learn and interact with each other.

Timea’s research focusses on player experience and how board game players interact with technologies implemented on these board games. Examples of these type of board games are the ones on apps. Timea’s accepted paper tries to understand players to create more interactive design forms. The paper is titled

“The Effects of a Soundtrack on Board Game Player Experience”.

In CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’22), April 29- May 5, 2022, New Orleans, LA, USA”

Timea’s unique study also includes research conducted during lockdown which yielded unique results. The university is incredibly proud of the achievements of Timea and would like to say a big congratulations to her!

Computing alumni’s have research papers accepted at the ieee 2022 conference

The Goldsmiths computing department has recently received wonderful news from 3 previous MA students who have had their research papers accepted in the IEEE 2022 Conference

What is the IEEE?

IEEE stands for International Conference on Computational Intelligence and Virtual Environments for Measurement Systems and Applications. The organisation boasts nearly 2,000 annual conferences and events worldwide for all of the technical fields of interest within IEEE.

The organisation annually allows new submissions of research projects,  articles and more to be submitted for publication followed by a paper-selection process and are peer reviewed before they are published. 

Due to the pandemic, the conference wasn’t held in New Zealand as previous advertised. The event was instead held via a unique virtual experience.

Video of the virtual IEEE conference

3 Goldsmiths Alumni’s had the pleasure of attending the event, share their experience of it and their excitement when finding out that their paper’s were accepted in this year’s intake.

Meet Sasha Jiang who recently graduated from the MA/MSc Virtual and Augmented Reality at Goldsmiths. She now works in an Ad agency as a junior designer where she explores how to include VR work into advertising. Her accepted poster in the IEEE was titled “Rereading the Narrative Paradox for Virtual Reality Theatre – collaboration with Prof Jonny Freeman, Goldsmiths Psychology”.

Alumni Interview with Sasha Jiang

Meet Celine Yu who recently graduated from the MA/MSc Virtual and Augmented Reality at Goldsmiths. With a background in film and TV, Celine was drawn to explore how VR and AR could affect different ways of story telling. Her accepted poster in the IEEE was titled “A validation study to trigger nicotine craving in virtual reality” in collaboration with Prof Daniel Freeman, Oxford University.

Alumni Interview with Celine Yu

Meet Fang Ma who recently graduated from the MA/MSc Virtual and Augmented Reality at Goldsmiths. Fang’s interest in VR and AR explores avatar fidelity and making the whole VR experience more immersive. Her accepted poster in the IEEE was titled “Visual Fidelity Effects on Expressive Self-avatar in Virtual Reality: First Impressions Matter”

Alumni Interview with Fang Ma

What happens after?

Now that the papers have been accepted they will be peer reviewed and then published by the IEEE. This is a big ordeal for our Alumni students as less than 10 papers per conference are accepted.

The university is incredibly proud of the achievements of our Alumni students and would like to say a big congratulations to all those involved!

Creativity, independence and learning by doing.