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!
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.
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”.
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.
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”
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!
Meet Rose, a programme representative for MA Computer Games: Art and Design. Rose, recently organised a social event for the department which garnered a lot of attention. We sat down to interview Rose about the event and what student’s can continue to look forward to.
Rose stated that “The main theme of the event was dress up and storytelling and a lot of snacks! All students from the masters computing department were invited to come. Students spent their time chatting, sharing stories about their lives as well as cultures and indulged in the chocolate fountain.”
Rose’s motivation for creating the event was to help form a community amongst students that would create a pleasant atmosphere while studying and make lasting connections among themselves.
At the events students were encouraged to play on the switch together, engage with icebreaker activities and in the story telling sessions which combined both worldly and personal stories.
Rose has noted that her most memorable experience from this event was when they all shared their unique life stories as she got to connect with her fellow class mates and computing students better.
“There were a few challenges when organising the event”.
Rose noted, with the most challenging being finding an appropriate place to host the event. However, this logistical challenge was soon resolved.
Rose confessed to us that by creating the event, she had developed new skills. “I would say that I definitely learnt a lot about time management whilst hosting this event. I had to plan accordingly in order for the timing to work well with people’s schedule and I also had to make sure that the pacing of the event was enjoyable.”
Rose’s successful delivery of this event has prompted her to create more gaming and social events for the computing students to participate in in the future. Rose stated;
“I have several ideas for new events such as a group cinema outing, a psychology and board games event and so much more! I am planning to host one event at the end of Easter Term, as well as other events in term three. If anyone would like to get more information about future social events, please either contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.”
We encourage other all computing students to engage in these social events as they are a great way to meet fellow students! You can also join the Goldmsiths’ Student discord and keep up to date with the Computing announcement emails.
Hacksmiths is the tech society at Goldsmiths, University of London that partook in the Global Games Jam. The Global Games Jam is the world’s largest game jam event that brings together thousands of people for a weekend of collaboration and creativity. Each year the Global Games Jam have a set theme and this year’s theme was duality. Students had 48 hours to create games either individually or in pairs on this topic.
We interviewed Omar Tahir, the lead organiser of the event for more information about the event. The full interview can be found below.
The Hacksmiths team worked hard on making sure the event was safe, accessible and welcoming to all abilities. The society encourages students to join their discord and follow their socials for more information about upcoming events.
This blog was written by Eilidh Macdonald, Industry Employability Champion, Department of Computing, Goldsmiths and is intended to encourage students, no matter what stage of their studies, to work on creating an online portfolio.
COVID-19 is already having a huge impact on the graduate recruitment market. One way students can help strengthen their career prospects is to build a really compelling online portfolio of their work. To help students we spoke to alumni, staff and employers to gather some top tips on creating a portfolio to help our Computing students stand out.
An online portfolio is essential for students
“These days an online portfolio is expected by many employers, if you haven’t got one then it could ring alarm bells, perhaps you’re not cutting edge” (Glassdoor)
“An online portfolio is essential for coders and artists. Showreel for animators and VFX artists” (Andy Driver, Aardvark Swift)
“We won’t even read an application if there is no portfolio included”, James Walker, Goodboy Digital
“The ability to view examples of work puts a candidate to the top of the pile”, Jessica Luck, Gradcracker
Some key points to remember:
Many employers now won’t even look at your application if you don’t have an online portfolio
Don’t make your portfolio hard to navigate – people will give up!
Show your passion
Your portfolio needs to reflect the kind of work you are looking for – in terms of skills demonstrated and passions
Provide some context about how you produced this work – how you developed and iterated the work
There is a range of advice below. All of these people work in slightly different fields, so there are some differences according to industry, but also lots of common ground to consider.
James Walker, Managing Director, Goodboy Digital
Goodboy Digital are a team of creatives who blend code, design and interaction to make meaningful experiences. Clients include the BBC, Lego and Sega.
“For us we specialise in visual development so a portfolio for developers is definitely just as key as it is for designers, not only does it show their skills and capabilities, it also communicates passion, proactiveness and autonomy in the areas we most care about too.
We won’t even read an application if there is no portfolio included, so for a smaller independent company such as ourselves it really is essential.
Other things that excite us are:
Prototypes and Experiments in emerging technologies – This can indicate additional value to us if they have explored areas we may not yet have got to ourselves
Collaborative projects mixing disciplines – this shows they are capable at working in teams of other people with differing skill sets and have the drive to get things off the ground as a collective. We are visually focused so look for creative coders who can share an open dialogue with designers too
Contributions to OSS – this is a big yes for us as it shows coding is their passion, not just a job. We look for people that live and breathe the same things we do and fortunately it’s very easy to read this from a person’s portfolio
Finished things – The hardest part of development. Any developer can do the first 50% as it’s the fun bit! Very few have the grit to drive something through to 100% commercially shippable standards as it’s really, really hard – evidence of this is impressive. On the flipside portfolios full of half-finished ventures is a warning!
Games – developing a game is hard and requires a broad range of knowledge and skills to accomplish. For us these show off creative code capabilities more than anything else
Sumit Paul-Choudhury, writer, technologist, entrepreneur & Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths
Between 2011 & 2017 Sumit edited the New Scientist, the world’s most popular science weekly. At Goldsmiths he is exploring the commercial, scientific and recreational applications of creative computing. He is approaching online portfolios from the point of view of someone commissioning art for commercial purposes.
“Two points that might be worth making – the first being that New Scientist might not sound like an obvious market, but we actually commissioned a great deal of art and photography – and because the subject matter often defies literal depiction (you can’t draw dark matter, or consciousness) but also needs to be precise, it made for challenging briefs.
The other thing is that is that I would not want anyone to think I’m unaware that people have lots of different reasons for creating online portfolios, and lots of different impacts they might want to make. If you’re trying to get hired to make whizzy websites, then of course you might want a clever navigational system or something.
Re. portfolios, there are a few initial thoughts from the point of view of someone commissioning art for very straightforwardly commercial purposes
People in my (former) industry are often working at speed. Don’t make your portfolio hard to navigate: I am more likely to move on than to spend more than 10 seconds figuring out how to browse your portfolio. If it breaks in my browser, it’s a non-starter
Present yourself, not just the work. That doesn’t (necessarily) mean your biography, but the kinds of things you like to work on, a suggestion of your approach. etc. (Be honest. Some people want lots of collaboration and discussion, some want to fire off a request and forget about it until it’s due. Don’t assume one or the other.) That’s often useful because –
Presenting yourself as able to do everything has its virtues – for example, where you’re applying for the only creative role at a small firm. But if you’re going to be pitching for individual gigs, it can help to point out what you’re really good at or engaged with, in terms of subject matter or execution. Consider theming your portfolio in a way that makes sense to a commissioner, not according to your own conception of your work (“here is editorial photography I have done”, not “this is my series JUXTAPOSE i-iv”)
Try to provide a bit of information about the circumstances of projects you’ve done, not just the beautiful final work. Consider showing how you developed and iterated a work – your first commissions are an act of faith on the part of the commissioner, so try to give them confidence that you will deliver something appropriate on time and can work with feedback”
Nathaniel Okenwa, graduate of BSc Business Computing last year, now Tech Evangelist at Twilio.
“Having content online is a great way to stand out when you are looking for a job in these times. It’s always good news for an employer if they google your name and see that you have great content and a following online. So, get out there.”
Jessica Luck, Gradcracker
Gradcracker is a careers website for STEM students
“The ability to view examples of work puts a candidate to the top of the pile. Having work of any ability publicly viewable on ‘GitHub’ or ‘BitBucket’ shows the interviewer they know how to use Git and they are applying what they have learnt. Uploading any coursework or hobby projects also gives the interviewer something to talk about with the candidate and backs up what they have said in their CV.
Our employers will mention the coding languages they look out for in an application so if they show off any knowledge of that, it always goes a long way.”
Push, Pop, Repeat is the first pop-up exhibition of this year’s cohort – presenting works from the MA in Computational Arts and the MA in Independent Games and Playable Experience Design. On Wednesday the 22nd of January 2020, more than 350 visitors have had the opportunity to discover more than 130 artworks.
Most students in the programme had no, or very little, programming experience when they joined in October. After only 10 weeks on the course they are already producing high quality interactive pieces, adding computing to their art practice. The exhibition hosted an incredible variety of works produced at the end of the first term, from generative projection-mapped pieces to physical computing installations.
Selecting works amongst more than 130 pieces is an almost impossible task, but the following pieces particularly grabbed the attention of the visitors. This selection also aims at showcasing the diversity of the projects presented during the pop-up.
Amor Serrano by Alesandra Miro Quesada
Interactive installation – Physical Computing 1
Amor Serrano tells the story of domestic violence in the Andes. Two testimonies of survivors have been recorded and translated from Spanish to English and Quechua (native Andean language). This piece pushes the audience to face the epidemic of feminicide happening in Peru and create discourse on this topic.
Technical details: The circuit includes 6 capacitive sensors, each soldered onto a long copper wire braided inside 6 foot long hair extensions. When touching the hair, it triggers different audio tracks. Each of them narrating a testimony of a domestic abuse survivor.
A cartography of the inside out by Jakob Jennerholm Hammar
Poster – Programming for artists and designers
The program draws structures in time, continually growing over a scarce landscape. A fictional world filled with fictional habitats for fictional inhabitants is created. The work tries out ideas of mapping an interiority and turning it inside out to see what it says about it’s exteriority, or the other way around. Some important influences where gathered from cartography and architectural plans and drawings as a way of understanding and visualizing relationality. Others where graphical notation or visual scoring as a way of working with duration and events in time.
Technical details: The artwork is generated by a program written in Processing. Noise functions and pseudo randomness as well as recursion and fractals are some of the techniques used in the generative process. Printed on A2 sized wallpaper material.
Blurring boundaries. Blurred democracy. Two vibrating motors are connected to the word “democracy” written in copper wire. The motors react to sound. Light is reactive to distance. As you walk away, lights turn chaotic. As you get closer, lights turn on completely. The piece was created in reference to the current Chilean revolution (October 2019-present), which main massage of fight is “Until dignity becomes habit” (“Hasta que la dignidad se haga costumbre”). Until today, serious human rights violations had taken place. Sound recording: “No son 30 pesos, son 46 años”, A las Cacerolas, Colectiva 22bits.
Technical details: The piece is a sound-light interactive sculpture, using 2 vibrating motors, a proximity sensor and led strip lights.
Interactive system and performance – Physical Computing 1 + Programming for artists and designers
_chreeb.dampGrass is a choreographic collaboration between a human user and a virtual dancer. Through the use of a specialist controller and a virtual avatar named “_chreeb”, the creative control of the improvised choreography switches between the human and non-human participants.
Technical details: The system for this performance has been made using a Processing sketch connected to an Arduino controller. The controller itself is made of several arcade buttons, LED’s and toggle switches all housed in a cardboard casing
Tantum Duck is a Hand-controlled Audio-Visual Synthesizer. By mixing computer vision, sound synthesis and mathematical visual shapes the goal was to create an instrument that allows the performer to control both audio and visual parameters at the same time. A constant correlation between the audio and visual outputs is implemented to allow the performer to focus on the sonic and visual details of his/her performance without worrying about keeping them harmonic, as they will always be.
Technical details: The system has been realised in openFrameworks, using computer vision and color tracking to identify the controls and using frequency and amplitude modulation (FM and AM) for the sound synthesis. To follow the chaotic nature of the sounds, the visuals are based on the chaotic map Aizawa Attractor. A chaotic map is a system of differential equations whose apparently-random states of disorder and irregularities are governed by deterministic laws that are highly sensitive to initial conditions, meaning that a small change to any of its coefficients, will result in a substantial change in its output.
Automata by Clémence Debaig
Interactive wearable and performance – Physical Computing 1
AUTOMATA is a performance device allowing the dancer to move elements of the outfit by his/her movements. This piece explores the relationship between puppeteer and object, and the transfer of agency between the two. Is the dancer moving to manipulate the objects or is the movement of the objects influencing the dancer. Who is controlling who?
Technical details: The dancer is wearing an accelerometer on the right arm and another one the left leg. The values received on the accelerometers control the movement of 7 servos placed on the outfit, moving mechanical parts. 3 “flowers” and the left shoulder pad are controlled by the right arm. 2 other “flowers” are controlled by the left leg. Particular attention has been put on the analysis of the acceleration values on each axis (X, Y, Z) to determine with one to use and set different thresholds for each servo.
Drawing machines have been explored for a while but it is still a recurring theme to observe the differences in drawing between Robot and Human. Drawing is a way to express one’s humanity. However, would it be possible for robots to express the essence of being a robot through drawing? This project is presented more as an experiment than an artwork, aiming at reflecting on the meaning of what the essence of a robot is and observing the similarities between human and robot.
Technical details: The drawing machine is using an Arduino and a Processing sketch, connected via serial. The Processing sketch extracts vector points from an SVG file and then sends it to the Arduino to define the position of the pen.
The Chicken of Tomorrow is a projection mapping work devoted to chicken. Combining archive video material and the latest research, it tells the brief story of a bird turned into a commodity. The visuals plays with naïve form and bright colours, yolk yellow, egg white and wattle red. They represent our simple attitude towards chicken. The piece begins with a nostalgic clip of children playing with fluffy chicks. According to studies, we now struggle to consider chicken as animals.
Technical details: The work was created in openFrameworks, mixing generative graphics, typography and videos.
Zala is a Year 1, BSc Creative Computing student at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Progressing from the well-established secondary
school routine to a completely new independent and self-initiated university
one, is a rather big change, but so is moving from a town of 100 000 people to
a city with a population 4-times the size of my whole home country. Here is how
I spend an average weekday in my new life.
Establishing a morning routine
Although my days differ due to my varied timetable, having an established morning routine gives them some structure, which I believe is vital to maintain my productivity and motivation. Since this term none of my classes begin before 12 and I live nearly on campus, I do not have to rush to wake up early in the morning and usually wake up around 8 after, hopefully, a good amount of sleep. I put on a jumper and head straight into our flat kitchen to make some breakfast. After changing and stretching a bit, I opt between going to the library or staying at home to catch up with lectures or work on projects.
Lectures, labs, tutorials
Then come the lectures. After spending the majority of the first term learning the fundamentals of computing and programming, we’re now starting to specialise by taking classes such as Generative Drawing, Graphics, Sounds and Signals and developing an independent creative project, which seems like it’s going to challenge us and our way of thinking quite a bit. As we’re just at the start of the new term, I’m not quite sure what’s in store for us for each specific module, although after having the first lecture of Generative drawing, I’m positive it is going to be one of my favourite classes. For a visual person as I am, Graphics sound interesting as well.
Finishing the Day
As most of my classes finish in the late
afternoon, that does not leave me with much time before the evening. On days
when I do have extra time, I might head to the campus gym, attend a society
meeting/social or go to any event that Goldsmiths’ organises and I find
interesting. By the time I get back, my flatmates are in as well and we spend
our evenings eating and chatting in our kitchen, which serves as our main social
space. We also might head to a pub or on occasion a party. I end my day by
reading, watching a movie or talking with friends and family from back home.