As Method: Negotiating the Construction of Syncretic Narrative

Consciousness  Reframed. Shanghai, China. November 20-22, 2015.

The aim of this paper is twofold; first to propose the syncretic narrative as a method; secondly to present a computational model in demonstrating the proposed theoretical framework. This paper examines the syncretic narrative, as a narrative wherein information is produced within the networked model of communication, regarding a single event or set of relational events. It proposes the integration of narratives results in the formation of alternate, corresponding, connecting, and subsequent narratives. Within this process the context of the original sources are not diminished. The syncretic narrative has the potential to navigate and negotiate the construction of narrative as a fluid entity in its intersection and integration of generated information, constructing dynamic threads in the inter-textual narrative which expand, contract, dissipate, start, stop, are cut off, and begin again within generative and iterative constructs. Within this framework, it will present the operation and function of a computational model in demonstrating the syncretic narrative as a method. It will examine the dynamic, non-linear interactions of narrative indices generated from individual events through agent-based modeling.


Capturing Gaddafi: Narrative as System Currency

Fak’ugesi Digital African Arts Conference. Hosted by the University of Witwatersrand Johannesburg, South Africa. December 3, 2014. 

This article explores the construction of narrative through multiple vehicles and its function as currency in systems of representation and communication. Information derived from events and sets of relational events configured through their production and dissemination in the network model of communication challenges the existing theoretical frameworks of narrative construction. This article considers the capture of former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi as a mechanism to examine the role of the network model of communication in the construction of narrative through the lens of cognitive narratology and radical constructivism. In doing so, it considers the event-indexing situation model (EISM) as a possible instrument for enabling a cognitive construction of narrative stemming from event information produced and disseminated within the network model of communication.


Art and Artifacts: Immersive and interactive technology in the preservation and engagement of built cultural heritage

 Alliance for Arts in Research Universities. Hosted by Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. November 7, 2014.

This session, conducted by Diane Derr and Dr. Andrew Petersen, explores a global collaborative project in the visualization of the State of Qatar’s built cultural heritage, which expanded into the integration of interactive and immersive technologies to examine the shifting roles of viewer and participant. This breakout session presents mechanisms of our collaboration and the demonstrative outcomes of our research and will present strategies used to engage participants in the syncretic territory between art and archaeology.


Urban Space and Qatar’s Built Cultural Heritage

International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA). Hosted Zayad University. Dubai, UAE. November 3, 2014.  

In recent years, the territories of creative practice and archeological study have seen a marked increase in collaboration through the integration of immersive and interactive technologies. This unique collaboration between these fields has produced fertile territory for new syncretic forms for research in the perception and experience of information. In 2011, Virginia Commonwealth University‑Qatar’s School of Art, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Department of Islamic Archeology and the Qatar Museum Authority embarked on a collaborative project in the visualization of the State of Qatar’s built cultural heritage. The principal aim of this project, enTitle:d Visualizing Qatar’s Past, was to build a visual record of Qatar’s archeological and heritage sites and to develop new methods of recording and analysis based on the use of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) photography, video and infrared imaging. The project was funded by a Qatar National Priorities Research Grant (NPRP). This collaboration subsequently expanded into the integration of interactive and immersive technologies to examine the shifting the roles of viewer and participant in the perception and experience of built cultural heritage. In 2014, we produced an exhibition, enTitle:d Lines in the Sand examining and exploring various levels of engagement in Qatar’s built heritage through a series of interactive technologies. These seven projects incorporated gesture, game and augmented reality. The exhibition took place in the VCUQatar Gallery. Through visualization and  interaction enabled through emergent technologies, we are able to engage and understand Qatar’s the urban spaces of the past. The result of which produced insights into Qatar’s cultural identity within the interconnected global landscape. This paper presents the research findings to date generated from both Visualizing Qatar’s Past and the exhibition Lines in the Sand as well as the trajectory of continued development of the project.

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Field and flow: netting the nature of Nature

Roundtable discussion, CAC4, 4th Computer Art Congress. Hosted by Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. September 3, 2014.


Embedded Function: Creative Computing within Interdisciplinary Practice

Presentation at the 'Exploring the Definition and Practice of Design Education' Symposium. Hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University-Qatar, Doha, Qatar. May 18, 2014.

As disciplinary divides within academia continue to become increasingly malleable creative computing is playing a unique role in the cultivation of interdisciplinary collaborations in practice and research. Creative computing is an essential tool in contemporary practice and more importantly has the embedded function of furthering interdisciplinary practice between and within the traditionally isolated disciplines of the arts, the humanities and the sciences. This presentation will explore the role of creative computing at VCUQatar and the way in which it has proactively positioned itself at the crossroads of art and design, technology, and research to engage in interdisciplinary collaborations within the diverse spectrum of disciplines at Hamid Bin Khalifa University in Doha, Qatar.


Syncretic narrative: Data in flux

XARTS: From the Virtual to the Real. Hosted by University of Aegean. Syros, Greece. July 20, 2013.

 The syncretic narrative presents a unique opportunity for enabling a contrapuntal reading and analysis of information when produced through the networked model of communication. The various iterations of the syncretic narrative can be determined and outlined through a variety of diverse practices. This paper will address and propose an outline of attributes that would potentially demonstrate the construction of syncretic narrative within creative practice. 


International Collaborative Arts: Conversations on Practice, Research, and Education

Panel Chair, College Art Association Annual Conference. New York, New York. February 13, 2013.

This session is considering collaborative practices spanning the vast terrains of research, practice, and education within the global landscape. During the past decade the fields of art and design have witnessed the prominence of collaborative practices embedded in the global landscape increase significantly. Numerous terminal degree programs in the creative arts routinely integrate international research and educational collaborations. Curators, artists and designers are constructing hybrids of these traditional practices through international collaborations. In 1996 Nicolas Bourriaud coined the phrase ‘relational aesthetics’, describing the ‘interhuman sphere: relationships between people, communities, individuals, groups, social networks, interactivity’ as prevalent in artists working within the international scene. Whether viewed as symptomatic of developing communication technologies or reflective of the changing political and economic climate, these practices have impacted the creative use of media, information and the participatory exchange of information. This session is comprised of three panelists addressing the complex and multifaceted collaborative practices in research, practice or education within our global landscape.


A Contrapuntal Reading of Data Journalism

Behind the Image and Beyond.  Hosted by the German University of Cairo. Cairo, Egypt. April 1, 2013. 


Morphological Mapping of the Arab Spring through an Ecological Lens


MutaMorphosis II: Tribute to Uncertainty, CIANT International Center for Art and New Technology. Prague, Czech Republic. December 6, 2013. 


Fictionalizing the Figuration: (In) Consideration of the Arab Spring’s Narrative Matrix

Technoetic Telos: Art, Myth and Media, Ionion Centre for arts and Culture. Kefelonia, Greece. May 2, 2012.


Economy of the Moving Image

Presence in the Mindfield: Art, Identity and the Technology of Transformation, Centro Cultural De Belem. Hosted by University of Oporto and University of Aveiro. Lisbon, Portugal. December 1, 2011


Constructed: Fictional Realisms

New Narrative IV: Image and Spectacle. Hosted by University of Toronto. Ontario, Canada. May 6, 2011. 


Media Literacy and Design Pedagogy

Design Principles and Practices. Hosted by Sapienza University of Rome. Rome, Italy. February 4, 2011. 


Media Literacy in the Art and Design Curriculum

International Perspectives in Art and Design Pedagogy. Hosted by Leeds College of Art. Leeds, United Kingdom. October 8, 2010. 

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Toward an Operational Dialogue

Interpolating the White Tower, Are Place and Material Valid in a Contemporary Art Education?, Mid-America College Art Association Conference. Hosted by University in Indianapolis. Indianapolis, Indiana. October 17, 2008.


In the Act of Watching

The Art of a Practice, Southeastern Regional College Art Association Conference. New Orleans, Louisiana. September 25, 2008.