(North Carolina State University, Raleigh NC USA Eversion)
April 11, 2019 ADU, Trg Republike Hrvatske 5
11.00 – 11.30
Worlding, and Wonder:
A Rhetorical Approach to “Physical Computing” Projects
David M Rieder is Associate Professor of English and, after his research leave ends, will return to his position as Director of the interdisciplinary Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media PhD program at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in Raleigh, NC, USA. He is also Co-Founding Director of Circuit Research Studio, which is a makerspace/digital humanities workspace for CRDM’s graduate students and faculty. Rieder’s research is at the intersection of digital rhetoric, critical/cultural theory, and multimodal writing studies. His research has been published in journals like Kairos, Enculturation,Present Tense, Itineration, and Computers and Composition Online. His 2017 book, Suasive Iterations: Rhetoric, Writing, and Physical Computing, introduces a 3‑canon approach to rhetorically-engaging, digital interactive projects for the post-PC era. His digital interactive works have been shown at academic conferences and Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum (CAM). Rieder is living in northern Spain on research leave (2018- 2019).
My proposal can be related to one or all three of the following recommended topics: 1) engineering creativity, 2) practice-based research in arts, humanities, and cultural studies, and/or 3) creativity pedagogy and innovative methodologies in education.
My presentation will be divided in two interrelated parts. In the first part, I will describe a rhetorical approach to developing digital interactive projects for the new post-PC, “physical computing” era of popular computing. There are a number of monikers for the new era that include smart computing, pervasive computing, ubiquitous computing, Internet of Things, and everyware. For me, “physical computing” is the generic term for the era. What all of these approaches have in common is that they lead to mixed, hybrid, or everted realities. Compared to the personal computing (PC) era that preceded it, during which the virtual realm of the computer was trapped behind the looking glass of the screen and our direct engagements with it limited largely to two sensors (mouse and keyboard), the virtual is now with us. The reason for this is that we can capture so many more different kinds of energies with the wide range of inexpensive sensors currently available. Then we can create novel and artful deviations of the data representative of those energies in software. Finally, we can feed the reformulated data back into an event space, everting audience’s experiences and expectations. To put this in terms that Erin Manning has developed, borrowing from Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy, eversion can be valued as the basis for a new worlding that the user experiences as something that is both theirs and something beyond theirs (a kind of wonderous experience). When we create an everted experience, we change the velocity of the I that engaged initially with the system. I teach this 3‑stage approach to both undergraduate and graduate students at NC State, in project-based classes and seminars about digital rhetoric in the post-PC era. In the second part of my presentation, I will talk about a new digital interactive project on which I’ve started working while living in Spain this year, and related it back to descriptions in the first part. The project is about migrant/refugee boat crisis in the Mediterranean. It goes without saying that it is an incredibly complex issue in Spain as well as across Europe. The technical basis of the project is a wireless network of 20 objects in an event space. Each of those objects has embedded in it an Arduino-based microcontroller with an accelerometer and gyrometer attached. The six dimensions of data from each of those sensors – each of the objects – is the basis for what will be an experience that everts user’s thoughts and feelings about the crisis. Like a spider web, interactions with one object will be ‘felt’ by the others along the network; so, eversion will be based on a complex set of 120 interrelated data points. The figure below is one of several slides that I’ll use to explain the process of discovering the available means of eversion.