Future Cinema

Course Site for Future Cinema 1 and Future Cinema 2: Applied Theory at York University, Canada

Questions from Wednesday’s Class / Stanford Study on VR and Empathy

Hello Everyone,

I think most of my points were covered in the discussion, but here are questions from Wednesday.  Also, below is an interesting article about a Stanford study on VR and empathy.

1. In Chapter Five (pg. 138), Lukas describes immersive spaces as evoking the emotions of immersion, which are essentially qualities of awe, the sense of the epic, a sense of completeness, and feelings of imagination.  One might initially believe that by illuminating these qualities, Lukas will also evoke a description of the sublime (at least in a Kantian sense), but seems to stop short of discussing experiences that may be overwhelming and/or terrifying in nature.  If this is true, is only eliciting such tempered emotive states stunting participants from a truly memorable experience?  This is rather subjective from person-to-person, but I found myself questioning how engaged such described experiences were.

2. I found the concept of Sleep No More quite fascinating, notably due to its abandonment of language.  To some extent, this reminded me somewhat of John Cage’s 4’33, which was essentially articulated to be four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence, but in reality, the point was to drawn attend to the impossibility of silence and illuminate the vast array of ambient sound in a given location.  Given that Sleep No More removes the linguistic element so fundamental to theatrical performance, do we gain similar insights that would be missed in a traditional setting?

3. The success of Sleep No More also led to other related productions, notably one that took place in China in 2016.  In both instances, the production was able to make use of large, aesthetically memorable spaces to carry out the performances.  If we were to transplant such a performance in a smaller and/or less ‘spectactular’ space, would the performative aspect still work?  If so, how important is the space/venue to an experience such as this one?

4. I found Domination Justice, A.I., and Escape from the Matrix of Domination interesting, and it reminded me of an article I recently read by Benjamin Singer, titled From the Medical Gaze to Sublime Mutations: The Ethics of (Re)Viewing Non-Normative Images, which explored ways to challenge systematic methods of gender binary-based discrimination through educating with a rhizomatic array of vastly diverse images.  Such initiatives hold great promise in my opinion, but can they somehow be utilized to reach a mass audience?


Fri, October 19 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Casey

Wisdom and A.I.

Hello everyone!
The Ethics Center at the UofT is holding an event on Oct 30th entitled: WHY THE CREATION OF A.I. REQUIRES THE CULTIVATION OF WISDOM ON OUR PART


Thought y’all might find it relevant :)

Fri, October 19 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Lia

Some More Immersive Worlds Questions

Hi all,

Really enjoyed the discussion today. Got me thinking about AI and its relationship with future cinemas in a way that I hadn’t before. Here are my Q’s:

1. Lukas writes that cinematic ideas like mise-en-scene and cutting can be of use when conceptualizing immersive worlds. What are some other filmic techniques that might be applicable when designing spaces?

2. Per Lukas, the best museums and theme parks are “dream-like” and achieve suspension of disbelief. Do you agree? Or can these spaces be better used for purposes other than simple escapism?

3. Lukas discusses spaces that can tell stories, albeit usually linear ones. Can you imagine a “re-playable” venue or space, one that tells a different story every time you visit it? What might be the possibilities of such a design philosophy?

4. Lukas says that fakery should be “avoided at all costs”. Are there any benefits to using fakery deliberately or as a theme within a space? Might this concept of fakery be artistically useful?


Wed, October 17 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Andre

Possible Questions for Immersive Worlds

Aaron’s use of “scary” as a geo-tag is excellent. This week’s questions are a little less in depth than I would’ve liked. My apologies. Regardless, feast your eyes down below.

1.) Lucas brings up considerations in relation to “theming,” and the ways in which theme is used to solidify concepts. However, as time progresses certain themes become “outdated,” in more ways than one. Specifically, the example Lukas brings about is Las Vegas’ detheming, wherein certain themes have been essentially scrapped in-favor of a more universal and bland theme. This is not limited to Las Vegas; however, as I can clearly point to several examples from West Edmonton Mall, who notably shifted away from its “New Orleans Nightlife Theme,” for a series of restaurants and bars. With all of that in mind, I have several smaller questions. One, is the future of design destined to be bland? Two, in what ways does rebranding and detheming actual advance modern design principles? Three, is the theme of no theme as immersive as any well-conceived and designed theme? Four, if not, could it ever be?

1a.) In what ways do concept of theming carry over into single-channel and commercial cinema forms? How have these concepts helped, and hindered cinema in the past, present, and possible futures?

2.) What is the most immersive experience you have ever had at a place or event? Why do you believe it immersed you, and do you believe these principals were documented in Lukas’ work?

3.) Think about the last time you went to an immersive space. Were you a camper, a mainstream user, or a hardcore user? How did that space engage with your level of engagement?

4.) Lukas places a lot of emphasis on the importance of story in regards to creating immersive spaces. How has this been previously seen in relation to other works and speakers from class such as Illya Szilak’s Queerskins project?

Wed, October 17 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Thomas

4 questions – Oct. 17 – World Building

Hi all,

I really appreciated all the careful comments and questions. I echo Lee’s statement that critique doesn’t necessarily mean pessimism or a lack of enthusiasm. These technologies are not going to go away, and I think a critical engagement, while also being giddy about their potentials, is essential.

Looking forward to this week’s class! Here are my questions:

1. In “Design Justice, A.I., and Escape from the Matrix of Domination,” Sasha Costanza-Chock, in retelling their experience going through airport security as a femme-presenting transexual, makes clear that immersive worlds, such as the “security theatre” stage of the airport, are not only virtual, but are various real-world sites where strata of power are utilized and normalized. Thinking of games like “Papers Please,” and also Scott Lucas’s insistence that a 1:1 copy of the world (and the immersion that accompanies it) is impossible, in what ways can designers (and educators) produce their own virtual worlds that draw attention back to the real world? While Scott, most commonly, flags virtual worlds as places to enter into in order to escape from “real-world” responsibilities, what can we do about virtual worlds, like airport security, where the world is put upon its occupants and there is “no escape” when they are immersed within it?

2. The National Post, in promoting the Frankenstein AI project gushes that it is “making AI kinder and therefore more human”; building on this, an audience member of the Frankenstein AI project in praising the project, states that the AI was a way to learn more about her human compatriots attending with her, and that it in fact gave her greater insight into them then she would have had on her own. Do you think that AI, and the immersive worlds created by humans/AI and populated by AI and humans, is meant to be a insight-revealing mirror to its players/audience? By reflecting people back at them selves, what are the positives? Negatives?

There has been a long history of designers trying to make machines more “human,” with the benchmark for AI being the being equivalent to humans. What do you think are some of the positives in trying to make an AI more human? What are some of its drawbacks?

3. Projects like Cell as City, and the mandate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, promote themselves as generating models and virtual worlds that are “a platform for visionary and predictive imagination”. What are the strengths of such virtual world creations and large scale simulations? What sorts of things are they trying to predict or prototype? What might they be good at predicting? What are some of the traps of building and using “predicting machines” and/or “simulating machines”?

4. Joy Buolamwini, in conversation with Constanza-Chock’s arguments, warns of the dangers of what she calls the “coded gaze,” where the inherent unconscious and conscious biases of programmers (often built on common code libraries used and reused over many years) are perpetuated in ways that harm, most often, anyone who is not a while male. What might be some effective ways to resist “Universalist design principles” (as Constanza-Chock calls them)? How might code and programming begin to become more intersectional?

Tue, October 16 2018 » Future Cinema, Web 2.0, scary, software, surveillance » No Comments » Author: Aaron

Questions From ”Augmented Human”

Hey All,

I hope the reading week has been relaxing/productive (whichever is more needed).

Here were my questions from Helen’s book – most of them dealing with the societal issues that these technologies could bring about:

1) Papagiannis mentions future applications of augmented reality in which the functions of the body are extended through technology, allowing for sensing beyond the scope of current biological ability. Advancements in tech along these lines could lead to greater divides in class and quality of life due to access to these technologies and the access to information only available to those with extended perception via the technology. What are the ethical and political repercussions of introducing body augmentation into the public sphere?

2) To what extent can society adopt AR into everyday life given the risk of digital divide? Do already prevalent technologies like smartphones refute this as a valid concern?

3) How will privacy & content rights concerns be addressed with the proliferation of AR vision technologies that will undoubtedly contain recording and monitoring functionality?

4) How much autonomy will services like Eterni.me be granted? Where will creators of these technologies and users collectively draw the line in terms of digital representation and actions taken on our behalf by AI/machine learning platforms?

Wed, October 10 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Rory Hoy

Questions for Augmented Human

Hello hello,

Below are my questions from last week.

Hope everyone’s having a good reading week!

Also, I just wanted to pick up on a couple points that came up in class:

- Yes I do feel excited about lots of the possibilities. Criticism is not necessarily meant as pessimism. It came up a bunch last class that we as a class were sitting more on the side of critique than enthusiasm… but I am definitely enthusiastic, and I believe others are as well. That said, some important themes continue to emerge in our discussions. More on that below.

- To the question that came up in class, what would I/we need in order to embrace the endless tech possibilities that came up in Augmented Human… I think the major theme that is coming up for me, not just in this one reading but across the readings, is the need for a more nuanced analysis when looking at the possibilities. I love the visionary thinking in these readings, but for me, when that thinking lifts up the possibilities without grounding itself in socio-political realities, it leaves me constantly asking questions. What about the impacts of these inventions? Who is in the room dreaming these things (and by extension who isn’t)? Who gets access to the tech (and who doesn’t)? What communities get displaced so that tech dreamers can set up their operations and research companies? How much waste is all this producing and what are the impacts environmentally to develop these creations? How will this tech contribute to ongoing political struggles/movements/resistance, and who/what gets priortized in those contributions? etc etc etc. So, for me, these questions need to be integrated. These questions need at least to be allowed to be published and be part of the techno-dreaming-landscape in order for me to more fully feel excited about things. If that makes sense.

Just a couple thoughts. Questions from last week below.



Questions from Augmented Human

1. General Question:

There is something very utopic about the way Papagiannis explores the variety of possibilities for AR. At each turn I was curious about the critiques of future AR potentials. About who and how decisions will get made. About the political realities of our current and historical climates, and how these will or won’t inform the kinds of research that are being conducted and will be pursued in the future.

  • I’m wondering if others shared these questions as they were readings and what critiques were emerging for you as readers?

2. “For me as a designer of interaction whose focus is always about the quality of the human experience, I found out very early on that if you want to understand something, you go to the extreme cases and try to understand things at the edges. In nearly all cases, what you learn people need while you’re there will also apply to the general population.” (quoting Buxton)

Further quote: “Buxton pointed me to his “favorite reference,” an article from 1987, “Making Computers Accessible to Disabled People” by Frank Bowe.Bowe wrote, “If options for different users were incorporated into the design of all computers, the lives of millions of disabled individuals could be greatly enhanced.” He referenced the design of buildings as the most familiar concept of accessibility, citing accessible architecture in the form of automatic doors and entrances level with exterior landscaping.” (pg 53)

  • In general, I’ve been finding a lack of discussing access — there are nods to artists having to be part of the creation of content beyond technological possibilities, and nods towards technology providing aid and access for people who are disabled, etc. In general however, there seems to be a lack of analysis that access is essential to how we envision application and design of technology. This quote for me stood out as a moment where someone is suggesting such an approach and analysis that is sorely needed throughout.
  • Wondering what people think about access needs? And along with access I am thinking more broadly than disability, including class, gender, education, sexuality, nationality, status, etc. Are other people thinking along these lines?

3. “This medium is prime for new modes of expression” (pg 80) and “a secure footing on unfamiliar terrain.” However, Holtzman urges that we must “transcend the old” to discover the new, for, “like a road sign, repurposing is a marker indicating that profound change is around the bend.” (pg 86)

  • There is a wealth of colonial sounding approaches to technology as this new frontier that is a tabula rasa and needs entirely new ways of being and thinking and making
  • Wondering about the implications of such approaches and also thinking about Rettberg’s assertion to “make it not new” and what people think about this?

4. “Reality becomes malleable, mutable, and highly personalized” (pg 11)

  • Constant questions about a highly personalized world and how in such a world we continue to build in/with community rather than further the neo-liberal project of prioritizing individual self-interest (and ultimately the interest of the rich, those with access, those with power)?

Wed, October 10 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: lee williams boudakian

Questions for Augmented Human / Hologram Clip

Hello Everyone,

It seems that my current Chrome settings made the site rather limited in accessibility, but I have been able to fully access it with the scripts and such through Microsoft Edge. If anyone else has been having similar issues, switching browsers might be a quick fix. I think we went over much of the content of these, but here are my questions from last Wednesday:

1. In the second chapter, Papagiannis discusses the possibilities of augmented reality to essentially ‘mute’ or ‘block’ out an individual, very much like one would do on present-day social media. She is quick to note the similarities of such a concept to television dramas containing dark themes such as Black Mirror and adds that mediated reality has the potential to foster a culture of avoidance and even ignorance. Though it could be argued that such technology is well beyond the grasp and implementation of our policy makers, should we be concerned that such a development could essentially silence and/or erase the concerns of those at the margins? With examples such as the Ontario provincial government’s recent efforts of erasure towards LGBTQ and indigenous peoples in the public education system, should we be weary of censoring technology getting into the hands of authority?

2. Augmented reality undoubtedly holds great promise, but one is led to ask if such a field of development can maintain any level of autonomy by the time that it researches a stage of mass usage and consumption. Is it possible for such technology to reach a wide range of users in the near future without being absorbed into a corporate juggernaut such as Facebook?

3. In chapter eight, Papagiannis cites Cassie Goldring, who states that the point of AR is not to become superhuman, but rather to allow us to reach our full potential, connect us in new ways, and ultimately gain a deeper understanding of one another. Are such boundaries possible given the current climate of profit-driven enterprises and fame-seeking?

4. In the final chapter, Papagiannis concludes by stating that “Seeing realities that are not yet actualized can stir our willingness to welcome and celebrate new possibilities, in turn expanding our consciousness to better humanity and activate change to benefit many.” Are there particularly relevant areas that you feel this statement applies to in our current sociopolitical climate?

Also, if anyone is interested in viewing, here’s a clip of the hologram of Hideto Matsumoto (Hide) that I mentioned during class:


Sun, October 7 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Casey

Questions for “Augmented Human”

Thanks everyone for the lovely chat last week and hope everyone has a great reading week! Here are my questions from last week.

1. When describing his mixed AR Theatre company, Kreindlin asserts that “Everything is a balancing act…If you get carried away with the technology, you’ll have a bad production.” Thinking of artistic applications of AR, Manovich’s data dense augmented space, and of the upcoming Toronto concert involving the hologram of Roy Orbison, what do you think are the key parts of maintaining “a balance”? What are the aspects being balanced against each other? What are the main thoughts that an artist or designer using AR should keep front of mind?

2. Early forms of cybernetics, keyed by the theorist Norbert Weiner (The Human Use of Human Beings; Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and Machine), centred largely on keeping the “man-in-the-middle” of technology as a way of enhancing the human with technological extensions (Katherine Hayles, in How We Became PostHuman, gives a very useful history of the Macy Conference and early cybernetics). While this early history was largely centred around military applications, much closer to a transhumanism than posthumanism, this dynamic of human-master and machine-tool has persisted through much of the discussion of AR (she characterizes it as a tool repeatedly, under human “control” (another word she uses often)). What do you think are the benefits of approaching technologies like AR as tools are? What might be some of the downfalls of a human-centric “man-in-the-middle” approach?

3. The two keys words that seem to consistently reoccur, as ways of describing the goals of future AR development, according to Papgiannis, are “immersion” and “personalization.” What do you think is gained by using technology to “immerse” a user into another world? What is gained by personalizing that immersion? What are the dangers?

I suppose this questions springs from my own suspicions about immersing the user (as a way of unbalancing biological-technological aspects of a healthy posthuman) and why there seems to be this obsession with making a “real” alternate world (a bit like Bazin’s Myth of Total Cinema). I am also deeply suspicious about treating the body, and existence, as a set of data sets to mine; not only am I concerned about who is doing what with that data (and all the joy that come with the capitalism of complete datafication) but also, along side the obsession with a “real” feeling immersion, the obsession with making the human a perfect being, transcending (the singing hologram who never misses a note)

4. Norman Klein, in The Vatican to Vegas, is suspicious of special effects (digital and analogue) as having placating qualities (to bring “fear under control” (45); as endless capitalism (47); as ways of making real disasters spectacle (and therefore disarming them); as general distraction of the masses, just to name a few examples). Is calm technology a special effect? (Papagiannis, 107) What benefits and dangers might it hold, especially given Klein’s assertions. Who decides what is a distraction needing removing? Who watches the watchmen?

I guess this questions is also a general reaction to the sort of techno-utopianism of the Papagiannis book in general…that tech (and AR) and can solve all problems…with the most human-centric solutions and forward paths…

Fri, October 5 2018 » Future Cinema, augmented reality, books, emerging technologies, surveillance » No Comments » Author: Aaron

HASTAC information


Changing the Way We Teach and Learn
HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) is an interdisciplinary community of humanists, artists, social scientists, scientists, and technologists changing the way we teach and learn. Our 16,000+ members from over 400+ affiliate organizations share ideas, news, tools, research, insights, pedagogy, methods, and projects–including Digital Humanities and other born-digital scholarship–and collaborate on various HASTAC initiatives.

Founded in 2002, HASTAC is reputed to be the world’s first and oldest academic social network with annual pageview counts approaching the half-million mark. HASTAC is governed by a dynamic, interdisciplinary Steering Committee. Go here to learn more about current leadership.

HASTAC’s leadership and administration is shared between hubs located at Arizona State University and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. Learn more about HASTAC’s leadership and administration here.


HASTAC 2019 conference proposals due!

“Decolonizing Technologies, Reprogramming Education”
Unceded Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm) Territory
UBC Vancouver
16-18 May 2019

HASTAC Scholars applications due!

Thu, October 4 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Caitlin