Prospectives 2021

International Summer School logo, 21st - 25th June 2021

Thursday 24th of June

Full day: 10am - 12pm | 2.30 - 5pm

The event is co-organised by Prof. Joseph DeLappe (Professor of Games and Tactical Media, University of Abertay) and Dr Laura Leuzzi (Research Fellow DJCAD University of Dundee and will be chaired by Dr Leuzzi.
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Co-organiser: Professor Joseph DeLappe

Joseph DeLappe is Professor of Games and Tactical Media at Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland. Works in online gaming performance, public engagements, participatory sculpture and electromechanical installation have been shown throughout the United States and internationally. He has developed works for venues such as Eyebeam Art and Technology in New York, The Guangdong Museum of Art, China and Transitio MX, Mexico City, among others. Creative works and actions have been featured widely in scholarly journals, books and in the popular media. In 2016 he collaborated with the Biome Collective in Dundee to create Killbox, a game about drone warfare that was nominated in 2017 for a BAFTA Scotland in the “Best Computer Game” category. In 2017 he was awarded Guggenheim Fellowship in the Fine Arts, one of the top awards for artists, writers and creatives in the United States.

Chair: Dr Laura Leuzzi

Laura Leuzzi is a contemporary art historian, curator and author. Leuzzi earned her PhD in “Tools and Methods for the History of Art” with a thesis in Contemporary Art at Sapienza Università di Roma in 2011. Her research is particularly focused on early video art, art and feminism and new media.

Currently she is Research Fellow and Co-Investigator on the AHRC funded research project Richard Demarco: The Italian Connection (DJCAD, University of Dundee, March 2018 - July 2020), led by Prof. Elaine Shemilt.

She is Co-Investigator on the RSE funded research project Digital Art and Activism (2019-2021) and co-chair of the Re@ct: Social Change Art Technology symposium, 2019 held in Dundee and co-editor of a special edition of the journal Media-N, The Journal of the New Media Caucus to be published in late 2021 dedicated to the Re@ct symposium.

Her essay '"She became my teacher and mentor". Uncovering the legacy of women video pioneers in Art Schools and Academies in Europe’ was recently awarded a top prize by the Feminist Art in an International Curriculum organization. 

About the Session

Prospectives  is a one-day symposium highlighting an international selection of work by graduate and PhD students working at the edge of developments in scholarly and practice based work involving digital technologies. An invited international group of 12 graduate and PhD level artists and scholars working in and across disciplines will be invited to share emerging research practices and innovative approaches to exploring digital systems for scholarly, visual and experiential production, including but not limited to: interactive art, robotics, movement/dance, video games, net art, block-chain/NFT’s, culture-jamming, generative systems, digital social practice, electronic sculpture, locative media, XR technologies, electronic music/sound art, performance art and telematics. This event will be structured to provide invited presenters with the opportunity to share their ongoing research, discuss and receive feedback and to virtually meet and network with fellow post graduate students. Scroll down to view the programme, keynotes and bios & topics.

Learning Outcomes 

By the end of this session, participants will have been exposed to a variety of practices and perspectives related to current PhD and grad level work in experimental media art.

Who might be interested?

This session will be of interest to Postgraduate and PhD students in all disciplines of the digital arts and humanities at all stages engaged in practice-based or scholarly research. 

Participant Pre-requisites

Currently enrolled Postgraduate and PhD students working creatively in and across disciplines focused on digital technologies in their creative practice.  

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10.00-10.10 Video Presentation by Prof. Joseph DeLappe

10.10-10.15 Introduction by Dr Laura Leuzzi

10.15-11.15 Keynote 1
Shu Lea Cheang, cycleX

Session 1 (11.15-13.00)

In dialogue: digital art and interdisciplinarity

This session opens up to the investigation of digital art in relation to different disciplines and issues including gender, heritage, and science. 

Presentations (11.15-12.25):

  • Victoria Evans
  • William Cunningham
  • James Gonese
  • Donna Holford-Lovell
  • Cynthia O’Neill
  • Sarah Selby

Q&A 12.25-13.10

13.10-14.00 Networking Lunch Break

14.00-14.10 Introduction by Dr Laura Leuzzi

14.10-15.10 Keynote 2
Dr Valentino Catricalà, The Artist as Inventor

Session 2 (15.10-17.00)

This session will be a focus on research on game art, video games and VR with  theoretical and practice-based approaches from the point of view of artists, curators and theoreticians.

Presentations (15.10 -16.00)

  • Ahmed Al Shaer
  • Gemma Fantacci
  • Dianfeng Li
  • Mary Jeys
  • Melody Owen

Q&A 16.00-16.45

16.45 Wrap up and conclusions

17.00 End of the symposium


Valentino Catricalà

“My talk aims at identifying a new approach to the study of media and technological development. An approach that sees in the creativity and practice of artists a new engine. An approach that combines art, technology and innovation. Investigating media through art can be the best way to understand our contemporary society”.

Valentino Catricalà (Ph.D.) is a scholar and contemporary art curator. He is currently the curator of SODA Gallery in Manchester and lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is also the director of the Art Section of the Maker Faire - The European Edition, the biggest Faire on creativity and innovation in Europe and Art Consultant at Paris Sony CS Lab. Valentino has curated exhibitions in important museum and private galleries. He is the author of several essays (see and books such as Media Art. Prospettive delle arti verso il XXI secolo. Storie, teorie, preservazione (Mimesis, 2016) and the book The Artist as Inventor (Rowman & Littlefield, 2021). 

Shu Lea Cheang, cycleX

1980s - media activism. 1990s - homesteading cyberspace. 2000s - post Netcrash. 2010s - Viral love Biohack. 2020s - Enter the BioNet. Routed from New York city to Eurozone, Shu Lea Cheang recounts her cycles of works that spans over four decades - from cyberpunk, cypherpunk to transpunk and ultimately situates herself in viral alt-reality. 

Shu Lea Cheang is an artist and filmmaker whose work aims to re-envision genders, genres, and operating structures.  She constructs networked installation and multi-player performance in participatory impromptu mode. She drafts sci-fi narratives in her film scenario and artwork imagination.  Regarded as a net art pioneer with her Guggenheim commission BRANDON (1998 - 99), Cheang represented Taiwan with her mixed media installation 3x3x6 at Venice Biennale 2019. She is currently artist-in-residency with UNBORN0x9 at ART4MED (Art and Biomedical research) EU platform and at work on UKI, a feature length scifi viral alt-reality cinema.

Bios and Topics

Session 1

Victoria Evans is a contemporary artist with a background in the film and television industries. She graduated with a Master’s Degree in Fine Art Practice (Sculpture) from Glasgow School of Art in 2015 and imasters currently conducting SGSAH funded, practice-based Ph.D. research at Edinburgh College of Art. Victoria’s artwork has been exhibited widely in Scotland and further afield; her writing has been published in a peer reviewed journal and several online platforms; she has been awarded grants and residencies from: Hospitalfield, Arbroath; SNEHTA, Athens; VACMA, Glasgow, Design Informatics, Edinburgh; and Creative Informatics, Edinburgh and was recently commissioned to make a short film for LUX Scotland and BBC Arts.

Her practice-based Ph.D. research engages with critical, philosophical and scientific ideas around perception, measurement and representation, and how these influence cognition. Her research interrogates the diverse ways of knowing and perceiving that are possible through the artistic encounter, and how developing our understanding of these might open up new perspectives on our everyday reality.

William Cunningham graduated with a BA Hons from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in 2020, and currently studying an MFA. Cunningham's work focuses on the intersection between humanity and media, with a focus on portraiture. Painting in oils, Cunningham solidifies the digital in the physical, allowing an acknowledgement of our relationship with images. With his trans experience, Cunningham casts a unique light on the many ways we communicate, evaluate and assign meaning to ourselves and each other through images. Cunningham's work looks to depict the digital, physical tension without judgement while still searching to tell human stories through his paintings.  

His research is currently questioning the agency of hauntological information within images, thinking about the "gaps" within communication and exploring how physicality changes our relationships to this information.

James Gonese is a full-time lecturer at the Midlands State University (Zimbabwe). He is a holder of a Master of Philosophy Degree in Film Studies (Mphil-Film), Master of Science in Media and Society Studies, Bachelor of Science honours degree in Creative Art and Design and a Doctor of Philosophy student at the University of Zimbabwe.  His research interests are in animation, indigenous film production, graphic design, cultural heritage and oral spectacle

Guided by the decolonial theory, James Gonese’s study seeks to explore the ways of using two dimension (2D) computer generated animation in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in Zimbabwe. The research will be conducted by project through the production of short animated films, with the overall objective of unpacking the role of animation in fighting annihilation of Zimbabwean intangible cultural heritage.

Donna Holford-Lovell is the Director of NEoN Digital Arts and part-time Ph.D. Candidate in Computing and Games between Abertay and St Andrews University. Though her research and programming she is keen to address the digital gender divide, challenge traditional modes of practice and highlight the contribution of female and nonbinary artists in shaping the digital and technology-driven arts sector. In 2009 she co-founded NEoN with a small group of artists to promote digital arts activity in the North East of Scotland. Over the years Donna has successfully developed NEoN as a lead organisation in its field, establishing it as a platform to showcase digital art forms that contributes to international discourse.

“Does striving for 'masculine-typed' empirical sustainability drain the values and energy that drive creative practitioners?” Donna Holford-Lovell’s research will examine how new collaborative feminist practices within digital and technology driven arts can develop a new collective of guiding principles, ideas and ethical necessities to help reclaim the value debate and readdress the notion of growth.

Cynthia O’Neill is a Ph.D. student at University of Texas, Dallas, in the Art, Technology, and Emerging Communication program. Her background is in fine arts, consisting of sculpture, biofeedback robotics, installation, and new media. O’Neill received her M.F.A from Maryland Institute College of Art. Prior to returning to school for her Ph.D., she worked as a professional freelance artist on large scale public installations. Her current research is interested in embodiment, ecology, feminist science and technology studies, disability studies, interactive and participatory arts. Her work involves developing scholarly creative interactions and collaborations that work towards decolonizing methods of knowledge production.

In a technological world that often separates the body from experience Cynthia O’Neill’s Embodied Wondering is a short review of practiced based knowledge making through presence in place. The interactive and visual work in this presentation focuses on embodied knowledge formation and its ability to destabilise normative notions of the known/knower.

Sarah Selby is an interdisciplinary artist exploring digital culture through creative applications of emerging and pervasive technologies. Her work blurs the boundaries between the digital and physical, exploring how they overlap, contradict, and impact one another. She seeks to expose and critique invisible and intangible systems, using art to provoke discussion amongst new voices. She is currently undertaking a master’s in computational art at Goldsmiths University and is working on a research-based commission with Loughborough University where she is exploring the potential of DNA data storage

“How can artists materialise and expose the intangible digital systems of a data-driven society to foster curiosity, facilitate discussion and provoke critical thinking?” Sarah Selby will be discussing her artwork Raised by Google that utilises computational psychometric profiling software and her latest commission exploring the creative potential of DNA data storage.

Session 2

Ahmed El Shaer - born in 1981, is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice spans the mediums of installation, photography, sound, and the moving image with a particular interest in digital technologies. His videos combine Machinima, stock footage, 3D animation and experimental soundscapes, and have been shown at international venues including the Venice Biennale, Bamako Biennale, Cairotronica, the Guggenheim, the Museum of the Moving Image, and Casa Arabe in Madrid. He recently completed a residency in the Game Lab at the University of Los Angeles California, as part of a Fulbright research program, currently Master's Researcher in ITP Master program at NYU-USA.

Since the early 20C. games and art have converged, as we can see in the Sierra Leoneans' use of Exquisite corpses and other games, and Marcel Duchamp's obsession with chess, phloxes and event scores and boxes. Ahmed El Shaer’s presentation will focus on the combination of art and games that has affected both artists and game makers in the last twenty years.

Gemma Fantacci is a Ph.D. Student in Visual and Media Studies at IULM University in Milan. She holds an MA Degree in Arts, Markets and Cultural Heritage from IULM University, and a Master’s Degree in Game Design also from IULM. She participated in the 2018 DiGRA Conference with a paper on the relationship between subversive gameplay, DADA and the Situationist International (‘Wrecking the Game. The Artist as Griefer’). She contributed to the edited volume Fasten Your Seatbelt. Arte, Critica e Contemporaneità (Metronom, 2020), with a chapter on the notion of digital image as a data structure (‘L’immagine fotografica come array di dati ed informazioni’). Gemma Fantacci is currently Communication Manager at the Milan Machinima Festival.

Considering the notions of oppositional forms of play (Meades, 2015) and the Situationist détournement, Gemma Fantacci’s research investigates those interventions that subvert video games to create visually critical experiences. Through an in-depth study of the political dimension of these gestures, the main objective is to identify a new type of Situationist gameplay.

Mary Jeys is a multimedia artist and activist. She has worked to promote social change in non-fiction media settings including a non-profit documentary production company, Aubin Pictures, Inc. and Hunter College’s Integrated Media Arts MFA program. She has received grants from FEAST in Brooklyn and Art Matters. She founded a local currency for north Brooklyn, NY called The Brooklyn Torch. She received her BFA from the University of Texas at Austin and is pursuing her MFA in Interdisciplinary Art from Sierra Nevada University.

Mary Jeys’ recent research uses conference and streaming software to experiment with performance and media. Using my own ritual practice of hiking, sketching and mapping, my presentation will welcome the visitor/viewer through a story of my journey through physical, psychological and digital landscapes.

Dianfeng Li is a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Art at Peking University. He has published on games and art, and he's participated and organised many events on the topic, including a major event at UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. 

Dianfeng Ling’s research is focused on NFTs and art worlds' cost disease. Baumol's Cost disease is a kind of economic phenomenon where the third industry changes into a relatively stagnant sector due to the rising cost of human resources caused by national inflation. Therefore, as a token system, NFT has high-quality online wallet function which helps to alleviate the Baumol's Cost. But this problem also brings a new thinking, whether our understanding of the art market and even the art book will change as a result. Art may be just a kind of human accidental behaviour in the stage of technological development. 

Melody Owen is an ecologically minded conceptual interdisciplinary artist from Portland, Oregon. Her primary disciplines are collage, installation, video, and now VR. She is currently exploring and building in social creative virtual worlds as a Ph.D. candidate at UNSW in Sydney, Australia. She is represented by Elizabeth Leach Gallery and has an MFA in Electronic Integrated Arts as well as a MA in Environmental Arts and Humanities. She has done artist residencies in Paris, Quebec, Iceland, Switzerland, Austria, New York, California and Oregon. She has exhibited in museums, festivals, and artist organized events around the world.

Melody Owen is working on an art practice Ph.D. using social creative virtual worlds to explore ideas around embodied perception and communication in multi-species worlding. She is building in as many worlds as possible in order to become familiar with the tools, capacities, limitations, and social structures of each one.