I am coming to you direct from the spottiest wifi I have ever used while still being within a 10 minute walk of a Walgreens thanks to staying with family in NJ for a bit due to a COVID scare in the family. everyone is fine, fortunately, but I am burning thru my data plan on using my phone as a hotspot for every video call on my calendar and doing a lot of lil walks around the room while I wait for my wifi to reconnect. and then, also, like, the world is still, uh, not great.

this week I am enjoying this article about making space for the real world in your creative fantasies, through the lens of games studio Pixel Punk’s decision to add opportunities to relax and unwind in their inherently high tension game Unsighted. as much as I have been grinding on Hades lately, I can fully relate to banking the most hours this year on gentle gaming because the real world was already stressful enough. so how do you wiggle that kind of insight that seems to totally disrupt your original concept into a long development cycle?

one of the things that, for me, makes interactive digital works exciting is the ability to allow your viewers to experience a work in different ways. and yet there’s such an emphasis, particularly in the world of commercial UX, on carefully controlling how users experience something and sticking hard to your narrative of who your user is. as apps and platforms become increasingly homogenized and opaque, it’s nice to see a studio making space for different kinds of experiences in one digital world.

resources!

welp, we’re still looking at a long road of things being pretty virtual for the time being, and this post from Rea McNamara is chock full of creative ideas on how to make a virtual studio visit more engaging and productive, with tips from artists, curators, and even a meme account. I particularly like Doreen Ríos’ tip of using a tool like Miro to make conversations more collaborative - why not expand what a studio visit can be instead of just trying to make up for what isn’t possible?

if you’re looking to bring some accessibility to your WebGL project, this new package by Alaric Baraou allows for focus indication, keyboard support, and screen reader support via react-three-fiber components. you can check out a demo of the features here!

another Alan Zucconi bookmark-able - this list of accessible AI-related books for coders and non-coders alike. add some of these to your reading list!

here’s a longish read on the visual effects behind Ghost of Tsushima, particularly with regards to the interactive particle systems used for things like wind and mud. this is very much a AAA scenario, but the visual effects team was quite small for the majority of development. as such the post touches on how they scaled complicated effects procedurally rather than relying on hand-placed content.

I have been vibing hard on NTS as my go-to for music while getting work done. one of my favs from the archives is this super Y2K mix with some genuine jams from games like Jet Set Radio, Wave Race, Tekken, and more. if you want to get your butt wiggling a little while you’re grinding thru this week, I highly recommend!

if you’re a little on edge this week (who isn’t!) I highly recommend checking out this pure HTML and CSS animation and just vibing for a bit. then check out the 3800 lines of code that make it work.

educational opportunities!

HackadayU has some new classes open for registration this week, including Architecture, Assembly and Reverse Engineering, Introduction to 3D using Rhino 3D, and Prototyping in Mechanical Engineering. you can also check out their full calendar of events here!

School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe has just announced their programming for 2021, and it looks pretty flippin’ great, and includes their first Spanish-language programming! I highly recommend checking out the full list of programming here and signing up for something if it fits your schedule!

open calls!

applications are open until January 22 for DigiMyths, a paid program on digital folklore and how we can better understand our heritage through familial storytelling and computer technologies, hosted by Babycastles. learn more here!

on-the-fly has an open call to award 8 grants to develop artistic productions involving live coding practices. the residency includes an artist fee, subsistence and travel costs, production costs, access to facilities and equipment, and more. learn more and apply by January 14 here!

China Residencies is hosting an open call for people who work with all kinds of media to apply for a fully-funded, 6 month remote residency in 2021, and are welcoming proposals of media arts and mediated projects connected to mainland China, Hong Kong, Chinatowns, and the greater Chinese diaspora worldwide in some way. learn more and apply by February 9 here.

📅 upcoming events!

Jan 4-29! the School of Afrotectopia is back with a month-long series of events exclusively for Black and Pan-African participants! learn more and get your ticket here!

Jan 14-17! Art && Code is back with an online edition on the theme of “Homemade.” the line up is a proper rogues’ gallery of people worth your time, who all work with digital tools to make things that preserve the magic of something homemade! this sounds like a lovely way to get yourself inspired and moving in 2021. learn more and register here!

Fri, Jan 15! 8:00PM UTC-8! Patch Pulse is back for 2021 with the Bay Area’s own ASTU and Salami Rose Joe Louis, with visuals by rose cherami. the event will be livestreamed online for free, but ticket sales go directly towards supporting the artists & Gray Area. learn more here!

Sat, Jan 16! 5:00PM UTC-5! in this workshop from Tech Learning Collective, you’ll learn the basics of computer networking and begin by watching a “conversation” between two computers as it’s happening in real time. neat! this sounds like a great opportunity to get a glimpse of what’s really going on with your Wi-Fi connection. learn more and get tickets here!

also Sat, Jan 16! 2:00PM UTC-5! CyPurr Collective are kicking off 2021 with a session to help you learn more about your digital footprint and how you can start taking steps to organize your digital life. they’ll be digging into Tactical Tech’s Data Detox Kit and helping you to get your digital ducks in a row for the new year. learn more and register here!

Thurs, Jan 21! 10:30AM UTC-5! in this final session of The Lab: Making Sense of Immersion in 2021, the conversation will be all about insights harvested from this series on funding and distributing immersive works, with Mehdi Mejri of Atlas V and artist Mélodie Mousset as guests. learn more and register here!

just for lulz!

*~housekeeping~*

if you have anything in the works that you are excited about (an event, a workshop, a new project), please send me all the details. if you wanna share links or chat, there is now a Discord server that you can use here.

I am still working on a 2020 thank u post, 2021 is already buckwild. I’m aiming for this Friday - stay tuned!