Seminar Talk 2016-03-04

“Enlightened Interaction”
Brenda Laurel
California College of the Arts
Friday, March 04, 2016 – 3:00pm
Donald Bren Hall 6011 (Bldg. 314)

Abstract: How do interactive media today reflect the state of the world? How do they influence it? An old truism says that war-based multiplayer games are actually stealthy ways to train young men to be soldiers. If it is true that our media influence the ways we think and live, what might we be doing through interactive media to move our lives and our world in a better direction? This talk focuses on civility, humanism and other enlightenment values, examining the challenges and opportunities presented by enacting these values in interactive media.

About the Speaker: Brenda Laurel has worked in interactive media since 1976 as a designer, researcher, writer and teacher. She worked in the computer game industry from Atari to Activision. She also worked in research labs at Atari, Interval Research, and Sun Labs where she was a Distinguished Engineer. She co-founded Telepresence Research, a VR research and production company, in 1989. Based on her research in gender and technology at Interval Research (1992-1996), she co-founded Purple Moon in 1996 to create interactive media for girls. She designed and chaired the Graduate Media Design Program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena (2001-2006) and the Graduate Design Program at California College of the Arts (2006-2012). Most recently she served as an adjunct professor in Computational Media and research associate in the Digital Arts and New Media programs at U. C. Santa Cruz. As founder of Neogaian Interactive, her current work focuses on design research and strategy to help clients incorporate inclusiveness, diversity, social justice and earth justice in their work. In 2015 she received the Trailblazer Award from Indiecade for her distinguished accomplishment over a career of game creation. Her books include The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design (1990), Utopian Entrepreneur (2001), Design Research: Methods and Perspectives (2004), and Computers as Theatre, Second Edition (2014). She earned her BA (1972) from DePauw University and her MFA (1975) and PhD in Drama Theory and Criticism (1986) from the Ohio State University. Among her favorite activities are snorkeling, underwater photography, abalone diving, and trekking in open country.