Author Archives: Maker Lab in the Humanities

Desktop fabrications


Hi, my name is Shaun Macpherson. My *evening* of DH involves a bit of (very) amateur making. Jentery and I have been discussing approaches to our upcoming makerspace at the HASTAC 2013 conference in Toronto, and we’ve settled on a pretty intriguing theme—exploring how digital data can actually be misrepresentative. How does data “lie” to us? Considering this question in the context of physical computing allows us to more fully explore the politics and poetics of “fabrication.”

To this end, we’re looking at ways we can hack the conference, manipulate tools of physical computing to foreground such misrepresentations, and otherwise come up with some fun ideas that conference-goers will enjoy interacting with. For anyone reading this who may be attending the conference, I won’t provide any spoilers here. That said, tonight I’m working on creating a simple Arduino sketch that works with the PING sensor (it’s like a little sonar device). I hope to integrate this tool into a more substantial project for the conference.

Good News! Building Public Humanities + Hello World

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Last year, the lab was supported by the ETCL and the DHSI to conduct its “Hello World” workshop series intended for graduate students at UVic. Partnerships like these are central to the lab’s everyday. We rely heavily on collaborations with other groups, both on and off our campus.

Today, we learned that our two proposals for ETCL-supported workshops in 2013-14—the “Building Public Humanities” and “Hello World” (Year Two) series—were successful! We’re looking forward to working with the ETCL again next year, in this capacity and others.

In the meantime, below is an excerpt from the “Building Public Humanities” proposal:

Building Public Humanities (lead organizers: Nina Belojevic and Jentery Sayers)  

Building on the 2012-13 “Hello World” workshop series supported by the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, and the Maker Lab in the Humanities, “Building Public Humanities” is a series of six 2013-14 workshops intended primarily for humanities graduate students at the University of Victoria (UVic). The workshops respond to a key yet often overlooked issue at the intersection of public and digital humanities, namely the demand for digital projects that are not only responsive to current social, cultural, and political issues but are also invested in mobilizing knowledge within and beyond the academy. Recognizing that such mobilization demands approaches to humanities graduate education that are rare in many humanities graduate programs, the workshop series gives participants a concrete sense of how to plan, build, develop, revise, and assess public digital projects. Rather than relying on abstract material, the series is anchored in a case study approach, focusing on a single digital project across all six meetings. Through this approach, the workshops are also able to address topics such as problem-based modeling, licensing, speaking for/with community partners, collaboration, building process narratives, producing interoperable data and documentation, social justice action planning, and project management.

— Jentery

Mapping Ulysses

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For the English 507 course taught by Jentery Sayers, Alex Christie and I are creating two maps that express different geotemporal representations of James Joyce’s Ulysses. On the Day of DH I am figuring out more of the ratios that will allow us to create a 3D, tactile map of 1925 Dublin. When printed, this map will not only have the 1925 map from UVic’s Special Collections engraved on it but will have the parts of Dublin featured in Ulysses raised in proportion to the number of words locatable in that place.  Part of the idea is to consider how readers experience the novel and to map this experience physically, geographically, and temporally, engaging in what our colleague Arthur Hain calls “z-axis” research. This video demo created by Alex provides a quick example of how the raised areas will look.

-Katie Tanigawa

Popup Makerspace at HASTAC 2013


The lab is sending six people to HASTAC 2013 at York University this April. During the event, we’ll be giving four talks, covering topics such as linked data, gameful design, the TEI, and maker culture. Together with Devon Elliott (at Western), lab member Shaun Macpherson and I will also be constructing and facilitating a popup makerspace that will explore “fabricating stories” with and through new technologies, especially motion sensing and 3D printing technologies.

We’re especially interested in how you lie or create fictions with computer vision and computer hearing, which tend to suggest some immediate relationship with the world. Rather than recording things in high fidelity, how can computational phenomenology fabricate things that do not exist in our lived realities?

Ultimately, we think these questions remind us of the long legacies that bodies and material labor have played in transducing this into that. We hope our fabrications will also allow us to unpack the decisions we make with algorithms and other machine operations.

For now—today—I’m sketching out the logistics of the popup makerspace. Where will it go? How will we construct and deconstruct it? How will we invite people to experiment in the space? More generally, what should a temporary makerspace do in an academic conference environment?

— Jentery

Project Portfolio Inspiration


I’m Nina Belojevic, an English MA student at the University of Victoria. This semester I took Jentery Sayers’ grad seminar “Digital Literary Studies: History and Principles.” We developed projects for the “Long Now of Ulysses” exhibit that will take place at the McPherson Library this summer. Jon Johnson and I developed a prototype for an app called HyperLit. Today I’m working on my project portfolio for the course. I’ve been looking for some inspiration to decide how I want to structure and design my portfolio. Jentery’s portfolio is often referenced as a really great example and has been mentioned to me on multiple occasions. Some interesting creative project portfolio approaches I found from design professionals are Marc Dahmen’s unique navigation and Jesse Willmon’s sketched look. There are some great portfolio ideas out there. The tricky part for me will be to find an approach that showcases the HyperLit project in a relevant way while also allowing me to expand it to incorporate other projects in the future.

Bloom Vision at UVic’s Long Now of Ulysses Exhibit

I’m Arthur, another MA student working @ the Maker Lab. I’m currently working on 3D-modeling components of a nineteenth century stereoscope replica, which will be included — along with stereoscopic photographs of Dublin at the turn of the century and selections from Gisele Freund’s photographs of James Joyce in Paris — in the Long Now of Ulysses Exhibit. Pictured above is the top half of the card slide.

AAB Prezi

Presenting Versions

My name’s Jana Millar Usiskin, and I’m an MA student working in the Maker Lab at UVic. In the next few months I will have several opportunities to present my work on Vancouver Island poet, Audrey Alexandra Brown. The work stems from a scholarly exhibit I am undertaking with the support of the Maker Lab, Editing Modernism in Canada (EMiC), and the Modernist Versions Project (MVP), and features materials from UVic Special Collections.

Today I am using Prezi to put together a presentation that I can tweak for various audiences, time specs, and venues. The biggest challenges for me include: incorporating humour, synthesizing the exhibit work with ‘more traditional’ research, and predicting which DH terms and concepts will be familiar to non-DH audiences.

Prepping for a Photogrammetry Workshop


In the lab this week, I’m scheduled to facilitate a Digital Humanities Summer Institute “Hello World” workshop on photogrammetry. Titled “Stitching 2D into 3D,” the workshop will guide UVic graduate students through the use of 2D photography to produce 3D models. We’ll also touch on how to repair, edit, and print those 3D models. Put differently, we’ll be navigating our way through several stages (or instantiations) of materiality, digital materials included.

Right now, tho, I’m spending a few minutes researching possible responses to a very important question: what to stitch? What kind of object would interest participants? What object would raise interesting cultural or social issues? What’s familiar but also poses curious challenges to the photogrammetry process?

More soon!

— Jentery

Good Morning from the Maker Lab

Front Door

Hello from the Maker Lab in the Humanities at the University of Victoria! We’re a group of thirteen researchers (including students, faculty, and postdoctoral fellows) conducting work in physical computing, desktop fabrication, exhibit-building, and versioning. We largely focus on materials from 1900 forward, and we routinely facilitate public workshops—such as the DHSI’s “Hello World” series—on the UVic campus.

Today, we’ll be blogging about our everyday. Looking forward!

— Jentery