Research Area

From WSOA Digital Arts Research Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Below you will find a list of the supervision areas which are available with the four supervisors in Digital Arts.
You will need to develop a research topic and then formulate a research proposal in one of these areas.

Please feel free to discuss your ideas with the relevant supervisor by email or direct consultation.
Once you have identified an area of research you will work with the relevant supervisor on developing your proposal.

Should you not wish to pursue research in any of the areas on offer from Digital Arts, you are at liberty to look for a supervisor from another Division in WSOA.


Contents

Christo Doherty

christo.doherty (at) wits (dot) ac (dot) za

  1. Art, Activism and Social Networks
    Key texts: Jordan, Tim & Paul A. Taylor. Hacktivism & Cyberwars. 2004.
    Methodology: Literary investigation with comparative case studies (which may include interviews with artist/activists under study.)
    Research completed in this area: Lewis, Belinda. “Towards a definition of Web 2.0 – a comparative study of the ‘wiki’, ‘blog’ and ‘social network’.” MA thesis. University of the Witwatersrand, 2009. Print. Link to Lewis's paper online; Schaefer, Carmen. “Facebook as an implied author: an investigation into the characterization techniques employed by users of the social networking site, Facebook.” MA thesis. University of the Witwatersrand, 2010. Print. Link to Schaefer's paper online.
  2. Social Media: identity, usage, and implications.
    Key texts: Turkle, Sherry, Turkle. Alone Together: Why we expect more from Technology and less from each other. 2011. Boyd, Danah. It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. 2014..
    Methodology: Literary and theoretical investigation with comparative case studies (which may include interviews with artist/scientists under study.)
    Research completed in this area: Lewis, Belinda. “Towards a definition of Web 2.0 – a comparative study of the ‘wiki’, ‘blog’ and ‘social network’.” MA thesis. University of the Witwatersrand, 2009. Schaefer, Carmen. “Facebook as an implied author: an investigation into the characterization techniques employed by users of the social networking site, Facebook.” MA thesis. University of the Witwatersrand, 2010.
  3. Mobile Devices and Art/Entertainment
    Key texts: Mitchell, William J. City of Bits: Space, Place and the Infobahn. 1996.
    Methodology: Literary and theoretical investigation with comparative case studies (which may include interviews with artists/producers.)
    Research completed in this area: Said, Mitchell. “Grounded: Locative art and embodied digitality.” MA thesis. University of the Witwatersrand, 2008. Print. Link to Said's paper online.
  4. Studies of South African/African animation studios and production systems
    Key Text: Furniss, Maureen. Animation Aesthetics. 1998
    Methodology: Empirical - historical research supplemented with interviews and case studies.
    Research completed in this area: Shapujee, Shanaz. “A historical enquiry into the SABC animation unit: 1976-1988.” MA thesis. University of the Witwatersrand, 2009. Print. Link to Shapujee's paper online.; Haycock, Andrew. “South African Stop-Motion Animation from 1980-2005.” MA thesis. University of the Witwatersrand, 2010. Print. Link to Haycocks's paper online
  5. 5. The impact of digital technology on photographic representation in a South African context
    Key Text: Elkins, James. What Photography Is. 2011
    Methodology: Literary investigation with comparative case studies (which may include interviews with artists/producers.)
  6. The representation of violence and trauma
    Key Text: Linfield, Susie. The Cruel Radiance: Photography & Political Violence
    Methodology: Literary & theoretical investigation with comparative case studies (which may include interviews with artists/producers.)


Tegan Bristow

tegan.bristow (at) wits (dot) ac (dot) za

  1. Code Development & Technology Development in/as Art Making
    This topic covers both creative practice and theoretical engagements with computing and art
    Example Case Studies: https://devart.withgoogle.com/
    Methodology: Literary investigation together with the use of comparative case studies.
    Creative Project: Research into the local culture and methods. Critical study of the role of creative coding, hacking and creative hardware use.
  2. Digitally Interactive Artworks for Public Space/ Public Performance/ Architecture
    Example Text: Bullivant, Lucy. Responsive Environments. 2006. Simanowski Roberto. Digital Art and Meaning. 2011
    'Methodology: Literary investigation for specific field together with the use of comparative case studies.
    Creative Project:Empirical research into the local cultures and methods.
  3. Curating and Collecting of Digital Art
    Example Text: Paul, Christiane. New Media in the White Cube and Beyond: Curatorial Models for Digital Art. 2008
    Methodology: Literary investigation for specific field together with the use of cases of curating and collecting.
    Creative Project: Empirical research into the local cultures and methods.
  4. Technology Art and Culture in Africa
    Methodology: Literary investigation for specific field together with the use of cases of curating and collecting.
    Empirical research into the local cultures and methods.
  5. Interactive/Media Technology’s Relationship to Nature and Natural Phenomena
    This topic address notion from immersive technologies to generative computing
    This is open for discussion depending on which aspects of the natural students would like to engage with. Bristow, Tegan. "The Sublime in Interactive Digital Installation".MA Thesis. University of the Witwatersrand, 2007. Print. Link to Bristow's paper online.


Bronwyn Horne

bronwyn.horne (at) wits.ac.za

  1. Animation Studies
    Any research relating to character animation history and theory in the field of feature film and shorts. This can span from studies of classic traditional character animation (Disney or Warner Brothers) to contemporary animation practices.
    Key Text: Wells, P. Understanding Animation. Routledge, 1998. Wells, P; Hardstaff, J; Clifton, D. Re-Imagining Animation: The Changing Face of the Moving Image. AVA Publishing, 2008.
    Methodology: Literary investigation with comparative case studies OR creative project and report.
  2. Animation Practice, Production and Process
    This can include any research that covers animation practice or technology development and its impact on the industry. i.e. How does new technology impact on old traditions of animation and how do we attempt to re-define animation practice in a constantly changing field? This can also include performance capture and live action/CG integration.
    Key Text: Wells, P; Hardstaff, J; Clifton, D. Re-Imagining Animation: The Changing Face of the Moving Image. AVA Publishing, 2008.
    Methodology: Literary investigation with comparative case studies OR creative project and report.
    Research Completed in this area: Louis, Clare. A Study of How the Technological Advancements in Capturing Believable Facial Emotion in Computer Generated (CG) Characters in Film has Facilitated Crossing the Uncanny Valley. MA Research Report. University of the Witwatersrand, 2014. Print. Methodology: Literary investigation with comparative case studies OR creative project and report.
  3. Motion Studies
    Research relating to nineteenth century motion studies or Chronophotography. Of particular interest is the work of Etienne‐Jules Marey and Eadweard Muybridge and how their work has influenced artists working in the photographic, filmic and visual arts throughout history.
    Key Text: George, Paul St. Sequences: Contemporary Chronophotography and Experimental Digital Art (Imagetime). Wallflower Press, 2009. Print. Braun, Marta. Picturing Time: The Work of Etienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904). University Of Chicago Press, 1995. Print. Solnit, Rebecca. River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West. Penguin Books, 2004. Print.
    Methodology: Literary investigation with comparative case studies.
  4. Animation Education
    Research covering animation pedagogy or how animation can facilitate education.
    Key Text: Animation Journal, 2007 edition on Animation Education.
    Methodology: Literary investigation with comparative case studies.
    Research Completed in this area: Dongo, Claire. The use of interactive educational animated series to enhance second language development in preschool children. MA Research Report. University of the Witwatersrand, 2015.


Hanli Geyser

Game Studies
In game studies I am primarily engaged in a close investigation of games as both popular cultural and artistic productions. My focus here is on the applications of game, the narrative as well as ludologic study and specifically the areas in which they intersect. While I investigate many commercial titles, I have a specific interest in games as a form of artistic expression. I therefore actively encourage engagement with independent, experimental, and art games, in South Africa and beyond.
Interactive narrative
‘Interactive narrative’ is a useful, if clumsy, catch all phrase for a vast range of practices that involve some degree of user participation to drive the narrative structure. My interest here is in both literary and visual story telling forms, and extends from ‘text adventures’ through hypertext fiction to video games. The mode of interaction with the narrative is a focus point.
Adaptation studies
In adaptation studies, the study of transition between media in narrative text, I am primarily interested in the impact of medium on the narrative structure and the effect it generates. My investigation in this area has centered on transitions between comic, film, and video game formats.

Steve Cloete

Games and Culture
Games interact with human culture in ways that are often complex and not always well understood. The interface between gaming and the broader cultural context is a fascinating, emerging field of study with a great deal of potential for explorative research and reflection. In linking games to our broader experience we help to situate and extend our understanding of the medium, and our culture as a whole.
Methodology: Literary and theoretical investigation with case studies.
Game Aesthetics
Video games are a particularly interesting and unique expression of recent screen based media. From their very earliest incarnations, the aesthetics of games have constituted an important element of their overall impact and construction. Game visuals communicate on a number of interrelated levels, ranging from the overtly functional, to the subtle and even sublime. Engaging with this topic affords an opportunity to examine one of the fundamental components of video games. The exploration might take the form of historical enquiry, aesthetic analysis or something else entirely.
Methodology: Literary and theoretical investigation with case studies.</br>

Keiran Ried

Player/Audience Participation
As with any performance-based medium, the interaction of the audience (or in this case player) is vital to the success and failure of the work. I am interested in the roles that the player adopts when they interact with a game. The navigation of the text is complex in games and players are challenged in terms of conventional reactions and engagement. Player and audience participation also extends to a study and investigation of the communities around games and how they interact with each other both in and outside the game world.</br> Methodology: Literary and theoretical investigation with case studies and comparative media studies
Performance and Narrative Studies
As games move into a narrative sphere, the performance of characters, actors and players becomes of the utmost importance. Games are a relatively new medium and often they borrow from conventions of existing media. I am interested in investigating to how narrative can be formed in games and how designers structure narrative with the use of theatrical, literary and filmic devises and tools (this includes voice acting, cut-scenes, game writing and interactivity of the player).
Methodology: Literary and theoretical investigation with case studies and comparative media studies

Ray Whitcher

  1. Memes and Memetics
    I have a particular affinity for populist culture, especially when its exposition occurs virally which is generally inculcated through an adaptation of the process of memetic exposure, as initially coined by biologist Richard Dawkins in his seminal work The Selfish Gene when he stated that memes are "an idea, behaviour, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture." (1989: 192).
    Key texts:Dawkins, R. The Selfish Gene. Oxford University Press, 1989..
    Moore, Michael Ryan. “Adaptation and New Media.” Adaptation. 3.2 (2010). : 179 –192. 17 Mar. 2011.
    Methodology: Literary and theoretical investigation with case studies.
  2. Comic (and Graphic Novel) Studies
    My Masters Research Report was based on comics, more specifically in their transcendent natures in terms of narrative content delivery, as well as the adaptation of comics to film and animation. There are several subsets that I can cater for in this particular field, ranging from South African Comic Studies (I co-founded the SA Comics initiative) through to Comic Narrative and Comic Adaptation Studies as well as Gender Representations and Reactionary Comics. My interest in this field also expands into Manga as another form of graphic novel.
    Key texts: The most seminal authority in South African comic studies is most definitely Andy mason, who has held a decades-long authority on the subject matter. His book What’s So Funny?: Under the skin of South African Cartooning is a superb source of information on the progression of the local comic. Mason, A. What’s So Funny?: Under the skin of South African Cartooning. Double Story Publishers, 2011 Bongco, Mila.
    Reading Comics: Language, Culture, and the Concept of the Superhero in Comic Books. New York: Garland, 2000. Print.
    LeFèvre, Pascal. “Incompatible Visual Ontologies? The Problematic Adaptation of Drawn Images”. Mendley. Mississippi: University Press, 2007: 1-12. Print.
    McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics – The Invisible Art. New York: HyperCollins Publishers, 1993. Print.
    Atkinson, Paul. “Movements within Movements: Following the Line in Animation and Comic Books”. Animation. SAGE Publications, 2009; 4: 265 – 281. Print.
    Gender Texts: Butler, J. Gender Trouble – Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge Press, 1999. Jacobsson, E. A Female Gaze?, 7. Stockholm: KTH, Royal Institute of Technology, 1999.
    Methodology: Literature reviews via case studies and visual analysis or creative project and report.
  3. Animation Studies
    I am particularly fond of animation, especially when combined with comic-based subject matter - the translation and adaptation from the one medium to the other is almost intrinsic and linked in their shared fabricated worlds. Any research into this field; whether historical, contemporary, Western, Eastern (Anime) or South African would be relevant.
    Key texts: Price, Charles Edwin. “The History of Movie Animation”. Essortment. 2002. Web 21 July 2010.
    Cubitt, Sean. “Visual and audiovisual: from image to moving image”. Journal of Visual Culture. SAGE Publications, 2002; 1: 359 – 368. Print. Wells, P. Understanding Animation. Routledge, 1998.
    Methodology: Literature reviews via comparative case studies and visual analysis or creative project and report.
  4. Cosplay (Anime, Manga, Gaming, Film and Comics)
    While not entirely new, the ever-expansive realm of ‘Cosplay’ (shorthand for costume play) has gained fervent momentum in popular culture within the past 5 years, seeing international competitions, television series (like Heroes of Cosplay 2013 – present) and offers a unique perspective on fandoms for a variety of media.
  5. Fan Art (Anime, Manga, Animation, Gaming, Comics and Film)
    An often hotly contested area of authorship versus expression, fan art is a ubiquitous practice within the international art community, straddling the line of plagiarism and adulation. The debate around the area is highly contentious, and I’d be interested to see a debate around this.
  6. Design
    As a practicing Multimedia Designer, I maintain a variety of interests within the design community, including interactive design, collaborative design, ubiquitous design, nudging and general graphics.


Personal tools