Research Talks by CNM Graduate Students: Joel Gn, Shobha Vadrevu and Chiang Jing Ying

March 12 2014, Wednesday, 2:30pm
CNM Meeting room, AS6, #03-33
“Be With Me”: Cute Technology and the Simulation of Affect
This study examines the anthropomorphic project of cuteness and its humanisation via an artificiality that involves the augmentation of the human’s biological form. It is in this augmentation that cuteness becomes an affective quality, insofar as it bridges the gap between the otherness of the object and the one who beholds it. Although cuteness is used as a design element in a variety of interactive technologies, I argue that this particular design element or aesthetic is no less technological than the object it attempts to humanize. My thesis uses critical theory to understand cuteness as a form of technology encompassing ambiguities that are symptomatic of the post-social milieu where humans have come to share intimate connections between the technologies they consume.
joel Joel Gn is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Communications and New Media, National      University of Singapore. His dissertation will critique the aesthetic of cuteness and its metaphorical implications within a technological space.




Online Political Memes and Youth Political Engagement in Singapore <>
This paper explores political actors’ practice of posting static visual online memes on social media in Singapore to convey messages commenting on the ruling party and its policies. The paper presents a discussion based on semiotic analysis of selected memes, and interviews with Singaporeans aged 18-24 about their responses to memes, to understand how circulation of memes might influence quality of political engagement. Results suggest that while memes hold potential for enhancing political engagement among a citizenry that is often seen as depoliticised, youths’ perceptions of the memes do not allow for deterministic conclusions about their efficacy in this regard. Rather, the popularity of memes in general as devices of humour, cultural resonance and identity representations suggests that the appropriation of cyberculture for localized political means does have potential for socialising citizens to become critical of the status quo as part of a wider network of political action. The paper was written and presented with Dr. T.T. Sreekumar at the AoIR conference in Denver last year.

Shobha Vadrevu is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore. She hold a Masters in Educational and Social Research from the University of London’s Institute of Education. Her research interests include Critical New Media Theory, ICTS and Pedagogy, Political Communication and Youth and Citizenship. A trained teacher who has classroom experience in teaching at the secondary school level, her specific focus on the relationships and contexts of youth media use grew out of her interactions with young people in school settings.



Exploring the relationships between interactivity and anticipation in interactive art

This paper explores one specific form of aesthetic experience: Anticipation, and aims to understand how anticipation emerges through interactivity as an aesthetic response in interactive art. Previous work that has tried to address anticipation as a form of experience can be grouped into three categories in: 1) Static media such as literary text; 2) Dynamic, temporal media such as music and film; and 3) Interactive media such as interactive stories, games, and interactive art. This paper seeks to address the following questions: what are the frameworks and models used to understand anticipation in the related disciplines, and how can these be adapted to interactive art? And if they are not adaptable, what kind of models might be relevant? The study will present an initial survey of the literature related to anticipation, interactivity, and art, and identify and compare the various frameworks. The contribution of this paper is to develop an understanding of the degree to which the current frameworks from other disciplines can be applied to interactive art, and if not, to identify the issues that need to be addressed. This will inform a set of research questions for future study.

Chiang Jing Ying is an instructor at the at the Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore. She is also pursuing her PhD, and currently, preparing for her qualifying examinations. Her research is about understanding the correlations between interactivity and aesthetic response in interactive art.

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About Gulizar Haciyakupoglu

A PhD Candidate at Communications & New Media Programme, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
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