CNM joins the NUS and Singapore community to mourn the loss of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew

CNM joins the NUS and Singapore community to mourn the loss of Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of modern-day Singapore. Through his life and in his leadership, Lee Kuan Yew demonstrated the idea that communication is a powerful resource in bringing about change, inaugurating on the world stage an “Asian values” conversation that would serve as a harbinger for the change to come. He seriously introduced the conversation on culture in the global arena, seeding the spaces for other imaginations. We are grateful for his leadership that inspires us to imagine creative possibilities. We express our sincere condolences to PM Lee, Mrs. Lee, and the Lee family.

Prof. Mohan J. Dutta, Head, Communications and New Media, NUS




If you would like to send your condolence messages to the family of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, you can post your message on the dedicated NUS Facebook Page below:

Exercising the Dialogical Self: Portrait as Dialogue

Wednesday, March 25, 2015, 3:00 PM

CNM Meeting room, AS6, #03-33

Portrait as Dialogue is a practice–based research, which aims to develop a critical approach to representation that is based on primary fieldwork. It addresses the question of how we can identify with the descriptions/depictions of ourselves ‘that are created from other’ cultural perspectives. The major focus of this research is to understand how specific forms of representation reveal differently authored perceptions of the individual. The overarching aim is to map contemporary practices of identity construction and expression through the study of specific non- Western and sub- cultural modes of ‘portraying’ that start from different social and cultural codes and modes of production. In this talk, Angelika Böck portrays West-African Sculptors, Australian Aboriginal hunters, Sami Singers, Mongolian Herders, Malaysian Sign readers and Yemeni and Kelabit people, while they, in turn, “portray” her. This ‘dialogical’ strategy frames her as the subject to be studied, negotiated and represented through interpretations by individuals that are trained in or accustomed to different culturally defined practices. The resulting art installations present her collaborators and their portrayal of her – expressed by a given name, a composed melody or a smell evaluated – as well as the photo or video portraits that she makes of them. The artist as is both initiator of the projects and at the same time object of the portrayals, while the project contributors themselves are not only subjective portrayers, but also the objects portrayed. The resulting art works define distinct cultural practices of selection, interpretation and definition as new possible forms of “portrayal”.

Angelika Böck graduated in interior design and sculpture at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, Germany. In the past twenty years, her art practice has developed into a questioning of human perception and representation through dialogical intervention. Her experimental research in “Dialogical Portraits” has been carried out in different parts of the world, such as the Republic of Ivory Coast, Australia, Yemen, Malaysia and Mongolia. Angelika lives in Munich (Germany) and Bario (Sarawak/Malaysia). You can receive more information on her and her work from

Catalyzing collective creativity with coordination and analogy

Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 3:00 PM

CNM Meeting room, AS6, #03-33

Web technologies have enabled hundreds of thousands of people to focus their collective ingenuity on a common creative goal, such as designing consumer products or solving scientific problems. However, leveraging the full potential of the crowd involves tackling two key problems: the inherent difficulty of generating creative ideas and the complexity of coordinating a crowd. In this talk, I will present two projects that address these concerns. The first project guides crowds through an evolutionary process of creating ideas, allowing them to build on each other’s work. The second project enables the crowd to generate better ideas through distributed, analogical transfer. Both projects develop and validate methods that significantly reduce the difficulty of generating creative ideas, and propose novel coordination structures for effectively integrating the crowd’s contributions. In this talk, Dr. Yu will suggest two effective ways to promote crowd creativity: 1) coordinating efforts through distributed design processes; and 2) taking advantage of existing design examples to inspire creativity.

Lisa Yu is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. She received her Ph.D. in Management of Information Systems from Stevens Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on applying crowdsourcing techniques to promote innovation in areas such as consumer products and scientific research. Her research results have been published in selective conferences and journals, such as ACM Conferences on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), and ACM Transactions. Her work has also been featured in Wired Magazine, New Scientist, and ACM TechNews.



Strategic Morality

Wednesday, March 18, 2015, 3:00 PM

CNM Meeting Room, AS6, #03-33

Some current evolutionary theories of morality hold that the adaptations that underlie moral judgment and behavior function to deliver benefits (or prevent harm) to others. In this talk, Prof. Robert Kurzban will discuss several lines of research built around an alternative view. In particular, he will present evidence for the view that people adopt moral positions based on calculations of their self-interest. First, in an experimental study, subjects are presented with an economic decision making game and asked to evaluate the fairness (or unfairness) of each possible decision that players in the game might make. We find that subjects are morally self-serving, reporting that decisions that leave them worse off are more “unfair.” In a second body of work, people’s political views change depending on non-obvious factors that shift people’s perception of where their own interests lie. Finally, a third line of work speaks to the possibility that people’s political attitudes are derived not from their party affiliation or their political ideology, but instead derive from calculations of their interests. These results are consistent with a view of morality that suggests that people’s moral views are not adopted in order to aid others – or their group – but instead to advance their goals over various time spans.

Robert Kurzban is a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the Psychology Department. He received his PhD at the University of California Santa Barbara at the Center for Evolutionary Psychology in 1998, and received postdoctoral training at Caltech in the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, UCLA Anthropology, and the University of Arizona’s Economic Science Laboratory with Vernon Smith. In 2003, he founded the Penn Laboratory for Experimental Evolutionary Psychology. He has published dozens of journal articles on a wide array of topics, including morality, cooperation, friendship, mate choice, supernatural beliefs, modularity, self-control, and other topics. In 2008, he won the inaugural Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution from the Human Behavior and Evolution Society (HBES). He is the Editor-in-Chief of HBES’ flagship journal, Evolution and Human Behavior. His first book, Why Everyone (Else) Is A Hypocrite was published in 2011, and his most recent book, The Hidden Agenda of the Political Mind, is now available.

The Player and the Game

Wednesday, March 11th, 3:00 PM

CNM Meeting room, AS6, #03-33

In recent decades we observe a closer relation between games and activism, between games and war, and between games and the city. In other words, we witness the gamification of certain regions of the world. What is the power of the game over life?  Often the game imposes a kind of subjectification. The game’s rules demand reflexive acts from the player. The player engages with the game’s pre-programmed interactions, losing minutes and hours to the fascination of overcoming the challenge. Yet, players also remake their own games, thereby seizing back some of that which was lost to the game’s digital regime. Players modify and evolve game structures and genres, taking the authorial reins of game-making into their own hands.  Artists conduct chaotic aesthetic hacks of the game’s programmatic engine, reducing military-themed shooters and car races to abstract surges of colour and noise.  Gamemakers with critical agendas simulate the world’s problems in miniature toy worlds. Activist players carry out campaigns of ludic social resistance on the digital streets and public arenas of online game cities. Children of the future play mobile glasses games of mixed reality within the urban habitat of the Japanimation city. As more of the global population acquires ludoliteracy via casual and mobile games, how does player power manifest on the global stage, who makes games, who consumes games, and who is addicted to and consumed by games, emerge as questions to be tackled. In this talk, Dr. Schleiner will further complicate the aforementioned questions and discuss the power of the game over life.

Dr. Anne-Marie Schleiner is engaged in gaming and net culture in a variety of roles as a cultural critic, curator, anti-war activist, and gaming artist/designer. She has taught at universities and artist workshops and participated in art residencies in Germany, Belgium, Spain and Mexico. She has exhibited in international galleries, museums and festivals. Her most recent exhibition was at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona. Documentation of her performative culture work is available on the Video Data Bank. She holds a doctorate in Cultural Analysis from the University of Amsterdam. She is currently working on two book projects, and teaches game design in the Communication and New Media Department at the National University of Singapore.