Tag Archives: Simon Fraser University (SFU)

Highlights from Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) June 2024 Metacreation Lab newsletter

The latest newsletter from the Metacreation Lab for Creative AI (at Simon Fraser University [SFU]), features a ‘first’. From the June 2024 Metacreation Lab newsletter (received via email),

“Longing + Forgetting” at the 2024 Currents New Media Festival in Santa Fe

We are thrilled to announce that Longing + Forgetting has been invited to the esteemed Currents New Media Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Longing + Forgetting is a generative audio-video installation that explores the relationship between humans and machines. This media art project, created by Canadian artists Philippe Pasquier and Thecla Schiphorst alongside Australian artist Matt Gingold, has garnered international acclaim since its inception. Initially presented in Canada in 2013, the piece has journeyed through multiple international festivals, captivating audiences with its exploration of human expression through movement.

Philippe Pasquier will be on-site for the festival, overseeing the site-specific installation at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe. This marks the North American premiere of the redeveloped version of “Longing + Forgetting,” featuring a new soundtrack by Pasquier based solely on the close-mic recording of dancers.

Currents New Media Festival runs June 14–23, 2024 and brings together the work of established and emerging new media artists from around the world across various disciplines, with an expected 9,000 visitors during the festival’s run.

More Information

Discover “Longing + Forgetting” at Bunjil Place in Melbourne

We are excited to announce that “Longing + Forgetting” is being featured at Bunjil Place in Melbourne, Australia. As part of the Art After Dark Program curated by Angela Barnett, this outdoor screening will run from June 1 to June 28, illuminating the night from 5 pm to 7 pm.

More Information

Presenting “Unveiling New Artistic Dimensions in Calligraphic Arabic Script with GANs” at SIGGRAPH 2024

We are pleased to share that our paper, “Unveiling New Artistic Dimensions in Calligraphic Arabic Script with Generative Adversarial Networks,” will be presented at SIGGRAPH 2024, the premier conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques. The event will take place from July 28 to August 1, 2024, in Denver, Colorado.

This paper delves into the artistic potential of Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) to create and innovate within the realm of calligraphic Arabic script, particularly the nastaliq style. By developing two custom datasets and leveraging the StyleGAN2-ada architecture, we have generated high-quality, stylistically coherent calligraphic samples. Our work bridges the gap between traditional calligraphy and modern technology and offers a new mode of creative expression for this artform.

SIGGRAPH’24

For those unfamiliar with the acronym, SIGGRAPH stands for special interest group for computer graphics and interactive techniques. SIGGRAPH is huge and it’s a special interest group (SIG) of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery).

If memory serves, this is the first time I’ve seen the Metacreation Lab make a request for volunteers, from the June 2024 Metacreation Lab newsletter,

Are you interested in music-making and AI technology?

The Metacreation Lab for Creative AI at Simon Fraser University (SFU), is conducting a research study in partnership with Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH. We are testing and evaluating MMM-Cubase v2, a creative AI system for assisting composing music. The system is based on our best music transformer, the multitrack music machine (MMM), which can generate, re-generate or complete new musical content based on existing content.

There is no prerequisite for this study beyond a basic knowledge of DAW and MIDI. So everyone is welcome even if you do not consider yourself a composer, but are interested in trying the system. The entire study should take you around 3 hours, and you must be 19+ years old. Basic interest and familiarity with digital music composition will help, but no experience with making music is required.

We seek to better evaluate the potential for adoption of such systems for novice/beginner as well as for seasoned composers. More specifically, you will be asked to install and use the system to compose a short 4-track musical composition and to fill out a survey questionnaire at the end.

Participation in this study is rewarded with one free Steinberg software license of your choice among Cubase Element, Dorico Element or Wavelab Element.

For any question or further inquiry, please contact researcher Renaud Bougueng Tchemeube directly at rbouguen@sfu.ca.

Enroll in the Study

You can find the Metacreation Lab for Creative AI website here.

Maxwell’s demon at Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, Canada)

James Clerk Maxwell (1831 – 1879), a Scottish physicist, is famous for many scientific breakthroughs (see Maxwell’s Wikipedia entry) and also for a thought experiment known as Maxwell’s demon. This graphical abstract illustrates a paper from three Simon Fraser University (SFU) physicists that advances the ‘demon’s’ possibiliteis,

Graphical Abstract: Energy flows in conventional and information engines used to displace a bead. Credit: Advances in Physics: X (2024). DOI: 10.1080/23746149.2024.2352112

A June 6, 2024 news item on phys.org describes Maxwell’s thought experiment and announces a possible breakthrough, Note: Links have been removed,

The molecules that make up the matter around us are in constant motion. What if we could harness that energy and put it to use?

Over 150 years ago, Maxwell theorized that if molecules’ motion could be measured accurately, this information could be used to power an engine. Until recently this was a thought experiment, but technological breakthroughs have made it possible to build working information engines in the lab.

SFU Physics professors John Bechhoefer and David Sivak teamed up to build an information engine and test its limits. Their work has greatly advanced our understanding of how these engines function, and a paper led by postdoctoral fellow Johan du Buisson and published recently in Advances in Physics: X summarizes the findings made during their collaboration.

A June 5, 2024 SFU news release (also on EurekAlert but published June 6, 2024) by Erin Brown-John, which originated the news item, describes the breakthrough in more detail,

“We live in a world full of extra unused energy that potentially could be used,” says Bechhoefer. Understanding how information engines function can not only help us put that energy to work, it can also suggest ways that existing engines could be redesigned to use energy more efficiently, and help us learn how biological motors work in organisms and the human body.

The team’s information engine consists of a tiny bead in a water bath that is held in place with an optical trap. When fluctuations in the water cause the bead to move in the desired direction, the trap can be adjusted to prevent the bead from returning to the place where it was before. By taking accurate measurements of the bead’s location and using that information to adjust the trap, the engine is able to convert the heat energy of the water into work.

To understand how fast and efficient the engine could be, the team tested multiple variables such as the mass of the bead and sampling frequency, and developed algorithms to reduce the uncertainty of their measurements.

“Stripped down to its simplest essence, we can systematically understand how things like temperature and the size of the system changes the things we can take advantage of,” Sivak says. “What are the strategies that work best? How do they change with all those different properties?”

The team was able to achieve the fastest speed recorded to date for an information engine, approximately ten times faster than the speed of E. coli, and comparable to the speed of motile bacteria found in marine environments.

Next, the team wanted to learn if an information engine could harvest more energy than it costs to run. “In equilibrium, that’s always a losing game,” Bechhoefer says. “The costs of gathering the information and processing it will always exceed what you’re getting out of it, but when you have an environment that has extra energy, [molecules doing] extra jiggling around, then that can change the balance if it’s strong enough.”

They found that in a non-equilibrium environment, where the engine was in a heat bath with a higher temperature than the measuring apparatus, it could output significantly more power than it cost to run.

All energy on Earth comes from the sun, and it eventually radiates out into space. That directional flow of energy manifests itself in many different ways, such as wind or ocean currents that can be harvested. Understanding the principles behind information engines can help us make better use of that energy.

“We’re coming at [energy harvesting] from a very different point of view, and we hope that this different perspective can lead to some different insights about how to be more efficient,” Bechhoefer says.

The pair is looking forward to working together on other projects in the future. “We were lucky to get a joint grant together. That really helped with the collaboration,” says Bechhoefer.

Sivak, a theorist, and Bechhoefer, an experimentalist, bring complementary approaches to their work, and they have been able to attract trainees who want to work with both. “We have different styles in terms of how we go about mentoring and leading a group,” says Sivak. “Our students and post-docs can benefit from both approaches.”

Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,

Performance limits of information engines by Johan du Buisson, David A. Sivak, & John Bechhoefer. Advances in Physics: X Volume 9, 2024 – Issue 1 Article: 2352112 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/23746149.2024.2352112 Published online: 21 May 2024

This paper is open access.

Simon Fraser University’s (SFU; Vancouver, Canada) Café Scientifique: last Spring 2024 event & Science Rendezvous on May 11, 2024

I have posted about this April 30, 2024 event on Zoom previously (see my January 16, 2024 post) so this constitutes a reminder. From an April 23, 2024 Simon Fraser University (SFU) Café Scientifique announcement (received via email),

SFU CAFÉ SCIENTIFIQUE: Overtraining and the Everyday Athlete

Tuesday, April 30 [2024], 5:00 – 6:30 pm over Zoom

What happens when we train too hard, don’t take enough time to recover, or underfuel while exercising? Join SFU Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology professor Alexandra Coates for a discussion about overtraining and and how it affects both elite and “everyday athletes.”

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/763521010897 to receive the Zoom invite

Joint SFU and Science Rendezvous May 11, 2024 events

From an April 23, 2024 Simon Fraser University (SFU) Café Scientifique announcement (received via email),

Science Rendezvous and International Astronomy Day returns IN-PERSON on Saturday, May 11 [2024], at SFU Burnaby with fun for the entire family. Peep through our telescope at the Trottier Observatory, dissect a digital cadaver, have fun with our Superconducting train, learn more about forensic science, create your own LED card and so much more!

Check out event details and register for the Magic Chemistry show! https://www.sfu.ca/science/community/science-rendezvous-2024.html 

This event is hosted with our friends from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vancouver in celebration of International Astronomy Day.

Science Rendezvous is now the largest science festival in Canada. (The Canadian government has funded national science events off and on with the Science Odyssey being the most recent iteration. As happens from time to time, whichever agency is organizing the government’s national event either loses funding or can’t commit resources to the event. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada [NSERC] announced its withdrawal as the organizing agency with the 2023 iteration of the event.)

You can find more events more May 11, 2024 Science Rendezvous events across Canada here. So far this year, they have events in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland & Labrador, Northwest Territories, Ontario, and Québec.

Interweave: A multi-sensory show (March 21, 2024 in Vancouver, Canada) where fashion, movement, & music come together though wearable instruments.

Interweave is a free show at The Kent in the gallery in downtown Vancouver, Canada. Here’s more from a Simon Fraser University (SFU) announcement (received via email),

SFU School for the Contemporary Arts (SCA) alumnus, Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yazdi, is hosting Interweave, a multi-sensory show where fashion, movement, and music come together though wearable instruments.

Embrace the fusion of creativity and expression alongside your fellow alumni in a setting that celebrates innovation and the uncharted synergy between fashion, music, and movement. This is a great opportunity to mingle and reconnect with your peers.

Event Details:

Date: March 21, 2024
Time: Doors 7:30pm, Show 8:00pm
Location: The Kent Vancouver, 534 Cambie Street
Free Entry, RSVP required

Interweave is the first event from Fashion x Electronics (FXE), a collective created by Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yazdi, SCA alumnus, composer, and performer, and designer Kayla Yazdi. FXE is an interdisciplinary collective that is building multi-sensory experiences for their community, bridging together a diverse range of disciplines.

This is a 19+ event. ID will be checked at the door.

RSVP Now!

I wasn’t able to discern much more about the event or the Yazdi sisters from their Fashion x Electronics (FXE) website but there is this about Kayla Yazdi on her FXE profile,

Kayla Yazdi

Designer / Co-Producer

Kayla Yazdi is an Iranian-Canadian designer based in Vancouver, Canada. Her upbringing in Iran immersed her in a world of culture, art, and color. Holding a diploma in painting and a bachelor’s degree in design with a specialization in fashion and technology, Kayla has cultivated the skill set that merges her artistic sensibilities with innovative design concepts.

Kayla is dedicated to the creation of “almost” zero-waste garments. With design, technology, and experimentation, Kayla seeks to minimize environmental impacts while delivering unique styles.

Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yazdi’s FXE profile has this,

Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yazdi

Sound Artist / Co-Producer

Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yazdi(b. 1997 Tehran, Iran) is a California/Vancouver-based composer and performer. She writes for hybrid instrumental/electronic ensembles, creates electroacoustic and audiovisual works, and performs electronic music. Kimia explores the unfamiliar familiar while constantly being driven by the concepts of motion, interaction, and growth in both human life and in the sonic world. Being a cross-disciplinary artist, she has actively collaborated on projects evolving around dance, film, and theatre. Kimia’s work has been showcased by organizations such as Iranian Female Composer Association, Music on Main, Western Front, Vancouver New Music, and Media Arts Committee. She has been featured in The New York Times, Georgia Straight, MusicWorks Magazine, Vancouver Sun, and Sequenza 21. Her work has been performed at festivals around the world including Ars Electronica Festival, Festival Ecos Urbanos, Tehran Contemporary Sounds, AudioVisual Frontiers Virtual Exhibition, The New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Yarn/Wire Institute, Ensemble Evolution, New Music on the Point, wasteLAnd Summer Academy, EQ: Evolution of the String Quartet, Modulus Festival, and SALT New Music Festival. She holds a BFA in Music Composition from Simon Fraser University’s Interdisciplinary School for the Contemporary Arts, having studied with Sabrina Schroeder and Mauricio Pauly. Kimia is currently pursuing her DMA in Music Composition at Stanford University.

For more details about the sisters and the performance, Marilyn R. Wilson has written up a February 21, 2024 interview with both sisters for her Olio blog,

Can you share a little bit about your background, the life, work, experiences that led you to who you are today?
Kayla: I’m a visual artist with a focus on fashion design, and textile development. I like to explore ways to create wearable art with minimal waste produced in the process. I studied painting at Azadehgan School of Art in Iran and fashion design & technology at Wilson School of Design in Vancouver. My interest in fashion is rooted in creating functional art. I enjoy the business aspect of fashion however, I want to push boundaries of how fashion can be seen as art rather than solely as production.

Kimia: I’m a composer of acoustic and electronic music, I perform and build instruments, and a lot of times I combine these components together. Working with various disciplines is also an important part of my practice. I studied piano performance at Tehran Music School before moving to Vancouver to study composition at Simon Fraser University. I am currently a doctorate candidate in music composition at Stanford University. I love electronic music, food, and sports! My family, partner, and friends are a huge part of my life!

You have your premier event called “Interweave” coming up on March 21st at The Kent Gallery in Vancouver. What can guests attending expect this evening?

Kayla & Kimia: Interweave is a multidisciplinary performance that bridges fashion, music, technology, and dance. Our dancers will be performing in garments designed by Kayla, that are embedded with microcontrollers and sensors developed by Kimia. The dancers control various musical parameters through their movements and their interaction with the sensors that are incorporated within the garments. Along with works for movement and dance, there will be a live electronic music performance made for costume-made instruments. So far we have received an amazing amount of support and RSVP’s from the art industry in Vancouver and look forward to welcoming many local creative individuals.

We’d love to know about the team of professionals who are working hard to create this unique experience. 

Kayla & Kimia: We are working with the amazing choreographers/dancers Anya Saugstad and Daria Mikhailiuk. We are thankful for Laleh Zandi’s help for creating a sculpture for one of our instruments which will be performed by Kimia. Celeste Betancur and Richard Lee have been our amazing audio tech assistants. We are very appreciative of everyone involved in FXE’s premiere and can’t wait to showcase our hard work.

I have a bit more about Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yazdi and her work in music from a February 27, 2024 profile on the SFU School for the Contemporary Arts website, Note: Links have been removed,

Please introduce yourself.

I’m a composer of acoustic and electronic music, I perform and build instruments, and a lot of times, I combine these components together. Working with various disciplines is also an important part of my practice. I studied piano performance at Tehran Music School before moving to Vancouver to study composition at Simon Fraser University, graduating from the SCA in 2020. I am currently a doctoral student in music composition at Stanford University, where I spend most of my time.

Tell us about your current studies.

I’m in the third year of the DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) program at Stanford University. I do the majority of my work at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). I’m currently trying to learn and to experiment as much as possible! The amount of resources and ideas that I have been exposed to during the last couple of years has been quite significant and wonderful. I have been taking courses in subjects that I never thought I would study, from classes in the computer science and the mechanical engineering departments, to ones in education and theatre. I’m grateful to have been given a supportive platform to truly experiment and to learn.

As for my compositions, they are more melodic than before, and that currently makes me happy. I have started to perform more again (piano and electronics), and it makes me question: why did I ever stop…?

Koochakzadeh-Yazdi’s mention of building instruments reminded me of Icelandic musician, Bjork and Biophilia, which was an album, various art projects, and a film (Biophilia Live), which featured a number of musical instruments she created.

Getting back to Interweave, it’ s on March 21, 2024 at The Kent, specifically the gallery, which has,

… 14 foot ceilings boasts 50 track lights with the ability to transform the vacuous hall from candlelight to daylight. The lights are fully dimmable in an array of playful hues, according to your whim.   A full array of DMX Lighting and control systems live alongside the track light system and our recently installed (Vancouvers only) immersive projection system [emphasis mine] is ready for your vision.  This is your show.

I wonder if ‘multi-sensory’ includes an immersive experience.

Don’t forget, you have to RSVP for Interweave, which is free.

Noise pollution in the ocean and the Canadian military

A December 1, 2023 news item on phys.org highlights noise pollution research from Simon Fraser University (SFU) based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada,

A new study from Simon Fraser University researchers examines the Canadian military’s efforts to reduce the impacts of underwater noise pollution on species during training exercises in the Pacific Ocean but caveat that more can still be done.

Kieran Cox, Liber Ero and NSERC Fellow from Simon Fraser University, prepares to dive into kelp forests. Photo by Kiara Kattler

A December 11, 2023 SFU news release (also on EurekAlert but published December 1, 2023), which originated the news item, delves further into the research,

The paper, published today [online December 1 or 11, 2023] in Marine Policy, takes aim at a report commissioned by the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) to reduce the effects of noise pollution from military small-arms munitions training within “Whiskey Hotel”, a 330-square-kilometre area in the Strait of Juan de Fuca off the British Columbia coast.

The military commissioned the report after it committed to pausing exercises in the area for three years to examine the risk in-air and underwater training noises pose to marine mammals, such as the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales.

With the report complete, the military has indicated it plans to resume training activities in Whiskey Hotel and will implement measures to reduce the impact of noise pollution, such as mitigation avoidance zones, cease-fire procedures, and marine species awareness training.

While researchers acknowledge the report and the mitigation measures as a positive step forward, the SFU-led paper analyzing the original report found several limitations.

For example, the report only looked at the noise pollution created by small arms fire and didn’t consider the significant noise created by the military vessels themselves. The report also focused on marine mammals and didn’t take into account the impact noise pollution also has on local populations of fish, such as salmon, and invertebrates in the area.  

Researchers say more can be done in the future to protect fish and invertebrates from noise pollution, especially as the federal government continues to develop a national plan to manage and mitigate the impacts of underwater vessel noise on marine species and their ecosystems.

“It’s important to be clear: this report is a step in the right direction. The government is developing an ocean noise strategy, so legislation on this topic is currently lacking, and activities that pertain to national security will be largely exempt from regulations. Commissioning an investigation and implementing mitigation measures is a conservation success story, one that I’m keen to see this improved upon and used in the future,” says SFU biological sciences postdoctoral fellow Kieran Cox, the lead author of the study. 

“I am hopeful that this framework can be adapted to consider all marine life and sources of noise pollution noise, which is needed as we move towards an Ocean Noise Strategy that can inform the coming decades.”

Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,

Military training in the Canadian Pacific: Taking aim at critical habitat or sufficient mitigation of noise pollution impacts? by Kieran D. Cox, Audrey Looby, Hailey L. Davies, Kelsie A. Murchy, Brittnie Spriel, Aaron N. Rice, Francis Juanes, Isabelle M. Côté. Marine Policy Volume 160, February 2024, 105945 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2023.105945

This paper is behind a paywall.

March 6, 2024 Simon Fraser University (SFU) event “The Planetary Politics of AI: Past, Present, and Future” in Vancouver, Canada

*Unsurprisingly, this event has been cancelled. More details at the end of this posting.* This is not a free event; they’ve changed the information about fees/no fees and how the fees are being assessed enough times for me to lose track; check the eventbrite registration page for the latest. Also, there will not be a publicly available recording of the event. (For folks who can’t afford the fees, there’s a contact listed later in this posting.)

First, here’s the “The Planetary Politics of AI: Past, Present, and Future” event information (from a January 10, 2024 Simon Fraser University (SFU) Public Square notice received via email),

The Planetary Politics of AI: Past, Present, and Future

Wednesday, March 6 [2024] | 7:00pm | In-person | Free [Note: This was an error.]

Generative AI has dominated headlines in 2023, but these new technologies rely on a dramatic increase in the extraction of data, human labor, and natural resources. With increasing media manipulation, polarizing discourse, and deep fakes, regulators are struggling to manage new AI.

On March 6th [2024], join renowned author and digital scholar Kate Crawford, as she sits in conversation with SFU’s Wendy Hui Kyong Chun. Together, they will discuss the planetary politics of AI, how we got here, and where it might be going.

A January 11, 2024 SFU Public Square notice (received via email) updates the information about how this isn’t a free event and offers an option for folks who can’t afford the price of a ticket, Note Links have been removed,

The Planetary Politics of AI: Past, Present, and Future

Wednesday, March 6 | 7:00pm | In-person | Paid

Good morning,

We’ve been made aware that yesterday’s newsletter had a mistake, and we thank those who brought it to our attention. The March 6th [2024] event, The Planetary Politics of AI: Past, Present, and Future, is not a free event and has an admission fee for attendance. We apologize for the confusion.

Whenever possible, SFU Public Square’s events are free and open to all, to ensure that the event is as accessible as possible. For this event, there is a paid admission, with a General and Student/Senior Admission option. That being said, if the admission fees are a barrier to access, please email us at psqevent@sfu.ca. Exceptions can be made. [emphasis mine]

Thank you for your understanding!

“The Planetary Politics of AI: Past, Present, and Future” registration webpage on eventbrite offers more information about the speakers and logistics,

Date and time

Starts on Wed, Mar 6, 2024 7:00 PM PST

Location

Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema (SFU Vancouver — Woodward’s Building) 149 W Hastings Street Vancouver, BC V6B 1H7

[See registration page for link to map]

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 7 days before event

About the speakers

Kate Crawfordis a leading international scholar of the social implications of artificial intelligence. She is a Research Professor at USC Annenberg in Los Angeles, a Senior Principal Researcher at MSR in New York, an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney, and the inaugural Visiting Chair for AI and Justice at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. Her latest book, Atlas of AI (Yale, 2021), won the Sally Hacker Prize from the Society for the History of Technology, the ASSI&T Best Information Science Book Award, and was named one of the best books in 2021 by New Scientist and the Financial Times.

Over her twenty-year research career, she has also produced groundbreaking creative collaborations and visual investigations. Her project Anatomy of an AI System with Vladan Joler is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the V&A in London, and was awarded with the Design of the Year Award in 2019 and included in the Design of the Decades by the Design Museum of London. Her collaboration with the artist Trevor Paglen, Excavating AI, won the Ayrton Prize from the British Society for the History of Science. She has advised policy makers in the United Nations, the White House, and the European Parliament, and she currently leads the Knowing Machines Project, an international research collaboration that investigates the foundations of machine learning. And in 2023, Kate Crawford was named on of the TIME100 list as one of the most influential people in AI.

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun is Simon Fraser University’s Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media, Professor in the School of Communication, and Director of the Digital Democracies Institute. At the Institute, she leads the Mellon-funded Data Fluencies Project, which combines the interpretative traditions of the arts and humanities with critical work in the data sciences to express, imagine, and create innovative engagements with (and resistances to) our data-filled world.

She has studied both Systems Design Engineering and English Literature, which she combines and mutates in her research on digital media. She is author many books, including: Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics (MIT, 2006), Programmed Visions: Software and Memory (MIT 2011), Updating to Remain the Same: Habitual New Media (MIT 2016), and Discriminating Data: Correlation, Neighborhoods, and the New Politics of Recognition (2021, MIT Press). She has been Professor and Chair of the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, where she worked for almost two decades and is currently a Visiting Professor. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and has also held fellowships from: the Guggenheim, ACLS, American Academy of Berlin, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard.

I’m wondering if the speakers will be discussing how visual and other arts impact their views on AI and vice versa. Both academics have an interest in the arts as you can see in Crawford’s event bio. As for Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, in my April 23, 2021 posting where if you scroll down to her name, (about 30% of the way down), you’ll see she was involved with “Multimedia & Electronic Music Experiments (MEME),” History of Art and Architecture,” and “Theatre Arts and Performance Studies” at Brown University.

A February 12, 2024 SFU Public Square announcement (received via email), which includes a link to this Speaker’s Spotlight webpage (scroll down), suggests my speculation is incorrect,

For over two decades, Kate Crawford’s work has focused on understanding large scale data systems, machine learning and AI in the wider contexts of history, politics, labor, and the environment.

Her latest book,  Atlas of AI (2021) explores artificial intelligence as the extractive industry of the 21st century, relying on vast amounts of data, human labour, and natural resources. …

One more biographical note about Crawford, she was mentioned here in an April 17, 2015 posting, scroll down to the National Film Board of Canada subhead, then down to Episode 5 ‘Big Data and its Algorithms’ of the Do Not Track documentary; she is one of the interviewees. I’m not sure if that documentary is still accessible online.

Back to the event, to get more details and/or buy a ticket, go to: “The Planetary Politics of AI: Past, Present, and Future” registration webpage.

Or, SFU is hosting its free 2023 Nobel Prize-themed lecture at Science World on March 6, 2024 (see my January 16, 2024 posting and scroll down about 30% of the way for more details).

*March 4, 2024: I found a cancellation notice on the SFU’s The Planetary Politics of AI: Past, Present, and Future event page,,

Unfortunately, this event has been cancelled due to extenuating circumstances. If you have questions or concerns, please email us at psqevent@sfu.ca. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and we thank you for your understanding.

My guess? They didn’t sell enough tickets. My assessment? Poor organization (e.g., the confusion over pricing), and poor marketing (e.g., no compelling reason to buy a ticket, (e.g.,, neither participant is currently a celebrity or a hot property, the presentation was nothing unique or special, it was just a talk; the title was mildly interesting but not exciting or provocative, etc.).

Simon Fraser University’s (SFU; Vancouver, Canada) Café Scientifique Winter/Spring 2024 events + a 2023 Nobel-themed lecture

There are three upcoming Simon Fraser University (SFU) Café Scientifique events (Zoom) and one upcoming Nobel=themed lecture (in person) according to a January 15, 2024 notice (received via email), Note: All the events are free,

Hello SFU Cafe Scientifique friends!

We are back with a brand new line up for our Cafe Scientifique discussion series.  Zoom invites will be sent closer to the event dates [emphasis mine].  We hope you can join us.

All event information and registration links on this page: https://www.sfu.ca/science/community.html

Café Scientifique: Why Do Babies Get Sick? A Systems Biology Approach to Developing Diagnostics and Therapeutics for Neonatal Sepsis. 

Tuesday, January 30, 5:00-6:30pm over Zoom 

Around the world five newborn babies die each second from life-threatening infections. Unfortunately there is no fast or easy way to tell which microbes are involved. Molecular Biology and Biochemistry assistant professor Amy Lee will share how we can use genomics and machine learning approaches to tackle this challenge.
Register here. https://events.sfu.ca/event/38235-cafe-scientifique-january-why-do-babies-get-sick?

Cafe Scientifique: From data to dollars: A journey through financial modelling
Tuesday, February 27, 5:00-6:30 pm over Zoom 

Financial modelling involves using mathematical and statistical techniques to understand future financial scenarios, helping individuals and businesses make informed decisions about their investments. Join Dr. Jean-François Bégin as he explores how these models can empower us to navigate the complexities of financial markets.

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/763521010897

Cafe Scientifique: Overtraining and the Everyday Athlete
Tuesday, April 30, 5:00-6:30 pm over Zoom 

What happens when we train too hard, don’t take enough time to recover, or underfuel while exercising, and how that applies to both elite athletes and just your “everyday athlete.” Join Dr. Alexandra Coates from our Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology Department in this interesting discussion.

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/763521010897

Missed our last Café Scientifique talk [Decoding how life senses and responds to carbon dioxide gas] with Dustin King? [SFU Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Assistant Professor Dustin King’s Indigenous background is central to his work and relationship with the biochemical research he conducts. He brings Indigenous ways of knowing and a two-eye seeing approach to critical questions about humanity’s impact upon the natural world …] Watch it on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCHTSbF3RVs&list=PLTMt9gbqLurAMfSHQqVAHu7YbyOFq81Ix&index=10

The ‘2023 Nobel Prize Lectures’ being presented by SFU do not feature the 2023 winners but rather, SFU experts in the relevant field, from the January 15, 2024 SFU Café Scientifique notice (received via email),

BACK IN-PERSON AT THE SCIENCE WORLD THEATRE!

Location: Science World Theatre 1455 Quebec Street Vancouver, BC V6A 3Z7

NOBEL PRIZE LECTURES  

Wednesday, March 6, 2024 

6:30-7:30 pm Refreshments, 7:30-9:30 pm Lectures 

Celebrate the 2023 Nobel awardees in Chemistry, Physics, Physiology or Medicine!

SFU experts will explain Nobel laureates’ award-winning research and its significance to our everyday lives. 

Featured presenters are

*Mark Brockman from Molecular Biology and Biochemistry for the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology;

*Byron Gates from Chemistry for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry; and

*Shawn Sederberg from the School of Engineering Science for the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/nobel-prize-lectures-tickets-773387301237

For anyone who has trouble remembering who and why the winners were awarded a 2023 Nobel Prize, here’s a nobleprize.org webpage devoted to the 2023 winners.

XoMotion, an exoskeleton developed in Canada causes commotion

I first stumbled across these researchers in 2016 when their project was known as “Wearable Lower Limb Anthropomorphic Exoskeleton (WLLAE).” In my January 20, 2016 posting, “#BCTECH: being at the Summit (Jan. 18-19, 2016),” an event put on by the province of British Columbia (BC, Canada) and the BC Innovation Council (BCIC), I visited a number of booths and talks at the #BC TECH Summit and had this to say about WLLAE,

“The Wearable Lower Limb Anthropomorphic Exoskeleton (WLLAE) – a lightweight, battery-operated and ergonomic robotic system to help those with mobility issues improve their lives. The exoskeleton features joints and links that correspond to those of a human body and sync with motion. SFU has designed, manufactured and tested a proof-of-concept prototype and the current version can mimic all the motions of hip joints.” The researchers (Siamak Arzanpour and Edward Park) pointed out that the ability to mimic all the motions of the hip is a big difference between their system and others which only allow the leg to move forward or back. They rushed the last couple of months to get this system ready for the Summit. In fact, they received their patent for the system the night before (Jan. 17, 2016) the Summit opened.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any pictures of WLLAE yet and the proof-of-concept version may differ significantly from the final version. This system could be used to help people regain movement (paralysis/frail seniors) and I believe there’s a possibility it could be used to enhance human performance (soldiers/athletes). The researchers still have some significant hoops to jump before getting to the human clinical trial stage. They need to refine their apparatus, ensure that it can be safely operated, and further develop the interface between human and machine. I believe WLLAE is considered a neuroprosthetic device. While it’s not a fake leg or arm, it enables movement (prosthetic) and it operates on brain waves (neuro). It’s a very exciting area of research, consequently, there’s a lot of international competition. [ETA January 3, 2024: I’m pretty sure I got the neuroprosthetic part wrong]

Time moved on and there was a name change and then there was this November 10, 2023 article by Jeremy Hainsworth for the Vancouver is Awesome website,

Vancouver-based fashion designer Chloe Angus thought she’d be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life after being diagnosed with an inoperable benign tumour in her spinal cord in 2015, resulting in permanent loss of mobility in her legs.

Now, however, she’s been using a state-of-the-art robotic exoskeleton known as XoMotion that can help physically disabled people self-balance, walk, sidestep, climb stairs and crouch.

“The first time I walked with the exoskeleton was a jaw-dropping experience,” said Angus. “After all these years, the exoskeleton let me stand up and walk on my own without falling. I felt like myself again.”

She added the exoskeleton has the potential to completely change the world for people with motion disabilities.

XoMotion is the result of a decade of research and the product of a Simon Fraser University spinoff company, Human in Motion Robotics (HMR) Inc. It’s the brainchild of professors Siamak Arzanpour and Edward Park.

Arzanpour and Park, both researchers in the Burnaby-based university’s School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering, began work on the device in 2014. They had a vision to enhance exoskeleton technology and empower individuals with mobility challenges to have more options for movement.

“We felt that there was an immediate need to help people with motion disabilities to walk again, with a full range of motion. At the time, exoskeletons could only walk forward. That was the only motion possible,” Arzanpour said.

A November 15, 2023 article (with an embedded video) by Amy Judd & Alissa Thibault for Global News (television) highlights Alexander’s story,

SFU professors Siamak Arzanpour and Edward Park wanted to help people with motion disabilities to walk freely, naturally and independently.

The exoskeleton [XoMotion] is now the most advanced of its kind in the world.

Chloe Angus, who lost her mobility in her legs in 2015, now works for the team.

She said the exoskeleton makes her feel like herself again.

She was diagnosed with an inoperable benign tumor in her spinal cord in 2015 which resulted in a sudden and permanent loss of mobility in her legs. At the time, doctors told Angus that she would need a wheelchair to move for the rest of her life.

Now she is part of the project and defying all odds.

“After all these years, the exoskeleton let me stand up and walk on my own without falling. I felt like myself again.”

There’s a bit more information in the November 8, 2023 Simon Fraser University (SFU) news release (which has the same embedded video as the Global News article) by Ray Sharma,

The state-of-the-art robotic exoskeleton known as XoMotion is the result of a decade of research and the product of an SFU spin off company, Human in Motion Robotics (HMR) Inc. The company has recently garnered millions in investment, an overseas partnership and a suite of new offices in Vancouver.

XoMotion allows individuals with mobility challenges to stand up and walk on their own, without additional support. When in use, XoMotion maintains its stability and simultaneously encompasses all the ranges of motion and degrees of freedom needed for users to self-balance, walk, sidestep, climb stairs, crouch, and more. 

Sensors within the lower-limb exoskeleton mimic the human body’s sense of logic to identify structures along the path, and in-turn, generate a fully balanced motion.

SFU professors Siamak Arzanpour and Edward Park, both researchers in the School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering, began work on the device in 2014 with a vision to enhance exoskeleton technology and empower individuals with mobility challenges to have more options for movement. 

“We felt that there was an immediate need to help people with motion disabilities to walk again, with a full range of motion. At the time, exoskeletons could only walk forward. That was the only motion possible,” says Arzanpour. 

The SFU professors, who first met in 2001 as graduate students at the University of Toronto, co-founded HMR in 2016, bringing together a group of students, end-users, therapists, and organizations to build upon the exoskeleton. Currently, 70 per cent of HMR employees are SFU graduates. 

In recent years, HMR has garnered multiple streams of investment, including a contract with Innovative Solutions Canada, and $10 million in funding during their Series A round in May, including an $8 million investment and strategic partnership from Beno TNR, a prominent Korean technology investment firm.

I decided to bring the embedded video here, it runs a little over 2 mins.,

You can find the Human in Robotics (HMR) website here.

AI for salmon recovery

Hopefully you won’t be subjected to a commercial prior to this 3 mins. 49 secs. video about the salmon and how artificial intelligence (AI) could make a difference in theirs and our continued survival,

Video caption: Wild Salmon Center is partnering with First Nations to pilot the Salmon Vision technology. (Credit: Olivia Leigh Nowak/Le Colibri Studio.)

An October 19, 2023 news item on phys.org announces this research, Note: Links have been removed,

Scientists and natural resource managers from Canadian First Nations, governments, academic institutions, and conservation organizations published the first results of a unique salmon population monitoring tool in Frontiers in Marine Science.

This groundbreaking new technology, dubbed “Salmon Vision,” combines artificial intelligence with age-old fishing weir technology. Early assessments show it to be remarkably adept at identifying and counting fish species, potentially enabling real-time salmon population monitoring for fisheries managers.

An October 19, 2023 Wild Salmon Center news release on EurekAlert, which originated the news item, provides more detail about the work,

“In recent years, we’ve seen the promise of underwater video technology to help us literally see salmon return to rivers,” says lead author Dr. Will Atlas, Senior Watershed Scientist with the Portland-based Wild Salmon Center. “That dovetails with what many of our First Nations partners are telling us: that we need to automate fish counting to make informed decisions while salmon are still running.” 

The Salmon Vision pilot study annotates more than 500,000 individual video frames captured at two Indigenous-run fish counting weirs on the Kitwanga and Bear Rivers of B.C.’s Central Coast. 

The first-of-its-kind deep learning computer model, developed in data partnership with the Gitanyow Fisheries Authority and Skeena Fisheries Commission, shows promising accuracy in identifying salmon species. It yielded mean average precision rates of 67.6 percent in tracking 12 different fish species passing through custom fish-counting boxes at the two weirs, with scores surpassing 90 and 80 percent for coho and sockeye salmon: two of the principal fish species targeted by First Nations, commercial, and recreational fishers. 

“When we envisioned providing fast grants for projects focused on Indigenous futurism and climate resilience, this is the type of project that we hoped would come our way,” says Dr. Keolu Fox, a professor at the University of California-San Diego, and one of several reviewers in an early crowdfunding round for the development of Salmon Vision. 

Collaborators on the model, funded by the British Columbia Salmon Recovery and Innovation Fund, include researchers and fisheries managers with Simon Fraser University and Douglas College computing sciences, the Pacific Salmon Foundation, Gitanyow Fisheries Authority, and the Skeena Fisheries Commission. Following these exciting early results, the next step is to expand the model with partner First Nations into a half-dozen new watersheds on B.C.’s North and Central Coast.

Real-time data on salmon returns is critical on several fronts. According to Dr. Atlas, many fisheries in British Columbia have been data-poor for decades. That leaves fisheries managers to base harvest numbers on early-season catch data, rather than the true number of salmon returning. Meanwhile, changing weather patterns, stream flows, and ocean conditions are creating more variable salmon returns: uncertainty that compounds the ongoing risks of overfishing already-vulnerable populations.

“Without real-time data on salmon returns, it’s extremely difficult to build climate-smart, responsive fisheries,” says Dr. Atlas. “Salmon Vision data collection and analysis can fill that information gap.” 

It’s a tool that he says will be invaluable to First Nation fisheries managers and other organizations both at the decision-making table—in providing better information to manage conservation risks and fishing opportunities—and in remote rivers across salmon country, where on-the-ground data collection is challenging and costly. 

The Salmon Vision team is implementing automated counting on a trial basis in several rivers around the B.C. North and Central Coasts in 2023. The goal is to provide reliable real-time count data by 2024.

This October 18, 2023 article by Ramona DeNies for the Wild Salmon Center (WSC) is nicely written although it does cover some of the same material seen in the news release, Note: A link has been removed,

Right now, in rivers across British Columbia’s Central Coast, we don’t know how many salmon are actually returning. At least, not until fishing seasons are over.

And yet, fisheries managers still have to make decisions. They have to make forecasts, modeled on data from the past. They have to set harvest targets for commercial and recreational fisheries. And increasingly, they have to make the call on emergency closures, when things start looking grim.

“On the north and central coast of BC, we’ve seen really wildly variable returns of salmon over the last decade,” says Dr. Will Atlas, Wild Salmon Center Senior Watershed Scientist. “With accelerating climate change, every year is unprecedented now. Yet from a fisheries management perspective, we’re still going into most seasons assuming that this year will look like the past.”

One answer, Dr. Atlas says, is “Salmon Vision.” Results from this first-of-its-kind technology—developed by WSC in data partnership with the Gitanyow Fisheries Authority and Skeena Fisheries Commission—were recently published in Frontiers in Marine Science.

There are embedded images in DeNies’ October 18, 2023 article; it’s where I found the video.

Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,

Wild salmon enumeration and monitoring using deep learning empowered detection and tracking by William I. Atlas, Sami Ma, Yi Ching Chou, Katrina Connors, Daniel Scurfield, Brandon Nam, Xiaoqiang Ma, Mark Cleveland, Janvier Doire, Jonathan W. Moore, Ryan Shea, Jiangchuan Liu. Front. Mar. Sci., 20 September 2023 Volume 10 – 2023 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2023.1200408

This paper appears to be open access.

Toronto’s ArtSci Salon hosts October 16, 2023 and October 27, 2023 events and the Fourth Annual Small File Media Festival in Vancouver (Canada) Oct. 20 – 21, 2023

An October 5, 2023 announcement (received via email) from Toronto’s ArtSci Salon lists two events coming up in October 2023,

These two Events are part of the international Leonardo LASER series
LASER Toronto is hosted by Nina Czegledy and Roberta Buiani

The Anthropocene Cookbook on October 16, 2023

[downloaded from: https://artscisalon.com/coms4208/]

From the Toronto ArtSci Salon October 5, 2023 announcement,

Oct 16 [2023], 3:30 PM [ET] 
The Anthropocene cookbook

with authors 
Zane Cerpina & Stahl Stenslie
Cerpina and Stenslie are the authors of
The Anthropocene Cookbook. How to survive in the age of catastrophes 

Join us to welcome Cerpina and Stenslie as they introduce us to their
book and discuss the future cuisine of humanity. To sustain the
soon-to-be 9 billion global population we cannot count on Mother
Earth’s resources anymore. The project explores innovative and
speculative ideas about new foods in the field of arts, design, science
& technology, rethinking eating traditions and food taboos, and
proposing new recipes for survival in times of ecological catastrophes.

To match the topic of their talk, attendees will be presented with
“anthropocene snacks” and will be encouraged to discuss food
alternatives and new networks of solidarity to fight food deserts,
waste, and unsustainable consumption.

This is a Hybrid event: our guests will join us virtually on zoom.
Join us in person at Glendon Campus, rm YH190 (the studio next to the
Glendon Theatre) for a more intimate community experience and some
anthropocene snacks. If you wish to join us on Zoom, please

register here

This event is part of a series on Emergent Practices in Communication,
featuring explorations on interspecies communication and digital
networks; land-based justice and collective care. The full program can be found here

This initiative is supported by York University’s Teaching Commons Academic Innovation Fund

Zane Cerpina is a multicultural and interdisciplinary female author,
curator, artist, and designer working with the complexity of
socio-political and environmental issues in contemporary society and in
the age of the Anthropocene. Cerpina earned her master’s degree in
design from AHO – The Oslo School of Architecture and Design and a
bachelor’s degree in Art and Technology from Aalborg University. She
resides in Oslo and is a project manager/curator at TEKS (Trondheim
Electronic Arts Centre). She is also a co-founder and editor of EE:
Experimental Emerging Art Journal. From 2015 to 2019, Cerpina was a
creative manager and editor at PNEK (Production Network for Electronic
Art, Norway).

Stahl Stenslie works as an artist, curator and researcher specializing
in experimental media art and interaction experiences. His aesthetic
focus is on art and artistic expressions that challenge ordinary ways of
perceiving the world. Through his practice he asks the questions we tend
to avoid – or where the answers lie in the shadows of existence.
Keywords of his practice are somaesthetics, unstable media,
transgression and numinousness. The technological focus in his works is
on the art of the recently possible – such as i) panhaptic
communication on Smartphones, ii) somatic and immersive soundspaces, and
iii) design of functional and lethal artguns, 3D printed in low-cost
plastic material.He has a PhD on Touch and Technologies from The School
of Architecture and Design, Oslo, Norway. Currently he heads the R&D
department at Arts for Young Audiences Norway.

If you’re interested in the book, there’s the anthropocenecookbook.com, which has more about the book and purchase information,

The Anthropocene Cookbook is by far the most comprehensive collection of ideas about future food from the perspective of art, design, and science. It is a thought-provoking book about art, food, and eating in the Anthropocene –The Age of Man– and the age of catastrophes.

Published by The MIT Press [MIT = Massachusetts Institute of Technology]
| mitpress.mit.edu

Supported by TEKS
Trondheim Electronic Arts Centre
| www.teks.no

*Date changed* Streaming Carbon Footprint on October 27, 2023

Keep scrolling down to Date & location changed for Streaming Carbon Footprint subhead.

From the Toronto ArtSci Salon October 5, 2023 announcement,

Oct 27, [2023] 5:00-7:00 PM  [ET]
Streaming Carbon Footprint

with 
Laura U. Marks
and
David Rokeby

Room 230
The Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences
222 College Street, Toronto

We are thrilled to announce this dialogue between media Theorist Laura U. Marks and Media Artist David Rokeby. Together, they will discuss a well known elephant in the room of media and digital technologies: their carbon footprint. As social media and streaming media usage increases exponentially, what can be done to mitigate their impact? are there alternatives?

This is a live event: our guests will join us in person.

if you wish to join us on Zoom instead, a link will be circulated on our website and on social media a few days before the event. The event will be recorded

Laura U. Marks works on media art and philosophy with an intercultural focus, and on small-footprint media. She programs experimental media for venues around the world. As Grant Strate University Professor, she teaches in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. Her upcoming book The Fold: From Your Body to the Cosmos will be published I March 2024 by Duke University Press. 

David Rokeby is an installation artist based in Toronto, Canada. He has been creating and exhibiting since 1982. For the first part of his career he focussed on interactive pieces that directly engage the human body, or that involve artificial perception systems. In the last decade, his practice has expanded to included video, kinetic and static sculpture. His work has been performed / exhibited in shows across Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia.

Awards include the first BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award for Interactive Art in 2000, a 2002 Governor General’s award in Visual and Media Arts and the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica for Interactive Art 2002. He was awarded the first Petro-Canada Award for Media Arts in 1988, the Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction for Interactive Art (Austria) in 1991 and 1997.

I haven’t been able to dig up any information about registration but it will be added here should I stumble across any in the next few weeks. I did, however, find more information about Marks’s work and a festival in Vancouver (Canada).

Fourth Annual Small File Media Festival (October 20 -21, 2023) and the Streaming Carbon Footprint

First, let’s flip back in time to a July 27, 2021 Simon Fraser University (SFU) news release (also published as a July 27, 2021 news item on phys.org) by Tessa Perkins Deneault,

When was the last time you watched a DVD? If you’re like most people, your DVD collection has been gathering dust as you stream movies and TV from a variety of on-demand services. But have you ever considered the impact of streaming video on the environment?

School for the Contemporary Arts professor Laura Marks and engineering professor Stephen Makonin, with engineering student Alejandro Rodriguez-Silva and media scholar Radek Przedpełski, worked together for over a year to investigate the carbon footprint of streaming media supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

“Stephen and Alejandro were there to give us a reality check and to increase our engineering literacy, and Radek and I brought the critical reading to it,” says Marks. “It was really a beautiful meeting of critical media studies and engineering.”

After combing through studies on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and making their own calculations, they confirmed that streaming media (including video on demand, YouTube, video embedded in social media and websites, video conferences, video calls and games) is responsible for more than one per cent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. And this number is only projected to rise as video conferencing and streaming proliferate.

“One per cent doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s significant if you think that the airline industry is estimated to be 1.9 per cent,” says Marks. “ICT’s carbon footprint is growing fast, and I’m concerned that because we’re all turning our energy to other obvious carbon polluters, like fossil fuels, cars, the airline industry, people are not going to pay attention to this silent, invisible carbon polluter.”

One thing that Marks found surprising during their research is how politicized this topic is.

Their full report includes a section detailing the International Energy Association’s attack on French think tank The Shift Project after they published a report on streaming media’s carbon footprint in 2019. They found that some ICT engineers state that the carbon footprint of streaming is not a concern because data centres and networks are very efficient, while others say the fast-rising footprint is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Their report includes comparisons of the divergent figures in engineering studies in order to get a better understanding of the scope of this problem.

The No. 1 thing Marks and Makonin recommend to reduce streaming’s carbon footprint is to ensure that our electricity comes from renewable sources. At an individual level, they offer a list of recommendations to reduce energy consumption and demand for new ICT infrastructure including: stream less, watch physical media including DVDs, decrease video resolution, use audio-only mode when possible, and keep your devices longer—since production of devices is very carbon-intensive.    

Promoting small files and low resolution, Marks founded the Small File Media Festival [link leads to 2023 programme], which will present its second annual program [2021] of 5-megabyte films Aug. 10 – 20. As the organizers say, movies don’t have to be big to be binge-worthy.

Learn more about Marks’ research and the Small File Media Festival: https://www.sfu.ca/sca/projects—activities/streaming-carbon-footprint.html

And now for 2023, here’s a video promoting the upcoming fourth annual festival,

The Streaming Carbon Footprint webpage on the SFU website includes information about the final report and the latest Small File Media Festival. Although I found the Small File Media Festival website also included a link for purchasing tickets,

The Small File Media Festival returns for its fourth iteration! We are delighted to partner with The Cinematheque to present over sixty jewel-like works from across the globe. These movies are small in file size, but huge in impact: by embracing the aesthetics of compression and low resolution (glitchiness, noise, pixelation), they lay the groundwork for a new experimental film movement in the digital age. This year, six lovingly curated programs traverse brooding pixelated landscapes, textural paradises, and crystalline infinities.

TICKETS AND FESTIVAL INFO

Join us Friday, October 20 [2023] for the opening-night program followed by a drinks reception in the lobby and a dance party in the cinema, featuring music by Vancouver electronic artist SAN. We’ll announce the winner of the coveted Small-File Golden Mini Bear during Saturday’s [October 21, 2023] award ceremony! As always, the festival will stream online at small​file​.ca after the live events.

We’re most grateful to our future-forward friends at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, and SFU Contemporary Arts. Thanks to VIVO Media Arts, Cairo Video Festival, and The Hmm for generous distribution and exhibition awards, and to UKRAïNATV, a partner in small-file activism.

Cosmically healthy, community-building, and punk AF, small-file ecomedia will heal the world, one pixel at a time.

TICKETS

There we have it. And then, we didn’t

*Date & location change* for Streaming Carbon Footprint event

From an October 27, 2023 ArtSci Salon notice,

Nov 7, [2023] 5:00-7:00 PM 
Streaming Carbon Footprint

with 
Laura U. Marks
and
David Rokeby
 

Tuesday, November 7 [2023]
5:00-7:00 pm
The BMO Lab
15 King’s College Circle, room H-12
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H7

Good luck to the organizers. It must have been nervewracking to change the date so late in the game.