Dream Empire: Film screening and discussion with the Filmmaker David Borenstein

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019, 5:15-7:45pm, at the PICT Theater of Research Education and Visualization Environment at the Digital Worlds Institute (624 SW 12th Street, Norman Gym Building, 2nd FL) 

Dream Empire (Dir. David Borenstein, 2016, Documentary/73 min/English and Chinese)

Yana’s company uses actors to turn remote Chinese ghost towns into temporary “international booming cities,” tricking visitors into buying overpriced property. But when the real estate market starts to collapse, she faces financial ruin. A boom to bust tale set in China’s building boom.

In 2017 Dream Empire has been Europe’s most widely screened documentary set in China. The film has been supported with funding from the Danish Film Institute, Sundance Foundation, and many broadcasters. Dream Empire has found wide audiences via film festivals and distribution through dozens of global TV stations. It’s festival premiere was at IDFA in Amsterdam, the world’s largest and most prestigious documentary film festival. It would do on to receive multiple awards and nominations, including the prestigious Golden Alexander award at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, one of Europe’s largest documentary festivals. The film is set to be released in mainland China in late 2017/early 2018 under the title 梦想帝国, where the film has provoked significant online discussion. 

David Borenstein is an independent documentary director. His feature-length documentary DREAM EMPIRE premiered at IDFA 2016 and won the main competition at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. In his career in film and TV he has worked with Al Jazeera English, WDR ARTE, DR2, Sichuan Television, CCTV, NYTimes, and other TV stations. He also programs documentary for the Miami Film Festival. David has PhD training in anthropology and speaks Chinese. He lives between Copenhagen and Gainesville, FL. 

The lecture is free and open to the public. Questions about the event can be directed to Dr. Xiao, yx241@ufl.edu.

Sponsored by the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, and the Intersections Group on Imagineering and the Technosphere, and Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Florida.

Gender, Disability, and the Chinese Muslim’s Encounters with Cultural Traditions and a Modernized World: Film screening and discussion with the Filmmaker Liu Miaomiao

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019, 5:15-7:45pm at the PICT Theater of Research Education and Visualization Environment at the Digital Worlds Institute (624 SW 12th Street, Norman Gym Building, 2nd FL)

Film screening of Red Flowers and Green Leaves (Dir. Liu Miaomiao, 2018, Fiction/96 min/English subtitle/Color)

Shot in a village of the Hui people, an ethnic minority group of Chinese Muslims, Red Flowers and Green Leaves centers around a newlywed couple. Suffering from an incurable and chronic disease associated with epilepsy since born, a young man, Li Gouqing (Gubo), reckons himself as unlikable and has no hope for love and family life. Under the family arrangement and beyond all expectations, he marries a capable and attractive woman, Asheeyen. All of a sudden, two strangers are sharing the same bed without knowing each other’s secret. Confronted with all sorts of challenges in traditional lifestyle, a modern world, and their own identities and problems, will they learn compassion and nourish true love?

Director Liu Miaomiao is a leading figure in the Chinese Fifth Generation filmmakers who have launched and formed the Chinese New Wave. Most importantly, she is the most prominent female Muslim filmmaker in China, who has an incredibly sustainable career path and a diverse body of works from the late 1980s to this day. This recent work, Red Flowers and Green Leaves, exquisitely captures the life of Chinese Muslim in the contemporary society as they struggle with gender, sexual, religious, ethnic, and cultural identities. It is a film that is deeply concerned with the existence of ordinary people, showing in a subtle and realistic light their perseverance and dignity no matter how harsh the life is.

Awards and Nominations:

  • 2018 Hong Kong Asian Film Festival, selected entry
  • 2018 Trieste Film Festival, selected entry
  • 2018 Pingyao Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon International Film Festival, winner: Audience Award-Gala
  • 2018 China Film Director’s Guild Awards, nominee: Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing
  • 2019 New Delhi Diorama International Film Festival, winner: the Silver Sparrow for Best International Feature

The film is going to be released and shown in theater nationwide from June 6, 2019. 

The lecture is free and open to the public. Questions about the event can be directed to Dr. Xiao, yx241@ufl.edu.

From Inscribing to Emoticoding: A workshop on human-readable information encoding with Angelos Barmpoutis

12pm-1pm, Friday, March 22, Research Education and Visualization Environment at the Digital Worlds Institute (NRG building).

Photo by ethnophotographer Kelley Sams, Ph.D., College of the Arts, University of Florida.

Human-readable information encoding has transitioned throughout human history utilizing the available technologies. During this evolution, humans familiarized themselves with various encoding schemes beyond natural language alphabets, such as Braille, Tally marks, and much more recently Morse code, Cellphone texting in 4×3 numerical keypads, emoticoding, and many others. This presentation discusses the common elements behind these encoding schemes and showcases how these could be utilized in modern text editors by extending the traditional constraints of writing. A real-world application will be shown that demonstrates how mapping between natural languages and computer languages can be developed in order to help users learn new encoding schemes with minimal learning curve.

Angelos Barmpoutis is an Associate Professor in the On-Line Learning Institute and the Digital Worlds Institute at the University of Florida. He is also the coordinator of research and technology in the Digital Worlds Institute, and affiliate faculty of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Department and the Biomedical Engineering Department, University of Florida. His areas of expertise include interdisciplinary applications of computer science and engineering to the service of the broad areas of learning and training.

Reading materials:

  • Angelos Barmpoutis, Kim Huynh, Peter Ariet, and Nicholas Saunders, “Assessing the effectiveness of emoticon-like scripting in computer programming” Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol. 598, 2018. Springer, Cham, pp. 63-75.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-60011-6_7
  • Angelos Barmpoutis and Kim Huynh “Name Tags and Pipes: Assessing the Role of Metaphors in Students’ Early Exposure to Computer Programming Using Emoticoding”, Advances in Human Factors in Training, Education, and Learning Sciences, 2019, Springer, pp. 194-202. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-93882-0_20
  • Angelos Barmpoutis “Integrating algebra, geometry, music, 3D art, and technology using emoticoding”. In: Proceedings of the 8th IEEE Integrated STEM Education Conference (ISEC), March 10, 2018, IEEE, pp. 30-33. https://doi.org/10.1109/ISECon.2018.8340500
  • Angelos Barmpoutis “Learning Programming Languages as Shortcuts to Natural Language Token Replacements”, Association for Computing Machinery Conference Proceedings Series, 2018, pp. 1-10. ACM ISBN 978-1-4503-6535-2/18/11. https://doi.org/10.1145/3279720.3279721

Ruins for the Future: Materializing Memories of the 1896 Hurricane at Atsena Otie, Florida with Kenneth E. Sassaman

12:00 pm Monday, January 28th, 2019 in Marston Science Library Visualization Lab (MSL 136).

Eight months after this photograph was taken on Atsena Otie in January 1896, the Faber cedar mill and most of the houses of a community of 50 families were destroyed by the storm surge of a powerful hurricane (Florida Memory Project, image number RC03279).

How can virtual reality and other digital technologies be used to mobilize historical knowledge that we may find useful in mitigating the negative consequences of imagined futures? The 1896 hurricane that destroyed the Gulf coastal community of Atsena Otie and the cedar mill industry on which it depended is but a faint memory of those who dwell today in the shadow of the disaster. The same could be said of a prior hurricane (1842) in the consciousness of the entrepreneur who only 13 years later sited a cedar mill industry in a place of assured future disaster. We can consider a variety of explanations for the impotence of social memory, but we might also consider ways in which historical knowledge can be rendered multisensory: literary and visual, but also experiential and interactive. Virtual realities of past events enable not only sensory experience informed by historical resources (archives, archaeology, oral history), but also the play of time and space that enables comparison, pattern recognition, and generalization (an analytical tool).

This workshop is the first opportunity to introduce for discussion the plan for constructing a virtual reality of Atsena Otie, the 1896 event that “ruined” it, as well as the preconditions and consequences of its vulnerability to disaster. In keeping with the Grand Challenge of the Imagineering and the Technosphere group, discussion should focus on the question: How have technologies shaped our lives, and how can we draw on them to meet 21st century challenges on a planetary scale? In the case of Atsena Otie, we will consider how the cedar mill industry predisposed the area to disaster and how modern, digital technology can be used to mobilize historical knowledge about this disaster for reducing the risks of future hurricanes.

Kenneth E. Sassaman is the Hyatt and Cici Brown Professor of Florida Archaeology and a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Florida. He is a specialist in the areas of the Archaic and Woodland periods of the American Southeast, technological change, and community patterning.

This event is free and open to the public.

Tentacles of the Technosphere: The Protest against Frankfurt Airport 1962-1987 with Michael Schuering

29 November 2018 – 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm in Pugh Hall 302

The expansion of Frankfurt airport was a fiercely contested issue in the 1970s and early 1980s. The construction of a new runway galvanized the German ecological movement and the residents of the surrounding area in a long conflict with airport managers and politicians. The events highlighted the peculiar position of infrastructures in a modern landscape, as tentacles of the technosphere invaded formerly quiet suburban neighborhoods. How do we tell the history of such objects, what approaches and categories make them tangible for our narratives of technological mobility?

Michael Schuering is DAAD Visiting Associate Professor of  History at the University of Florida. He has studied History,  Political Science, and History of Science in Munich and Berlin  and worked for the research program „History of the Kaiser  Wilhelm Society in the National Socialist Era“ from 2000 until 2004, the same year he received his PhD from the Humboldt Universitaet, Berlin. His Dissertation was entitled „Minervas verstoßene Kinder. Vertriebene Wissenschaftler und die Vergangenheitspolitik der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft“ (Minerva’s Outcast Children. Expelled Scientists and the Politics of History of the Max Planck Society) and was published by Wallstein in 2006. In 2004/2005 he worked as an author and advisor for the exhibition „Albert Einstein. Engineer of the Universe“ at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. In 2006 he conducted research for the Society of German Chemists, working on the history of its predecessor organizations under National Socialism. From 2006 until 2011 he was DAAD Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley and from 2011 to 2014 the Scholar in Residence at the Deutsches Museum in Munich where he finished his book on the German protestant churches in the anti-nuclear movement.

Panel Discussion with Simon Richter “Polder-Geist: Dutch Responses to Rising Sea Levels and Sinking Cities in the Netherlands, the United States and Asia”

November 13,  2018 in Pugh Hall 302 from 11:00am-12:00pm.     

Simon Richter is the Class of 1942 Endowed Term Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pennsylvania. Richter is a Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures and member of the Graduate Groups in Comparative Literature and Religious Studies, fellow of the Institute of Urban Research, and affiliated with the Programs in Cinema Studies, Environmental Humanities, Women’s Studies, and the Penn Water Center. Courses he has recently taught include: “Water Worlds: Cultural Responses to Sea Level Rise and Catastrophic Flooding”; “Writing in Dark Times“; “The German Connection: Hollywood and Berlin”; “Erinnerungsorte/Places of Memory”; and “Weimar Classicism.”

Coastal cities around the world are already contending with the effects of sea level rise. For many, the problems are exacerbated by subsidence. Cities are sinking and seas are rising. Hundreds of millions of people will be affected. Enter the Netherlands. Building on proud traditions of coastal defense, land reclamation, and water management, the Dutch avidly pursue what they call their “international water ambition.” In New York, Miami, Houston, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Dhaka, and many more, you will find the Dutch government and Dutch engineering and design companies promoting the Dutch approach. Dutch design slogans capture the range of their ambition: Rebuild by Design, Building with Nature, the Blue Revolution, the Floating City, Room for the River. The Dutch are intent on turning problems into opportunities. In this workshop, we will explore the intercultural aspects of the Dutch international water ambition in several case studies.

Watch recording of livestream.

Including discussion with Terry Harpold (English), Angela Lindner (Environmental Engineering Sciences), Chris Silver (College of Design, Construction & Planning), and Les Thiele (Political Science).

Introduction by Barbara Mennel (English and German/LLC; Director, Center for Humanities and the Public Sphere). Moderated by Will Hasty (German/LLC; Codirector, Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies).

The Global-Cultural Sustainability Symposia are supported by the Waldo W. Neikirk Fund, the University of Florida International Center, the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and Imagining Climate Change.

Visualizing the Past: Workshop with Caroline Bruzelius, Anne M. Cogan Professor Emerita of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies at Duke University.

Tuesday, October 9th, 12-1pmLibrary West 212: Nygren Scholar’s Studio

Join our Intersections group for a conversation about how we can combine historical manuscripts and artistic renderings with ground-penetrating radar, laser scanning, 3D modeling and other digital technologies to understand and interpret material culture. Dr. Caroline Bruzelius will discuss her recent digital humanities projects Visualizing Venice and the Medieval Kingdom of Sicily Image Database. Feel free to bring a brown-bag lunch. This event is co-sponsored by UF’s Digital Humanities Working Group. 

Caroline Bruzelius is a digital humanist with scholarly expertise in medieval architecture, urbanism, and sculpture.  She has written extensively on religious architecture of the Middle Ages in France and Italy, publishing books and articles on French Gothic architecture (St.-Denis and Notre-Dame in Paris, for example) and on medieval South Italy.  Her most recent book (2014), Preaching, Building and Burying.  Friars in the Medieval City (Yale University Press), focuses on how the religious practices introduced by the Franciscans and Dominicans (outdoor preaching, visiting laymen in homes, and burying townspeople in convents) transformed cities.  Bruzelius is presently working on two new book projects: “The Cathedral and the City,” a study of the urban and financial implications of cathedral building, and another volume on the role of architecture in the creation of state identity in the medieval Kingdom of Sicily.  Bruzelius is a leader in Digital Art History, exploring how digital technologies communicate narratives about art and the built environment in teaching, museums, and in research.  She is a founding member of the “Wired!” group at Duke University, a group that integrates visualization technologies with teaching, engaging undergraduate and graduate students in multi-year research initiatives. She is also a founder of the two international and interdisciplinary collaborations, Visualizing Venice and the Medieval Kingdom of Sicily Image Database.  From 1994 to 1998 Bruzelius was Director of the American Academy in Rome.  She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Medieval Academy of America, the Society of Antiquaries (London), and has received numerous other awards in the United States and abroad.  

Our group received an Intersections Research-Into-Teaching Grant through Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The University of Florida (UF) announces its inaugural Intersections Research-Into-Teaching Grants, organized by the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere and made possible with $400,000 in funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Awards of $30,000 to four Intersections Groups will support UF faculty and staff working together across disciplines on research addressing major challenges, such as ethical decision-making, global Blackness and Latinx identity, mass incarceration, and technologies of space and time. Together, these collaborative, interdisciplinary groups unite 24 faculty and staff members and seven affiliate faculty, from 20 disciplines and six colleges across UF.

Intersections Groups demonstrate the urgency for scholars to mobilize interdisciplinary collaboration with the humanities in order to respond to grand challenges,” says Prof. Barbara Mennel, Interim Director of the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere. “Importantly, the Intersections Groups will translate scholarship into teaching to expose first-year students to the significance of the humanities in multiple thematic contexts.”

The groups will connect cultural, historical, and ethical inquiry based in the humanities to fields and professions including law, journalism and telecommunications, computer science and engineering, leadership and service, and education. Each awarded group has developed plans for research activities, such as studying common readings, hosting speaker series, partnering with community members for activities, and creating digital apps and other resources for UF students. The resulting research will inform the creation of innovative interdisciplinary undergraduate courses for the new UF Quest general education curriculum. Groups also will identify clusters of existing UF courses related to their research topics for undergraduate study and organize creative activities for students across these courses that engage them beyond the classroom.

More information can be found here.