Spring 2022 Digital Media & Design Showcase

Dear Visitors,

Welcome to the Spring 2022 Digital Media & Design Showcase page! Below, you'll find approximately 45 innovative digital and design projects created by students in English courses at the University of Pittsburgh. Please stay awhile, explore, and help us celebrate the wonderful work produced over the past year.

This year's judge panel consists of: Tyrica Terry Kapral, Humanities Data Librarian from Digital Scholarship Services, Gesina Phillips, Digital Scholarship Librarian from Pitt's Digital Scholarship Services, Gayle Rogers, English Department Chair, and Annette Vee, Director of the Composition Program.

Award winners:

Best Work, Graduate: Kiera O'Brien, "weathermachine : a computational chapbook"

Best Work, Undergraduate: Alexander Ocampo, "Operating on 'my body'"

Runners-Up: Lynn Priestley, "Body Language Issue 1: the Body 'Norm'" ; Dominique Swift, "To Find Your "Purpose" ; Jennifer Zheng, "The Crayon Stike"

Crowd Favorite Award (chosen by popular vote): Heather Dillman and Alexander Grattan,"Secret Pittsburgh Website Redesign"

The judges repeatedly exclaimed the difficulty of selecting only a few works from such compelling, creative, and high-quality projects. Congratulations to every contributor to the showcase! We can't wait to see what you make next.

Sincerely,

Jessica FitzPatrick

Director of the Digital Media Lab (DML)

Miranda Pinchot & Shilo Ross; Isabella Song

Digital Narrative and Interactive Design Program Interns; DML Assistant



Audio: "Earthrise Episode 1."
Creator: Alma Martin
Class: Narrative Audio Workshop
Instructor: Erin Anderson

"Over the past few years, conversations about isolation, algorithm-perpetuated echo-chambers, and environmental destruction have occupied a large portion of my attention. Earthrise Episode 1 takes those concerns and transplants them into a dreamily post-apocalyptic world where the fabric of reality itself is affected by the human voice. In the Outside, secrets and slips of the tongue manifest in unexpected ways and people are forced to live in isolated city-enclaves for their own protection. Even in this space, though, relationships, friendships, and longing for family persist. As I’m sure many of us have experienced, my own relationships with the people I love have changed and transformed in various ways under the strain of the past few years. This piece takes inspiration from those experiences, as well as my love of wandering through the parks and wildlands in and around Pittsburgh."-Alma Martin


Audio: "Stealing the Sanguine Fang"
Creator: Alexander Ocampo
Class: Composing Digital Media
Instructor: Benjamin Miller

"Stealing the Sanguine Fang" is a fictional audio experience that takes listeners through the heist plans to steal a medieval dagger from a museum. The main appeal that drew me toward this concept was trying to figure out how to blend the two separate events (the telling of the plan and the execution of the plan) into one timeline. As such, the soundscape takes on somewhat of a call-and-response between the narration and the sounds in the museum. It's fun, suspenseful, and action-packed, and ultimately serves as my own little taste of adventure in a life where stealing priceless objects is generally frowned upon. Enjoy!" -Alexander Ocampo


Audio: "Hacker's Delight: Redefining Music Technology"
Creator: Maximillian Phillips
Class: Digital Humanity
Instructor: Jennifer Keating

"Audio podcast exploring the relationship between music and technological innovation. Why don't we hold musical technological innovation to the same degree as "pure" technological innovation? This piece was created in Audacity as a final project for Digital Humanity, acting as an revision and extension of my midterm podcast of the same name." -Maximillian Phillips



Audio: "Mary"
Creator: Margaret Saigh
Class: Narrative Audio Workshop (Graduate)
Instructor: Erin Anderson


Submission link expired, awaiting response.
https://soundcloud.com/margaret-saigh/mary-12-21-audio-story-mixdown
"I created this audio story as a way to process the intergenerational trauma of the women in my family. The story of my Aunt Mary in particular enabled me to explore and entangle several themes I am always returning to in my creative work: estrangement, love, and the human body." -Margaret Saigh


Audio: "The Fears and Joys of Today"
Creator: Theo Segura
Class: The Art of the Interview
Instructor: Erin Anderson

"Every night when I sit down to eat dinner with my grandmother, we invariably end up talking about everything that's scary going on in the world. These nightly conversations made it clear that we are living in a time where there is so much to be afraid of. However, fear is by no means an absolute. So, when my professor asked us to come up with a question to put to the people of Pittsburgh, I wanted to find out not only what they were most afraid of, but also what was bringing them joy. What I found was a wide variety of fears (ranging from the primal, to the existential. to the political), but a very singular joy: connections with others. What fascinated me most as I reviewed the tape and constructed the project was the human capacity to survive in the face of fear and despair. For all that scares us, there is still joy to be found in our everyday lives." -Theo Segura


Audio: "Wordless Story"
Creator: Clare Sheedy
Class: Introduction to Audio Storytelling
Instructor: Brittney Hailer

When you tell an audio story without spoken words so much depends upon finding--or making--the right sounds, layering them, sequencing them so that the sound "effects" become an evocation to an entire world. It is not an easy task. Can you hear the details? What does this story reveal to you? -DML Director Jessica FitzPatrick


Audio: "Domino Effect Podcast Episode 1: Black Women in White Spaces"
Creator: Dominique Swift
Class: Composing Digital Media
Instructor: Stephen Quigley

"A simple conversation amongst friends isn’t always so simple when you’re in a space where you feel misunderstood and excluded. I took advantage of this podcast assignment to let things be simple and comfortable as I got to talk to someone who looks like me about things that make us uncomfortable in an effort to normalize having awkward conversations to exact change. This podcast was recorded in the style of an interview on the topic of being a Black Woman in white spaces." -Dominique Swift


Audio: "Voice: A Personal Essay"
Creator: Adrian Wood
Class: Intro to Audio Storytelling
Instructor: Brittney Hailer

"At the time my professor assigned this personal essay project in my Intro to Audio Storytelling class, I was on the cusp of starting my medical transition from female to male. I'd written other personal narratives about my gender — how I discovered it, reactions to me coming out, differences between my current and desired appearance — but, as this particular project had to be in an audio format, I decided to explore something I'd neglected: my relationship with my voice. Many transgender people have complicated feelings about their voices, myself included. It is painful in some ways to recognize and discuss my voice, or to even record it at all. However, I wish for others from my community, whether they love their voices, hate them, or anywhere in between, to understand that they're not alone in their struggles. Further, I want people outside of the community to get a glimpse into what our lives can be like, and I hope through that they can gain a bit more understanding and a bit more compassion as a result. It's difficult making my voice heard when speaking often means I'm invalidated or attacked, but I did my best nonetheless." -Adrian Woody


Audio: "High Seas Adventure I"
Creator: Jin Jin Wu
Class: Composing Digital Media
Instructor: Benjamin Miller

Github Link: https://github.com/19jinjinwu/soundscape2022spring/blob/master/High%20Se...

"The inspiration for my project came up in a conversation between me and my partner, Jake. Jake likes to sail for leisure and for work. He has come across near-death experiences several times out in the sea, with one involving a trip in California, when he was sailing a boat from Santa Barbara to San Francisco. As someone who has only been on a ferry a few times in my life, I was excited to detail his adventures in the rough waters. This project involved capturing sound and edit it using digital tools in Audacity, exploring how to use sound as a medium to convey a communicative environment, narrative pacing, and change. In my Github link, you can see the full process and how the layers of audio overlap to create a cohesive piece." -Jin Jin Wu


Design, Arduino: “Papa Please Get the Moon for Me”
Creator: Simon Kioko
Class: Digital Narrative and Interactive Design
Instructors: Dmitriy Babichenko & Jessica FitzPatrick

Note: Project also available to view in-person at showcase
"'I choose this story after reading that it was very well received except for a single Journal, the Journal of Elementary Science Education(Lunar Society*), which criticized the piece for not accurately depicting the moon cycle. I decided as a lover of all things science to appeal to the Lunar Society and fix Eric Carle's mistakes. My target audience was young children who were curious about science like I was and wanted to learn about the moon cycle in a cool way. This project has three interactive parts, the pull tab which moves Monica, the Servo which is controlled by a potentiometer that shows the moon cycle and the action figure of papa climbing the ladder up the mountain to the moon." -Simon Kioko


Design, Arduino: “The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig”
Creator: Roy Ocskasy
Class: Digital Narrative and Interactive Design
Instructors: Dmitriy Babichenko & Jessica FitzPatrick &


Project Available in Person!
"The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig is very humorous to me and the illustrations throughout it are lovely. As you read the book, things we find to be so protective of us are so easily bashed down yet what manages to be protective of the little wolves is the least expected. This doesn’t teach a lesson to me at all, but I enjoy the silliness of the story and always have since I was little, so that is why I decided to make this story. I chose the scene of the pig dancing instead of totally annihilating the house because it is both cute and surprising to the reader! I wanted the pig to dance around while the wolves move back and forth in surprise.This was the first story that came to my mind when we thought of children’s stories. I made my mom read it to me so often. You will watch two different sides of this page turn. The pig looks so happy and overjoyed and is dancing around, while you look over to the wolves and their movement is out of either surprise or fear. My hardware design will help operate this projection.

Design, Arduino: “Max's Journey”
Creator: Maximillian V. Phillips
Class: Digital Narrative and Interactive Design
Instructors: Dmitriy Babichenko & Jessica FitzPatrick &

"Interactive multimedia illustration of boat scene from Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. This piece was created to illustrate a scene from a children's book of our choice using Arduino." -Maximillian V. Phillips


Design, Arduino: “Slanted Orchard”
Creator: Miranda Pinchot
Class: Digital Narrative and Interactive Design
Instructors: Dmitriy Babichenko & Jessica FitzPatrick

Note: Project also available to view in-person at showcase
"For this project, I was required to bring a scene from a piece of children's literature to life through an Arduino build. I chose to adapt a scene from The Slant Book, as I admired the source material's unique format and thought that it would be a fun challenge to try to recreate this slanted movement through Arduino." -Miranda Pinchot.
FYI: You can check out The Slant Book in Pitt's Archives and Special Collections--though the original version is not as animated as Miranda's! This build, and Simon's above, are the first time any of our archival holdings have been adapted into Arduino. -Jessica FitzPatrick



Design, Arduino: "Raising a Hero"
Creator: Rachel Sadeh
Class: Digital Narrative and Interactive Design
Instructors: Dmitriy Babichenko & Jessica FitzPatrick

"My target audience is children, but anyone can interact with my project too. Some features directed specifically to children is the Garth cutout on a popsicle so that they can hold it while they are interacting with my piece and pretend that they are a service dog in training learning commands and tasks. I also think that having a story centered around a puppy will appeal to many different types of children. As for adults, they might not completely understand what service dogs do and might be interested in learning more through interacting with my project. I chose this particular story for this assignment because I’m a Canine Companions puppy raiser and absolutely love to spread awareness about my work! I am part of STEP@Pitt, which stands for Service Dog Training and Education Program, (a student-led club here on the Pitt campus) where we continue to educate the public about service dogs. My plan to represent the story’s narrative using hardware was to pick a part of the story to animate. I chose to focus on service dogs learning how to turn on lights and open/close doors." -Rachel Sadeh


Design, Arduino: "Mommy Loves You"
Creator: Caroline Spitz
Class: Digital Narrative and Interactive Design
Instructors: Dmitriy Babichenko & Jessica FitzPatrick

"Growing up, “The Kissing Hand” was one of my favorites because I love how sweet and endearing it is. I chose to focus on the scene when Chester’s mom kisses his hand because it is the most important part and the reasoning for its title. When I think of this story, I think of warmth and comfort, which I translated to glowing red lights in this project. The message behind “The Kissing Hand” is that sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to, but you will be okay. Chester can always feel the love and support from his mother no matter how far apart they are. I represent this in my project by having the LEDs light up in a heart shape in the palm of the user, as well as the paintings of hearts in the final panel that reference the love all around Chester. The reason that I chose to make my project three panels is that, in order to give enough context to the user/viewer, I needed to isolate moments most important to the story and its message. These moments are the kiss, Chester alone in need of his mother’s love, and finally the moment he remembers his mother’s love." -Caroline Spitz


Design, Arduino: "The Rainbow Fish Shares His Scales"
Creator: Joel Troutman
Class: Digital Narrative and Interactive Design
Instructors: Dmitriy Babichenko & Jessica FitzPatrick

"The assignment for this project was to make an interactive visualization of a children's story using an arduino. When I saw that the arduino can handle MIDI output (data for creating electronic music), I immediately knew that I wanted to try to make music with it. The first story that came to my mind was The Rainbow Fish, and I thought that music would fit perfectly with its underwater world as well as the story of sharing and harmony I wanted to tell." -Joel Troutman


Design, Arduino: "The Crayon Strike"
Creator: Jennifer Zheng
Class: Digital Narrative and Interactive Design
Instructors: Dmitriy Babichenko & Jessica FitzPatrick

Note: Project also available to view in-person at showcase

"I created this project for one of the DNID class's assignments, where we had to make a hardware adaptation of a children's book using an Arduino kit. I chose to do "The Day the Crayons Quit" by Drew Daywalt since it is a fun, unique, and colorful story that teaches kids about empathy and how their actions may affect others. In it, a kid named Duncan goes to open his crayon box and discovers that his crayons have all written letters to him about why they went on strike. I decided to feature three of the most interesting letters and put the other crayons and their complaints around the top of the box.

Each letter is attached to a button, which upon being pressed and held, displays the featured crayon, highlights its drawings, and plays a recording of it speaking. This is meant to build audience empathy and engagement with the story since they are directly causing the crayons to move and speak in front of them, rather than simply reading about them on a page. Furthermore, all the drawings and written content are done in crayon to match the style of the book and the story (except for yellow, which is in Sharpie for visibility), and the audio is played by two different programs sending signals to each other. Feel free to press the buttons and open the letters! I hope you enjoy!" -Jennifer Zheng



Design, Game: “Operating on 'my body'”
Creator: Alexander Ocampo
Class: Narrative and Technology
Instructor: Jessica FitzPatrick

Note: Project also available to view in-person at showcase

""operating on my body" is a board game experience designed to facilitate players' explorations and relationships within their own bodies. This piece is a reinterpretation of "my body: a Wunderkammer" by Shelley Jackson, with the goal of taking the themes of her original hypertext narrative and transforming them within a new, less conventional medium for storytelling. Overall, "operating on my body" equally attempts to stay faithful to the source material and propose new insights through its interactivity.

I think the creation process of this piece is as narratively rich to me as the product itself. It started as a copy of Hasbro's "Operation Game: Star Wars Chewbacca Edition," and I don't think you have to look that up to know how drastically different it became. The process of taking this commercial item, unceremoniously destroying it, painting over every inch, and resculpting it into something so distinct and personal speaks to the ways in which this board game prods at how we view ourselves within dominant cultural contexts. At its core and throughout its gameplay, "operating on my body" asks what it means to be dissected and constructed. I hope it brings its players some thoughtful considerations about themselves (with a little friendly competition along the way). -Alex Ocampo



Illustrated Essay: “A Reverent Evolution: The Maxo Vanka Murals”
Creator: Dionna Dash
Class: Secret Pittsburgh
Instructor: Elise Lonich Ryan

"This piece was born of an assignment in my Secret Pittsburgh literature course with Dr. Elise Lonich Ryan in the fall of 2021. The course explored how we understand spaces and places based on their history, who inhabits them, and our own perceptions of them. This personal essay discusses my own relationship to and perception of a “secret” site in Pittsburgh: the marvelous Maxo Vanka murals housed in the Saint Nicholas Catholic Church in Millvale. Famed Croatian artist Maxo Vanka painted these murals on the church’s barren walls between 1937 and 1941 at the behest of Father Zagar, the parish’s priest. In the span of four years, the church, which had been left devoid of decorations following its renovations after a fire in 1921, found itself adorned with brilliant Bible scenes and veracious depictions of the cruelty and injustice of industrialism and war, comparing poverty in Vanka’s native Croatia with immigration in Pittsburgh. These murals are breathtaking, both in their messages and their technical details, and I hope that my experience walks you through one viewpoint of admiring them." -Dionna Dash



Graphic Collection: “Disability Studies Courses Flyers”
Creators: Maggie Browne, Jennie Hirsh, Gia Occhipinti
Class: Integrating Writing and Design
Instructor: Megan Kappel



"One of the biggest challenges for new courses is to find their audiences. This series of designs promotes disability studies courses offered in the Spring 2022 and Fall 2022 term. Students were asked to create flyers and/or static ads for screen to promote awareness for these around campus. Equipped with course descriptions and a short Q&A from one faculty member who teaches one of the courses, students balanced the limited real estate on the page with conveying enough compelling information to capture reader attention before delivering key takeaway ideas and details." -Megan Kappel


Graphic: Portfolio
Creator: Kenzie Draper
Class: Integrating Writing and Design
Instructor: Megan Kappel


Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ooOtHnVOgOUQUiG9sKeldHjZbB_r6FBL/view?u...

For the final project in Integrating Writing and Design, students are asked to reflect on their body of work throughout the term by designing a sequenced portfolio complete with title page, contextualizing glosses, and a range of at least six revised assignments. Each assignment focuses on skill-building in Adobe InDesign and/or Photoshop as well as different rhetorical considerations when combining textual and graphic elements.

Kenzie's portfolio is notable for its clear aesthetic point of view; each piece commands its own tone, but they all contain a sense of the ethereal. And by observing the celestial design scheme Kenzie created for the portfolio itself, it's clear this conceptual throughline is no accident. Kenzie knows how to infuse her signature aesthetic while satisfying an assigned creative brief through her range of design talents. The re-created Time Magazine cover showcases her digital illustration skills, the Instagram story her sense of humor, and the Studio 412 flyer her ability to distill energy on the page. In particular, the "Disillusionment of Fish" merges Kenzie's creative sensibilities. Through a lyrical narrative and imagery that suggests deconstructed mixed media, Kenzie captures the sensory weirdness that it is to be human.-Megan Kappel



Graphic: "Collection of Designs"
Creator: Lauren Frank
Class: Integrating Writing and Design
Instructor: Megan Kappel

n Integrating Writing and Design, students are expected to create design pieces weekly while learning Adobe InDesign and Photoshop. Despite the tight turnaround and learning curve, Lauren routinely impressed with the depth to which her initial concepts were fully realized. The first four pages of "Revamping the Rain Forests," the Oscar Wilde quote poster, and the Green Curls Instagram story are untouched first drafts. Even when testing new techniques like creating textures in Photoshop and incorporating her own self-portraits, Lauren's design ideas came through as complete and carefully considered. But Lauren also demonstrated a strong design sense when it came to revisions. She was tasked with expanding the "Revamping the Rain Forests" spread while maintaining the original draft's style -- "give us the same but different on each page" -- and she completely reinvented the Amp Mod music store flyer into a more cohesive composition using several non-angular elements. Her commitment to early and later stages of the design process make Lauren a bit of a design chameleon, always delivering something with a fresh aesthetic out of the gate or elevating a revision in unexpected ways. -Megan Kappel



Graphic: "Collections from the Anthropocene"
Creator: Cindy Huang
Class: Global Fictions
Instructor: Jessica FitzPatrick


Link to Project: https://pitt-my.sharepoint.com/:b:/g/personal/jlf115_pitt_edu/EXFTje38kJ...


"In this postcard collection we travel around the world to look at how the planet is changing rapidly from human activity. At first glance, the Anthropocene would be seen as a science-heavy topic, but Rob Nixon shows how this new age brings together all different kinds of disciplines, including but not limited to “the earth and life sciences, the social sciences, the humanities and the arts, bringing into conversation scholars who have been lured out of their specialist bubbles to engage energetically with unfamiliar interlocutors (2-3). It is this interdisciplinary mix that has “global fictions” a different view. Using various sources from class, we can dive deeper into what the term “global fiction” means and how each source uses the fiction genre to discuss the Anthropocene. How can a couple of individuals decide the fate of entire countries? It seems like a stretch, but as we have seen in Bhopal and even Antigua, it is up to a certain group of people to push projects in place. These ideas are dismal, in my opinion, but I think this too will change as the world around us continues to change. Nixon agrees in the quote “We cannot risk giving a free pass to buccaneer billionaires, disaster profiteers, and venture philanthropists to deputize for the species. We cannot risk allowing them to usurp authority over the worlds to come, to determine who gets a future and who is denied one by geoengineering quality of life—however temporary— for elite zip codes only” (16-17). Every single one of my sources (for the postcards) are written by non-white non-males, which is a great step." -Cindy Huang


Graphic: Design Portfolio
Creator: Lynn Priestley
Class: Integrating Writing and Design
Instructor: Megan Kappel

Alternative access: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BNcpK0jcMb5yPzJp6caB2poW67Ffj0eV/view?u...

For the final project in Integrating Writing and Design, students are asked to reflect on their body of work throughout the term by designing a sequenced portfolio complete with title page, contextualizing glosses, and a range of at least six revised assignments. Each assignment focuses on skill-building in Adobe InDesign and/or Photoshop as well as different rhetorical considerations when combining textual and graphic elements.

Lynn’s design portfolio highlights the strength of her vision and precision. It strikes a balance between minimalism and whimsy, creative ambition and graphic restraint. Through each piece, her attention to the hypothetical client allowed Lynn to inhabit specific yet distinct voices that jump off the page. Equally thorough and thoughtful is her reflection on the ideation, drafting, and revision of each assignment. The finished portfolio effectively showcases Lynn’s design prowess and astute observations as a design practitioner working within real constraints of time, tools, and typefaces. -Megan Kappel



Graphic: "A Genesis"
Creator: Clare Sheedy
Class: Literary Field Studies
Instructor: Brenda Whitney

"This project is a genesis of womanhood as defined by and because of the Bible, in trinity. I say “in trinity” for three reasons – there are three poems, they mimic (at once mocking, upholding, and claiming) divine power, and each approaches the genesis of woman from a slightly different angle (though all work together and are part of the same force). In all of the poems, I wanted to strike at the contradictory relationship between womanhood and personhood, as put forth in the Bible – divinely appointed, wanted and unwanted, forever at fault, desired, and shamed. All poems are redacted from different pages in Old Testament. I created each image used in the project as well, bar the image of girls jumping on a trampoline (it is from my childhood). This is also a personal project, for a few reasons. I created it for my literary field studies class as an "annotation and redaction assignment" in which we were to take a public document and "manipulate it in order to produce a new text, one that invites us to see 'something in excess of what is caught in the frame' of the original."" -Maddie Ury




Graphic: "Design Portfolio”
Creator: Noah Ziemba
Class: Integrating Writing and Design
Instructor: Megan Kappel

For the final project in Integrating Writing and Design, students are asked to reflect on their body of work throughout the term by designing a sequenced portfolio complete with title page, contextualizing glosses, and a range of at least six revised assignments. Each assignment focuses on skill-building in Adobe InDesign and/or Photoshop as well as different rhetorical considerations when combining textual and graphic elements.

Coming into the course, Noah admitted he had never opened Adobe Photoshop nor InDesign before, but he fully embraced two hallmarks of this course: 1) try new things and 2) revise with intention. He challenged himself to create new textures, preserve compositions across different page layouts, calibrate color saturations, refresh brand identity through color palettes, and modulate tone through typeface choice. Noah's work in this portfolio epitomizes the importance of creative play and risk-taking when building one's craft, which is at the heart of this course. And the result is a series of designs that capture different audiences, tones, and exigencies.-Megan Kappel



Omeka Exhibit: “Feminist Futures and Reproductive Rights Movement”
Creator: Ellison Cook, Kate Biddle, Skyler Boothe, Alexandra Marcks, Ava Johnson
Class: Women and Literature
Instructor: Sritama Chatterjee


Link: https://archivesproject21.omeka.net/


"'I nominate the collaborative archival project of my students because of the following reasons:
a) It brings a feminist and intersectional lens to the study of digital archives and expands the scope of what constitutes feminist internet principles.
b) Engages with current debates about reproductive justice through the lens of digital media.
It was carried out as part of a final project in a short period of time that required them to engage thoughtfully with questions about minimal computing." -Sritama Chatterjee



Twine: “The Counsel in the Cave”
Creator: Joshua Fratis
Created in Creative Arts Fellowship - For information about Creative Arts Fellowships, visit this link: https://www.honorscollege.pitt.edu/create
Instructor: Steven LeMieux and Brett Say


“The Counsel in The Cave is a piece of interactive fiction in which Jason, a directionless student soon to graduate, delves into the magical multi-layered labyrinth hidden beneath his high school in search of his missing guidance counselor. The story’s choices investigate the internal lives of its characters, asking players to take ownership of a character much like an actor does. Players engage with the act of performance, expressing their creativity as a storyteller and understanding their own struggles through the lens of their character. The Counsel in The Cave is a magical realist storytelling game about anxiety and self-discovery. It asks what interactive fiction looks like when the player’s control of the plot is replaced by a license to interpret and perform. It asks what interactive fiction looks like when the player plays not a character, but an actor. This is a work in progress as part of the University Honors College Creative Arts Fellowship. Currently, I’m experimenting with different creative forms, processes, and subjects, the foundation of my full time work this summer. This work in progress is a strong representation of what some elements of the final piece could look like.

-Joshua Fratis




Twine: “Night Light”
Creator: Giselle Rosales
Class:Narrative and Technology
Instructor: Jessica FitzPatrick


Link: https://dnid2.github.io/nightlight/


"Night Light is an interactive narrative that I produced in Twine. It is a very personal product, one that not everyone will find relatable but one that hopefully gives insight to a particular experience. Night Light provides a representation of a late-night panic attack and includes descriptions that may be uncomfortable or triggering to people with anxiety and/or depression—I provide this (and a more detailed) trigger warning and mental health resources in the title screen.

The assignment for which I created Night Light allowed students to create a Twine game on any topic of their choice, as long as they fulfilled a few technical requirements. With this freedom, I wanted to transform the abstract concept of thoughts and emotions into a concrete product that others could explore. Using not only the narrative story but also its structure and code, I made decisions to take advantage of player psychology in game design—anticipating player actions to evoke specific feelings. While translating thoughts and emotions into interactive narrative through code required careful and deliberate choices, I found many features of the Twine platform sufficient in delineating the nuances that I wanted to include. Taking inspiration from Mark Danielewski’s ergodic House of Leaves and incorporating my knowledge of game design from video game journalist Mark Brown’s YouTube channel Game Maker’s Toolkit, I crafted Night Light to be a frustrating experience that resolves in a neutral yet hopeful ending. Although I began producing Night Light as a documentation of my own experience, I welcome anyone to explore the space I have created, and perhaps someone who relates will feel less alone." -Giselle Rosales




Twine: "Doubt"
Creator: Nick Vargo
Class: Narrative and Technology
Instructor: Jessica FitzPatrick

"(Content Warning: Mental Health, Depression, Aggressive Language.)

When I started working on this project, I had been going through one of the darkest moments of my life. Family struggles were at a new high and my partner had just broken up with me. After a moment of grief, I chose to channel what I was feeling into my Twine project. My goal with the project was to reach out to those queer kids out there who feel alone or worthless and to remind them they are not alone. I never got everything right, and mistakes happen. And, I never had a queer relationship I could idolize and look up to. So, once I found a relationship I believed to be perfect, I laid all my eggs in one basket, and ended up losing myself in the process. Through the creation of this twine game, I found myself, I found new friends, and I found hope. I only wish to give this hope to any other queer kid who is feeling a little lonely today." -Nick Vargo




Twine: "Gone Phishing"
Creator: Jennifer Zheng
Class: Narrative and Technology
Instructor: Jessica FitzPatrick


Link to Game: https://gone-phishing.glitch.me
GitHub Link (extra background and Hints): https://github.com/jennzheng12315/Gone-Phishing

Gone Phishing was created as a Twine game for ENGLIT 0512: Narrative and Technology. In the class, I read an excerpt from the book, "Inventing the Medium: Principles of Interaction Design as a Cultural Practice," where author Janet Murray explores how designers can exploit users’ affordances of a digital medium to provide a positive experience. I, however, wanted to see if I could keep users engaged while using their affordances against them. Thus, Gone Phishing was born.

In the game, the player discovers that their computer has been taken over by a malevolent force and must find their way out of a virtual maze to get it back. I chose to include three affordances: readability, working navigational links, and solvable challenges, and I decided upon this premise because it allows my selections to become challenges instead of annoyances. The first two are important to the medium, hypertext, and the third plays a large role in game design. Not surprisingly, playtesters found the game enjoyable but slightly too difficult, and thus I had to add hints to guide them along the way. What about you? Can you find a way out of the maze? Can you find the secret to quitting the game? Play and find out! -Jennifer Zheng


Video: "A warning, not an aspiration"
Creator: Jennifer Booker
Class: Global Fictions
Instructor: Jessica FitzPatrick

"I utilized found footage, clips from relevant media, and my own footage and combined them to create a warning and a call to action regarding the possibility of a future depicted in the media I chose. In my project, I interacted with visuals from Blade Runner: The Final Cut (Scott, 1982), Detroit: Become Human (by Quantic Dream), Cyberpunk 2077 (by CD Projekt RED), and Pumzi (Kahiu, 2009). Two of these are films - Blade Runner and Pumzi - while the other two are video games - Detroit: Become Human and Cyberpunk 2077 - but each of these pieces served to show both the positive and negatives of technology advancement and how our environment and society has changed for the worse in the future.

The beginning of the project showed all of the “good” aspects of these futures, and when it ends I move into the “bad” parts. Before I get into those images, I included the quote from Mike Pondsmith: “Cyberpunk was a warning, not an aspiration” (Maher). This was the inspiration for my project since it helped make evident how these pieces of media can portray many lessons - and warnings - about the future. Overall, I wanted my video to serve as a way to visually depict the possibilities of these futures. Some groups brush away concerns of the future because they look at the present and think it could not change for the worst: It’s fine now, why worry? In this video, I wanted to make it clear how close our society is to a “bad” future by putting images from our world and fictional ones side-by-side." -Jennifer Booker




Video: "The Healing Wall: An Art Therapy Experience "
Creator: Anna Chiaro
Class: Composing Digital Media
Instructor: Stephen Quigley

"Content warning: mention of cancer, death.

As UPMC Shadyside’s Healing Wall volunteer, I package art supplies and paint with oncology unit patients and their family members. I hold this program close to my heart, and made The Healing Wall: An Art Therapy Experience highlighting its importance. This short film compiles footage showing the materials preparation process and the wall itself, and an unforgettable patient narrative. It illustrates art’s healing power, and reflects upon my time spent with the Healing Wall program. I learned Adobe Premiere Pro in Dr. Stephen Quigley’s Composing Digital Media course, and combined this knowledge with video capturing techniques, thus creating this final project. Though I’ve previously written this story for many applications and reflections, presenting it through filmmaking gives it new life and interactivity. I hope that The Healing Wall: An Art Therapy Experience emphasizes the importance behind volunteering and encourages story sharing among viewers." -Anna Chiaro



Video: "Archives: A Link to the Past | The History of the Hill District Clearances"
Creator: Ethan Cooke
Class: Secret Pittsburgh
Instructor: Elise Ryan

"I created this video to showcase the power of archival sources. To do so, I chose to highlight a meaningful story using sources from the Historic Pittsburgh Archive. The sources we at Pitt have, particularly the historic photographs, tell the story of the Hill District in an otherwise impossible way. They allow us to see the neighborhood as it once was, before much of it was demolished by the city. Archival photographs walk us through the Hill’s history, from its rise to become the center of black culture in Pittsburgh, through the devastation it experienced during the city’s “Urban Renewal” efforts. Through this video, I hope to show how the archives can connect us to history, while also telling an important historical story. During the course I produced this project for, Secret Pittsburgh, our class visited both the Archives Service Center and the Hill District. Physically visiting both sites really inspired me to produce this video and enhanced my understanding of the topic." -Ethan Cooke


Video Essay: "Healing the Community"
Creator: Heather Dillman
Class: Secret Pittsburgh
Instructor: Elise Ryan

"Through this video essay, take the time to explore the faith and spaces involved in the Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden. This safe haven provides quiet and peacefulness for the people of the Shadyside community in Pittsburgh. Learn about the various herbs and healing plants that allude to Biblical names and stories, as well as the site offering appreciation, reflection, and meditation with no judgment passed as friends and family can come together to support each other. Experience the beauty and uniqueness of the Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden, including waterfalls, streams, and an open-sky/air concept that gives a major glimpse into an important sense of culture in especially the Jewish community." -Heather Dillman


Video Essay: “Spiderverse Analysis: "Leap" of Faith?”
Creator: Miranda Pinchot
Class: Narrative and Technology
Instructor: Jessica FitzPatrick

"For this video essay, I wanted to dissect a scene from the movie Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse to explore how this film takes certain technical elements from comic books and uses them to establish emphasis, movement, emotion, and even central plot points in a moving picture. These comic book elements include lines to convey motion, text, and pop outs. I wanted to pick a scene that had narrative importance, yet was often overlooked in comparison to some of the more memorable scenes in the movie. So I chose the scene where Miles has recently gained his powers and wants to test them out the same way the original Spiderman did, with a leap of faith. I did this to demonstrate how these comic book elements are always present and working to add emphasis to the story, even during the scenes that are less action heavy in comparison to others." -Miranda Pinchot


Video: “To Find Your "Purpose"”
Creator: Dominique Swift
Class: Composing Digital Media
Instructor: Stephen Quigley

"After spending time in a hospital for three years consecutively and constantly confronting the uncertainty of what independence looks like after college, I find myself questioning the idea of purpose as not to become paralyzed by the concept of time. In this effort, I created a short essay film to explore a different question: What can I do with my time that is important and that matters? By talking to perfect strangers on the street and questioning them about their “purpose,” I found that we all deserve a better tool for guidance." -Dominique Swift


Website: “Allegory of the Cave 3D Website”
Creator: Alexander Grattan
Class: Projects in Digital Composition
Instructor: Stephen Quigley


Link: https://allegory-of-the-cave.netlify.app/

"This project came as part of an assignment studying how we can transform a piece of literary work (we chose either "Structure Sign and Play" by Derrida or "Allegory of the Cave" by Plato) into another medium. I adapted Plato’s short story sharing the same name as this piece into a website that presents a 3D audiovisual experience. It illustrates the moment when the prisoner ventures outside the cave and sees the bright but beautiful sun for the first time. I made the piece with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and a 3D library for JavaScript called Three.js." -Alexander Grattan




Website: “Secret Pittsburgh Website Redesign”
Creators: Alexander Grattan & Heather Dillman
Class: DNID Capstone
Instructor: Dmitriy Babichenko and Jessica FitzPatrick

Link: https://secretpittsburgh.netlify.app/

"We created this project as part of our School of Computing and Information capstone and sought to fix the bugs and design problems with the current Secret Pittsburgh website. As part of this endeavor we conducted usability studies with participants and iterated on designs. The website is still a work-in-progress but we hope to have it finalized by the end of the Spring 2022 semester!

You can be part of this project by taking our user survey. Link: https://forms.gle/VUAFCRicdo1T2kjq9 " -Alexander Grattan & Heather Dillman



Website: “History of Cloud Rap”
Creator: Simon Joseph
Class: Global Fictions
Instructor: Jessica FitzPatrick


Link: https://spj198.wixsite.com/my-site


"The history of Cloud Rap is somewhat complicated and obscure, and barely any academic writing has been done on the subgenre. Its cult fan base, purely digital presence, and DIY distribution make it near impossible to definitively say who "did it first." This website explores Cloud Rap as a Global Genre, Cloud Rap and Transculturation, and the History, Aesthetics, and Albums of Cloud Rap. I am linking a playlist (https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8PW3xmb8VACTK0UDmWITkB1PXX6SiwOr ​) of both notable Cloud Rap songs and their inspirations for this website. I will be referencing songs and music videos on this playlist by their numeric order in it. Please feel free to listen to each track when mentioned, as some of the styles and aesthetics of Cloud Rap can be difficult to describe. " - Simon Joseph


Website: “Remapping the Ocean's Currents”
Creator: Alexandra Marvelous
Class: Imagining Social Justice
Instructor: Sritama Chatterjee

Note: Click on map to better view included routes. For full screen, visit link: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/17a5a161a62d497ea468b6fbaf5aa435

"Carried out in the summer of 2021, I nominate Alexandra's remapping project for the following reasons: a) It reimagines the shipping routes of the ocean through the lens of multispecies habitat or migration in the sea. To put it differently, the map is a speculative imagination of how the undersea would look different from the perspective of multispecies migration rather than a logistical, shipping lens. b) Attuned to the questions of multispecies justice in design c) She submitted a very thoughtful reflection with her project to me that articulated the stakes of reimagining ocean maps. - Sritama Chatterjee




Website: “weathermachine : a computational chapbook”
Creator: Kiera O'Brien
Class: Automating Writing from Amanuenses to AI (Grad Seminar)
Instructor: Annette Vee


Link: https://readymag.com/k.r.obrien/weathermachine/


"weathermachine : a computational chapbook is a computational poetry project that includes a website and a hand-made artist book that I crafted for Professor Annette Vee’s graduate seminar, Automating Writing from Amanuenses to AI. I built both the website and the handmade book to showcase original poems that I wrote using computer programming. The poems themselves ruminate on emergent realities of the global climate crisis in looping, permutational lines of verse, incorporating found text from amateur meteorological texts sourced through Project Gutenberg and species names from the IUCN Red List of Threatened & Recently Extinct Species of North America. Inspired by the computational poetics of Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Alison Knowles, Allison Parrish, and Nick Montfort, I implement a relatively simple Python program—adapted from Alison Knowles' The House of Dust, one of the first computer-generated poems ever written—as poetic and meditative device. The outcomes, while random, vary only to the extent that the combinatorial logics of the code—and our own precarious human realities—will allow.


Both the digital and analog interfaces include dimensions of interactivity that require the reader/viewer to orient themselves within the (non-linear) pages of text, image, and code. I chose to work across analog and digital media to explore how we interact with and engage text when it is on the page vs. when it appears on a screen. I hope to gently challenge my reader’s expectations of what a poem, or indeed a book, can be, especially when these “traditional” forms are in conversation with computational and digital modes of composition and art making." -Kiera O'Brien



XR (Extended Reality) Game: “The Forgotten Life of Mary Bennet”
Creator: Kylie Dougherty
Class: Digital Narrative and Interactive Design
Instructor: Dmitriy Babichenko and Jessica FitzPatrick


"Pride and Prejudice has a dear place in my heart, but I have always thought that Mary Bennet deserved more. Whether it was more recognition or more detail, I wanted to be able to explore what that might look like through this project and through the exploration of her relationship with music." -Kylie Dougherty




Zine: “Body Language Issue 1: the Body "Norm”
Creator: Lynn Priestley
Class: Projects in Digital Composition
Instructor: Stephen Quigley



Link: https://cap-alt-delete.github.io/zine-website/

"Language fascinates me. So much of what we perceive to be foundational truths in our society are spoken or written into existence, then have their origins veiled with another few words: “It’s always been this way.” But often, it hasn’t. Often, in our human desire to make sense of our information dense world, we hastily categorize and label in ways that are more reductive than we’d care to admit. Body Language is a zine that I wanted to center on the idea of peeling back the labels we’ve attached to bodies and unpacking the categorized boxes. What’s really true, and what’s a construct? How does our language shape our conceptualization of bodies? How do our words, our language about bodies, shape our posturing towards each other, our body language?

This zine was started as a school project for a digital composition class, where we were allowed to pick our topic and mode of composition for a 10-week school project. As someone deeply interested in disability studies, I chose to research the construct of the body norm, given the history of the medical institution’s attempts to pathologize disabled bodies for their “abnormality”. For the project mode, I wanted to create a zine that could be experienced with or without vision, to oppose the ocularcentrism present in much of design today. The plan started as a zine and a companion website that would function to make the zine accessible." -Lynn Priestley

If you want to help the DNID program design a new course about accessibility and inclusion, fill out this survey!Link: https://forms.gle/WFp9pXhHisFrsx9R6 -Jessica FitzPatrick