Theory-Practice Collaboratory #6: Surface Effects
Monday, May 11, 10:00am-3:00pm
Elvehjem L166 / Hemsley Theatre

A mini-symposium featuring dynamic participatory workshops with Jon McKenzie and Shuxing Fan, Dan Lisowski, and Kevin Ponto of the ALICE Project exploring text, image, and environment at the interface of physicality and digitality.

To RSVP, email art.scholarship.mellon@gmail.com

Jon McKenzie, “Three Act Theory: A Smart Media Workshop”
Elvehjem L166 (800 University Ave.)


Films such as An Inconvenient Truth and Under the Dome demonstrate that TED Talks, data storytelling, and conceptual storytelling are important emerging forms of media that draw on formal affinities between argumentation and narrative. Research papers, for instance, often have a three-part structure of abstract / argument / conclusion or literature review / argument / implications, which is similar yet different from the classic three-act narrative structure found in myths, novels, and popular films. In this workshop, we will learn strategies for giving effective presentations, watch an example and analysis of a famous presentation, and then turn to drafting our own 3-act presentations of our research projects. Participants should bring their own laptops and relevant digital materials (eg, research paper, images) for drafting a presentation in the software they regularly use (eg, PPT, Google Presentation, Prezi). The goal is for everyone to design and deliver a 1-2 minute presentation within the workshop time.


Jon McKenzie is Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Director of DesignLab, a media consultancy for students. He is the author of Perform or Else: From Discipline to Performance and the essays “Global Feeling: (Almost) All You Need is Love” and “Towards a Sociopoetics of Interface Design.” He is co-editor of Contesting Performance: Global Sites of Research, and his work has been translated into a half-dozen languages. McKenzie has also produced a number of experimental video essays, including The Revelations of Dr. Kx4l3ndj3r, and gives workshops on performative scholarship and smart media.


[12:00-1:00: Lunch/Break]

Shuxing Fan, Dan Lisowski, and Kevin Ponto, “Behind the Curtain: ALICE Project”
Hemsley Theatre (821 University Ave.)


The ALICE Project (Augmented Live Interactively Controlled Environment) is an interdisciplinary research project which melds existing technologies to pioneer a new live performance methodology. We aim to accomplish this by enabling the performers (actor, dancer, musician, etc.) to interact with their stage environment in a dynamic and unique way. By integrating video projection, entertainment automation, motion capture, and virtual reality technologies together, we aim to enable new possibilities in live performance and enhance the audience’s experience.


Shuxing Fan is Head of Scene Design and Assistant Professor in Theatre and Drama. As the principal designer at the Design Concept Presentations LLC, Shuxing has designed over hundreds of productions and his clients include: Arena Stage, Olney Theatre, the Washington Stage Guild, ABC, PBS, NBC, BBC, C-span, USA Today, SONY Entertainment, AOL, Accenture, McKesson, AstraZeneca, the US Army, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Interior, and the White House.


Dan Lisowski is Head of Theatre Technology and Assistant Professor in Theatre and Drama, and Automation Designer and Principal Investigator for the ALICE Project. Dan’s design and management projects include work on Cirque du Soleil ZED™, Macau City of Dreams’ Bubble Show, “Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark”, and Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2011’s premiere event “Flightpath.” He has also worked with Chicago Scenic Studios, Hudson Scenic Studio, and ZFX Flying Effects.


Kevin Ponto is an Assistant Professor jointly appointed between the Living Environments Laboratory at Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and the Design Studies Department in the School of Human Ecology, with affiliate appointments in the Department of Computer Sciences and the Arts Institute. His research interests include Virtual and Augmented Reality and Wearable Computing.


This event is presented by the Art + Scholarship A.W. Mellon Workshop, generously supported by UW-Madison Center for the Humanities, and co-sponsored by the DesignLab.

This mini-symposium is the sixth and final of the Art + Scholarship A.W. Mellon Workshop’s 2014-2015 Theory-Practice Collaboratories, a series of participatory workshops integrating theory and practice, creativity and criticality. The series showcases exciting, boundary-pushing work happening across campus, and provides artist-scholars a space within which to experience each other’s work.

Facilitating conversations between experimental scholarship, creative writing, performance, new media, digital text, and visualization studies, Art + Scholarship A.W. Mellon Workshop’s Theory-Practice Collaboratories engage a richly interdisciplinary nexus of questions, practices, and possibilities for unsettling generic and medium-specific boundaries. Collaboratories provide opportunities to engage in collective exploration of playful, creative scholarship through such practices as performance-making, sensory awareness, digital remediation, public discourse, and relational aesthetics.



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