Installation Sample Proposals

Sample 1

Gender, Class, and Toys in H.G. Wells’s Floor Games: 3D Printing the Suffragette and New Woman
Deanna Marie Stover, Kayley Kalani Hart

H.G. Wells’s Floor Games (1911) is a highly-visual book about creating toy worlds. But more than the black-and-white photographs of toy cities and playful illustrations of toy soldiers in the margins, Wells, along with his illustrator J.R. Sinclair, created a full-page illustration of thirty-two civilian miniatures titled “Some Suggestions for Toy Makers” after complaining that “even the grocer wears epaulettes” (27). Our scholarly digital edition of Wells’s Floor Games and its companion piece, Little Wars (1913), responds to both Jentery Sayers’s call to prototype the past and Sari Altschuler and David Weimer’s manifesto about “texturing” the digital humanities. The project will eventually provide 3D-printable versions of all thirty-two civilian miniatures Wells and Sinclair imagined alongside critical commentary and instructions for painting the toys according to early-twentieth-century fashions.

Our project challenges dichotomies between the scholarly and the public, the digital and the analog, and the serious and the playful. We are, after all, encouraging play with toys that Wells and Sinclair once imagined while still thinking critically about the gender and class ideologies embedded in their design. Although this edition is still in progress, we have already 3D modeled and printed the Suffragette and New Woman illustrations. Our three-to-five minute pre-recorded installation will show the progress of our edition thus far, focusing on the creation of these 3D printable toys and how we are “editing” these objects based on their political, social, and historical contexts.

Works Cited:

Altschuler, Sari and David Weimer. “Texturing the Digital Humanities: A Manifesto.” PMLA, vol. 135, no. 1, 2020, pp. 74-91.

Sayers, Jentery. “Prototyping the Past.” Visible Language, vol. 49, no. 3, 2015.

Wells, H.G. Floor Games. Frank Palmer, 1911.

Sample 2

Franken Project, a Touch-Interactive Project
David Rieder, Kelsey Dufresne, Calvin Olsen

‘Franken Project’ is a new touch-interactive project developed by two doctoral students and a faculty member in the Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media PhD program at NC State University. It is based on the following technologies: 1) the physical interface was designed using 3D printing methods, conductive paint, an Arduino microcontroller, and 4 MPR 121 capacitive touch sensors (48 inputs); 2) the multimedia and animated sequences were developed in Processing and Python programming languages; and 3) the ‘monstrous’ texts were developed using the GPT-2 OpenAI text-generation library in Python.

For the public audience for whom this project is designed, we found that some of the themes in Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, were a compelling basis for exploring and dramatizing some of the bio/political and cultural chaos associated with 1) our Covid-era in the US, 2) the legacy of structural racism in the US, and 3) the ways in which the Trump-era of politics reinvigorated white supremacist/chauvenistic, and mysogynist attitudes, which, like a virus, have spread across the body politic of the US. First, during our covid era, two themes that come to mind are the associations of illness and death associated with touch and our fragmented/fractured social and professional lives. In Shelley’s novel, all that the monster touches dies, and the monster, itself, is sutured together from disparate body parts. Second, Victor’s selfishness – his unwillingness to take responsibility for the monster that he’s created – echoes an era during which politicians create all kinds of social-media monsters (memes, lies, etc) for which they do not take responsibility. Related to the legacy of structural racism in the communication networks of the US, the stitches and text lines that criss-cross the screen in our project follow the lines of the highway and streets in downtown Atlanta, which Kevin Kruse, in his essay in the NY Times’ 1619 Project, explains were designed to segregate.

The Processing sketch generates an immersive experience based on animated textual and visual elements and sound. As participants engage with the touch interface, which is based on five 3D-printed hands, they will become the creators of an increasingly chaotic experience, as a GPT-generated text breaks free from its two-dimensional restraints, based on a boids flocking algorithm, computer-generated stitches and lines of kinetic text shift and change, and the pan and gain of a half-dozen soundtracks are affected.

Franken Project will have been completed and installed in one of the digital interactive studios on our campus 2-3 months before the conference, so we will be able to provide a pre-recorded performance of the project for the ACH. After its trial run in the library studio, we hope to find places to show it publically this fall/winter, in the US and maybe Europe, as Covid-related restrictions lift.

An early draft of the Processing sketch for our project (not yet connected to the touch sensor/physical interface) can be found at the following URL: