Longformers 2062

A speculative design project I’ve been working on. Check it out here.

The Spreadsheet: Analog to Digital

This video was produced for my Foundations of Dynamic Media course at MassArt in the Fall of 2010.

The Spreadsheet from Gabi Schaffzin on Vimeo.


A Call For A Visual Revolution: A Tuftean Critique of Occupy and Anti-SOPA/Anti-PIPA Infographics

My final paper from CMS.861 can be found in two formats.

Unfortunately, the exhibits/images are a bit scattered. Due to my research trip to DC, I was unable to clean them up in time to deliver the final version. I plan on doing so over the summer.

[CMS.861] Here Comes Everybody…And It’s Gonna Be Awesome

Note: this post appeared as part of my coursework for CMS.861 Networked Social Movements at the Center for Civic Media at MIT.

Here Comes Everybody from Gabi Schaffzin on Vimeo.

Clay Shirky introduces us to the issues we’ll be dealing with in Here Comes Everybody with an anecdote—a mechanism that he will use throughout the rest of the book. In chapter one, he tells the story of Ivanna’s phone, left in a New York City cab in May 2006, and the epic battle to retrieve it and shame the individual in whose possession the phone ended up. After Ivanna’s friend Evan posted her story to the Internet, he passed the link among his friends and family who spread the link further through their respective networks. Eventually, after a huge spike in traffic to Evan’s site, the broadcasting of email addresses, threats of physical violence against Evan, the arrest of the perpetrator, the return of the phone, and Evan’s decidedly smart choice to go into the public relations industry, some serious questions were still left unanswered. “Do we want a world in which a well-off grown-up can use this kind of leverage to get a teenager arrested?…a world where, whenever someone with this kind of leverage gets riled up, they can unilaterally reset all the priorities of the local police departments?” (13-14)

These questions, Shirky notes, are rhetorical. “The real question is, What happens next?” (14). (more…)

Occupy Hackathon: Visions of Occupy

A few weeks ago, I spent the day hanging out with some folks involved with Occupy Research for the Occupy Hackathon 2. We worked with an extremely rich data set: the results of the Occupy Research General Demographic and Political Participation Survey (ORGS). Some participants worked to help filter the data, some worked to visualize it. I felt like I wanted to do something a bit more abstract, one that let me use both my technical chops and some of the things I’ve been thinking about at MassArt.

In the end, I created Visions of Occupy: a Tumblr blog populated automatically using some of the data from the ORGS, “mashed up” with some of the Occupy related photos posted to Flickr. For more info and the ongoing project, take a look here.

[CMS.861] Artist As Researcher? Researcher As Artist?

Note: this post appeared as part of my coursework for CMS.861 Networked Social Movements at the Center for Civic Media at MIT.

Last week, I attended a workshop at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society entitled “Understanding the New Wave of Social Cooperation: A Triangulation of the Arab Revolutions, European Mobilizations and the American Occupy Movement.” As is evidenced by the lengthy title, to synthesize a workshop such as this in a single blog post is a difficult task—one I’m hesitant to even try. For those looking for a thorough summary of the event, I believe that full session notes are available here.

[CMS.861] 50 Million Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong: MBTA Related Grievances And The Groups That Air Them

Note: this post appeared as part of my coursework for CMS.861 Networked Social Movements at the Center for Civic Media at MIT.

A number of weeks ago, during a class—for which I am the teaching assistant—called Narcissism, Aggression, and Creativity, we entered into a discussion related to the frustrations felt while riding public transportation and the physical and psychological manifestations this frustration takes. Most of them (and, I would posit, us as well) become introverts while riding the subway or the bus, trying their best to avoid contact with the other riders, silently judging the various public-transport-related faux pas committed along the way. During the discussion the group of 25 students came into quick alignment in regards to the way other riders on the T behave and why they considered this behavior unacceptable. For a relatively long time—30 to 45 minutes—they commiserated on why everyone else makes their riding experience.


[CMS.861] The Academic Product Cycle: ICTs and Social Movements…without much Facebook

My first post for MIT Center for Civic Media’s CMS.861: Networked Social Movements

It’s an odd experience to be reading lit-reviews regarding information and communication technologies (ICT’s) from six years ago. On the one hand, a review from 2006 will only include technologies and movements written about ten years ago—a lifetime in the technology world. On the other, so many principles highlighted by both Garrett and Castells can be applied to today’s ICT landscape.


[CMS.860 (Final Paper)] Preoccupied With Occupation: Habermas, Prefigurative Politics, Effective Protest Center

This past May I presented a thesis abstract proposal to the review board of the Dynamic Media Institute at MassArt that focused on how dynamic media may elevate the level of public discourse in our country. My feeling at the time was that the media’s penchant for polarized debates, combined with social media’s weak-tied, high-speed nature left us without the means for substantive, civil debate—political or otherwise. How serendipitous, then, the fact that a public protest movement, centered around political and economic discourse, popped up just as I was gaining a stronger understanding of the theories behind civic participation via Intro to Civic Media.


Newport Folk Festival iPhone App

Last year, I had the great opportunity to work on the official iPhone app for the Newport Folk Festival. Downloaded over 1000 times (for a festival that only has 10,000 attendees), the app was received very well—so well that they’ve asked us to update it for this year’s show. I’m extremely excited, as working in PhoneGap and getting some mobile app development under my belt was a great experience. Last year was, as usual, a bit of a rush to the finish. This year, we hope to add a number of features and also make it available for the Android platform.