Digital Media Lab logo

Dr. J. R. Parker

Professor of Play
Faculty of Fine Arts
University of Calgary
MEDIA (mee-dee-ah)- [Pl. of medium]
1. A means of mass communication, such as newpapers, magazines, radio, or television.
2. An object or device, such as a disk, on which data is stored.
3. A specific kind of artistic technique or means of expression as determined by the materials used or the creative methods involved.
4. The materials used in a specific artistic technique: oils as a medium.


A surrounding environment in which something functions and thrives.


The DML studies the effect of artificial vision and hearing on computer interfaces and digital art creation tools; we look at novel ways to manipulate images and (especially) sound; we examine ways to apply these technologies to computer games, animations, and virtual reality, and combine this with the internet to define ways to communicate ideas. Especially we are interested in using these technologies to teach, but we have been pioneers in the use of games and interactive media in general communication for politics, news, advertising, and generally everwhere you can use text or pictures.
Our intent is to advance the state of interactive media as communication tools, in all directions. Creation of interactive art forms is held back by a lack of tools that can be used by artists - most are created by programmers. We have been working to promote the democratization of digital media (game creation in particular). We feel that there are ways to work on new media in your basements and garages, and we are promoting these activities by creating and publicizing software and resources for this purpose.
As much as research into 'human-computer interaction' is probably useful, my training as a systems analyst prepares me better for creating and evaluating novel interfaces to the computer; my background in the arts prepares me to help build more intersting and creative objects. As I have ofen told my students, it is very odd that I have a computer that can do 3 billion operations per second and I communicate with it at no better than 4 characters per second through the keyboard.

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