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Dr. Jane Prophet on New Work: Pocket Penjing

Penjing in hand 305 380 bright

Jane Prophet, Associate Dean for Research, Creative Work, and Strategic Initiatives at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan, will talk about her current project, Pocket Penjing, in a talk presented by the Michigan Interactive and Social Computing (MISC). The talk will take place on Tuesday, February 26 at 11:30 am on the University of Michigan Campus (North Quad, Ehrlicher Room #3100).

Prophet’s app, Pocket Penjing, grows simulated 3D trees from live environmental data displayed using augmented reality (AR). A miniature tree in your pocket, this app uses live data to let you see how air quality would impact the growth of a cherry blossom tree. You can see the tree grow in front of your eyes, in 3D, using augmented reality. It’s a mobile plant that you can take out and show your friends wherever you are. Anywhere you place the graphic marker, the tree grows. On your table, balcony, the side of the road, a classroom or your office.

With her collaborators, Prophet ran a series of tests on the app. The first, a user evaluation and design study, recommended new features. In the second, a focus group responded to the redesigned app which was delivered by a wizard-of-oz demonstration. Their findings point to the importance of 1) modeling local variants and 2) sharing AR trees with friends and family. Based on these findings, Prophet argues that AR cultural artifacts that encourage citizen construction of culturally-relevant social spaces and interactions support richer, situated sense-making of data.

Visual artist, Jane Prophet, works across media and disciplines to produce apps, objects and installations, frequently combining traditional and computational media. Prophet’s papers position art in relation to contemporary debates about new media and mainstream art, feminist technoscience, artificial life and ubiquitous computing. Professor Prophet received a PhD in arts education from Warwick University in 1995. She has contributed widely to debates about art and computation, in particular, interdisciplinary collaboration. Her current research spans augmented reality, 3D print and projection mapping.