The Digital Inferno

E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle
We travel through the corrupted reality of the digital inferno challenging the very essence of who, what and where we are.

Team: Nicola Maccarinelli, Veronica Pialorsi,  
John Hopkins, Dante Alighieri, Joseph Adler 

Surrey Walk

Surrey Walk Taking your mind for a walk (in progress)

A three hour walk in the woods of Surrey, condensed into three minutes, evolves into a journey through thirty years or maybe three thousand.

Exploring the use of compression, morphing, hot spots, video and sound to depict passages in time, place, memory, history and life. Examining how the banal and the literal can be fragmented and abstracted into the uncanny and the evocative.
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Team: Joseph Adler Bruce Worth Troll
  • Two school friends meet after thirty years.
  • They go for a walk.
  • Walk 23 on a trail map.
  • One had walked there last month.
  • The other had walked it long ago


  • The walk is documented through 39 images combined to create a 3 minute movie
  • This movie becomes an ever changing menu, enabling access to other media through "hot spots"
  • Interaction is enabled through mouse roll over and click
  • The overlaying of evoked media creates new movies, images and experiences
  • The ever present red marker moves as the walk progresses
  • There are multiple depictions of time such as logged, real, biological and psychological.
  • There are multiple depictions of place through video, photography, a map, a satellite image, sound, text, signs
  • There are multiple depictions of memory

Key Concepts
  • The walk as an expression of passage through "deep" time not just shallow place
  • Symbolic, iconic and mimetic representations
  • The Codec of life: the use of spatial and temporal compression as an analog for the "compression" that occurs in memory.
  • The morph as an expression of passage

A Winter's Walk

Winterreise revisited with line art FX  .

Team: Joseph Adler Arvo Pärt 


Winterreise An experiment in peripatetic video.
A winter's walk is chronicled through multiple images to the accompaniment of one verse, Der Wegweiser, of Schubert's Winterreise.

Team: Joseph Adler Franz Schubert Wilhelm Muller

Scenario with an existentialist flavor
Struck down by arthritis I was unable to join my family skiing so I took a long lonely walk and photographed it. I noted that I avoided paths where others went and I walked in the direction away from town and civilization. That's why the Wegweiser stanza seemed to fit so well.

A solitary figure juxtaposed against the vast winter landscape. The journey marked by his own footprints, which will inevitably evanesce, as will he.

Why do I avoid the routes
Which the other travelers take,
To search out hidden paths
Through snowy cliff tops?
I have truly done no wrong
That I should shun mankind.
What foolish desire
Drives me into the wastelands?
Signposts stand along the roads,
Signposts leading to the towns;
And I wander on and on,
Restlessly in search of rest.
One signpost stands before me,
Remains fixed before my gaze.
One road I must take,
From which no one has ever returned.
Was vermeid' ich denn die Wege,
Wo die ander'n Wand'rer gehn,
Suche mir versteckte Stege
Durch verschneite Felsenhöh'n?
Habe ja doch nichts begangen,
Daß ich Menschen sollte scheu'n, -
Welch ein törichtes Verlangen
Treibt mich in die Wüstenei'n?
Weiser stehen auf den [Strassen]1,
Weisen auf die Städte zu,
Und ich wand're sonder Maßen
Ohne Ruh' und suche Ruh'.
Einen Weiser seh' ich stehen
Unverrückt vor meinem Blick;
Eine Straße muß ich gehen,
Die noch keiner ging zurück.

29 images are combined to create 2 mins 34 second video. Photographed in 2/04. Produced in 2/05



A life lived.
Filled like pages in a book.
A book all too short.
A book we must write.
For we make the journey.
Moving through life's passages.
Passing from moment to moment.
Moments only borrowed.
In the final chapter each a memory.
Each passages in time.

By Robert Sessions Smilie, Jr
How can one chronicle a journey, the passage from one state to another and all that is between? Recording the movement through landscape is an obvious start, but what about memory, history, conversation, feeling and thought? Are these not also part of the journey?

Passages is a set of experiments exploring these issues within digital media - trying to mediate between the tedium of real-time video and the impoverishing compression of a slide show. The content has been kept simple so as to focus on the form. See Winte
rreise and Surrey Walk.

MetaMedia - Presentation

MetaMedia - Presentation
The nature of digital media and its impact on the arts and humanities?

Language Adventure Design

A presentation on the design of Language Adventure - a language learning game for children by Instinct Corporation.
Language Adventure by Instinct

Team: Joseph Adler

Creative Computing

Creative Computing

How can digital technologies enable creative work in the humanities? This course will focus on case studies in Anthropology, Classics, History, Archaeology and the Arts, examine the processes of creativity they embody, and then the relation of these to digital design and authorship. We will look at hypertext and hypermedia, collaborative authoring, the use of databases, narrative, and rhetoric. Tools and techniques (hardware options and software packages) will be introduced where appropriate. Support will be provided for all skill levels, from beginner to geek — the emphasis is on creativity. The course assignment will be to plan and implement your own individual or group project.
Joseph Adler Michael Shanks


Tamara: navigating musical rooms
Exploring invisible hot spots, scrolls and zooms. To be developed as "Eavesdrops." in Urban Scrawl.
Team: Joseph Adler

New Media Transect


Peripatetic engagement with the past
An experiment in how archaeologists mediate a field survey transect --- a line walked across a plot of land for the purpose of establishing patterns of past land-use, locating archaeological features, assessing geomorphology and engaging the material world

Joseph Adler Chris Witmore

Bravo Caffe

Bravo Caffé  is where we get all our wonderful coffee and espresso supplies.

Team: Lucaffe & Piccola

What is archaeology?


6th grade presentation and on-line assignment
Literally, a hands-on experience of what archaeologists try to do.

Joseph Adler Michael Shanks

Urban Scrawl


The city's message through time and place.
Research into the threads that link early civilization
to contemporary urban life.


The charm of the moving image

An open-ended authoring tool, enabling the seamless amalgamation of media from multiple sources into an animated production. Based on the award winning movie making software for children "Magic Theatre".

Joseph Adler Harvey Wolfson and Instinct Corporation (an educational software company)


Self generating galleries

A Flash program that lets users easily create sophisticated, multimedia on-line gallery environments with sound and viewers' comments capability.


Making the Georgia Sea Islands as visual artifact
A multimedia lecture exploring how movies shape cultural memory.

Joseph Adler Paula Ebron Claudia Engel

The Large Glass


The odd effect of even
An online exposé of Duchamp’s famous work where the iconology is embedded in the work itself and is discovered interactively, akin to a game

Joseph Adler

The Two Mayas

The picture within a picture
Goya's two famous paintings of the same model overlaid on each other, enabling interesting comparisons.

Joseph Adler

Jumping Links


Where words escape their meaning
Exploring playful text which does not behave as expected.

Joseph Adler

MetaMediaLab Overview

Digital technology offers dramatic new ways for developing and expressing ideas. Information need not be constrained to a particular medium, but can flourish in dynamic and multiple media. Ideas can flow, be freed from ownership and embark on their own adventure. Media themselves become modes of engagement - collaboration and interaction are easier than ever before.

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MetaMedia projects fall into three categories:

* Basic research and development of generic technologies that can be used across a wide range of Arts and Humanities
* Applied research and development, using digital technology with specific material;
* Theory building in relation to new digital media and underpinning metaMedia's research and development.

MetaMedia's founding directors are Michael Shanks, Professor, Stanford Archaeology Center, and Joseph Adler, CEO, Instinct Corporation, an educational software company. Their partnership promises the effective and creative merger of the Academy and the Digital technology industry.