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Cati Vaucelle
Research Associate
Story Networks group

Cati Vaucelle's current challenge as researcher and visual media artist is to create transformable interfaces--physical objects, videos, interactive installations--that allow any creator to engage others in questioning their beliefs. Her position is constructionist: we learn by experience. Her goal is to explore the specific functions of an interface that can empower people in the exploration of new ideas, and that can provoke them to challenging their assumptions about their surrounding environment. Her exploration into what she now calls transformable interfaces began in 1997 in the Fine Arts and Technology, in Photography and Video, and in the Computational Linguistics graduate programs in Paris VIII University, in Psychology and Economics at Nanterre University. She has continued this theme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Media Arts and Sciences graduate program, and as a research assistant at the MIT Media Laboratory in Boston, and for the last 2 years as a Research Associate at Media Lab Europe in the Story Networks Group directed by Glorianna Davenport.

At Media Lab Europe, she has been working on Textable Movie. Typically computational video systems promote a visual approach to the act of construction. Textable Movie turns this approach on its head. Promoting the idea that we learn from an early age to tell stories using words, Textable Movie allows users to improvise a movie in real-time as they provide the system with the text of their story. To create the visual sequence, the system matches words of the narrative to one or more databases of movies, still pictures and sounds that have been collected and identified by the user or her at at an earlier time. From the beginning, one of her goal for this tool was to encourage teenagers from around the world to share views of their world with others. The power and flexibility of Textable Movie can be evaluated in part based on applications that she has created which she did not initially envision. For instance, in one workshop she extended framework by creating a new creative application, Textable Game. Using Textable Game teenagers create their own rules and scenarios, collect their own video and sound, and build a game in the genre of their choosing be that an action game, a exploration game, or a mystery game. Teenagers were being engaged into being video game producers for their playing games. As part of her evaluation, she has held workshops in Ireland, the US, and Sweden. This fall additional workshops will be held in several countries around the world. In the workshop, teenagers first storyboard their ideas and discuss the idea with the group; this is followed by videoinging, editing, and projecting a video-story or game using Textable Movie engine. Over the past year, this research lead her to become a supporting member of Pangaea, a peace-engineering project whose goal is to create a bond between people around the world. Textable Movie is currently part of a Pangea Toolkit.

She has also created, with Paul Nemirovsky -Interactive Cinema group , MIT Media lab- Mixer-Subverter, an online video system for exchanging media. She has worked in collaboration with Marije Kanis - Human Connectedness Group on Wanderful Alcove, an interactive play space in which participants wield magic wands and practice wizardry. She is also working in collaboration with the NTRG group http://ntrg.cs.tcd.ie , the Networks and Telecommunications Research group at Trinity College on Texting Glances, an ambient waiting" game in which transient audience participants use SMS texting to evolve a visual story on a large display which is installed in a public space such as a bus or train station.

Currently, she is working on Moving Picture, a tangible interface for the Textable Movie system in collaboration with the UMEA Institute of Design in Sweden. Moving picture is made of two video cameras with sensing technology, a tangible storyboard and a video jockey to create movies with captured video clips. Moving Pictures is a robust multi-user unit and a set of physical tools that enables users to explore, manipulate and share video content with others. The system involves a collaborative approach that supports social interaction. The design process of the physical platform is combined to the research question about important cinematic skills, e.g. space, time, continuity and point of view. It contextualizes the setup of such Moving Picture platform internationally in cultural and art centers. The goal of such system is for young adults to exchange documentaries of their surrounding environment with a direct control and visualization of multiple point of views.

Cati Vaucelle received her M.S. in Media Arts and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2002. Cati's primary interests lied in the areas of story listening systems for children and the effect of human-computer interaction on literacy learning. Building upon this experience, she wanted to develop new tangible interfaces that use multimedia for the learning of children. She has presented her thesis, Dolltalk: a computational toy to enhance children's narrative perspective-taking advised by Hiroshi Ishii, the director of the Tangible Media Group at MIT Media Lab. Her thesis work on story listening systems describes how a technological toy can encourage children to use narrative perspective-taking in their stories. Cati's work in this area has appeared in the proceedings of CSCL, CHI, SIGGRAPH, IMAGINA, and the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. Cati has been named the first Mattel fellow for MIT Media Laboratory in 2000. She has worked on technological toys with Mattel since 2000, and her research has been integrated in their upcoming toys. She received a DEA (post-graduate degree) in Fine Art (2000) majoring in aesthetic, technology and artistic creation and a M.S.T. in photography and multimedia (1999) majoring in electronic edition, both from Paris VIII University. She was a researcher in the Video laboratory (Atelier Videomatique) of Paris VIII. She has also done extensive coursework in automatic language processing in the Linguistics department at Paris VIII University and in Psychology at Paris X University. Vaucelle received also a Photography Diploma is 1997, a B.S. in markets and firm's strategies from Paris X University (1998) and a D.E.U.G. in mathematics and economics from Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University in 1996.

Visit Cati Vaucelle's personal web site...