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Lori Landay, Ph.D.

Berklee College of Music

Lori Landay is a Berklee College of Music, Boston, and international leader in “XR” –emerging technologies for creating and experiencing virtual, augmented, and mixed realities.  In the Fall 2018 semester, she was the first professor to teach a course to a group of online and onsite students that met some of the time in the virtual world AltSpaceVR, and is working with Power Station/BerkleeNYC on 360 degree video and other XR projects. As a member of the Board of Directors of the Brookline Interactive Group/Public VR Lab, the leading community media organization in the country to advocate for public access to VR and AR, and a founding member of Women in the Next Realities, she connects Berklee students with the wider communities. 

Dr. Landay is Professor of Cultural Studies, an interdisciplinary teacher, scholar, and artist whose creative and critical work explores themes of transformation in audiovisual cultural forms, technology, and perception.  In the Liberal Arts Department, she has taught “The Language of Film,” “Art + Virtual Reality,” “Approaches to Visual Culture,” and, in the Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE), “Startup Lab,” a design thinking course focused on XR.  “Digital Narrative Theory and Practice” is a required course in the Video Game Scoring Minor.  She is also the author of two highly successful courses for Berklee Online, “Game Design Principles” and “The Language of Film and Television”. She directs the interdisciplinary minor in Visual Culture and New Media and contributes to curriculum and programming for Berklee Game Audio.  

Lori’s recent focus is on XR, an umbrella term for extending reality through emerging technologies including virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, motion capture, AI, automation, and in her model of the “new realities,” social mediations of reality. She is a leader in the curricular, pedagogical, and programming initiative for emerging technologies at Berklee, the Faculty Adviser for the student organization BerkleeXR, and a founding member of Women in the Next Realities, a Meetup group in the greater Boston area.  Lori is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Brookline Interactive Group and the Public VR Lab.  

Lori plays with theoretical ideas in creative work, using humor and often surprising tactics to question the relationships between the virtual and the actual in our rapidly transforming world.  Lori received a Newbury Comics Faculty Fellowship for “Virtual Worlds,” part of her sabbatical project on New Media in 2008-09, which resulted in multiple movies, graphics, interactive virtual art installations, international collaborations, publications, presentations, and curriculum.  Lori’s 2015-16 sabbatical project on animation and automation, “The Animated Self” expanded previous work on virtual worlds, avatars, interactive media experiences that loop actual and digital artifacts (ShadowLoop interactive art installation), inquiry into seeming and being (NEH Enduring Questions Grant for “What Is Being?” 2010-12), and scholarship on the processes of contemporary culture. Dr. Landay is the author of two books, I Love Lucy (TV Milestones Series) and Madcaps, Screwballs, and Con Women: The Female Trickster in American Culture, as well as numerous publications on topics including Minecraft, LEGO, virtual worlds, virtual subjectivity, digital narrative, silent film, and gender and comedy. Her expertise in the cultural history of gender, comedy, and media in American culture has resulted in her appearance in documentaries including Finding Lucy (American Masters, PBS) and recently, The Girl in the Show, premiering at the New York Independent Film Festival May 10, 2018. 

Her creative work includes virtual art, interactive installation, animation, creative documentary, digital video, and music video. Works have been chosen for the Boston Science Fiction Film Festival, Cyberfest (St. Petersburg, Russia), On the Wall Dance Film Series (Berlin, Germany), and Utopics Swiss Sculpture Exhibition (Biel/Bienne, Switzerland), and won awards such as Best of Show and People’s Choice Awards, New Media Consortium (NMC) Summer Conference Art Show; Best Machinimatography Award, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference SIGVE Group; First Prize, University of Western Australia 3D Art Challenge; and the Mejor Obra De Investigación/Open This End Award of Excellence for Investigative Film.  

Dr. Landay draws on an extensive interdisciplinary background shaped by curiosity and continuous study.  She has two masters of arts degrees, in American Studies and in English, and a Ph.D. in English and American Studies.  She is a voracious auditor of online MOOCs, and seeks out conferences and other opportunities to expand her intellectual, technological, and creative horizons, always with the goal of greater synthesis in understanding the big questions of contemporary culture: how do we make meaning through creative work, how do we create the future, and what is the self in community?

Lori was a speaker on XR at Boston’s Hub Week, a judge at the MIT Media Lab’s Reality Virtually Hackathon, and taught “Practical Online Virtual Reality in Higher Education” at the Public VR Lab. Her interactive new media art installation “ShadowLoop” was included in the AVATARS Exhibit at the Nave Gallery in Somerville, April-May 2019 during Open Studios. Her current project, The Immersive Tools Project for Autism and Music Education, was generously funded by a FLY (Faculty Led Innovations) Grant from the Berklee College of Music Office of Faculty Development and with a generous grant from the Marianne JH Witherby Foundation. That project is conducted in collaboration with Rhoda Bernard, Ed.D., Managing Director of the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs. 

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