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Monica LoCascio joins our team

{ Creative Strategy }

Monica LoCascio’s nomadic upbringing partnered with her unique exposure to the arts, science and technology through her music and computer educator parents has left her with an insatiable desire for knowledge, a keen ear and eye for aesthetics, and an extraordinary ability to work across disciplines to produce high-impact, multi-platform projects. LoCascio began her career in New York City as co-publisher and art director of Overspray, and shortly thereafter accepted the role of Production Director for  PAPER Magazine, which in turn led to her role as Art Director for EXTRAEXTRAPAPER’s in-house marketing and promotions company. In her roles she was able to lend her talents to global accounts including American Express, Absolut, LANVIN, Mattel and Target. She has authored, edited and designed publications for Rizzoli and Abrams, and spent time as an independent curator for art galleries in New York, Philadelphia and Vienna, Austria. Before joining Culture Shock, LoCascio acted as Executive Producer of SCOPE Art Show, the premier showcase for international emerging contemporary art and multi-disciplinary creative programming.

New York Creative Media Showcase with Culture Shock and MPC

In this very special showcase event, two of New York’s leading media and visual effects companies will not only showcase their work – but also announce an excpetionally exciting new project on a global scale, involving collaborators on both sides of the pond.

The creative VFX studio MPC (honoured with an Oscar for ‘Achievement in Visual Effects’ for its work on Life of Pi) will use this keynote showcase to unveil a new global advertising and arts initiative, alongside key creative partners from New York and London. The initiative is expected to include events and programming in major cities throughout the world as well as opportunities for Northern Irish creative companies to become nvolved.

If you are interested in visual media at its finest, this keynote showcase is not to be missed.

Speakers include:

Justin Brukman – Executive Producer MPC Advertising NY
Hugh McGrory – Creative Director, Culture Shock NY
Debra Anderson – CEO, Culture Shock NY

The Art of Information: Data, The Dark Matter of the Digital Universe

Culture Shock CEO & Founder and Debra Anderson, and Executive Producer Greta Knutzen, will lead a workshop on The Art of Information: Data, The Dark Matter of the Digital Universe. The workshop will explore and showcase the creative uses of technology through rapid prototyping of real-time data visualization applications, data driven transmedia projects and digital platforms and dynamic interactive works of art that celebrate the intersection of data and storytelling.

Anderson and Knutzen successfully launched the first Big Data undergraduate survey course at The New School for Public Engagement in January 2012.

They co-create and co-instruct the course which has included guest experts from UN Global Pulse, Bloomberg Ventures, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Whitney Museum of American Art, Columbia School of Journalism, Lance Weiler and the Harmony Institute.

Bella Gaia and UNEP Data Visualization

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and BELLA GAIA launched a short film titled Hotspots to Hopespots – a multimedia presentation of scientific data and images on the planet’s changing environment.
Directed by award winning filmmaker, music producer and classically trained violinist, Kenji Williams, the film highlights the 2013 World Environment Day theme of food waste and showcases visualizations of Hotspots that have turned into Hopespots. These images are available on the UNEP Live portal, which is based on research led by UNEP’s Division of Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA). The film, which also features data produced by NASA, BELLA GAIA and the Brooklyn-based data visualization company, Culture Shock, illustrates earth science stories from around the globe. The partners worked together to show real time anthropogenic activity spanning decades.
Please visit for more information:
Visit UNEP Live-
Visit The Baum Foundation,

Where Film Goes to Be Reinvented

It’s 2:38 A.M. when my phone rings. A woman’s voice on the other end of the line speaks in a hushed but urgent tone, in a thick French accent wrapped in a tinny, robotic crackle, like an exotic Siri. “It’s time for your appointment with Sarah,” she says. Sarah is waiting for me online. I’m instructed to follow a link in my inbox to rendezvous with her. Groggy, I wipe the sleep from my eyes and open my laptop.

This brief charade is part of the experience of “A Journal of Insomnia,” a new interactive documentary. It exists primarily as a Web portal where viewers can explore video confessionals, drawings, and quotes depicting personal accounts of insomnia, collected from two thousand individuals from around the world over a six-month period. These crowdsourced anecdotes are anchored by in-depth stories from four main characters—Sarah is one of them—who relate their nightly battles with sleeplessness in a series of intimate video portraits.

To access the Web site, viewers need to “surrender a part of their night” by making an appointment sometime between the hours of 9 P.M. and 5 A.M.—a conceptual framework that creates a forced empathy with the sleepless subjects, making the experience more visceral. It’s meant to underscore the project’s exploration of insomnia as a mental illness that affects roughly thirty per cent of individuals in developed countries—one that is both exacerbated and assuaged by the Internet.

“A Journal of Insomnia” is the latest interactive venture from the National Film Board of Canada, a seventy-four-year-old Canadian public agency that produces and distributes socially relevant documentaries and animations, and which has, in the past five years, become an unlikely trailblazer responsible for some of the most progressive and innovative experiments in digital media and interactive storytelling. Read More


A Journal of Insomnia Is A Surreal Interactive Documentary Experience

Imagine this: an appointment at 3:14am. A phone call at 3:12am from Quebec announces the appointment minutes before it happens. Logging onto the A Journal of Insomnia website, white digital artifacts arrange themselves on screen, gradually shaping themselves into an approximation of a mouth.

An accented, ethereal digital voice intones, “At night I can’t sleep. In developed countries, 30 percent of people are insomniacs like me. Since the fall of 2012, privately under the cover of darkness, I have been meeting them and collecting their stories. Welcome to A Journal of Insomnia. Only by making an appointment and coming back tonight will you receive the full experience. It’s your turn now to invest part of your night.”

The disembodied voice is followed by a ticking clock and ambient sound collage, which is at once dreamy, disconcerting and beautiful. The whole effect is made all the more surreal in those early interactive moments as the user is drawn toward the computer screen like Max Renn in David Cronenberg’s Videodrome.

In an appointment with Sarah, a Montreal insomniac, viewers will find themselves voyeuristically staring down her hallway, which terminates in an empty, illuminated bathroom. The viewer then navigates Sarah’s apartment as she relates several insomniac stories, dreams, and observations. The filmmakers and designers fashioned the Sarah documentary to look like degraded VHS. Scenes rewind, flicker, fast forward, and wobble just like that archaic video tape, with the hallway functioning as a nervous system of experience―the point from which Sarah’s insomniac life unfolds.

Again, Videodrome becomes an analogue in the Sarah experience. One also thinks of David Lynch or early, experimental Miranda July as visual and atmospheric touchstones for the Sarah segment. The project as a whole shares something with the cyber excesses examined narratively in the phenomenal UK television series Black Mirror, which cannot be seen in the US (wink, wink). As in the Charlie Brooker series, participants in A Journal‘s interactive world become hypnotized by the “black mirror” of the computer screen. One can’t help but be pulled into the creators and insomniacs’ sleepless world.

The idea for A Journal of Insomnia originated with Hugues Sweeney, producer for French Program’s Digital Studio at Canada’s National Film Board (NFB). Sweeney says of the project, “I got hooked on insomnia because it is an extremely widespread phenomenon. And I think internet is the best way to talk about it. Internet equals insomnia.”

The creators included Thibaut Duverneix (direction, post-production), Guillaume Braune (creative direction), Bruno Choinière (art direction), and Philippe Lambert (music, sound design). All four collaborated on the interactive scenario and website, which is the delivery system for the experimental documentary. A sixth creator, Judith Portier, lent her skills as installation Art Director. Read More

Media Fractals

This is a demo animation of real time data visualization software currently in prototype stage in Culture Shock’s studio led by Interactive Director Glenn Marshall.

This video is a selection of a specific prototype created in our studio initiated by a partnership between Culture Shock and Chartbeat to use Gizmodo’s API. All headline text from the top ten articles are mixed together into a single evolving fractal. Periodically (or when mouse clicked in the real time application) the text flips around to reveal corresponding article pictures.
The full prototype uses fractal recursive animation of media, news, social networks and global statistics – turning the entire wealth of data and information available as a live feed into a real time work of self generating art, turning the mundane into an endless flowing hypnotic experience.