You are now in the main content area

RUBIX 2024

RUBIX 2024 Logo

February 8, 2024 / The Catalyst

RUBIX is an annual exhibition, symposium, and showcase event that celebrates the scholarly, research, and creative (SRC) activities within The Creative School at Toronto Metropolitan University. Every year, RUBIX brings together brilliant minds from across the fields of media, design, and creative industries to explore, innovate, and impact the world we live in.

The Schedule

  • 3pm — Opening Remarks
  • 3:30pm-4:30pm — Keynote Address from Chris E. Vargas
  • 4:30pm — Installations / Wine + Cheese
  • 6pm-9pm — PechaKucha Evening Soirée

The Participants

Chris E. Vargas

Chris E. Vargas (external link)  is a video maker & interdisciplinary artist whose work deploys humor and performance in conjunction with mainstream idioms to explore the complex ways that queer and trans people negotiate spaces for themselves within historical & institutional memory and popular culture. He earned his MFA in the department of Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2011 and his BA in the Film & Digital Media department from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2006. He is a recipient of a 2016 Creative Capital award and a 2020 John S. Guggenheim Fellowship. Vargas is the Executive Director of MOTHA, the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art (external link) .


This is a tool for newsrooms but also readers and potentially academics interested in analyzing the kinds and numbers of human sources that journalists speak to when writing their stories. In the field of  journalism, JeRI is useful in making journalists conscious about whose voices they're raising in news stories.For other stakeholders, it identifies and categorizes sources and offers a transparent view into the decision-making process in a newsroom. It was built using natural language processing and machine learning.

Credits: Prof. Asmaa Malik, RA Jisele Bayley-Hay

The community arcade table, or CAT6, is a large arcade cabinet that provides a physical space for students to gather and play video games developed by their peers. The CAT6 Project was successfully implemented last year, and now, there is one student project live on the cabinet, with more on the way. This year is an update to the project, which is now moving toward a full interface to include TMU-wide student games.

House 1 attempts to architecturalize extreme frayed graphic behaviors that are simultaneously natural and synthetic. House 1 pushes the erroneous moments of a graphic/form event where the graphic blanket that originated from a vector line drawing, and the formal composition that at times aligns and at other times deviates to create other independent localised 2D-graphic/3D-form agencies. The pixel drips and stretches in the renderings assert a faulty aesthetic language that argues for design interventions to be thought of as continuous events rather than static moments.

"Almost Alchemy" is a multidisciplinary band formed by Michael F Bergmann, Lucas Carravetta, Matt Endahl, and Aimée Dawn Robinson. The group utilizes diverse mediums such as dance, music, acting, video and live AI to create improvisational performances centered around specific themes. This project will highlight two of their shows: "Who's There?" prompts introspection on identity, freedom, and presence. "rocketmanperson," performed at the Keep Hope Alive Festival in October 2023, explores hope through the lens of space travel optimism during times of struggle. A significant feature of these performances is the integration of ARIA - an improvisational AI that functions as a live performer. The performances are recorded in 360-degree video and audio for presentation via VR headsets separate from the live audience experience.

Credits: Collaborators: Lucas Carravetta (human), Matt Endahl (human), Aimée Dawn Robinson (human), ARIA (AI)

Contemporary media platforms YouTube and Netflix allow for the adjustment of playback speed from 25% to 200% of the original rate. While these adjustments are rudimentary and static, they provide new dimensions to the audience experience, facilitating accessibility and expediency. A recent survey of undergraduate students at UCLA found that 85% of respondents reported watching lectures back at quicker than normal speeds. This researchprovides audiences with new interfaces to dynamically control the speed of their media playback. This work aims to better understand audiences’ assumptions, experience, and tolerance to variability with the temporality of various types of media content.

The Media Architecture Biennale 2023 (MAB23) explored the design and role of media in the built environment. It brought together over 400 students, academics, and professionals from architecture, art, design, urban planning, media and communication, urban informatics, and public policy to share new ideas and shape the evolving field of media architecture. The week-long event, split into a 2-day online and 3-day in-person program, featured keynotes, academic papers and industry roundtable sessions, symposia, workshops, exhibitions, publications, and a gala awards event.

Credits: Vincent Hui, May Chew, Malini Guha, Patricio Davila, Immony Men, James Bird, Bhavya Malhotra, Tiana Osborne, Lauren Morris, Tanya Gradyuk, Calvin Hillis, Alicia Fung, Cindy Tang

Permeable media is a novel topology for considering relationships among media art and artifacts. This terrain embraces systems thinking and is informed by cybernetic and information theory. Of particular interest to this work is the observation that some media artworks exhibit properties like that of a living cell.  Similarly some media arts works exhibit a kind of envelope that mediates exchange between themselves and their context, be it audience or environment.  We are exploring the idea that this envelope in media works transforms objects into parts of systems.  Drawing on this biological metaphor we propose that these systems-based art works can be considered permeable media. 

Establishing and Expanding an Inclusive, Open-Access Journal for Scholarly and Creative Research

This display will examine our Fashion Studies journey as we founded and expanded the first English-language (and soon French language) open-access journal in our field. We will feature our mission, regular volumes and guest-edited special issues, including Fashioning Resurgence: Indigenous Fashion Design and Decolonization on Turtle Island and State of the Field issues. None of this could have been accomplished without the new voices brought in by our graduate students at TMU, who have been central to contributing to our philosophy, accessible design and inclusive mission.

Credits:Dean Ben Barry of TMU and Parsons. Jaclyn Marcus (PhD Candidate) Mia Yaguchi-Chow, Carlea Blight, Nimla Alam, Kyle Shepard

An outcome of the Toronto Metropolitan University renaming process is the significant waste generated in the form of branded materials. These materials can no longer be in circulation for various reasons. To responsibly manage these materials through reuse, repurpose, upcycling, downcycling and recycling, the Branded Materials Transition Project (BMTP) was created by the university. The branded textiles arm of the BMTP was a creative endeavour, a research project and an opportunity to develop circular practices within a university institution. One aspect of the textiles component was the Upcycled Gear Fashion show and its related upcycling activities to continue managing the textile waste. A research component of the upcycled gear fashion show included an examination of the upcycling design process.

Credits: Tricia Crivellaro Grenier

Clothing is an important aspect of our daily lives. Although the retail landscape includes a seemingly vast array of clothing choices, few styles exist for women who do not fit standard ready-to-wear sizing. The lack of sizing is perpetuated by thin-centric, hourglass-shaped dress forms that are used to teach students about the fashion design process. For this project, we are integrating hands-on experience with technology to pilot the integration of designing on diverse bodies in fashion design classes. Fashion design students will utilize 3D scans of diverse women to create croquis to sketch clothing ideas, build corresponding foam dress forms and create basic pattern blocks that fit these forms to design apparel in non-standard sizes.

Credits: Sandra Tullio-Pow, PY Chau, Delfina Russo

The design for the Saagajiwe totem was created as a collaborative effort between Woods, IT designer Joginder Singh, and Michael Doxtater, with experience in static-display systems and Indigenous arts. The team collaborated in designing Saagajiwe’s totem that depicts four human figures facing the One Dish icon in the centre.

These figures point in the Four Directions and visually represent the Onkwehonwe Tree of Peace. The white-roots of the tree reach in four different directions around the world. The One Dish accepts that people will follow these roots and gather under the Tree of Peace to help each other to live a good life.

Credits: Justine Woods, Michael Doxtater

Audible Oceans is an audiovisual installation that uses archival sound recordings and 3D visualizations to reconstruct ocean-spanning systems of underwater communication and surveillance. Audible Oceans is a multi-year project that focuses on the use of audible sound captured underwater in the 20th and 21st centuries. It looks at the way underwater sound detection infrastructures shape relations between technology, society and the environment. The project aims to engage scholars and the public in the use of underwater sound not only for military purposes but also for the general understanding of life underneath the ocean.

This collection of work is named in honour of Saint Veronica, who compassionately wiped the sweat from Christ’s face on the road to his crucifixion which caused the imprint known as the ‘Veil of Veronica’. The pieces are part of a series that is purposely gauzy and buoyant, using smoke and translucent monofilament, and nylon yellow yarns. Suggesting the sainted and angelic, the knit structures aim to capture the sublime and ethereal effect of the religious iconography—the prominence of fluorescent yellow plays with the aesthetic of sainted bodies as otherworldly, eerie, toxic, and ephemeral.

Wearing ‘Pope’ hats, the styling plays with the politics of the Catholic Church and the sterilization and control of female martyred bodies. 

Credits: Design + Technology LAB (opens in new window) 


This presentation examines the intersections of Speculative Fabulation, visual art practice, and Queer theories, positioning them as complementary elements in a practice-based research methodology. AI image generation is highlighted as a device for speculating on queer futures and alternate histories/presents. Through glitch-prone prompts, the images presented subvert AI’s tendencies towards hetero/homonormativism and heteropaternalism, instead evoking visions of just queer worldbuilding, and the method’s application in research-creation. (external link, opens in new window)  is the mapping site for Paola Poletto’s autotheory of a transformational museum experience centered on a situated learning methodology. Over the dozen or so years of its existence, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Artist in Residence (AiR) program has brought numerous emerging and established artists into the daily workings of the museum, inviting resident artists to explore and engage with the museum’s collections, staff and public programs as they develop their projects. Support for a process of research-creation is fundamental to the opportunity offered by the residency. Paola, as both practicing artist and a part of the AiR program’s lead curatorial management for the past decade, has played a key role in facilitating strategies for engagement and learning in the cumulative body of residency projects. Drawing on a combination of sources including the life of Anca, a bear rescued from zoo captivity, personal connection to the work of past artists-in-residence, and then situating their own research-creation within a museum residency framework, this presentation provides an account of how the involvement of artists, staff, and museum visitors have shaped the trajectory for a more collaborative museum engagement methodology. Paola is a part-time student in her 3rd year of her doctorate.

Journalist D’Arcy Jenish has written a well researched epic play about an explosive time in Peterborough community; a chronicle of a working class struggle by female workers in a small plastics factory in Peterborough in 1965. The Tilco workers (all 35 of them women) stood up for what they believed in and paid the ultimate price of losing their jobs. As a result of their resilience, though, Ontario unions are standing on their shoulders today. This presentation will introduce this narrative, as well as reflections on its June 2023 production.

Credits: D'Arcy Jenish, 4th Line Theatre

David Gauntlett reflects on his current “basket of things” — assorted projects, roles and contributions, including the SSHRC-funded Reframing Creativity project; the practice-based PhD program; the new 2SLGBTQ+ SRC network; supporting creative innovators like Ashley Lewis, Deanna Armenti and F-F Granados; a SSHRC-funded podcasting school; an unpopular mission to promote ungrading as a way into decolonization; a record label; producing music; and neurodiversity. Looking for connecting themes, he suggests it is about how an engagement with personal identity through the ongoing process of creativity can be both a theoretical topic and also the surest way to ignite the actual fires of creative people. And therefore, he says, “the broader, almost ‘meta’ project is to line things up more intentionally in support of the many creative people here, in The Creative School, who I love, who are trying to somehow make the world better, more equitable and inclusive, less devastating and more interesting than we found it”.

Credits: David is proud to work with Val Duarte, Ashley Lewis, Wendy Wu, the students on the Media and Design Innovation PhD program, and others.

The printing process inherently raises several environmental concerns, making environmental sustainability a significant focal point in this industry for many years . While sustainable Industry 4.0 initiatives have been rapidly expanding, no reviews have delved into the unique aspects of the printing industry in Canada. Furthermore, finding studies from industries with characteristics similar to printing proved to be a challenging task. 

Despite some important contributions in the subject-matter literature , the relationship between sustainability and Industry 4.0 in Canadian package printing companies remains underexplored. This research serves as inspiration for manufacturing companies aiming to explore awareness and the extent of utilization of Industry 4.0 technologies. The paper investigates the still limited literature on the level of use of Industry 4.0 technologies in operational scenarios.

Credits: Bartlomiej Gladysz (Co-Investigator), Manya Ganju (Research Assistant)

Guilty by Association (GbA) is an interdisciplinary performance framework that shifts its process with each new project, conspiring with an ever-expanding network of collaborators from far-out disciplines and faraway places. 

"2021" is an interdisciplinary performance installation exploring an archive of memories, artifacts, and technologies from a year in the life of Cole Lewis while caregiving for her dying father. It’s a work that blends performance, 3D printing, video games, and AI. At its core, "2021" presents a series of present-day attempts to uncover sentient traces of the dead. 

Credits: Patrick Blenkarn, Sam Ferguson

In this presentation, we share findings from a qualitative interview study with educators across programs about their experiences of teaching creativity, and how their professional environments impact their creative pedagogies. The results of the study included insights on how intrinsic goals, such as a dedication to teaching, drive many educators to commit to creativity. We also discovered similarities in pedagogies, in addition to differences in strategies and philosophies between educators from across creative disciplines.

Credits: Other presenters include: Christopher Blomkwist & Fallon Simard (RAs)

As the newly appointed Director of Chrysalis at the Creative School, Professor Owais Lightwala details the vision to transform the historic 60-year-old, 1200 seat Ryerson Theatre into a multidisciplinary hub that will shape the future of performance and creative experiences. Launching it's new program in 2024, Chrysalis will be host to a range of new partnerships from cutting-edge innovation residencies to large-scale commercial events to community-engaged deconolial research. Find out more about the big bets we're making at Chrysalis and how you can get involved in this exciting new project.

Brought to print for the first time, Polyphyly Vol 1 documents two conversations between TMU Black Postdoctoral Fellow, Ashley Jane Lewis and notable Black bio artists in academia. Discussing their work in slime mold, mud lumps, mycelium and other small organic systems, they posit alternative relationships to cultural liberation, resilience and restoration. This presentation gestures briefly at the Postdoctoral work of Lewis, supported by Creativity Everything and the Black Scholarship Institute, and provides a visual and auditory wade through the publication, offering nuanced details that did not make it to print as well as sound samples from the published conversations.

Thoreau Baker introduces the past, present and future of my research quest. From returning to school as a mature student after a gap-decade as a DJ, to his current research focus at TMU, Theo shares stories about how friends and family have shaped his research journey. He describes how a research gap steered a pivot from social interaction to spatial cognition, as well as methodological struggles he’s navigating around how best to explore his research questions. He ends with a golden nugget about human capacity and how we shouldn’t underestimate ourselves.

Exploring Students’ Waste Management and Green Purchasing Behavior Using an Extended Theory of Planned Behavior Model

Society is facing environmental deterioration at alarming rates and global scales, and human behaviors remain a root cause of this problem, necessitating a shift towards sustainable lifestyles. This shift places considerable pressure on individuals to reform their behavioral patterns. This study aims to explore the determinants of pro-environmental behavior among high school students in Toronto based on the theory of planned behavior, focusing on waste management and green purchasing practices related to plastic. This presentation will provide valuable insights into the factors behind pro-environmental behaviors among students and inform the development of an intervention program.

Credits: Ghadir Reza Dokht

Data Collecting (Universe) is a research-based art project starting with found objects in the Oil Street Art Space (Oi!) in Hong Kong. A series of sci-fi symbols that resemble these objects have been created to respond to the historical context of the site. The fluidity of the exhibition experience, the collective written sci-fi allegory and the re-construction of symbols, pose questions about the reality of the historical site. The process of mediative observation of the site has been an awakening journey for both the inner self and the collective imagination through the new discoveries of the site.

Clothing is an important aspect of our daily lives. Although the retail landscape includes many clothing choices, few styles exist for women who do not fit standard, ready-to-wear sizing. The lack of sizing is perpetuated by thin-centric, hourglass-shaped dress forms that are used to teach students about the fashion design process. For this project, Caron and team are integrating hands-on experience with the Creative Technology lab to pilot the integration of designing on diverse bodies in fashion design classes. Fashion design students will utilize 3D scans of diverse women to build foam body forms, create croquis to sketch clothing ideas, and create basic pattern blocks that fit these forms to design apparel in non-standard sizes.

Credits: Ben Barry, P.Y. Chau, & Sandra Tullio-Pow