Monthly Archives

November 2011

Diane Gromala gives TEDx talk: Curative Powers of Wet, Raw Beauty

By | Events, Other News

Diane Gromala spoke at TEDx American Riviera November 11 on Curative Powers of Wet, Raw Beauty. According to the TEDx website, her talk explores the wild side of mindful by creating provocative otherworlds. These virtual reality worlds enable people to access their own curative power in ways that have been measured as an effective non-pharmacological analgesics. Gromala’s work signals one way to address the so-called “silent epidemic” of chronic pain that affects 1 in 5 people — without resorting to the millennia-long use of opioids. A video of her talk can be found here.

The Wild West of Chronic Pain: Collaborations among Artists, Scientists and Health Care Experts

By | Collaborations, Events, Other News

The Transforming Pain Research Group, led by Dr. Diane Gromala, will be showing off their stuff at the University of California (Los Angeles) Art | Sci Center + Lab on November 30. Others taking part include Andrea Zeffiro, Tyler Fox and Jay Vidharthi.

Here’s how the announcement on the Art | Sci Center website puts it:

The Wild West of Chronic Pain: Collaborations among Artists, Scientists and Health Care Experts

  • Why is a media technology immersive VR known as a non-pharmacological analgesic?
  • Can a robot reduce anxiety?
  • How might novel forms of social media combat the social isolation experienced by seniors who have chronic pain?
  • What do Sufi practices and phosphorescent creatures have to do with pain?

Members of the Transforming Pain Research Group comprise artists, musicians, computer scientists, engineers, designers, psychophysicists; and pain physicians. All are exploring the ways that new technologies may help the 1 in 5 people who suffer from chronic pain.

Referred to as the silent epidemic, this relatively new disease has no known cause and no cure. While health care researchers explore its etiology, experts from diverse disciplines are working on ways to help with managing chronic pain. See what a group of innovative researchers north of the border are doing.

Mindfulness Technologies Workshop

By | Events

Lab members Diane Gromala and Terry Lavender attended (via Skype) a Mindfulness Technologies Workshop, held at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) on November 18. Gromala gave an introduction to CPRM & the lab and discussed immersive virtual reality & mindfulness; while Lavender presented his proposed research on portable mindfulness: immersion and meditation on smart phones and tablets.

Other topics included  the effects of mindfulness on pain in adolescents; the effects of mindfulness on pain in adolescents and mindfulness technologies: work in progress. The workshop was organized by OCADs Mobile Experience Lab (

Mount Qaf: A Multimedia Performance Installation Infusing Electronic Art and the Sonic and Visual Aesthetics

By | Conferences, Events

Lab members Mark Nazemi and Amir Ghahary will be bringing their Mount Qaf multimedia performance installation to SIGGRAPH Asia 2011 in December. The piece s an audiovisual performance installation and a spatial/temporal structure which expresses the aesthetic dimensions of Sufism and electronic music culture. The experience combines generative digital art based on animating Persian patterns with eastern architectural motifs including Muqarnas, in syncopation with an ethnic electronic soundscape encountered through multi-channel acoustics. By re-imagining the traditional aesthetics of Sufism through the lens of electronic art and digital culture, the visual music journey of Mount Qaf sacralizes a nostalgia for the ancient past as well as reverence for an expectant technological future.

As children of parents who immigrated from Iran, the artists are therefore participating in a space reminiscent of their spiritual heritage while remaining clothed in the fabric of their technological upbringing. In the culture of Persian Sufism, the sense of place which emerges from visual and acoustic aesthetics reflects the alam-i-mithal, or the transcendent Imaginal Realm. To this end, spiritual cultures have always fashioned tools and instruments intended to sacralize space and affect a sense of identity and belonging. Today, electronic and digital media constitute an emerging palette with which the notion of sacred space can be explored. In this way, this multimedia performance installation invites viewers to experience a novel cultural space and consider the mystery surrounding the transcendent sense of home.

Nazemi and Ghahary will be travelling to SIGGRAPH Asia, in Hong Kong, in December 2011.

Pain Lab Open House

By | Events

On November 4, the Transforming Pain group threw open the doors to the pain lab as SFU Surrey celebrated the official opening of Podium 2, the newly expanded part of the campus, where the Pain Lab has now moved.

Tyler Fox acted as MC for several groups of politicians, senior administrators, potential students and their parents, while Meehae Song demonstrated the virtual walking meditation application and Jay Vidharthi demonstrated the sonic cradle.