Ryerson Folio October 02, 2012
03. Happenings and Listings War of 1812 and the IID, Reactions to Express OSAP Maria Siassina, Lindsay Fitzgerald 04. best ways to avoid reading on reading week Because, let’s be serious, you know you’ll procrastinate Megan Jones 05. Living the simple life Local food finds at Ryerson’s Farm ers’ Market Jason St. Jacques 06. Exploring the Toronto Underground food market Megan Matsuda 07. No Tilk, No Troubles Women’s basketball loses top scorer for the year Chris Babic 08. Nuit Blanche Review Sameera Raja, Anda Zeng, Lindsay Sganga Nuit Blanche by Joseph Hammond
12. Profile The man behind Ryerson’s move to Google Brian Boudreau 14. Ryerson’s Danier Design Challenge is back Meaghan Yuen 15. Q&A with FLARE Editor Fashion industry advice Christian Allaire SUBSCRIPTIONS ryersonfolio.com/subscribe Online: ryersonfolio.com Twitter: @RyersonFolio Facebook: RyersonFolio
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Reactions to Express OSAP by Lindsay Fitzgerald
The War of 1812 and what comes next for the IID by Maria Siassina
he first International Issues Discussion (IID) lecture of the school year was held last Wednesday at Ryerson University. It brought out a mismatched crowd of history students, seniors, and even families. While the crowd may not have filled up the inordinately large lecture hall, there were enough people to inspire an engaging discussion about Canada’s role in the war of 1812. Founded by Arne Kislenko, a history professor at Ryerson, the IID series began in 2005 and they have come a long way since then. The student-led organization has covered issues such as Russia under Putin, the Middle East revolution and the rise of China. Last year, “Following the Current”, a successful series based on news media and global affairs garnered affluent Canadian foreign correspondents to speak at the series. Most discussions have one speaker that is a season veteran in their field come to teach and explain a subject or issue to the best of their abilities. This week, Dr. Carl Benn, the chair of the department of history and formerly chief curator of the City of Toronto’s museums, spoke on the subject of the bicentennial of the war of 1812. It seems like a daunting task,
to discuss the events leading up to a war that took place 200 years ago that changed the face of American-British relations, but Benn did not mislead his listeners. Benn framed his lecture over a myriad of subjects, including First Nation conflicts, the European side of the war, and the conflicts ongoing in North America that were completely independent and parallel to the war of 1812. Focusing very largely on the aboriginal movements accompanying the years of the war, Benn stated how the native communities were centuries ahead of us in terms of learning to accept other cultures. The British and Americans had very different perspectives on First Nations issues, but the hostility and divide created by both sides caused these native communities to want no part in their confrontations. The discussion ended with questions from the audience, with a participant asking Benn if he thought Canada was now truly a free country. Being pressed for a direct answer, Benn said we have come a long way in 200 years but that compared to countries as large as ours, we are more independent than ever. The next IID series, “US Elections: A Republican Party in Ruins”, will take place on Oct. 10th at 6:30pm, and Geoffrey Kabaservice will be speaking.
The traditional September ritual of ‘line up and get your loans’ was replaced by an electronic method at Ryerson University this year, leaving students answerless as to where the money went. The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) launched the Express application process intending to bring Ryerson University faster processing by directly depositing loans and cutting the long and tedious lineups. But over the last few weeks, many students have been unable to get concrete answers and theirloans before tuition deadline on September 30. After ten minutes of waiting and hearing the instructional voice recording more than enough times, students hang up. Emailing is not any better, as all that will immediately get you is an automatic response. The line-up at Financial Aid Offices were over an hour wait on Friday, three days before the tuition fees deadline. Students, it seems, have been left hanging. On all ends, things are just not looking to good. Students like Angela Denstedt are left to wait in line for more than a few hours at a time during the first three weeks of school. “People who were handling it were ill-equipped. They didn’t have answers either,” she said. The approval for OSAP with form submissions was fast and easy for Denstedt. Her online profile stated her funds had been released but they still are yet to be seen in her bank account. She immediately contacted Financial Aid inquiring where the loan was. A week has passed, and still, no answer. “People are getting anxious because you can’t talk to anyone. No one has answers other than to wait,” she said. The application process had been confusing for students who mailed their submission forms. Denstedt was not sure if Ryerson received the forms and worried that a mistake she made
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was the cause of delay in processing. Muntasir Mamun, student in business technology management, has lined up at the Students Fees office four times this month. “I just want to understand the problem,” said Mamun.”I was afraid if I didn’t pay by the deadline, I’d get kicked out.” New to OSAP this year, Mamun was not impressed with the hanging questions. He applied early in August and had a few glitches understanding the paper process. And while he doesn’t know who to blame for the wait, he would have preferred a faceto-face conversation. The good news is that students unable to pay their fees by September 30 are eligible for an extension, but at a price. Students with unpaid tuition will have a $70 deferral fee automatically applied to their RAMSS accounts. After that, students will be charged a monthly fee valued at 1.25 % of their tuition. Perhaps OSAP is just working out the kinks, but the new process hasn’t reduced any of the wait time – students are just waiting alone rather than huddled together down Jorgenson Hall. And if you choose not to wait, the options are limited, with some students taking out bank loads or raching out to their parents for help Sarah Belcourt, a third-year nutrition student, has imbalanced funds in her Ryerson account now. She used her personal savings to pay her tuition on time but last week the loan was partially deposited as a credit on her RAMSS account. “I just wish they had put everything in one place. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t,” said Belcourt. “I don’t expect it to be perfect, but this confusion is pretty standard.” Until last week, there was no person or people to be held accountable. Sheldon Levy, President of Ryerson University, responded to the confusion and took responsibility for Ryerson’s delays in processing the high-volume of applications. 4
The best ways to avoid reading on reading week Because, let’s be serious, you know you’ll procrastinate. by Megan Jones
ejoice! Just as midterms approach we have been gifted a week with no class. While we’d never suggest you abandon your academic responsibilities completely, here is of incredibly pressing things you probably need to do first.
3. Do something for free. Toronto’s cost of living may be high, but t here are a surprising amount of free things to do in the city: from hiking the Don Valley and taking in the fall colors , to gushing over animals at the High Park zoo and Riverdale Farm, to exploring the ROM gratis on Tuesdays (bring your student card). No more excuses. A small budget is no reason to stay inside and finish your papers. 4. Play.
Yonge and Dundas may very well be one of the least enjoyable neighborhoods in Toronto. While a centrallylocated campus does have its advantages, it’s important to get out once in a while. Walk along the boardwalk at the beach while it’s still relatively warm, get your Yuppie on at the Evergreen Brickworks, take the ferry out and legally stand naked in public on Hanlan’s Point Beach. Whatever you like, but please just make sure you get at least a kilometer or two away from Toronto’s “answer to Times Square.”
When’s the last time you played a game (that didn’t involve ping pong balls and Dixie cups)? While we seriously cut down on most forms of play around the same time that we stop having recess, studies repeatedly show that play in adults can relieve stress and improve mood, productivity, even job satisfaction. So why so serious? If you don’t have games at home, visit Last Temptation in Kensington Market (free foozeball!), or the Annex café Snakes and Lattes (600 Bloor St W), where for five dollars you get access to over 2,200 board games. Both locations are fully licensed. Just saying.
2. Productively procrastinate.
5. Get a hobby.
Is that dust on the windowsill? There’s no real food in the fridge. When’s the last time I scrubbed the bathtub? I haven’t called my mom this week. That laundry isn’t going to do itself…
Hobbies bring people together. They relax the body and soul. They foster confidence by enabling participants to hone –obviously incredibly important –skills. A recent Ask Men article even went so far as to assert that some hobbies – like wood working, watches and adventures sports could improve your status. No need to choose a boring hobby, mind you. Faking one’s own death, appearing in the background on TV, fork bending and crayon carving are all worthwhile, and well-documented pastimes. Personally, we here at Folio are partial to “extreme ironing” (literally ironing clothes in extreme outdoor locations) and that thing where you build ships in bottles.
1. Get out of the Ryerson bubble.
The art of productive procrastination can be performed in two simple steps. 1)Take a look around your living space and pinpoint the things you’ve been meaning to do for weeks. 2)Think about the effort it will take to finish the 3 chapters of assigned reading for that geography elective you convinced yourself would be easy. We promise, cleaning your dishes will suddenly seem pressing.
RYERSON FOLIO / October 2, 2012
Living the simple life Students and local farmers connect over fresh produce at Ryerson’s Farmers’ Market by Jason St. Jacques
eameal bacon, Montreal-style smoked meat, and even poutine can be considered staple foods that come to mind when thinking about Canadian cuisine; but the most iconic food comes from the sugar of our trees, maple syrup. At Ryerson’s weekly Farmers’ Market on Gould Street, which takes place every Tuesday, farmers set up their booths with everything from cheeses and meat to fruits and vegetables, and of course, delicious maple syrup. Most students and faculty walk by in a rush to get to their classes, where they pass the booths of to see what is offered and few stop to shop. However the people that do stop, whether they be apart of the Ryerson community or are just walking through the campus, are drawn to the fresh produce from the different vendors. Many people stop to engage in conversation with the farmers as they pick up their selected goods. At Jay Thoman’s booth, he speaks with a high knowledge of his maple syrup, letting shoppers know the advantages of the natural sugars that are contained within his bottles. Thoman’s booth had a short table full with different types of maple syrup stocked in varying sizes and styles of bottles. Pictures of the process of making the syrup were on either sides of the table, with the price list in the centre. Thoman however, said he does not care too much about money. He describes money as, “a number on the bottom of a page.” Before Thoman had his syrup farm, he was the owner of his own technological company. He says that he has even met the former CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, and has had stocks
in Apple since shortly after the company formed. So why and how would someone go from owning a successful technology business into making a complete career change and running a maple syrup farm instead? “Enough was enough,” Thoman said. He wanted to know “what it was like to live outside of the system.” He wanted to know what it was like to live on his own sustainability. He believes that people need to live within the day, be more community oriented, and to live by what they believe. “What do you really need in life?” he asked. “What do I need more for?” That was the moment where he knew that he wanted to try something different. He wanted to know what it was
like to live apart from the corporate system. So Thoman sold his company, and bought a large piece of land in the small town of Speyside, Halton Hills (between Milton and Acton). At first Thoman did not know what exactly he wanted to do with the land, it didn’t have the greatest farming fields for crops, however what it did have was a whole lot of maple trees. Thoman now not only makes his own maple syrup, but he also grows his own food on his land, heats his house with wood, uses solar power, and gets his water from a well. He prides himself in knowing that he not only has a low cost of living, but also that he has a small carbon footprint. Like with other crops this year, the maple syrup season was shortened due to the warm weather. What is usually a five-week season in March and April was only about 2 weeks. Although Thoman does not believe in the idea of currency, he did say how he is lucky that he has savings in his bank from the sale of his company.
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Syrup farming has been Thoman’s main focus now for four years, his farming is done on a small scale, and that is exactly what he wants. He travels regularly from his farm in Speyside to about 5 or 6 different famers markets over the season. Top Five things to Buy at the Farmers’ Market 1. Corn - The vegetable of Thanksgiving. Perfect on any fall day. 2. Squashes - Including pumpkin for Halloween, but also butternut, and especially hubbard. 3. Apples - Although apples didn’t have a great season this year, they are still the best fruit of the fall. 4. Apple Cider - Heat it up and it is the perfect drink before sleep on an autumn evening. 5. Grass Fed Beef - Better than any beef you could buy in the supermarket, lower in fat, and higher in protein. Exploring the Toronto Underground Food Market by Megan Matsuda
rying to find the Toronto Underground Market (TUM), tucked away in the stunning Don Valley Brick Works Park, was like trying to stumble upon a secret society. Entering the concealed Evergreen Brick Works building down the slopes of the park, the line was quite large for an event only celebrating its first birthday. Surprisingly, for such a large celebration of food cooked by professional home cooks and budding entrepreneurs, there is hardly any information to be found on this recurring event. Some people may be turned off by the lack of blog posts showing off drool-worthy photos and delicioussounding descriptions, but like a secret society, TUM left everything to the imagination. This tactic seemed to pay off, as
the crowd was delighted to discover all the different vendors all in one place. Normally, these types of small dishes would only be found in food trucks or in the kitchen of an excellent home cook. The atmosphere was highly energetic, as everyone was excited to chow down after waiting up to half an hour in line. Some of the largest lines were for Rock Lobster Food Co., a lobsterbased company out of Midland, Ont. that also has a lobster shack in Kensington market, and Royal Tree Beaver, a self-proclaimed company cooking “Canadian-Canadian” cuisine. At Rock Lobster, the lobster roll was heavenly: the bun was sweet, crispy and warm while the lobster was fresh and the perfect texture to compliment the chewy bread. These, at only $4 each, were selling like hotcakes, especially with the lobster bisque sold out. Speaking of hot cakes, at Royal Tree Beaver, the butter chicken and waffles was the hot item on the menu. After a long wait, the butter chicken was definitely worth it. It was spicy and creamy, and not too sweet, which is a definite determiner of high quality Indian cooking. The waffles soaked up all the velvety-smooth sauce, leaving you with mouth-watering bites of hot spiciness and fluffy waffle. As for everything else, there was a hot delicious pork bun filled with
RYERSON FOLIO / October 2, 2012
spices and sweet potato from Redboxx Gourmet, a fantastic piece of cayenne maple bacon candy from Leonard Pig Candy that was too mind-blowing to even describe, free samples of milky sea salt caramels from KEO Confiserie, and some crazy “coffee pop” from Manual Labour Coffee. Apparently, they drip coffee over ice, which removes a lot of the bitterness and adds a natural sweetness. Then, they mix it with sparkling water. Strange, but really refreshing.
With some dessert in hand (s’more, red velvet and oreo brownies with chocolate chip banana bread blondies) and some rock climbing to do, I leave the park feeling special, like I was chosen to be a part of this magical food experience. In reality, I did have to pay online for the tickets. Yet, with a TUM stamp on the inside of my wrist like a stamp from a wild club night, and the scary steep cliffs as initiation, I really did feel like part of an exclusive society. Their next event is happening Saturday, October 20th.
No Tilk, no troubles Women’s basketball team will play on despite losing top scorer for the year by Chris Babic
oming off of an exciting OUA quarterfinal appearance last season, the Ryerson Rams women’s basketball team has begun preparations for their highly anticipated 2012-2013 season. This season brings plenty of firsts. The first season at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, the first season with a brand new coach, and, the first season without the Rams top two scorers from last year. That season (2011-12) the Rams posted a record of 11 wins and 11 losses, a .500 season good enough to finish fifth in the OUA East Division with 22 points. Named head coach of the women’s team in June, Carly Clarke, begins her career as a Ram looking to continue the team’s successes, as they have made the OUA quarter-finals in each of their past four seasons. “Last year they had a great season, there are a lot of positives to build on,” says Clarke. Clarke held the previous role of head coach at the University of Prince Edward Island, and she is also the head coach of the Canadian Cadet Women’s national team. Clarke will face no easy road however, now that the Rams have lost three-time OUA All-Star, Ashley MacDonald. MacDonald finished second in the OUA in scoring and sixth in the CIS last season. She is a three-time OUA All-Star and Ryerson’s Female Athlete of the Year and team MVP for two consecutive seasons. Not only did Clarke lose a go-to player in MacDonald, but also the team’s second leading scorer, fifth year veteran, and OUA All-Star, Angela Tilk. It was the first preseason game for the girls on the brand new Coca Cola court, where the Rams beat York Uni-
versity 63-47. Tilk scored a team high 30 points and 18 rebounds, but after the game, it was announced that she fully ruptured her Achilles tendon. Tilk will miss the entire season. Tilk says that even though this injury prevents her presence on the court until mid-summer next year, it doesn’t affect it off the court. “I’ll definitely be around for a more leadership role on the side –
Angela Tilk (21). Photo by Winston Chow
kind of like an assistant coach without being an assistant coach,” Tilk says. Tilk, who is very involved in the Ryerson Athletic community, serves as an academic mentor, helping studentathletes meet their academic needs, and as a Rising Ram, travelling to different schools around the community encouraging involvement in sports. “She leads by example with her work ethic, not just as a basketball player but what she does academically, in the community, and the amount of time she puts into Ryerson athletics,” says Clarke. Missing two dominating players on the court this year, the Rams will need to find a way to score to stay successful. “After losing two OUA All-Stars from our starting lineup, we’ll have to look to different athletes in different ways for people to step up, and for our team to contribute as a whole to make-up for them,” says Clarke.
Tilk has complete confidence in her teammates’ attitudes and talent that they wont miss a beat. “Now is just the time for someone else to step up,” says Tilk. Fourth year veteran, Kelcey Wright, was a dominating offensive force last season for the Rams, and one of the team captains alongside Tilk and MacDonald. “Kelcey Wright was the team’s third leading scorer last year so we will be looking for her to contribute, not just scoring – but to be a playmaker and a leader on the floor,” says Clarke. Being one of only three, fourth year veterans, Wright is no stranger to leading the Rams. “I don’t think my role has changed much from previous years, I’m still going to be a leader, I’ll be looked at for scoring and rebounds,” Wright says. With a team of young players, their time to rise to the occasion is now. “I think a lot of the younger girls are going to have to step up now and that may be too early for them but I have confidence that each of them can do it,” says Wright. It certainly helps that the Rams welcome a strong recruiting class for this upcoming season. Cassandra Nofuente, a guard from Toronto, brings strong playmaking and scoring ability that Clarke says can definitely help the team. Mississauga native, C’airah Gabriel Robinson, joins the Rams with a good understanding of the game that Clarke says will certainly earn her minutes. Centre, Jill Semple, out of Etobicoke will provide the Rams with good size and athleticism. In order to have a successful season, Clarke will train these newcomers into a strong contending squad underlined by her core values: accountability, commitment, and teamwork. “I’m building a vision towards building championships,” Clarke says. The Rams kick off their 20122013 season in a home opener against Lakehead University on November 9th, at the Coca Cola Court.
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Nuit Blanche Review
Ryerson at Nuit Blanche | Photos by Joesph Hammond
Momument in Dundas Square during Nuit Blanche. Photo by Joseph Hammond.
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Nuit Blanche Review
The Black Star Debut The opening night of the long awaited, internationally acclaimed collection by Sameera Raja
it up on the corner of Gould and Bond St., Ryerson Image Centre welcomed over hundreds of visitors to its grand opening and first exhibition for this year’s Nuit Blanche. Curated by Doina Popescu and Peggy Gale, the exhibition, Archival Dialogues: Reading the Black Star Collection showcased eight Canadian artists interpretation of the collection. In 2005, the collection was given to the RIC containing 291,049 black and white pieces of renown photojournalism. From the Kennedy assassination, to yellow press, and to World War II, the collection highlights major events from the 20th century, The artists, Stephen Andrews, Christina Battle, Marie-Helene Cousineau, Stan Douglas, Vera Frenkel, Stan Douglas, Vid Inglevic, David Rokbey, and Michael Snow use multimedia to create their own responses to each segment of the Collection. The RIC provided a 20-minute walkthrough of the installations allowing 75 people at a time. “I found this exhibit to be very engaging, especially the works of MarieHelene Cousineau,” an onlooker attested. Cousineau’s installation was based on both her experience of living in Iglooik, Nunavut, and photographs taken in Baker Lake in the 1960’s. Her installation reveals encounters in the North, of a life not many are exposed to. Along with the Archival Dialogues, The Art of the Archive was up for display. The project created by current students and recent alumni from the School of Image Arts at Ryerson showcased several concepts pertaining to the United States and archival
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Nuit Blanche Review
repositions. Archival Dialogues and the Black Star Collection will be available for public viewing from Sept. 29th to Dec. 16th 2012. Interacting with the Aura How and why students made the jump from architecture to art by Sameera Raja
ocated between the Student Centre and O’Keefe House, Ryerson’s “Aura” was one of the many interactive installations on campus for Nuit Blanche. The piece, “Aura”, was created by a group of architectural science graduates and long time friends, Antonio Cunha, James Munro, Sajith Sabanadesan, Nicholas Sibbet, Fillip Tisler, and Mathew Suriano. Cunha says the installation started out as a fourth year project. “Aura began as a mock up of an architectural concept supervised by our professor, Vincent Hui,” he explains. “The premise behind it challenges the threshold between architecture and science, all while taking an artistic approach to it.” The installation required the team to plan a constructional project in limited spacing. “We found it challenging to create a full scale concept in the spacing, but thanks to our great team and volunteers, we were able to pull through,” Cunha says over several of volunteers supported Aura. “Some of the volunteers are friends of the group and others are students at Ryerson. It gives them a chance to learn about the concept as well.” Aura had hundreds of art lovers lined up waiting to interact with the illuminating lights in an array of patterns, through digital design and fabric. “Our main objective was to have an engaging installation that gives visitors constructability of how things are put together and to have fun while doing so,” said Cunha.
Battlestar Galaxidas A look into the mind of an artist, literally by Anda Zeng
n the second floor of the Gladstone Hotel, past the hanging fortune cookies and plush birds, a dark corner is illuminated by “#embodiment”, the creation of Ryerson New Media graduate Maria Galaxidas at Scotiabank’s Nuit Blanche. As the night awoke, people were drawn like moths to the vibrant and intelligent design of Galaxidas’s first sculptural work. Shaped like the left hemisphere of the human brain, “#embodiment” is a physical manifestation of the Twitter mindset. Galaxidas, who describes psychology as a passion and source of inspiration, created the piece in exploration of cyborg anthropology, which observes the changing relationship between technology and human beings. Through the shifting colours and lights, “#embodiment” demonstrates how the information intake of the human brain has changed as a result of modern technology. “Psychology creates the piece,” Galaxidas said of the creative process. “It manifested on its own.” The “human-cyborg” brain is inset with RGB LED lights and depicts the popularity of 17 key words associated with the four lobes of the brain. Every twelve seconds, the searched words reset into a new set of four words. The popularity of the key words is represented in the descending order of red, green, blue, and yellow across the sculpture. Galaxidas chose these colours because they would be distinct to the eye. Clear LED lights set along the surface of the brain also portray the Twitter trends through varying brightness and patterns. The entirety of Twitter is measured in the piece, as opposed to Toronto-generated tweets alone. The colours reset once 300 tweets have been collected for one of the four lobes: occipital, parietal, frontal, and
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temporal. As if six drafts and over 2000 hours of work wasn’t a challenge enough, Galaxidas was temporarily banned from Twitter. This occurred a few times throughout the stages of experimentation with the code used for the word searches. Some of the bans lasted as long as a week. This resulted in the current model, where the colours are updated once 300 tweets have been collected for one of the four lobes: occipital, parietal, frontal, and temporal. The search then resets. “At times, it was a very emotional and physically-draining ambition, but I am more than thrilled [with] how it turned out,” she explained. “#embodiment” drew many captivated onlookers such as James Tughan, a visual arts professor from Redeemer University. “It’s very playful and it’s very complex at the same time,” said Tughan. Galaxidas noted that the piece also holds great fascination among children, even if on a purely aesthetic basis. Throughout the night, many a child gazed at the sculpture, entranced and muttering an airy, delighted “cool!” The piece was originally created for Galaxidas’s fourth-year thesis project, and was displayed in Ryerson’s New Media graduating show, Meta, which ran in March of this year. Galaxidas arrived at the Gladstone Hotel at 5 p.m., and stood by her piece until 5 a.m., faithfully explaining the cognitive collective to the very minds who compose it. Bridging the gap between art and science When engineering students decide to wade into the unfamiliar terrain of art. by Lindsay Sganga
he unlikely duo of art and science collided the night of Nuit Blanche, by lighting up one the dreariest parts of Ryerson’s campus. “A bunch of students wanted to do
Nuit Blanche Review
something they weren’t comfortable with doing,” said Graham Pearson, department of physics technologist and faculty advisor behind Light Seeds. Light Seeds was the newbie independent art project at Nuit Blanche this year that combined physic and engineering students, a light show and the alleyway that connects Kerr Hall East and the Rogers Communication Centre. This combination allowed spectators to physically take part in making the art they wish to see. Below the bridge controllers of the light show were set up in order be in the hands of the audience. People on the street were able to come up and control the 6,000 LED lights through all different types of sensors including musical, optical and kinetic, with an etch and sketch type of device. The sensors would then send a message to the computers set up next to them, that computer would read the message and translate it onto the bridge through the lights, in turn creating releases of colourful moving light above the crowd. The art project itself, which took around nine months to fully complete, was said to have “evolved out of thin air”, said Pearson, the man who also pitched the idea. It was a project that also started off with a small team of about five that then grew to 30 people who had worked on it at some point throughout the process of its creation. “Physic kids have these talents that they don’t always get to put on display, and this project really shows off what we can do,” said Pearson. The light show not only displayed the creative and intellectual abilities of the physicist’s and engineers at Ryerson, but it also made the non-science savvy feel as though they too could be apart of this mastermind. “We want people to know that you don’t have to be in physics to be able to take part in something like this,” said Pearson. A mission they definitely accomplished since the crowd of participants could have not have seemed more enthralled, with their eyes glued on the lights as they create their very
rdigitallife exhibit by RTA Professor Ramona Pringle. Photo by Joseph Hammond.
own art for everyone down Church Street to see. “I think people like it because it’s interactive, simple not abstract and very intuitive,” said Frances Tonlete, Light Seeds project manager. Those being the reasons as to why it drew so much attention, this interactive light show not only connects us to the stimulating combination of science
and art, it can also connect us closer towards the city around us. Looking at art, especially during the night of Nuit Blanche is one thing. Yet through Light Seed when you are creating the art yourself, right there in the middle of the street, on a building you walk through daily is a whole other experience, and one that the world of science has given us.
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Ryerson Goes Google On October 9th, Ryerson’s email services will have migrated to Google Apps. We go one-on-one with Brian Lesser the man behind the big change. He’s also behind Ryerson’s computing and communications services and to him, it’s all about the people. by Brian Boudreau Photography by Joseph Hammond Lighting assistant, Jacob Louvelle-Burt
hen Brian Lesser was first hired at Ryerson’s Computing and Communication Centre in 1995, he noticed a problem: CCS wasn’t so much a service for students as it was a secretive department locked away underground. “There was a problem with the email system, and I remember talking to my friends who were teaching, and they were enraged by these problems. My manager at the time said there were all of these things they were doing to fix the problem, but they weren’t telling people about it,” Lesser recalled. “There’s this tendency for IT teams to just look at problems from a technical level, and not from the view of the user. It’s one thing to say we can see some saturation in network access points, but it’s another to say people can’t do their work because of it.” That’s just the kind of guy he is: a man with genuine interest and curiosity in the demands of students. When he assumed the position of director in 2010, he tried to change things around and incorporate that mentality to CCS management. As we spoke, it became evident to me that Lesser not only possesses a clear grasp of customer service, but also understands the world he’s immersed himself into through the years. In 1982, Lesser graduated from Ryerson’s Photographic Technology programme, no longer offered by the school. His degree earned him a job at Xerox Research, which exposed him to some of the big industry names, as well as concepts that flood the market today. “I remember I could work on my desktop at work, which was huge at the time. I could drag and drop docu-
ments to printers in other rooms. And if I travelled, my desktop would follow me,” he explained. “Ubiquitous computing is what was happening then and it’s what is happening now. It’s interesting watching it evolve and becoming more pervasive, but this concept has been around since the 70s and 80s.” Lesser also expressed surprise towards the way ad-fueled social media has come to be. But sites such as Twitter, Lesser said, are valuable when you’re in a position such as his. One of Ryerson’s most active tweeters, Lesser uses the online platform as a tool to find some of the finer issues with CCS. On the WiFi complaint side, Lesser finds Twitter to be exceptionally useful – understandably so. Issues come up several times due to the number of mobile devices on campus has skyrocketing over the last couple of years. “Social media helps us understand what’s going on. One thing you can do on Twitter is letting students know you’re working on the issue and giving them some tips, even if they may not be ideal,” he said. “If I actually reply to them even though they aren’t following me, sometimes I’ll get 60 or 70 percent of the people respond.” On a normal morning, he’ll check Twitter early as he drinks his cup coffee and play catch-up in whatever ways he feels necessary, a luxury he won’t get a chance to have again until the end of the day. That also means Lesser has little to no time to practice his other passion, photography. Referring to photography as an addiction he is trying to control, Lesser says the things he enjoys doing with
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it take too long. “One of the things I am fascinated by is taking a series of picture at different places or angles to create a collage. It can take hours to assemble one of those, and I make them every now and again. Because, otherwise, why is Ryerson paying me if I’m spending so much time with it?” His days at work vary tremendously, but he was sure to let me know there is no such thing as normal day. Some days he might be booked with confidential meetings, while others he might be asked to sit at a hiring committee. Though, he admits one of his favourite job perks is sitting on the steering committee of the Digital Media Zone (DMZ). The DMZ provides researchers and business entrepreneurs with funding and mentoring for media-related start-ups. And while the student pitches are never curveballs to Lesser, the packaging is sometimes a bit surprising. “You see some ideas and think they couldn’t possibly work, but I often look back and figure I could be wrong. Nobody has a crystal ball. But are these smart, dedicated people that are really going to do something? I’m looking for really fabulous people that really want to dig in and do interesting stuff.” The downside to being director: he gets to do a lot less of what he likes to do. “I’m less involved in the operations now and more so in planning and budgeting. But in my working life, I’ve been happiest when I’m just left alone programming.” And so it is that he responds to interviews somewhat allergically. The nervous laughter and constant shifting made it obvious that it is just not his element. But it was when we talked about what he loved that he started to open up. Leading me through the expansive underground maze of cubicles that is CCS, Lesser showed some of the facility’s technology. Walking through impressive rooms filled with whirring routers and even louder ventilation, he chattered excitedly about the complex nature of CCS infrastructure. But such complexity is part of the
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problem, he says. With a constant demand for new software and services such as Blackboard, the system becomes increasingly difficult to manage. “One of the reasons we bought Blackboard is that teachers came to us and said they needed to be able to teach online or post notes.” But he had no qualms admitting that Blackboard is not the most efficient programme, saying that plans for improving online academic tools are on the table. However, the university can only take so much change with the recent transition to Gmail. Talks of adopting a new Email system began years ago before Lesser became director, and he believes Ryerson has finally found the key-in. “Email has a long history here. We always held a sort of marginal system. That was a pain for the university. There was never ally an appetite to spend millions more on email. But at the same time, why can’t people share documents online? Why can’t people edit documents online? Where is York instant messaging? When Microsoft and Google start giving away these free services, we started to look into it.” Lesser’s insistence on improving online platforms for the school stems, in part, from his own experience as a Ryerson professor. While it is easier to work in IT on technical terms, Lesser got a front row view of the obstacles sub-par services could pose and returned to fix them with great determination.
While he was teaching photography courses in the mid-90s, he pushed for more labs and updated software for Image Arts students. “The computer labs made available by CCS at the time were old. Students were so frustrated that they were vandalizing them,” Lesser recalled. “Over a period of years we were able to get to the point where we were replacing one third of the equipment every year.” Happy with the updated work areas, Lesser asked students what they though of them. All he got were shrugs and nods. And it was in that instant he realized that this was success. “Success in IT is when people take things for granted,” he said. But IT world rarely works smoothly, and things will continue to go wrong. “The worst part is when we offer crappy service. If a student can’t connect in the library, that’s really bad. It means they can’t do their work. You just feel wretched, and you feel like you’ve totally failed those people. In a sense, you really have,” he said. But even when you get things working again, it’s not the end of it. Nobody is going to write me a hundred million cheque to completely revamp things. It needs to be incremental.” For Lesser, it’s all about keeping people in the loop. You can find Brian Lesser on Twitter at @bdlesser
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Ryerson’s Danier Design Challenge is back Students get creative with leather for Ryerson’s annualy Danier Design Challenge by Meaghan Yuen
esigns will be sketched, hems will be finished and materials will fly. No, it’s not Project Runway, but for Ryerson’s third-year fashion design students the stakes are just as high. Ryerson’s School of Fashion has partnered with Danier for the fourth annual Danier Design Challenge, where the leather goods company hopes to discover Ryerson’s next upand-coming fashion designer. The student who designs the best original women’s leather garment— and passes all five phases of the design challenge—will be able to kick start his or her career with a grand prize of $5,000, and have their winning garment be part of Danier’s fall 2013 collection. The second place winner will be awarded $3,000 while the third place winner gets $2,000. Although the winners won’t be announced until the all-finalist fashion show on Jan. 10, design students have much to do before they can step on their sewing machine pedals. After students submit a sketched design illustration, judges undergo two elimination rounds. Once the contenders are whittled down, students then create a design prototype made of muslin, an inexpensive cotton fabric. And then there is ten: the ten finalists will then unveil their leather garments in a video presentation (think H&M or Joe Fresh advertisements). The last phase, titled, “The Moment of Truth,” invites the media and esteemed judges for a fashion show, where the winner is finally announced. Each phase is evaluated by an expert panel, consisting of people from all facets of the fashion industry. Judges this year include The Globe and Mail style editor Tiyana Grulovic, Toronto Star fashion editor Derick
Chetty, Fashion Magazine fashion editor Susie Sheffman, and TV personality Jeanne Beker. Also judging the Danier Design Challenge is Robert Ott, chair of the Ryerson School of Fashion, Olga Koel, chief of merchandising at Danier, Brian Bailey, fashion designer and mentor at Project Runway Canada and Peter Papapetrou, stylist and regular on The Marilyn Denis Show. Q&A with FLARE Editor Fashion industry advice from Ryerson alumna and FLARE’s Truc Nguyen by Christian Allaire
rial career. When I am writing copy and need to know the difference between box and knife pleats, or am on set and we have to sew or fix something by hand, it’s been great to have these additional design skills in my repertoire. It also helps me appreciate designers that push boundaries in terms of technique and materials, because I’ve been there and understand a little of how challenging a seemingly simple product can be to develop in an interesting way. CA: Why did you end up making the switch into communications/how did you get to where you are today? TN: I had a great time when I was at Ryerson interning and freelancing for everyone from Joeffer Coac to Marc Jacobs, but ultimately I decided to turn down a design assistant job in New York to go to grad school. Having worked with designers who are so talented and dedicated to their craft, I realized it wasn’t something I wanted to devote my life to. Luckily, an internship at Vogue during my Masters program was a revelatory experience that led to an assistant position at Vogue Living. It was my first big break and really confirmed for me that I wanted to work in publishing. CA: What are your daily duties as a fashion editor?
Truc Ngyuen (TN) is the assistant fashion editor at Flare magazine. She studied fashion design at Ryerson University, and has interned for Vogue, Marc Jacobs and Joeffer Caoc. Folio fashion editor Christian Allaire (CA) asks her about her road to success and what students need to know about the industry today. CA: You studied fashion design at Ryerson. Has that helped you develop a technical eye as a fashion editor? TN: Having a design background has been surprisingly helpful in my edito-
TN: As the assistant fashion editor at Flare, I style, produce and write a number of front-of-book fashion pages each month. I also hire most of the fashion interns, manage the sample closet, and cover local events and previews with the other editors of the fashion team. CA: What’s one thing students should know about the fashion industry today? TN: The industry changes so quickly these days. Be flexible and shape your career in the direction that you want it to go. Recognize opportunities and
don’t hesitate to take educated risks. CA: Are internships a necessary evil to get into fashion? TN: As someone who interned at 7 different companies during college, I don’t think of internships as a “necessary evil.” While I can concede that they have, in many cases, become a prerequisite for entry-level jobs in the “glamour industries,” I have never regretted any of the semesters I spent volunteering and interning for credit and for fun. I learned a lot and met so many amazing people in the industry, some of whom I am still close to today. A few of my internships led to paying part-time employment at the same company, and I feel like I avoided many pitfalls of recent graduates by quickly figuring out which parts of the industry (for example, fashion buying) weren’t suited to my skills and interests. CA: What do you look for in an intern? What’s the key to getting hired? TN: I always look out for enthusiasm, a positive attitude, and a little bit of relevant experience when I’m hiring potential interns. Also, it’s great when they read and appreciate the magazine. Editor-in-Chief Elayne Teixeira-Millar Associate Editors Fashion Christian Allaire Sports Chris Babic Film/Music Nadya Domingo Arts Maria Siassina Opinion Megan Jones News Desk Brian Boudreau Food Megan Matsuda PHOTOGRAPHY Winston Chow Joseph Hammond Jacob Louvelle-Burt CONTRIBUTORS Lindsay Fitzgerald Sameera Raja Lindsay Sganga Jason St. Jacques Meaghan Yuen Anda Zeng
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