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Announcing the North Quad Documentary Film Night

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It may be a mind-bogglingly busy Autumn at the University of Michigan – filled with coursework, events, projects, and (of course) massive quantities of caffeine – but that doesn’t mean…

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The North Quad Programming Student Event Grant

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Student teams from North Quad and across the University of Michigan are invited to apply for the North Quad Programming Student Event Grant to receive funding of up to $500…

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Taring Padi Exhibition in Space 2435

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Through art, they began building an understanding amongst the people to fight against injustice, helping to forge a community aware of environmental, social, political, and cultural issues, inviting the community…

DF Night_Version 2

Announcing the North Quad Documentary Film Night

By | event, screenings, space 2435, Uncategorized | No Comments

It may be a mind-bogglingly busy Autumn at the University of Michigan – filled with coursework, events, projects, and (of course) massive quantities of caffeine – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t enough time to travel the world. Join us once a month in Space 2435 for the North Quad Documentary Film Series and experience the lives of telemarketers in India, University students in Southeast China, astronomers in the driest desert on Earth, and even wealthy tourists in a Bolivian silver mine. See more details below:



BurdenofdreamBurden of Dreams

Monday, September 9th: 6-8pm

1982, 95 minutes, directed by Les Blank


A documentary on the chaotic production of Werner Herzog’s epic Fitzcarraldo (1982), showing how the film managed to get made despite problems that would have floored a less obsessively driven director. Not only does he have major casting problems, losing both Jason Robards (health) and Mick Jagger (other commitments) halfway through shooting, but the crew gets caught up in a war between Peru and Ecuador, there are problems with the weather and the morale of cast and crew is falling rapidly.




Nalini by Day, Nancy by Night

Monday, October 28: 6-8pm

26 minutes, directed by Sonali Gulati

A documentary about the outsourcing of American jobs to India. From the perspective of an Indian immigrant living in the United States, using humor and satire to capture the lives of Indian telemarketers who undergo voice and accent training to speak to US customers with an American accent. A complex look at life as per Eastern Standard Time in India.

*Post-screening discussion led by Prasanna Vengadam: Outsourcing of jobs is a reality in today’s global economy.  What’s the impact of this phenomenon on the culture and people in India – a common destination for global business?  How does it affect the Indian American community living here in Michigan? And in the greater society we live and work?   

Prasanna Vengadam is the founding president of South Asian American Voices For Impact (SAAVI).  SAAVI is a non-profit, non-partisan community organization to serve specific issues of South Asian Americans through advocacy, education, and outreach efforts (

RSVP on Facebook




The Dialogue

The Dialogue

Monday, November 11: 6-8pm

2013, directed by Arnd Wacther

The Dialogue is a feature documentary that follows four American and four Chinese university students as they travel together through Hong Kong and Southwest China. Intrigued by the complex context of Sino-US relations, the characters engage deeply with one another by exploring elements of meaningful dialogue and cultural identity. Their shared travel adventures, emotions of culture shock, honest confrontations and discoveries about each other become doorways to deepen their understanding of the “other” and themselves.

A post-screening discussion hosted by the Global Scholars Program will follow. Screened in collaboration with the Language Resource Center and Global Scholars Department as part of International Education Week. Film was created by Crossing Borders Education (CBE) and co-produced by Michigan State University (MSU).

RSVP on Facebook

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Say My NameSay My Name

Monday, December 9: 6-8pm

2009, 75 minutes, directed by Nirit Peled

In a hip-hop and r&b world dominated by men and noted for misogyny, the unstoppable female lyricists of SAY MY NAME speak candidly about class, race, and gender in pursuing their passions as female emcees. This worldwide documentary takes viewers on [a] vibrant tour of urban culture[s] and musical movement[s], from hip hop’s birthplace in the Bronx, to grime on London’s Eastside and all points Philly, Detroit, Chica go, Atlanta, and L.A. in between … Delves into the amazing personal stories of women balancing professional dreams with the stark realities of poor urban communities, race, sexism, and motherhood, as the more than 18 artist featured in [the film] battle for a place in a society that creates few chances for women. From emerging artists filled with new creativity, to true pioneers like MC Lyte, Roxanne Shante, and Monie Love, these are women turning adversity into art

*Post-screening discussion and performance co-hosted by the Hip Hop Congress.

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Nostalgia for the LightNostalgia for the Light

Thursday, January 23: 7-9pm

2011, 90 minutes, Directed by Petricio Guzman

Director Patricio Guzman travels to the driest place on earth, Chile’s Atacama Desert, where astronomers examine distant galaxies, archaeologists uncover traces of ancient civilizations, and women dig for the remains of disappeared relatives.

RSVP on Facebook



All in theis Tea

All in This Tea

Thursday, February 13: 7-9pm

2007, 70 minutes, directed by Les Blank & Gina Leibrecht

During the 1990s, David Lee Hoffman searched throughout China for the finest teas. He’s a California importer who, as a youth, lived in Asia for years and took tea with the Dali Lama. Hoffman’s mission is to find and bring to the U.S. the best hand picked and hand processed tea. This search takes him directly to farms and engages him with Chinese scientists, business people, and government officials: Hoffman wants tea grown organically without a factory, high-yield mentality. By 2004, Hoffman has seen success: there are farmer’s collectives selling tea, ways to export “boutique tea” from China, and a growing Chinese appreciation for organic farming’s best friend, the earthworm.

Special tea-tasting hosted by TeaHaus Ann Arbor

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Koryo SaryamKoryo Saram, the Unreliable People

Thursday, March 13: 7-9pm

2006, 60 minutes, Directed by David Chung and Matt Dibble. Executive Producer: Meredith Jung-En Woo

In 1937, Stalin began a campaign of massive ethnic cleansing and forcibly deported everyone of Korean origin living in the coastal provinces of the Far East Russia near the border of North Korea to the unsettled steppe country of Central Asia 3700 miles away. The story of 180,000 Koreans who became political pawns during the Great Terror is the central focus of this film.

Screening will be followed by a presentation and discussion with the filmmaker, David Chung, who is also a Professor at the University of Michigan School of Art & Design.

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Can't do it in EuropeCan’t do it in Europe

Thursday, April 10: 7-9pm

2006, 46 minutes, directed by Charlotta Copcutt, Anna Weitz & Anna Klara Ahrén

A look at the unlikely tourist destination of Potosí, Bolivia, where wealthy travelers pay for the right to experience an authentic Third World silver mine.



Reword Exhibition in Space 2435

By | event, exhibition, international experience, language, north quad, parisa ghaderi, reed esslinger, space 2435, university of michigan | No Comments

North Quad Programming is very excited to present the next exhibition in Space 2435, Reword, which will be up from Monday, January 7 – Friday, January 18, 2013. The exhibition is a collaboration between artists Parisa Ghaderi (b. Tehran, Iran) and Reed Esslinger (b. St. Paul, MN, USA). Parisa is a current graduate student at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, while Reed graduated from the same program in May 2012. An exhibition reception will take place on Friday, January 11 from 7-9pm. All are welcome to attend.


Description: Working in collaboration, artists Parisa Ghaderi and Reed Esslinger have created moments of pause along the journey of immigration. They are interested in what happens to language itself when encountering a foreign culture; however banal or basic the language used may be, the margin for misinterpretation or exaggeration can be wide. Each reflecting on her personal experiences of decoding gibberish, navigating social circumstances, and coming to terms with the internal transformation of living an extended period of time abroad, Ghaderi and Esslinger’s work emerges at the intersections of their respective experiences of being alien.

About the Artists:
Parisa Ghaderi’s work ranges from graphic design and photography to installation and metal work. As an Iranian woman living in the US, she reflects her experience through her creative practice, and provokes serious questions around identity and women’s issues.

Reed Esslinger’s work takes many forms, (sculpture, installation, video, writing, etc.) but almost always involves fibers and theatre. Having spent 3 years living on Réunion Island, an Outer Seas Department of France in the Indian Ocean, Reed’s interest in the island’s linguistic and cultural creolization have led to visual metaphors for the elusive process of relinquishing, adding, and transforming parts of one’s identity. She ultimately loves stories- whether absorbing, recording, or recounting them, and sees teaching as a natural occasion for mutual authorship and exploration.

For more information contact:
RSVP for the event on Facebook: REWORD


Screens @ North Quad

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North Quad features digital screens in several areas of the building. These monitors can be seen featuring digital signage, artwork, and interactive exhibits! Locations include the Lobbies, the Media Gateway, Space 2435, and the Residential Hall. This article reviews best practices for creating content geared towards our Lobby Screens and provides an overview of each location.


Content Creation

Interested in promoting your campus event, course, or organization on our Lobby Screens? Getting started is easy! The digital signs in our Lobbies are geared towards static graphics.  First, select your favorite design application such as Photoshop, Powerpoint, Acrobat, or similar programs. For motion video or interactive content, contact us to discuss potential Media Gateway or Space 2435 exhibits!

Content for our digital signage should be landscape orientation and sized between 1280 × 720 and 1920 × 1080 (16:9 aspect ratio) with a suggested minimum 24 Font Point. Files can be saved as either JPEG or PDF. To send us content, please contact us to submit your request.


Best Practices

The following sections provide select best practices for working with static digital signage. When creating content for our Lobby Screens, readability is an important consideration. These tips will help you to achieve this goal:

High Contrast

Using high contrast color combinations allows your text to stand out from the background and catch the eyes of potential viewers. High contrast colors combinations work to draw viewers’ attention to your sign and are hard to ignore! The following examples compare high contrast (left) and low contrast (right) combinations:

Intent & Composition

When composing your sign, it is important to consider your “call to action“. If your intent is to inform about an event, the text content on your sign should be limited to the core information required to achieve this goal. Information provided beyond the Date, Location, Subject, and Audience may detract from the overall readability of your sign. Limiting text content to this core information will help you to recover screen “real estate” to work with on your canvas. Deliver a single focused message and use active voice and action verbs. A clear call to action can often be conveyed using intuitive images in place of words:

If you wish to direct viewers to more detailed information, you may want to consider linking to an online resource. The easiest way to incorporate a URL into your sign is to use a URL Shortener such as TinyUrl or a QR Code generator. Smartphone users will be able to follow your link by imaging the QR code with their mobile device. For example, the QR code below links to this blog post:


Font size and selection is important! We suggest a minimum of 24 point font when composing static signs for our screens. Signs with small font point are often overlooked as viewers will encounter your sign while standing some distance away. In addition to font size, selecting a sans Serif font has been shown to enhance on-screen readability. The following graphic demonstrates this distinction:

Size & Aspect Ratio

The screens at North Quad are 16:9 aspect ratio and run at a resolution of 1920 x 1080. When composing your static sign, be sure to select landscape orientation. To ensure that your sign appears correctly on our screens, select a resolution that is compatible with 16:9 aspect ratio such as 1280 x 720, 1366 x 768, or 1600 x 900. For the highest clarity it is recommended to start with a canvas size of 1920 x 1080 exactly. The following figure demonstrates a 16:9 aspect ratio:


The following examples are signs with great readability! These signs have previously appeared on our North Quad screens. Credit in order of appearance: Sweetland Center for Writing, Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry, UM3D Lab, UMMA, and the College of Literature, Science & The Arts.

Additional Resources

For further tips and effective design practices check out the following resources:



The North Quad lobbies participate in the ITS Digital Signage project. These screens display a weekly listing of Space 2435 and Media Gateway events, @umnorthquad tweets, and are host to a rotation of digital signs created by U of M Faculty, Staff, and Students. Content on these screens is intended to promote events, courses, and inform about organizations and activities on campus.

Space 2435

The screens in Space 2435 are used most commonly alongside events held in the space. Presenters may opt to display their content on two large projectors and six LCD monitors. These monitors may also be set up as workstations to provide an interactive environment to event attendees. In addition to displaying event related content, these displays may be used to showcase new-medi artwork and film. Contact us if you are interested in utilizing the technology in Space 2435 in conjunction with an eventexhibit, or art installation!

Residential Hall

University Housing maintains the LCD Monitors throughout the Residential Hall. These screens feature social media content and serve as a nexus for events and activities for North Quad’s residential community.

Media Gateway

The Media Gateway features seven 46″ displays. These monitors feature local and international photographyartwork from U of M students, and may also be used to showcase research. If you are interested in displaying photographic work, presentations, or research; contact us to request an exhibition of your content!

The central screen in the Media Gateway is used to showcase interactive demos and live streaming events. The following two visualizations have been showcased previously on this “center stage” display:

Milk Drop

Milkdrop is a real-time 3D visualization. Jam packed with pixel-shaders and fractals, Milkdrop is being used to create Generative Art from Ambient Audio in the Media Gateway. That’s right, make some NOISE, you drive the artwork!


Twingly is a screensaver that visualizes global blog activity in real time. Forget RSS readers where you see only what you’re interested in. With Twingly screensaver you get a 24/7 stream of world wide blog activity, straight to your screen.


Newsmap is an application that visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator. A treemap visualization algorithm helps display the enormous amount of information gathered by the aggregator. Treemaps are traditionally space-constrained visualizations of information. Newsmap’s objective takes that goal a step further and provides a tool to divide information into quickly recognizable bands which, when presented together, reveal underlying patterns in news reporting across cultures and within news segments in constant change around the globe.



We are always looking to collaborate with students and faculty to explore advanced uses for our digital signage. If you have an interaction or visualization project, feel free to contact us. Our signs support a wide array of media and can run hardware accelerated, full screen applications. Ideas for potential collaboration include the following topics: internationalism, new-mediaimmersion, inclusion, awareness, connectivity, and other multi-disciplinary projects!


Coming in 2013…

Here is a small sneak peak at something special coming to the Media Gateway in 2013. Get ready to let loose, create, explore, and interact with a natural user interface: Leap Motion.