Aaron Pedinotti received his PhD from New York University’s Department of Media, Culture and Communication. His dissertation applied contemporary ideas in critical theory and continental philosophy to the formulation of new theory of mediation, which it applied to the analysis of multi-modal media franchises and real time strategy videogames. He has published essays in the journal Communication +1 and in Casey Brienza’s edited volume, Global Manga: Japanese Comics without Japan. At present, he is working on two related projects. The first is a book that explores anticipations of virtual reality in the history of gothic aesthetics from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries. It involves trans-medial analyses of gothic architecture, aesthetic theory, literature, film, videogames, and contemporary VR. The second is a virtual reality-based documentary that illustrates the spatial relationship between the setting of Horace Walpole’s eighteenth-century gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto, and a neo-medievalist gothic revival villa, named Strawberry Hill, that Walpole built for himself in Twickenham, London. Presenting the interrelationship between Strawberry Hill and the novel’s setting as an exercise in gothic worldbuilding on Walpole’s part, the VR documentary allows users to navigate virtual renderings of the house’s interior spaces and to watch scenes from the novel play out in 3D-modeled settings closely based on them. In so doing, it provides an experiential demonstration of ideas from the related book project.
Elizabeth Tybush is an eternal creative with a passion for academia and social justice. She is the author of two independently published novels, Vendetta and The World Walker. In 2015, she wrote, directed, and scored her debut short film, Trigger Warning. The film won a Bronze Peer Award from the Television, Internet, and Video Association of DC; and Best Direction from the second annual Film Society film festival, hosted by the Community College of Baltimore County in Maryland. She has worked on the award-winning and award-nominated independent films The Gift and Memories of the Warsaw Ghetto, as well as the award-winning web-series, History at Risk. She has also recorded an electronic-punk studio album, and acted on stage in “Intimate Apparel” and the avant-garde play, Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom. In 2016, she created a 13-foot art installation that utilized color to dissect perceptions of consent and how these perceptions contribute to harmful victim-blaming. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with an AFA in Theatre from the Community College of Baltimore County. Liz works in the Office of Advancement and is the inaugural staff fellow of the Institute. She is currently learning to knit.