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Ithaca College's Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival Announces Winning Open Space Lab Project

ITHACA, NY — “The Doomsday Onesie” — a social media project completed by four Ithaca College students for the Open Space Lab sponsored by Ithaca College’s Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF) — was awarded top honors by a jury of three international judges. Consisting of two one-credit courses offered in the college’s Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies, the Open Space Lab was part of FLEFF’s yearlong rollout of blogs, on-line user-generated events and screenings organized around the theme of open space. FLEFF 2009–10 began last September and will continue through the summer.       

The purpose of the Open Space Lab was to give students the chance to explore the concept of open space through social media, social networking, emerging technologies and user-generated content. Two new media theorists and designers, Nicholas Knouf and Claudia Costa Pederson, were the instructors.

“The Doomsday Onesie” was created by Devan Johnson ’12, Douglas Indrick ’11, Tasha Cammarata ’10 and Tamar Mackay ’10. A parody of the infomercial, their project is a four-minute video peddling a survival suit that not only offers protection from environmental disasters but also keeps wearers insulated from the ways they contribute to those disasters. Named the Doomsday Onesie, the suit comes with accessories such as rubber boots to protect against stepping on polluted ground and flotation devices that will come in handy when and if the polar ice caps melt.

According to the students’ artist statement, “The infomercial is a format that originated in the United States and has been exported to other countries. As Paul and Anne Ehrlich’s article, ‘The Population Bomb Revisited,’ states, the U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population, yet we consume 24 percent of the world’s energy. Our product, the Doomsday Onesie, reflects this way of life and how it is difficult to change if our society continues to be passive and not take direct action.”

“The Doomsday Onesie,” along with more information on the Open Space Lab class, may be viewed at:

About the jurors               

Meena Natarajam is an interaction researcher and designer who explores urban space. She is currently working on the My Piece of Chennai project in her native India.               

Marcos Garcia is the head of content development and coordinator of main working lines at Spain’s Medialab-Prado.               

Orkan Telhan is an interdisciplinary artist, designer and researcher at the MIT Design Laboratory and Mobile Experiments Lab.               

The jurors, along with New Zealand-born and Berlin-based artist and game designer Julian Oliver, spoke to the Open Space Lab students via Skype conference sessions during the course of the classes.  

About the teachers

Nicholas Knouf’s work has been featured in “ID Magazine,” the “Boston Globe,” CNN, “Slashdot” and “Afterimage.” The winner of numerous honors, including a 2008 memefest Award of Distinction and a 2009 Turbulence Spotlight, he is currently working on a doctorate at Cornell University in information science. More information is available at his website:

Claudia Costa Pederson is interested in examining histories about the relationship of media with artistic and social energies. Before focusing on art history, she produced radio and video works in collaboration with women artists and political refugees involved with the squatter movements in the Netherlands and Germany. She is currently pursuing a doctorate at Cornell University on the work of artists using digital games and play for social critique.

 Upcoming FLEFF Competitions

In mid-May FLEFF will announce the beginning of three juried, online, user-generated competitions: Make Open Space, Define Open Space and Compose Open Space. In addition to screenings at Cinemapolis and public lectures on campus, FLEFF 2009–10 will continue its blogs, alternative reality games and other online offerings. For more information and to participate, visit

For more information on FLEFF, contact co-director Patricia Zimmermann at

Launched in 1997, the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival was an outreach project from the Center for the Environment at Cornell University. In 2005 the festival moved permanently to Ithaca College, where it is housed in the Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies as a program to link intellectual inquiry and debate to larger global issues.

Originally published in News Releases: FLEFF Announces Winning Open Space Lab Project.