EC20 Virtual Venue Guide

Due to COVID-19, the Twenty-First ACM Conference on Economics and Computation (EC20) became the First Virtual Conference on Economics and Computation. The program commitee decided to host the event through Gather, an interactive virtual platform much akin to Pokémon. In this pandemic, previous conferences had used the platform as a means to have coffee chats between talks. EC20 was the first conference that existed entirely in the Gatherverse, from talks to tutorials to afterparties. Huge shoutout to Yannai Gonczarowski, Jason Hartline, and Nicole Immorlica for making this unique experience possible.

24 hours before the conference, they realized that there was no comprehensive guide to demonstrate how to use this virtual platform. I decided to volunteer and put my amateur video editing skills to use. This was the result:

Burton Conner i3 2019

I spent my undergrad at MIT as a Burton Third Bomber. Being part of such a wonderfully wild family was extremely formative for me and something I am forever grateful for. To repay my immeasurable debt to this fabulous community, I volunteered to make the dorm tour video for incoming freshman my junior year.

Making this video was a long and utterly absurd process. Burton Conner consists of 9 floors spread over two towers, each with their own quirks and traditions. I had to interview members from each floor to learn about their culture, write a rap for every single floor, teach people how to rap, plan out the shots, organize the filming, and do all of the music and video editing myself. Overall, I couldn’t have been more proud of the result.

Tragically, after my senior year, Burton Conner got shut down for 2 years of renovation, effectively extinguishing the student culture that had developed in the dorm over decades. I’m grateful that I got to make this video right before the end; it serves as a bit of a time capsule for student culture that once was.

… and then there was the dorm building tour video. Headphones users be warned.

Acting

Over the course of undergrad, I participated in two plays directed by Professor Jay Scheib. He has a very uniquely manic directing style. He is also a pioneer of the Live Cinema medium. It is a live on-stage performance with a cameraperson who is also on stage, shooting a film in one take that is being broadcast to the audience. Working with him involved both learning lines and learning how to move and set up shots, and it was a truly unforgettable experience.

Here’s footage of me playing Shlink in Bertolt Brecht’s “In The Jungle of Cities”. In this scene, I am forfeiting my company and all of my possessions to a person named Garga. Shlink is a calloused man who hasn’t been able to emotionally connect with another individual for years. He hopes that, through such blinding rage, he will finally be able feel something.