Some days I feel like this. I am trying my best to survive these last two months of grad school! It’s been quite the eye opening experience. For those of you who are wondering, I pulled this from #whatshouldwecallgradschool (such a great site). GIFs and memes have been helping me with all the stress. Over the weekend An Xiao Mina (co-founder of The Civic Beat) reminded me that I have to “clean the palette” of my mind. She recommended a good game of Tetris. She was right. Surprisingly, I don’t get addicted to games. It’s just enough to take me out of my rut quite frankly. Working out has actually helped too. More posts in the upcoming weeks. Some exciting stuff has happened and more interesting developments on the horizon. Will write more soon…in the mean time, please feel free to share how you de-stress or what you do when you’re in your head a little too much. I need all the help I can get.
January is coming to a close! How is this possible? In any case, this is long overdue, but I figured I would look back at 2013 to re-invigorate and remind myself of what is possible in 2014!
February – Hosted a Wednesday Forum at the California College of the Arts with forum for the Visual and Critical Studies department with brilliant scholar Mabel O. Wilson
March – Had the pleasure of presenting on a panel at the Theorizing the Web 2013 conference and my recap of the event was published to Creative Applications Network and wrote features for artist and designer Kristin Neidlinger and Scott Kildall for Ideas Issue for Asterisk SF Magazine
April – Had the opportunity to get a review for Will Rogan’s exhibition Blanking Out at the Altman Siegal Gallery published to Daily Serving / Attended A Simple Collective Salon on New Media Arts in the Bay Area. This space is absolutely worth checking out. For a (physically) small space, founder and director Rhiannon MacFadyen has A LOT of big ideas and events happening in 2014.
July – Jennifer Locke performance ~ Yes, that is me in Appointment 5
August – Helped organized and co-facilitated a class on fourth wave feminism and digital activism at the AF3IRM Summer School of Women’s Activism / ZERO1 Summer programming for 2013 included co-presenting with Ben Valentine on the topic of new media and internet art and the role of the writer
September – Such a treat to see biological anthropologist present at the Being Human Conference 2013 on one of my favorite topics…love!
October – AF3IRM Congress and annual conference on transnational feminism in New York. I must say, it was a beautiful sight to see almost every face at the annual conference belonged to a womyn of color. Phenomenal.
November – I had the pleasure of co-presenting on panel with The Civic Beat (Ben Valentine and An Xiao Mina) at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts – Dissident Future Arts and Ideas Festival / Saw Janelle Monae at the Warfield with my high school best friend ~ Such a great night! / Berkeley South Asian Radical Activist History Walk with the AF3IRM SF Bay Area Chapter members
AND had a pretty sweet year in grad school. NOW, I’m getting ready to finish off my last semester! :)
SAN FRANCISCO — As fleets of shuttle buses take employees to their respective Silicon Valley campuses, resentment and tension grows in the Bay Area. Last week, protesters blocked one such Google bus in an effort to draw attention to the widening gap between the technology industry and the communities it affects; a union organizer impersonated a tech worker to incite dialogue through performative gesture. Within days, further demonization of tech figures, like the entrepreneur Greg Gopman — guilty of making crassly disparaging remarks about the Tenderloin area of San Francisco — continued to fuel divisions across the city.
In an effort to broaden and expand the conversation, ArtUp, a “community blog, meetup and monthly grant,” partnered with online magazine Art Practical to host the “Re-engineering: Arts and Tech in the Bay Area” event at Ratio 3 gallery in the city’s Mission district on December 11. The night started off with a panel discussion between Anthony Discenza, Josette Melchor of Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA), Olof Mathe of Art Hack Day, and Dena Beard with the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. [Read the rest here]
The Honeymoon’s Over: Reflecting on the Internet Utopianism and the Arts Published to The Civic Beat
A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of co-presenting on a panel with An Xiao Mina and Ben Valentine. Below is my excerpt of the full write up by all three of us published to The Civic Beat! Exciting!! Please feel free to share thoughts and comments. Or feel free to connect with me via Twitter @deedottiedot
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After the wonderful opportunity of co-presenting with Ben Valentine and An Xiao Mina of The Civic Beat, I have to admit, I actually looked up the term “honeymoon period.” The good ole internet actually provided two distinct definitions. Apparently the honeymoon phase for diabetics signals the start of insulin treatment while the Urban Dictionary states, “The three-month maximum period between a person’s entry into a new situation and a person’s complete screwing up of said situation or essential elements of it. This phenomenon is backed by massive amounts of studies in social psychology and even more massive amounts of personal testimony from bitter, angry people.”
The second definition sounds about right. But this reliance on the internet for research needs, a good laugh, and engaging in human rights activism has some disadvantages to it as well. Taking into account the very name of our panel, we tasked ourselves the tough question of whether the internet utopian vision and ideologies of the earlier internet still rang true today. We had three different ways to discuss the question. Not so surprisingly, I answered with a desire to not forget the body and our sensations. From social networking to internet bots to memes, my plea to the audience for the evening was to not forget our sense of self and body in this highly mobile age.
While technology moves at a feverishly rapid pace, we may find ourselves lost even before we figure out the best way to look, research, and obtain exactly what we need. I decided to focus on how new media artists use the internet and mobile technologies that incorporate the body somehow. Whether through augmented reality or applications to actually embodiment of a fictitious or mythical character or creature online, I found myself interested in how new media artists are dismantling such ideologies.
During the presentation, one of the individuals I focused on was new media artist John Craig Freeman. He uses augmented reality in his artistic practice, which is heavily used by advertisers to overlay landscapes and buildings with branding for marketing purposes. But Freeman uses this technology to interrogate the politics of space. Essentially, anyone with a smart phone and the internet can find out about the objective and purpose of each of his interventionist projects.
For the past year, I have examined his piece, Border Memorial: Fronteras de Los Muertos, which enables a viewer to download augmented reality application Layar. Once downloaded, the user has the option of travelling to specific locations, in this case, the US Mexican border, and holding their phone to the landscape. Calacas or skeletons appear on the screen. These serve as markers to specific spots within the landscape where the remains of migrants attempting to cross the border have been found and identified.
Now, I don’t want to end on such a sad note but you’re probably asking yourself why I’m so interested in addressing the original question or problem statement with emphasis on such a tricky concept of embodiment. Quite frankly, the word alone makes me feel like I’m falling into an abyss. But it also reminds me that the internet has a way of making us forget about our bodies and our senses. Rather, it amplifies this need for us to only focus on vision.
Perhaps, my academic research and investment in in real life (IRL), physical activism prompts me to try and strike this unending balancing act. While I straddle the lines of loving and hating the internet, I’m forced to have a relationship with it. So I wonder if there was ever a honeymoon period to begin with? Am I not in the dating phase of still getting to know this rhizomatic entity that continues to excite yet infuriate me? Ha! Sure sounds like one a rewarding relationship and like any relationship…one that takes A LOT of work to understand.
Full write up can be read here.