Edek Sher

So, you could enter the delineated space where beauty comes from. The ubiquitous place from which beauty enters our lives outside of Walgreens, enters our homes and our cars and the shelves in our bathrooms. Or, you could take a few steps forward, and then turn left, and present yourself with more illusions of choice.

LA LA LA

Lucas Roy

I live next to Coffee Exchange, a small coffeehouse on Wickenden Street.

It is a place where many people start their days, getting cups of coffee and then sitting down for a few minutes to talk to friends or co-workers. Sometimes the line went straight out the door. It was one of the more popular places on Wickenden Street, but even so, after two weeks the employees knew my order—medium dark roast with cream. I began feeling a connection with the place and the people who were a part of its culture. It was not uncommon for someone to start a conversation with me and every time I returned, that employee or patron remembered my name and we started up where we had left off.

My connection began with the coffeehouse, but soon extended to the people I ran into. Most people were quite willing to talk to me and soon I began hearing stories—about the area, about when they grew up and their feelings about Providence, Rhode Island. I realized I was experiencing a small part of the culture of the city.

When I think of the ways in which culture is created in an area, and how people develop sense of place, I think of my time at the coffeehouse. I developed relationships with the people I ran into, even if we simply exchanged greetings. I begin to get an idea in my mind of what that place felt to me. “If space is where culture is lived, then place is a result of their union.”1 It seemed with each conversation I had, each instance of interacting with the community developed my personal relationship with the area.

1Lippard, Lucy R. The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society. New Press, 1998. Pg 10.

The River in My Mind

Stephen Cooke

D+M students think about how technology is used in practice. Our students are interested in the social implications of technology, or why technology is affecting our lives.  Why should we use technology? Why shouldn’t we use technology? Our students ask those questions, as opposed to just considering technology another material.

Michael Tauschinger-Dempsey

Our social networking services and mobile communication technologies have created a new hybrid space of surveillance.

In the case of “sousveillance,”1 both ways of watching others are possible at any given moment by constantly and seamlessly morphing one into the other. The few being watched by the many and the many watching the few form one endless cycle of voyeurism and exhibitionism.

Through social media software, users freely provide the most personal data to whomever or whatever is at the other end of the data cloud.

In the best of cases, this hijacking of personal information is performed for the purposes of targeted advertising, i.e. the commodification of personal information. In the worst of cases, this overflowing database of the Ego is essentially made endlessly accessible without a warrant to controlling power structures like the NYPD, CIA, NSA and the FBI.

1 Mann, S., Nolan, J., & Wellman, B. (2003). Sousveillance: Inventing and Using Wearable Computing Devices for Data Collection in Surveillance Environments.
Out of Service

Jane Long

Let us consider, briefly, biological phenomena as life phenomena. And then also, life phenomena as encompassing day-to-day life concerns.

It is as much about how my brain develops, how my blood carries oxygen, as it is about whether my family is well, whether the state of our society and humanity is well, whether or not the thousands of faces we wear are expressions of self, whether or not the emptiness we feel is the human condition, whether or not there is absolute truth and knowledge.

Jane Long: Subjective Object

On Everything and Nothing

Michael Tauschinger-Dempsey

How is it possible that the military-industrial-entertainment complex is allowed to be submerged in such secrecy, and that citizens can no longer reasonably trust the judgment of the (only sometimes elected) people in charge?

Why must we engage in covertly proactive research and information gathering to obtain vital information about fully autonomous new weapons systems, for instance, in which even the decision about whom to kill is left up to the machine? Up until now, ethical concerns have prevented our leaders from allowing the machines to make the final decision about whom and when to kill. But the seeds of change have already begun to bloom, making this critical shift more a matter of time than of ethics.

Out of Service

Hye Yeon Nam

Self Portrait

In these videos, I seek to portray the difficulty of living in this “room” that is America.

Self-Portrait is an attempt to literally represent my psychological and bodily displacement as a means of representing the experience of immigration to non-immigrants. Since moving two years ago, I now feel as if I live in a different skin. Many of the simple tasks that seemed inborn to me in Korea are now completely foreign.

My body, as a result, feels different. I feel like it occupies both Korea and the United States and my arms and legs feel incredibly elongated, as if I cannot see the end of my body. This space of being neither here in America nor there in Korea is precisely what I try to convey in Self-Portrait. In the video performances, I attempt to show what displacement feels like. Because the displacement one feels from immigrating is difficult and complex to communicate, I decide to demonstrate how one’s daily, commonplace behaviors suddenly become unfamiliar.

By performing these simple tasks gone awry and recording them on video, I escape from the hardship I have felt in the last couple years.

Self Portrait

Clement Valla

Questions concerning the artist’s hand and the outcome of mechanical or computer processes always lead to questions concerning authorship. I once witnessed a notable university professor become rather upset at a poetry generator written by Nick Monfort. This particular program would generate an endless stream of poetry.

The professor dismissed this offhand—if waves on a shore somehow carved the same words as in one of Wordsworth’s poems into the sand, could we consider it poetry, he asked? If there is no human agency to be detected, are we in the presence of art? Is there art without an artist? Of course, the artistry of Monfort’s poem was in the code—the instructions for the computer. And these are a tour de force; the entire program consists of only 256 characters, but can generate endless poetry that sounds and looks exactly like English.1

1 Montfort, Nick “ppg256 (Perl Poetry Generator in 256 characters).” Artist’s website. Nick Montfort. http://nickm.com/poems/ppg256.html.
Original Copies

Paulina Sierra

I was in a bilingual school since I was seven. I remember reciting the vocabulary aloud: “cat- gato-cat-cat-cat” in a classroom full of kids that kept, like me, looking at a flashcard.

The first thing I found intriguing was how one word symbolized a drawing and next how that drawing represented the same thing in two different places that did not share the same language.

For years, my upbringing was based on European and North American culture. We purged snails in my kitchen to cook them with herbs, I was probably the only Mexican listening to Nikki Costa, and for years I begged my mother to tint my hair “yellow” because I wanted to be like Olivia Newton-John.

When I look back at my first interactions with the English language, I regard them as funny and tender. Once I asked a waiter in a restaurant where the machineguns1 were. He stared at me with blank eyes for a few minutes, and managed to point me towards the small arcade room by the end of the hall.

Still, the most vivid memories were the ones that came from being lost in translation in my own country. When I think of Mexico, there is a sense of depth and intoxication, of warm blood and bursting fruit. Just as I have recollections of misunderstandings from the U.S. and Europe, I can recall specific moments in which not language but cultural barriers have kept me outside my country. In these moments I was left wondering about my own identity; indigenous was the alter otherness that I had mistakingly conceived as sameness.

A negative aspect of assimilation is that it can keep things from being noticed because they have been given as a fact. Reappropriation comes in place as the antithesis of Appropriation to unearth these details. It is set in motion by questioning “stable” structures of predetermined mechanisms and thoughts.

1Maquinitas is the slang word for arcade game in Spanish. While it does not mean “machinegun,” I had created a hybrid of arcade games that were machines with guns.
Eye I & Eye Us

Vivian Charlesworth

 

This is my model of the universe: macrocosmos alive within microcosms, paradise in a simple natural gesture, forever in a moment, and a moment in forever. Words, these symbols on paper, these guttural sounds that squeeze through the human throat, capture the vast beauty and tragedy of the earth as well as that which lies beyond.

2015_Charlseworth_EPIST_Thesis

This thesis is an attempt to write the sweetest song I have ever heard, to capture the deepest depths of sorrow, to take the reader into the middle of my narrative, to inhabit with me the place of my broken heart, the ecstasy of summer’s day, and the constellations of my own perceived universe.

In the end, the path diverges into the history books, challenging us to try to discern what is fact and fiction, what is important and what is superfluous.

The Transformation of Things