Laura Alesci


Laura Alesci: TLC

The cyborg subject, a hybridization of “the human and the machine,” has the potential to create a new contract between two elements. Like a cyborg subject, my project TLC involves the joining of two agents. One agent, a class of molecules known as capsaicinoids, is the active chemical agent of pepper spray.

The parent compound in this group is capsaicin A, which chili peppers naturally produce. The second agent, CS, is a non-naturally occurring molecule, and the active component of tear gas. Ben Corson and Roger Stoughton first synthesized CS gas at Middlebury College in 1928; the title of the compound refers to the chemists’ surnames.

For my research with TLC, I worked with a chemist at Brown University to study the chemical properties of the two agents. Soon after, I learned the basic process of using lab equipment to run reactions and test for products. Thin layer chromatography (TLC) is used to monitor and visualize reactions. The name TLC comes from the plates that are used for these tests. The plates indicate if the reaction has occurred and if the product is useful.

In TLC, I continued to investigate the institutional or­dering of protection and security to control crowds and individuals. I researched the chemical properties of tear gas and pepper spray because both are agents of security used to divide and control individuals.




Neil Salley


By immersing the visitor in a symbolic spectacle for the senses, the Musée attempts to take them on a journey to the outer parameters of our culturally and technologically shaped perceptual sphere, into a world not unlike a child’s creation. A dream world, manifested as a means to rediscover the real world, which is ultimately revealed as yet another dream world.*

*Paraphrasing the words of Paul Feyerabend; the answer is clear: we cannot discover it from the inside. We need an external standard of criticism, we need a set of alternative assumptions or, as these assumptions will be quite general, constituting, as it were, an entire alternative world, we need a dream world in order to discover the features of the real world we think we inhabit (and may actually just be another dream world).” Against Method, Verso, London, New York: 1975, (third edition) p.22.

Musée Patamécanique

Elisa Giardina Papa

We are becoming increasingly familiar with the logic of the algorithm while searching for content in the Internet, but this does not mean that we are aware of all the calculations that are ordering the results of our queries.

In other words, we are not aware of the power that is exerted through these supposedly random choices. Despite the so-called “user friendly interface,” the logic of the machine is still not accessible to us.

Image as Social Practice

Chih Hao Yu

I am trying to counteract the popular, under-considered, blinded, skewed, overly-simplified, overly individualistic so-called “maker mentality” that has trumped everything else in this institution—for teachers, students, administrators, and decision-makers alike.

Chih Hao Yu: experiments

I call for the restoration of balance between making and thinking. In order to generate sufficient momentum to tip the scale, extreme measures might be necessary. Namely, an over-emphasis on thinking over making.


Elisa Giardina Papa

Image production is becoming a social practice in which a global multitude creates, captures, releases, and exchanges images on an everyday basis as a way to find and define personal identity, establish and cultivate social relations, and express counter-narratives or dissent.

These images are the material of my writing and my works. I search for them in archives, follow their circulation, become their audience, get in contact with their producers, and re-combine them into films. By narratively re-presenting the history of these images, my work seeks to investigate the agency and emotional patterns created by their movement as well as the contradictions they embody.

Image as Social Practice

Lisa Iaboni

I had just finished a run around Prospect Park and was on my way home when I spotted an exposed roll 120mm film lying along the curb near the Brooklyn Library.

It was such a bizarre find on a heavily trafficked intersection, so I imagined that it was a result of a argument a couple had while they were driving near Grand Army Plaza and someone threw it out the window.

I eventually got the roll processed and I got ten photographs of a young man with spikey, very gelled hair, wearing leather pants and looking away from the camera in a dimly lit studio.

This is photo gold.

That surprise or “A-ha!” moment is comparable to the thrill you get when you KNOW you snapped a photo at the decisive moment.

Another moment occurred when I developed an old roll of 35mm film that a co-worker was going to throw away because he didn’t remember what he had shot. When I got the images from the photo lab there were thirty five photos of a Halloween party and one that was absolute photo gold. I call it “Hummus Cat,” and when I showed it to one of the staff photographers at The Times he said, “That’s not photo gold, that’s photo platinum!”

Finding Photo Gold

Michael Tauschinger-Dempsey


The era of the constant automated tracking and evaluation of citizens has begun; only time will tell what the consequences of this new reality will be.

One thing is clear: artists and activists…are needed more than ever to show society new ways to reflect upon and take action against the hostile takeover of omnipotent corporations unfolding right under our noses.

Out of Service

Jason Huff


We are super connected. Every passing moment presents unimagined opportunities. Does that sound utopian? Yes. Welcome to the new economy of ideas, where you can search for the next everything. Welcome to paradox. Welcome to burnout. Welcome to endless opportunities.Huff_TECH_INCRIT_Diagram1

Are We Not Drawn Onward To A New Era

Christopher Robbins

I think she’s trying to save the fish

I have constructed this misguided machine as a series of mechanical chapters that extend the story as they extend the machine.

An arm extending from the bellows is attached to a saw that cuts away at a branch, hoping to release the fish into the water below. By creating a tool designed under a flawed logical system, I attempted to illustrate a fictional character’s misunderstandings about our culture, thereby shedding light on that fictional character’s own culture.

By using this gap as the illuminating point of the piece, my hope was that the machine’s failure would cause viewers to recognize situations in which the successful attainment of a desired end result did not necessarily mean that the project was successful in the greater scheme.

This piece operates largely by making strange the taken-for-granted rules of the world around us, peeling back an absolute to make room for misunderstanding through a sort of melancholy slapstick.

Paulina Sierra

Email Correspondence
March 19th 2009

It seems I have not left yet but my journey has somehow started.

I heard there was a tortilleria down at Atwells and I decided to check it out. I had been there before, on my last birthday I went there to buy stuff to make dinner for a few of the DM people, I just had forgotten about it. I went in there and I introduced myself as the crazy Mexican that spoke on the phone to him earlier. We are both speaking in Spanish all the time, although in the beginning he spoke to me in English.

I show him my sketch book and as soon as I start explaining the project he starts nodding. I can feel he wants to figure me out, after all we are what you call paisanos, which is a term you use for being from the same country, but he wants to find out what do I need and if he is going to be able to provide and trust me too.

I say cultural resistance by food and he says yes, and suddenly everything that I have been speaking about makes sense in that tortilleria. We are in the middle of Mexican products, people are talking in Spanish all the time and are buying a can of chiles, or sour cream from Jalisco. These are regular customers, Latin American ones that are buying their stuff for their dinners.


When I expose some of the ideas for the possible outcome of this project he says: “Oh, si, si, it makes sense…”

So I say: “First of all I am going to Mexico with the manufacturers of these machines to see if it is safe to do these crazy ideas with them, then we would need to talk, I just came to introduce myself…”

“Well,” he says, “I have two machines and one is just laying there, I don’t use it anymore, I have a new one, a bigger one. Maybe I could rent it to you…”

“Oh really?” (I am trying not to grin too much)

“Yep. If possible…anything to help you out. So go to Mexico and test those machines, if it works, come back and we can discuss other issues. Here, have my card.”

And I hold on to it as my greatest find, as a piece of the map of a treasure hunt…


“Hey thanks, I’ll be in touch.”

“Sure thing.” He smiles. I think we could be in business.

I will keep this email writings-journal as part of my journey. This is for you more than committee members, just people who have kept the promise to be part of my process.



Eye I & Eye Us