Mary Burge

To live now is to know that the place you love will one day be gone.

I do not mean it will recede forever into a bygone mist, but that it more than likely will abruptly be replaced by a pointless exercise in capitalism. When I think about where I come from, I am forced to contemplate my inner disconnect with the replications of reality this capitalism brings.

They are not familiar, they are nothing like the people or places they interact within. They are larger and well-funded, so they become more imposing due to sheer size.

Place is not simply a building, or even a more integrated community, although that is part of it. Place is an expectation of culture continuing to evolve, not disappear. When this expectation dies, our future dies with it. If the replacement is solely a capitalistic exercise in “progress,” I am even more disillusioned.

I do not mean to say that I am nostalgic for the past; I both hate and love the South I grew up with. Most of the time I strive to forget it. But the South to me is intractable. It will always exist within me in some form or other, and influences the narratives I weave into my artwork. The place may change, but it will not completely disappear, despite outside attempts.

Two Lonely Hunters

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

Lili Maya

I began mixing traditional/physical art forms with digital media because I needed the contact with the physical act of drawing and making. It is how I think and orient myself. What I once thought was a desire to mix these worlds was really a necessity if I was to continue working with digital media.

Over time, I stopped making a distinction and I think of my work as art that incorporates different materials and processes. Expanding on that notion, my practice is now an interdisciplinary collaboration involving sound, performance, site-specific installation and music.

Bill Seaman

Educating artists in the digital age is a great challenge. Exploring interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary education calls for a special commitment to learning and growth. In transdisciplinary study, a series of focused research areas are bridged. Because no singular discipline, pairing of disciplines, and/or history of those disciplines can be used to elucidate the work that is arising, the term transdisciplinary is employed, suggesting that such study goes beyond any individual discipline or coupling of disciplines.

Transdisciplinary research brings a set of fields of inquiry together in the service of emergent knowledge production. Education that explores this challenging knowledge domain mandates that the graduate mentor continue their own education (be it formally or informally) in an ongoing manner, be open to change, and embrace collaboration and continuing communication with multiple colleagues functioning in differing domains. This can mean staying on top of updates of numerous digital programs; keeping abreast of the changes in multiple fields in terms of technology; maintaining their own research practice; reading across a range of research topics and domains; and in general keeping a broad scanning type awareness open to this field of fields.

Liat Berdugo

I ask what the boundary is between machine and non-machine; I ask what devices can and cannot do in the physical world. I find cracks in the seemingly flawless veneers of digital objects and technology as a whole, and I pry these cracks open, revealing where cords tangle, where devices break, and where machines leave us waiting endlessly for things to load. I find delight in these momentary messes.

Sleight of Hand

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

John Ewing

Miami Boatlift

Miami Boatlift is a proposal to have a reverse boatlift from Miami to Cuba, which will carry citizens from our country who have been neglected by our system to Cuba in order to investigate the solutions that Cuba has developed in areas such as healthcare, housing, education and disaster preparedness.

One of the central concepts behind my project is an exploration of an alternative to the current United States policy of intervening in other countries to impose our solutions. Instead, we might be better served by recognizing that other countries may offer solutions to some of the social inequities we have here. The message is made clear by pointing to the achievements made by a small Communist country with far fewer resources than the United States. Miami Boatlift contradicts the attitude many Americans have about our place in the world, and the perceived quality of life that we have here compared to other countries.

In stark contrast to the popular images of immigrants taking tremendous risks to reach our shores, a boatlift to Cuba symbolizes the efforts of Americans seeking help in a country that has been portrayed in the mass media as an enemy state, and instead draws attention to its value. The goal of this boatlift is to create dialogue through provocation, and to initiate a path of investigation. As I delve deeper into the project I am uncovering a complex situation, in a critical time of change, which I hope to reveal through interviews, a blog, and conversations.

John Ewing: Miami Boatlift

Joseph Hocking

I first encountered the term “memetics” in writings by Christiane Paul.1 Intrigued by the idea, tying together as it does my background in biology and interests in epistemology, I later found a more complete description at Principia Cybernetica Web. Here is their definition:2

Meme: An information pattern, held in an individual’s memory, which is capable of being copied to another individual’s memory.

Memetics: The theoretical and empirical science that studies the replication, spread, and evolution of memes.

Put another way, memetics is an evolutionary epistemology that treats information in an analogous way to genes. As with genes, units of information (called “memes”) replicate by being passed from one individual to another. Also as with genes, certain memes become reduced in frequency and eventually disappear altogether, while other memes are favored and propagate quickly, resulting in a net evolution of the information community. The theory was first proposed by Richard Dawkins in 1976, and has since become an important area of research. Instead of seeing knowledge as constructed by the social system, it sees social systems as constructed by knowledge processes. Indeed, a social group can be defined by the fact that all its members share common memes.

I must reiterate the important point that I am not saying, nor do I believe, that memetics is the correct and true theory of human culture. I am simply pointing out that this is one useful model through which to filter one’s experience of reality.

1 Paul, Christiane Digital Art (New York: Thames and Hudson, 2003)
2 http://pespme1.vub.ac.be/MEMES.html

I Think You Know That I Know That You Think: Epistemology and Interactive Digital Art

Vivian Charlesworth

Tectonics

In Tectonics, I navigate the sublime border between the realms of reality and dreams, and construct a disembodied space where the vast and the minute coexist.  There, personal history and mythology are interchangeable, artificial and natural landscapes are juxtaposed against each other, and scientific theory becomes a sort of religious experience.

This film was inspired by the “Song of the Dunes,” a natural phenomenon that occurs when wind passes over sand.

 

Rafael Attias

I remember going to the men’s bathroom a long, long time ago—this is very early—and somebody had scrawled “D+M: The Department of Loose Association.” It was kind of funny and also true. And I should have taken a picture of that because it was quite funny, and I just realized that it was before the iPhone was invented, so we were not walking around with iPhones yet.

But I always loved that quote. In some ways D+M has actually remained that. It is a department of loose association, where people could be into this or be into that. Drones and CNCing or painting and performance, as is evident in the variety of work D+M showcases during the thesis grad show. So it’s hard to deny, and I understand the impetus to try to define it, but at the same time it’s also the thing that keeps Digital + Media so vibrant, this variety of non-definition. I know it’s a contradiction, but it is at its core…