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

Gefeng Wang

The Island

In the future, when all the chimneys have gone, a man builds this artificial island and re-builds all the 500 tallest chimneys in the world on the island.

Lisa Morgan

The written thesis is approached as a generative force and resource that feeds into, clarifies and illuminates, or consciously confounds, the studio-based practice.

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

Paulina Sierra

In this desire for translation is where Appropriation in my creative process begins. It is activated by what has been assimilated from our heritage and cultural background, a background that has already become divergent by the multiple interventions of otherness we have had in the past.

I want to acknowledge that centuries later we still concoct new interpretations of the old world, just as we have also been able to apply old understandings to the new. Our parameters are modern and traditional, crafted and mass produced, exogenous and indigenous, cosmic and technocratic.

Eye I & Eye Us

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

Vivian Charlesworth

So much of what we know, or think we know, is in fact theory.

History is defined by human perception, therefore making it closer to mythology than fact. It is because of this that we need to consider the stories of our ancestors, as fantastical as they may be, equal to history books, for both “truth” and “myth” adequately represent the human condition and our need for depiction.

The Transformation of Things

Joseph Hocking

There wasn’t so much a single common thread in our methodologies and interests, so much as a bunch of separate but overlapping circles.

Mark Milloff

At its inception, the D+M department made enormous contributions to the life and culture of RISD. As digital influence was being felt throughout every discipline at the school, but being questioned as being viable at EVERY turn by traditionalists who felt that anything digital threatened core design values, the arrival of D+M and Bill Seaman codified its existence.

It allowed a release valve for each department, as Bill networked and created the concept of Node classes. My class was sponsored by the painting department. “Painting and Digital Media” encouraged artists from all “molecular” mediums to incorporate any digital thought. The classes were filled with coders and painters and architects and furniture makers and so on… It was an exquisite convergence.

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.