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

Dan Chen

At the age of 16, I decided to leave Taiwan and move to the United States for a new adventure and new life.

Living with a relative and in an unfamiliar country, I learned independence, both financially and emotionally. Before I arrived in America, I was socially active, drawing great energy from my connections with others. But making new friends with a language barrier proved difficult. Every so often, if approached, I would open up to the possibility of friendship. The rewards were always tremendous, with a treasured relationship enhancing my life. But for the most part, to avoid rejection and humiliation, I became passive, opting to be self-contained.

The opposition between the way I used to be and what I had become led me to think closely about the needs of an individual, and the appropriate balance between closeness and distance that a person requires in order to thrive.

My fascination with robotics began at a very young age. Perhaps this fascination was derived from a need for companionship; with two busy parents, I spent a lot of time alone. I played with Lego blocks, combining them with wheels and rubber bands to construct a few kinetic sculptures. I still remember my first trip to an electronics store with my uncle—I was amazed by the endless possibilities that one could explore with all the different electronic components.

File > Save As > Intimacy

Lisa Iaboni

I bought my first digital camera in 2004.

It was a Canon PowerShot digital point-and-shoot. After carrying around a large format camera and a tripod, this was much easier. Slip it in my bag and go. When holiday events came around my relatives wanted to compare my camera with theirs.

“How many megapixels you got?” —Uncle Silvio

“Oh, that’s a nice camera. How many megapixels?” —Grandpa

“5 megapixels? I just bought a Nikon that has 6 megapixels” —Aunt Kay

The flurry of questions that accompanied having a digital point-and-shoot camera in the early aughts was similar to the novelty of the iPhone when it was introduced in 2007. Unlike the iPhone though, I wasn’t totally impressed with the quality of the image and I didn’t have a printer.

What used to take a day or two had collapsed into less than a second:

• Waiting to agitate film during the development process
(5 seconds every 30 seconds for 7 minutes, depending on water temperature)

• Waiting for the film to dry (overnight)

• Waiting to pick up film from the color lab (usually about two days plus the 40 minute trip to and from Manhattan)

• Waiting 5 minutes for fiber based paper to soak in the Fixer bath before it could be exposed to light

• Waiting for a c-print to run through the processor (5 minutes)

• Learning how to color balance c-prints so you never see MAGENTA again (6 months)

There was something important about the waiting time between taking a picture and seeing it.

Finding Photo Gold

Lucas Roy

The River in My Mind

The River in My Mind is a site-specific installation in Providence, Rhode Island. It is a story created by the words of its residents telling of dramatic change reflected in the landscape and interpreted by shared experiences of the community. Cities exist not just in buildings and roads, but also in our thoughts and experiences. As we share our memories we reflect our culture, our neighbors and ourselves.

Lucas Roy: The River in My Mind

Lucas Roy: The River in My Mind

 

The River in My Mind

Claudia O’Steen

Little Compton, RI
1:50 pm
50 degrees (very windy!)
I’m facing 150 degrees SW
The sun is 229 degrees SW
The sky is pale blue with cirrus clouds, and the sun is starting to come out. The waves are large, and it is too overcast to see the lighthouse.38 steps walked to the edge of the water.

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The Visible Limit of the Sea

Samuel Galison

I don’t see imitation as a weakness or a lack, and I don’t think the “sincerest form of flattery” view quite does justice to the complexity of mimesis. Imitation is central to any kind of ethics, and it’s the trellis on which more intricate forms of human relationships can coalesce and grow. Mimicry isn’t just an interpretation of or reaction to external impelses, it’s how we understand the world on a basic level. I see glints of mirroring at the core of empathy, learning, even friendship, and definitely love. Maybe that’s why imitation’s such a sensitive subject for so many; whether it’s copyright infringement or parody, adoration or critique, being mimicked pokes at something deep.

FOR A MOMENT

Laura Swanson

Laura: …Some people like to say—when we have to read texts from a specific historical context— “we’re over that,” “the civil rights movement is over,” these kinds of things are over. What would you say to people that say, “this is old news”?

Greg: Well, whoever’s saying, “this is old news” are probably people who haven’t experienced what he’s experienced. I mean, it resonated with you. You’re a young person. So it doesn’t matter if the words are two hundred years old, or fifty years old, or whatever. You know what I mean? If they resonate with you, and they help you crystallize your feelings or get a perspective on your experiences…

Laura: No. I want you to not talk about this as if this is only personal to me. Because that is the criticism that I get about my work all the time—is that it’s totally personal. It is partially about my life, but I don’t think that you can really say that. I mean, of course I like Fanon. A lot of people like Fanon. A lot of my teachers in undergrad like Fanon. Huey Newton of the Black Panthers likes Fanon. A lot of people like Fanon. So, when we talk about the current state of racism, a stupid thing that people say is “Slavery is over. Colonization is over.”

Greg: But it’s not. It’s not.

Laura: Can you talk about that? What is an awareness that you have? People who say, “Fanon is irrelevant because it’s old.” What do you say to that?

Greg: I just think that people are not aware of the slaveries that exist today. The oppression of people…it’s all over the world. We even have it in our own country. But it’s more subtle. It’s not carved in stone anymore, but we still have colonized people in this country…but there’s very blatant slavery and subjugation going on of peoples in other parts of the world.

A Call to Arms

Monica Ong

While the social climate at home upheld the need to save face and indirect communication, the social climate at school and in the public American sphere emphasized individuality, self-expression and assertiveness as qualities that contribute to success and are even considered noble.

Many American-born Chinese like myself are often balancing dual identities and exist in a constant state of translation, not just linguistically, but in terms of social behavior and self­ evaluation. It is the observation of this cultural overlap that bred my speculation about how social values are negotiated in the drama of human life, and specifically in the crucial moments of facing illness, aging and death. The tension between the various generations, family dynamics and self-perceptions offers the rich ground where my art takes root; the stage where my stories unfold.

Speak

Jason Huff

Jack of All Trades, Master of Nothing

I am part of a generation of artists whose skill set has changed because of digital technology, whose presence in the everyday has increased over the past decade and deeply influences my artistic practice.

Now my artistic research, production, and documentation of work exist primarily on the Internet, to be shared with global communities and collectives of artists. To paraphrase the words of the seminal media theorist Marshall McLuhan, the Internet has recently become an extension of the artist. We are in the age when the most common skill of the artist is the ability to click a mouse or a keyboard.

The arbiters of this new condition are the Internet Aware Artists, which have grown from a deskilled few to a re-skilled many. Their work exists, online and offline in a multitude of forms, within the sea of cultural production affected by the Internet. “Post-Internet” has emerged as a title for this new condition, but it is perhaps a misleading name.

A specific chronology has produced the conditions of the Internet Aware Artist, while at the same time a new economic framework has bloomed from the seeds of the 20th century art world. It is Neo-Capitalism, Post-Fordism, and even more aptly named, “the creative economy.” By tracing parallel developments of social and production networks on the Internet, we can examine, in detail, what events have created the Internet Aware Artist and the implications of the globally networked economy in which he or she exists.

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Are We Not Drawn Onward To A New Era

Michael Tauschinger-Dempsey

2012_Tauschinger-Dempsey_Tech_Studio

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