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

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

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

Gideon Webster

Wayfarers Path

Wayfarers Path is a six-foot by eight-foot grass surface based on the topography of the land near my current home in Rhode Island. The topography of the piece is based on my memory of the space surrounding my home. I had come to live in a new place and felt displaced from my old home; I walked so that I might feel connected again.

I constructed a mechanism which is suspended two feet above the surface of the grass. It carries a six-legged wheel which I carved from wood. The wheel walks a loop based on several paths that I walk near my home. I began walking around my home so that I could feel connected with the landscape. I wanted to create a physical manifestation of my memory maps that was void of any reference to specific geography, with the exception of topography. My memory maps often consisted only of the recording of the path and lacked markings of place.

Gideon Webster: Making The Path You Seek

 

 

Christopher Robbins

Got a lot of socially-oriented work going on.

Turned crits into performances.

Expressed general revulsion for tech for tech’s sake.

Tried to wheedle work down to its simplest denominator.

Emma Hogarth

The culture of D+M was truly interdisciplinary. The idea was to combine digital processes and technologies with physical media.

A central theme in many people’s work seemed to be locating connections between “traditional” physical media and processes, and digital media and its associated processes and culture. D+M  ‘09 had students from many different academic and artistic backgrounds: painting, sculpture, performance, computer science, graphic design, architecture, etc. Every person was really different artistically, which made for a lot of diverse research interests and approaches.

Neil Salley

The practitioners and scholars that have been brought together to form this exhibition follow in the traditions of Dion, DeMarinis, and Duchamp in that they too are playfully engaged in the ready-made analytical language of science, technology, and museological paradigms.

It could also be said that outwardly this document, like the exhibition, conforms to the ready-made rituals inherent to the system within which it must conform. But inwardly it is an attempt to stir up ideas, spin concepts and blend the distinctions we make between science and art, tomfoolery and seriousness, reason and unreason, the real and the imaginary, positivism and ultimately, our presumption—of objectivity.

Now then, into the labyrinth!

Musée Patamécanique

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

Christiane Paul

The make-up of the D+M student body was very carefully choreographed to bring in students with backgrounds in different areas of the field (and from around the world): designers, artists, architects et al., with specializations as varied as data visualization, robotics, performance, and film, among other areas. The goal was less to emphasize common threads than create a diversity that would lead to synergies.

D+M emphasized a theory/practice-based approach—the written component of the thesis was as crucial as the project.

Caleb Larsen

A Tool To Deceive and Slaughter

A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter exists simultaneously in two parts. Physically, it is an eight-inch, high-gloss black cube, reminiscent of a Minimalist sculpture. Equally, it maintains an immaterial presence online.

Through electronics, software, and a live Internet connection, the sculpture continually places itself for sale on the auction website eBay.com. For the piece to exist, it must be connected to the Internet, which means it will always be for sale, and therefore it can always be purchased from the current owner. By constantly asserting its plasticity as a commodity, it denies its status as a permanently collectible object.

Caleb Larsen: The Value of Nothing