Announcing the Spring 2021 Faculty Seed Grants

08 Apr, 2021

Announcing the Spring 2021 Faculty Seed Grants

Photo credit: Jill Miller.

This semester, the Berkeley Center for New Media was thrilled to support two junior faculty in their scholarship through seed grants that will help catalyze their research in new media. We are excited to congratulate these amazing artists and scholars!

Asma Kazmi

After Jahangir is a photographic project of self-portraits based on Islamic Mughal miniature portraits, which explore questions around the built environment, consumerism, and ecofeminist thinking. The Mughal emperor Jahangir (1569-1627) was given the name “World Seizer” for his preoccupation with collecting. He enthusiastically acquired plants, animals, minerals, and rarities from different parts of the globe. During his reign, Jahangir commissioned many royal portraits where he was often pictured with his arm lifted up to his face, holding up a distinguished object to ruminate on its properties. In these paintings dynamic architectural details and/or natural settings were thematized to reflect Jahangir’s love of natural/manmade materials, architecture, and the environment. In Asma's series After Jahangir, she performs Jahangir’s gesture of carefully gazing at a household consumer object placed in her palm to contemplate her relationship to material goods that she consumes. Her self-portraits will be taken at various locations in San Francisco and Karachi, representing the uneven urbanization of the two cities. In addition, she will create sculptural objects inspired by Islamic architectural forms and Mughals gardens to be placed in the photographic frame, engendering multiple spatial and temporal orientations. By creating a series of images depicting entanglements of historical representations and placing herself within this system, she is interested in imagining new and unique possibilities of thinking about matter, materiality, and the ecology.

Jill Miller

Parts without Bodies is a new series of digitally fabricated sculptures that combine 3D printed creature corpuses with embedded audio systems, which form a tangible object that plays audio files when touched. The creatures are designed by digitally scanning detritus and “dead” objects - for example, a tree branch with burrows left from termites, a sand dollar shell, and a titanium hip removed post-mortem. The objects are manipulated in a CAD program, then “reborn” in their freaky new state: sculptural objects the size and weight of a newborn baby, responsive to touch when held or caressed. The three objects are reanimated by the audio tracks played while they are touched. The audio files reflect a moment of magic and fantasy - when the object is reanimated with the sounds of its former self: the creaking of tree branches in the wind, the sounds of the ocean where the sea urchin once thrived, or the sounds of the circulatory system that once surrounded the hip implant when it was inside a human body.