Announcing Our Summer 2022 Research Award Recipients

29 Mar, 2022

Announcing Our Summer 2022 Research Award Recipients

Image: Fei Pan

We are thrilled to share our 2022 Summer Research Fellows from Architecture, Art Practice, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Music, Rhetoric, and City and Regional Planning! Read more about their projects below!

William Morgan

William Morgan's research deploys the framework of cybernetics in order to highlight how these hidden aspects of digital capitalism function in a global system. Understanding cybernetics as a “reconfiguration of metaphysics on behalf of technics” per Luciana Parisi, William examines in his dissertation three scenes of this cybernetic reconfiguration of sense: e-waste, epigenetics, and geopolitics. This summer, he will be working particularly on the third chapter, visiting archives at Harvard University, traveling to Chile to research Cybersyn, and presenting a paper on the topic at the University of Indiana.

Lani Alden

Lani Alden studies transgender subjects on stage in kabuki and will be purchasing fan magazines of kabuki to support her research. Lani's research questions what happens when the transgender body moves from being portrayed through artistic portrayals (primarily via ukiyo-e print) to a quasi-representational form like the photograph. Lani intends to destructively scan these magazines and then use optical character recognition to place the information in a database. This will enable her to dynamically find and locate passages related to the transgender subjects on the kabuki stage (the onnagata) and perform natural language processing techniques to see how they are discussed in relation to photography in comparison to older forms of media representation.

Haripriya Sathyanarayanan

Immersive Virtual Environments for Co-Designing Supportive Pediatric Healthcare Spaces: The research uses New Media (Virtual Reality integrated with biosensors) as a tool for collaboration and engagement with the vulnerable pediatric hospitalized population with very specific needs. The patients’ voice is much needed in design mock-ups, simulation, and feedback to meet functional and emotional affordances, and address diversity and equity. The expected outcomes of the research are knowledge on perspectives of hospitalized children to capture their uniquely different perspectives and preferences on design, physiological response to stimuli from room design elements in real-time, and opportunity to create solutions that resonate equitably with children of all age groups. This research engages directly with children on spatial design and a supportive hospital environment filling critical gaps on children’s potential to serve as agents of architectural knowledge.

Fei Pan

Pan will revisit their research and previous work done in sculptural form in 2021, where she did document studies and on-site field research about the historical process of landmarking and shifting sand in south-east Asia. The purpose of the project is to bring awareness to the post-colonial and socioeconomic sides of natural and biological elements. It also further questions how we think of landscape as constructed, artificial geographic regions. She will extend the study and explore new methods of making art through new media and archival documents. In this way, she hopes to overcome physical obstacles and keep telling forgotten stories.

Rebecca Levitan

Rebecca's digital project fits into her larger study of ancient sculpture, bringing methodologies into the 21st century through the application of New Media. Artists on the Cycladic island of Naxos were the pioneers of monumental stone sculpture in Archaic Greece. Naxos is also home to several rich deposits of a coarse-grained sparkling marble and is the only source of the abrasive emery in the Aegean. Despite being one of the most renowned centers of sculptural production and marble extraction in the Greek world, the landscapes and archaeology of Archaic Naxos are comparatively unstudied, with many questions about the quarrying and sculpting industry on the island and its socio-political implications unanswered. Rebecca's project seeks to redress this imbalance by revisiting the island’s sites of Archaic marble extraction and their remarkable output, situating quarries and kouroi within the broader context of the Archaic Naxian landscape, economy, and artistic production. Her project combines two methodologies: traditional sculptural examination (including close observation, analog drawing and comparison) with the newest techniques in landscape survey and digital recording (including precision 3D modeling, high resolution topographic survey, and geological modeling).

Kevin Lo

Kevin Lo will be performing on a platform that enables integration of audience GPS and phone data (accelerometer, touch data) into performative and installation-based projects. This data will be maximally customizable and scalable for implementation in various projects, particularly those which emphasize participation. Given the persistent necessity of networked virtual events, his project will also benefit remote collaboration across time zones. This method of data integration had an opening salvo of tests via the integration of phone data for DROUGHT SPA's telematic work, Return the Eye (2020-2021). The coding of this was specific to that project, and cannot be extended to future works. Work on this platform over the summer will include a full reworking of that code, adding GPS; it would be organized in a mode that exposes data not only to the central server, but to participants as well. Building in a way for individual participants to see the data will allow for more flexibility and further potentials for projects, as this will enable folks to gain immediate feedback of the experience as a whole, as well as an awareness of others around them. In the context of locative media, this presents the phone or device as an extension of the body and its orientations. By moving the phone in XYZ space, participants interact touchlessly with the work, engaging their bodily autonomy. Aims of this are to be able to map infrastructural objects to virtual space, or engage in a purely virtual mapping, similar to how VR decouples virtual objects from reality.

Irma Barbosa

Irma and their sister Celeste are collaborating on a video/ experimental film project inspired by their grandmother's goat farm and home in the San Fernando Valley called "A recipe for remembering." Drawn by the processes of preservation, invisible labor, and the resilience it takes to prepare her delicious birria dish, as well as the consumption of it, they have been documenting and learning from her process. Birria immigrated with their family to the states and has been made to celebrate their culture and family for decades. In the first half of this project, Irma and her sister have closely documented their grandmother's caring gestures as well as her instruction on how to make her birria. Now they will visit their grandmother's home in Mexico and continue the documentation process. Through photography, experimental video, sculpture, performance, and installation they are exploring the animal-human interdependent connection as well as the poetic nature of recipes and their appeal to be remembered and passed down from generation to generation, across borders.

Amanda Barnett

Water resource management and environmental conservation are modes of asserting authority in the political ecology of settler-colonial ownership over Native lands. This study asks how watershed planning documents betray the unpolitical nature of environmental sciences. Amanda aims to explore ways to build on existing research this summer using community-based participatory research (CBPR) to develop a more inclusive approach to knowledge creation. In particular, framing communication in terms of accessibility using new media to co-create new knowledge will restructure normative power dynamics between the actors involved (myself included). Participatory research that subverts extractive relationships and paternalistic research practices needs to use new media to be both adaptive and to builds trust, ownership of data, and social justice actions. The next phase of study involves CBPR that works with community on the ground to develop a braided understanding of both the theoretical and academic with the lived expertise. Development of such CBPR practices will be first co-written with, by, and for community, and research design in the forms of representational new media will be developed collaboratively. Works might include podcasts, online tools for defining, deciding, and owning data, or public works and exhibits, just to name a few. Comics and graphically illustrated online and analog works are also potentially part of the process, depending on how communication and knowledge creation and dissemination is identified.