All posts filed under: Dialogues

Murmurations: A Conversation Between Sarah Friedland and Tess Takahashi on CROWDS

by Sarah Friedland and Tess Takahashi Featured Image: Still from Sarah Friedland, CROWDS, Channel 1. Curator’s note by Almudena Escobar López: Sarah Friedland and Tess Takahashi have been in dialogue since they met at the “moving.media@brown” conference in 2016, where they realized that both share an ongoing interest in patterns of movement and their connection with larger cultural formations. As Sarah Friedland and I were working on the development of the exhibition Assembled Choreographies at the Hartnett Gallery (March 29 through April 26, 2021), and thinking about its translation to an online environment, we decided to include a consolidated version of her conversations with Takahashi. The exhibition centered on the visual language of movement, the typology of the crowd, and the process of how bodies learn from each other. It included a virtual installation of CROWDS (2019) and a screening of Drills (2020) and Home Exercises (2017). CROWDS’ digital interface was designed by Friedland in collaboration with media artist and designer Jonas Eltes, translating the 3-channel installation for an online audience. The CROWDS website opened …

Choreography of the Body’s Collapse: The Anti-Capitalist Politics of Rest

By heidi andrea restrepo rhodes Featured image: “Lady reading in berth with curtains down,” Geo. R. Lawrence Co., c. 1905, courtesy of the Library of Congress. The Brooklyn-based project, Rest for Resistance centers rest as crucial to healing work (it is so much work to heal!), bridging the vital importance of psychological and social support; and of individual and collective wellness for marginalized communities, including “Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Pacific Islander, Asian, Middle Eastern, and multiracial persons” and “LGBTQIA+ …trans & queer people of color, as well as other stigmatized groups such as sex workers, immigrants, persons with physical and/or mental disabilities, and those living at the intersections of all of the above.”1 Published by QTPOC Mental Health, a community justice initiative, the Rest for Resistance Zine features writing and photography that foreground rest as a deeply political activity. In Juhee Kwon’s piece, “We Are Not Machines”, Kwon reminds us that “we’re more complicated than a simple input (x) à output (y) kind of linear function”—questioning the correlations between overworking one’s self and how “success” is …

The Somnophile’s Guide to Cinema: An Interview with Jean Ma

By Amanda (Xiao) Ju, Jean Ma, Patrick Sullivan, and Madeline Ullrich Featured Image: Still from Cemetery of Splendour (dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2015). Jean Ma was the keynote speaker for the 12th Visual and Cultural Studies Graduate Conference in 2019, dedicated to the theme “Rest and the Rest: Aesthetics of Idleness.” Since the inaugural event in 1995, the biennial conference has convened scholars from a variety of fields, such as film studies, museum studies, art history, and cultural anthropology, in accordance with the interdisciplinary approach of the program. This interview took place during Professor Ma’s visit to the University of Rochester in April 2019. Before the conference, students from the graduate program of Visual and Cultural Studies and the English department formed a reading group, which read and discussed parts of Ma’s first two books—Melancholy Drift: Marking Time in Chinese Cinema and Sounding the Modern Woman—as well as a portion of her current book At the Edges of Sleep, forthcoming with University of California Press. The excerpt combined writings from two chapters, both of which closely …

Moving In: A Review of ‘Home Body’ at Sapar Contemporary

February 19 – March 23, 2021 Sapar Contemporary9 North Moore St, NYC For better or worse, every art exhibition over the past year has been framed by the COVID-19 pandemic. At its onset, this connection occurred by default; but as time went on, galleries began to incorporate the pandemic into their programming as a subject or theme. The decision to contextualize exhibitions in this manner resurrected an age-old question: what purpose does art serve in periods of crisis? Home Body, an exhibition brilliantly curated by Nico Wheadon that features exquisite work by Elia Alba, Baseera Khan, Sola Olulode, and Maya Varadaraj, offers one poignant reply: when the relationship between art and the present is brought to our attention, we would do well to focus on the minutiae of the moment. In an essay accompanying the exhibition, Wheadon emphasizes that one’s sense of isolation during the pandemic inevitably reshapes notions of embodiment. For Wheadon, this sense of embodiment senses the body as a “home, or interior world,” that we can “return to or seek refuge in.” …

A game of guess who that uses police facial composites

Guess who did the crime?: The Facial Composite Game

By Eliseo Ortiz (University of Colorado Boulder) In 1878, British psychologist Francis Galton wrote about the significance of photography in policing and incarcerating populations. Together with the famous jailer Edmund Du Cane, Galton investigated criminal behavior patterns by comparing the photographs of thousands of imprisoned inmates. Using eugenics as a guiding force to classify social behaviors, Galton developed several categories of criminals based solely on their physical features. Early on, this experiment consolidated a racist discourse fostered by the alleged truthfulness of photography. In the same way that the practice of phrenology called for measuring people’s skulls to determine mental traits and social behaviors, Galton superimposed series of photographs in order to find common physical patterns in criminals and concluded that “if criminals are found to have certain special features,” then “certain personal peculiarities distinguish those who commit certain classes of crime” as well.1 Galton inaugurated this approach back in 1878. Yet today, we are still experiencing the residue of a much more internalized racist discourse that justifies the persecution and systematic mass incarceration of …

Forgetting Remains: An essay-review of Magic Oneohtrix Point Never

Dropped a day before Halloween, four days before Trump and Biden faced off at the polls, and amid a worldwide uptick in Covid-19 cases, Daniel Lopatin’s ninth studio album as Oneohtrix Point Never landed at a scary moment in this scariest of years. Magic Oneohtrix Point Never was born during lockdown—Lopatin recorded it in his Brooklyn apartment and an Airbnb cabin in Massachusetts, his home state—and although 2020 might have spurred his longstanding interest in dystopia, instead it occasioned introspection and retrospection. “I realised I’d wanted to make an album as a kind of projection of my life; of my life of listening,” he told The Guardian.1 The protagonist in that life of listening is radio. Lopatin’s nom de plume derives from Boston’s Magic 106.7, a soft-rock radio station he grew up listening to, and reuniting his handle with “magic” implies both a consummated homage and an identity statement characteristic of self-titled albums. But in tying his identity statement to radio, Lopatin intertwines his “life of listening” with sonic culture’s broader historical shifts. Throughout Magic, …

Sometimes, You Have to Laugh: A Review of Nicola Tyson ‘Sense of Self’ at Petzel Gallery

September 2 – October 3, 202035 E 67th Street Written by Peter Murphy, University of Rochester Stepping into Petzel Gallery on the Upper East Side, I felt beside myself. Months had passed since I last visited a gallery; would I remember how to behave amongst Nicola Tyson’s wondrous paintings? Fortunately, Tyson seems to be a kindred spirit for those unsure of themselves. She states in the press release that that her “center of gravity had shifted” during the pandemic. Tyson started a series of new paintings prior to lockdown, only to abandon them as the world came to a halt. She returned to eight canvases this past summer and found that “what had begun as an exploration of relationship to another, refocused instead on relationship with self.” This turn toward the self is standard for Tyson—her oeuvre is filled with vibrant and exaggerated self-portraits in which she is identifiable by her familiar auburn hair. What is not standard, of course, is the current state of the world and our presence within it. With this exhibition, …

Pragmatic Experimentalism: A Review of Society Guidance (Part one) at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art’s (UCCA) summer group exhibition Society Guidance (Part I) is a show lesser seen. Compared to the institution’s other summer exhibition, the spectacularly displayed Picasso: Birth of a Genius, coterminously happening onsite, this well-researched curatorial project about Chinese art and culture in the 1990s gained much less viewing and media attention. A not-so-trivial detail is telling of the two shows’ relation: in order to see Society Guidance, I had to purchase the 150 RMB (22 USD) ticket and first view the birth of Picasso. Such a comparison may seem provincial at first: for one, Picasso is a great modernist whose first major retrospective in China is fitting for a contemporary art institution like UCCA. As its Director Philip Tinari was quoted saying, “For UCCA this marks the realization of a dream we have held since our opening in 2007, to present not only recent developments in contemporary art but to examine the underpinnings of the contemporary by showing modern masters.”[1] But perhaps more importantly, a show like Picasso grows out of …

Aubrey Anable, Playing with feelings cover

Game Studies in Visual and Cultural Studies at University of Rochester

At the occasion of the launch of IVC 30 Poetics of Play and the “Breaking Boundaries with Video Games 3” conference held at University of Rochester on April 18-19 2019, we asked VCS alumna Aubrey Anable to share with us her experience of writing a dissertation on interactive media in VCS. Aubrey Anable is Assistant Professor of Film Studies in The School for Studies in Art and Culture at Carleton University, where she is also cross-appointed with the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art, and Culture. Her book Playing with Feelings: Video Games and Affect (University of Minnesota Press, Spring 2018) provides an account of how video games compel us to play and why they constitute a contemporary structure of feeling emerging alongside the last sixty years of computerized living. Anable is an advisory editor for the journal Camera Obscura. She is currently co-editing The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Visual Culture. We invited Byron Fong, PhD student currently enrolled in the VCS program working on video game theory and organizer of the Breaking Boundaries conference to the conversation. The interview is moderated …

Amour and Love : On the Invention of the Concept of Love in Cinema

Written by Nava Dushi (Lynn University) and Igor Rodin (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) Preface “Then what is involved in love?” asks Jacques Lacan.1 We return to and begin with Love. The infatuation of the moving image with Love. From Thomas Edison’s eighteen seconds of frontal bodily affection of The Kiss (1896), to its sacrifice in Michael Curtiz’s Casablanca (1942), disintegration in Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt (1963), spiritualization in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982), or desiring in Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution (2007). With Michael Haneke’s Amour (2012) and Gaspar Noé’s Love (2015) we encounter the question and impossibility of its cinematic rendering — a short-circuit that interrogates and circumvents cinema’s persistent impulse for imaginary abstraction, where every primal fantasy is eventually subjugated to the metonymy of language. Thus, rather than approach the films on the level of their purported meaning, we propose a reading that appeals to what the films do, the way they work, perform, function, and inhabit the representational field. That is, rather than approach Amour and Love on the basis of their negative difference, we would like to frame our discussion …

Jumping Through Platformer History: A Review of Super Mario Odyssey

Written by Byron Fong, University of Rochester Nintendo’s most recent addition to their franchise, Super Mario Odyssey (2017) is, put simply, a nearly perfect game. Nintendo’s Mario games are some of the few in the industry that continue to garner widespread praise and blockbuster success, while still cultivating a cute and rather benign aesthetic. Mario games continue to successfully resist the hyperviolence of other console/PC games that make up the majority of games that have its level of success. The franchise’s popularity depends both on brand recognition as well as unusually tight mechanics that are necessary for a good platformer experience. [1] Mario games always feel carefully and lovingly designed, facilitating a desired sense of “flow” and control. Odyssey is no different, yet it would be shortsighted to see it as just a continuation of what Super Mario 64 began.[2] If Mario 64 marks the transition from 2D to 3D games, Odyssey [along with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)] is Nintendo’s foray into the open world genre. But what continues to place it …

Curatorial Fabulations: Difference, Subversion, and Exhibition-as-Form in ‘Outliers and American Vanguard Art’

Review of Outliers and American Vanguard Art written by Kendall DeBoer, University of Rochester Outliers and American Vanguard Art: National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., January 28 – May 13, 2018 High Museum of Art, Atlanta, June 24–September 30, 2018 Los Angeles County Museum of Art, November 18, 2018–March 18, 2019 Seraphine Louis, “Feuilles,” (c. 1928), oil on canvas. Attempts to highlight non-canonical artworks and their makers tend to fall into common traps. Some fetishize the identities of the artists; others gloss over identity in favor of formalist readings. Many erase narratives of inequality that the artists had intended to address with their reparative work. Lynne Cooke’s exhibition Outliers and American Vanguard Art, remarkable for its breadth and depth, evades these pitfalls in its examination of difference. Cooke’s show presents an ambitious, complex web of works connected across aesthetic, temporal, geographic, cultural, and political lines. Through her curatorial choices informed by her practice of critical fabulations, Cooke proposes new areas of inquiry and inspires meaning-making in a field that has often felt foreclosed and inaccessible. …

Jennifer Christakos’s States of Being

(title image: States of Being, 2018, installation view. ) Review of Jennifer Christakos’s States of Being (Rochester Public Market – April 2018) Written by Chenchen Yan Jennifer (Jenny) Christakos’s Senior Thesis Exhibition States of Being opened on April 6th at the Yards, a collaborative art space within the bustling Rochester Public Market. Located upstairs from Java’s Cafe, the Yards provided a showcase for three senior Studio Arts majors (Alex Cunningham, Bri Landwersiek, and Jennifer Christakos) throughout April. Each of the artists transformed one corner of the space with their artworks, which enabled fascinating dialogues. When I first entered the Yards, my attention was immediately captured by Christakos’s States of Being, which consisted of five round paintings hung on an expansive grey partition wall, with the artist statement at the left corner. All in similar tones of indigo and navy, in high contrast to light amber, they formed a series of striking depictions of the human body. Painted with acrylic, the canvases appeared in various sizes, the biggest of which was 48 inches in diameter and …

The Sublime Scenery of The Long Dark

Set on a remote island on the northwest coast of Canada, The Long Dark is a survival-exploration video game that offers an ostensibly regional vision of an otherwise global apocalypse. The player confronts the aftermath of a mysterious geomagnetic event that has rendered most modern technology inoperative and effected an extreme shift in climate. The essential task is to navigate a desolate rural environment without succumbing to starvation, cold weather or aggressive wildlife.1 Since its initial release in 2014 the game has gained a devoted following of players who prize its open-ended gameplay, permanent death system, and immersive atmosphere.2 Indeed, in response to a public survey question of “What is the 1 thing you enjoy most about The Long Dark?” one poster on the developer’s forums replied: “It’s like being in a group of seven painting, the artwork is fabulous…”3 Although expressed here with a heightened degree of specificity, the general sentiment speaks to a key aspect of The Long Dark’s appeal. Played in first person, the game employs a minimal HUD (Heads Up Display) and unobtrusive interface …

The Epicene Gaze: Rewriting the Subject Object Relationship in Siri Hustvedt’s “What I Loved”

By Harvey Wiltshire, University College London “The beautiful woman, […] was being looked at by someone outside the painting, a spectator who seemed to be standing just where I was standing” -Siri Hustvedt, What I Loved1  Attesting to the need for a reappraisal of the way that literature mishandles the visual object, Siri Hustvedt’s What I Loved—a novel of love, loss, and art— consciously acknowledges the looking subject in an attempt to rewrite traditionally gendered ways of seeing. Scopophilic and voyeuristic in nature, the looking subject subdues the looked at object, subjugating it and compounding its “otherness.” John Berger argues that, like a woman, the visual is “born within an allotted and confined space, into the keeping of men” and it is from this space that What I Loved aims to free the object and in turn our way of looking.2 However, whilst Hustvedt’s novel makes significant inroads into a reappraisal of the act of seeing, I want to suggest that What I Loved ultimately conforms to the very conventions that it rejects and, to …

“Nasty women” hitting the silent screen at Le Giornate Del Cinema Muto 2017

(title image: Rosalie et Léontine vont au théâtre, Roméo Bosetti, 1911) For its 36th edition last October, the Pordenone Silent Film Festival (Le Giornate del Cinema Muto 2017) dedicated four programs and one feature to the “nasty women” of the silent screen. Having decided to embrace the much-debated term since it was first used by then candidate, now US president, Donald Trump, curators Maggie Hennefeld and Laura Horak wanted their program to be a tribute to what became a feminist rallying cry across the United-States and abroad: “Nasty Women.” Horak and Hennefeld, both responsible for challenging publications on gender and queer studies and early cinema,1 had a simple vision in curating this program: what about women directing and acting in the early years of motion pictures? The rage and enthusiasm provoked by the term “nasty women” throughout the presidential campaign and after the election almost worked as a welcomed pretext in the compilation of a program recalling how women used to destabilize the film frame, quite literally, as the introduction of the program suggests: Long before …

Raoul Peck, Baldwin, and I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

Raoul Peck is arguably one of the most important contemporary filmmakers, and his work will continue to influence the field for years to come. I am chagrined to admit that I was only introduced to his work last year when I am Not Your Negro was released, but had become an avid fan by the time the credits rolled. Peck was born in Haiti, but fled during the to the Congo from Papa Doc’s presidency, eventually attending school in the Congo, the United States, and France. His extensive filmography, most of which have been produced or co-produced by his own production company, Velvet Film, features documentary and feature films alike. The subject matter that these films vary widely, but always with a keen eye towards the political. His 2004 feature film Sometimes in April, starring Idris Elba, concerns the Rwandan genocide, while The Man By The Shore, made in 1993, is a fictional rendering of a young girl’s experiences in Haiti under the regime of Francois Duvalier. Incidentally, The Man By The Shore was also, …

No Party Favors: A Review of Happy Birthday, Mr. Hockney at the Getty Center

It seems entirely appropriate for a celebration of David Hockney’s eightieth birthday to take place in Los Angeles. The party is being held at the Getty Center with a small exhibition of self-portraits and photographic compositions. The Getty is, of course, one of the world’s preeminent photography institutions, and Hockney’s work sits comfortably among the center’s milieu. Hockney’s self-created mythos, which he carefully constructs through his drawn and painted self-portraits, revolves entirely around Southern California. Despite other parties being held for him around the world, this location is ideal. Anyone familiar with Hockney’s work will not be surprised to see that elements of domestic life in Southern California recur throughout the exhibition. One expects to find swimming pools, lounge chairs, and outdoor decks in Hockney’s art, but it is important to consider how these examples (which are mostly culled from the 1980s) differ from his earlier pieces. The British artist’s work from the 1960s has become synonymous with stereotypes about the Golden State: sexy, colorful, and superficial. Hockney’s early California paintings boldly combine these stereotypes …

sub-stack protocols: digital borders and coloniality

by Nolan Dennis Introduction. This paper serves as a sketch for an experimental political cartography of stack-world. A world inscribed by planetary-scale computational infrastructure in which telecommunication network infrastructure is overlaid directly on a neo-colonial meta-infrastructure of an equal scale. This paper explores the notion of borders and borderization through the implications of what Benjamin Bratton describes as the the dramatic re-inscription and reinforcement “of state sovereignty and supervision over information flows” within a globalized computational infrastructure.1 This idea of state supervision is parsed through an expanded notion of borders, in which zones of control are articulated as a form of representation and informationalization of bodies. This paper looks at the ways in which these data-bodies form a techno-political apparatus of governance which is contiguous and continuous with colonial and racist techniques of control across time and place. Reading this techno-social apparatus through Bratton’s description of the dynamic between the archaic and the emergent, this paper explores correspondence of these protocols to what Cameroonian philosopher Achille Mbembe describes in post-colonial Africa as “[how] social-actors continued to …

Before Pictures: An interview with Douglas Crimp

Douglas Crimp is an art critic and the Fanny Knapp Professor of Art History at the University of Rochester. He is the author and editor of numerous books, including Melancholia and Moralism: Essays on AIDS and Queer Politics, “Our Kind of Movie”: The Films of Andy Warhol, On the Museum’s Ruins, and AIDS: Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism. Crimp was the curator of the landmark Pictures exhibition at Artists Space in 1977. He is widely known for his work with the “Pictures Generation” and his influence is extensively recognized in a varied range of disciplines such as art history and criticism, LGBTQ studies, political activism, and dance studies. Part autobiography and part cultural history, Crimp’s latest book Before Pictures, offers a moving and intimate account of his experience as a young queer man and aspiring art critic in the late ’60s and ’70s in New York. Douglas Crimp remains a formative figure in the Visual and Cultural Studies Graduate Program at the University of Rochester, at which InVisible Culture is based. The following interview with the Managing Editor of InVisible …

(In)Visibility: Film Series at the Dryden Theatre

This fall, InVisible Culture proudly publishes its 25th issue, Security and Visibility, which considers the relationship between surveillance and the visual arts. In honor of this milestone, members of InVisible Culture‘s Editorial Board are working in collaboration with Jurij Meden, Curator of Film Exhibitions at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY and Tara Najd Ahmadi, University of Rochester Fellow at the George Eastman Museum, to present a film series that expands Issue 25’s theme into a cinematic register. The act of looking inherently structures the relation between the spectator and the viewed subject in dynamic terms. Traditionally, the viewer is understood to occupy a position of control over the subject of his or her gaze. This series, titled (In)Visibility, highlights the complexities of this association: what happens when the observer becomes vulnerable, and how can the observed find power in being watched? Set in a variety of locations, from the fashion world of 1970s New York City to an angel-occupied 1980s West Berlin to a contemporary militarized zone in Afghanistan, these films reveal the precarious nature of viewing, and remind …

Lynching 2.0

The video found on the website of The Guardian, has a “tag” of Eric Garner’s name right above the full title: “‘I can’t breathe’: Eric Garner put in chokehold by NYPD officer – video.” The British newspaper’s logo sits in the top right corner of the video frame, while in the bottom is another designation: “Daily News.” These watermarks, proprietary claims on the video and its contents remain throughout the whole of the two minutes and forty-eight seconds video – not so subtle reminders of who owns this particular iteration of this specific event. There’s a title card disclaimer: “Warning: contains distressing images,” just before the video starts. The video itself is relatively low resolution – there is none of the crispness of high definition capture – and shot in portrait rather than wide-screen landscape, leaving the video itself to be columned by two large black empty spaces. The first sounds beyond the hiss of background noise consist of two voices – one diegetic (Eric Garner) and one non-diegetic – saying almost simultaneously “I aint do …

Representing Anti-Vaccination: From James Gillray to Jenny McCarthy

The natural body meets the body politic in the act of vaccination, where a single needle penetrates both. – Eula Biss, On Immunity: An Inoculation1 In the 1802 colored etching for the Anti-Vaccine Society, “The Cow-Pock—or—the Wonderful Effects of the New Inoculation!,” James Gillray, a political cartoonist, sensationalizes the scene of inoculation. Depicted in the center of the frame is Jenner using his lancet to penetrate the arm of a seated working woman. Surrounding them is a crowd of vaccinated patients who are in various states of bovine transformation – some growing horns and even erupting miniature cows like smallpox buboes from their bodies. The contemporary anti-vaccination movement first gained momentum in part due to a widely-circulated 1998 paper,2 written by Andrew Wakefield and published in The Lancet, which claimed a connection between the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine and autism. Despite the exposure of Wakefield’s unethical distortion of experimental data and the later retraction of the paper by the journal, many, including high-profile celebrities like Jenny McCarthy and Donald Trump, have continued to be public proponents …

“The Sundance Kid is Beautiful with Christopher Knowles” at the University of Rochester

A longtime collaborator of the artist Christopher Knowles once said, “everything Christopher knows makes sense, but not in the way we are familiar with.”[1] Indeed, Knowles’s work functions according to its own logic. Articles and prepositions propagate in excess. Single words, groups of words, and larger blocks of phrasing repeat, proliferating to a point at which the implied meaning of the language begins to unravel. This disintegration allows us to focus on the text’s material qualities—the sound and rhythm of the phrasing, the shape and color of the words on the page—rather than on its implied meaning or content. Born in 1959 in New York City, Knowles exhibited a fascination with the aural elements of language at an early age. He began writing and performing concrete poetry in his early teenage years, and recorded these works, which are composed of spoken dialogue that often repeats and overlaps, using multiple cassette tape recorders simultaneously. Knowles began to perform publicly in 1973 after meeting the renowned theater director and artist Robert Wilson, who had been introduced to …

Call for Papers: Geographies of Interruption: Body, Location, and Experience

Geographies of Interruption: Body, Location, and Experience The 23rd Annual Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies International Graduate Conference April 8, 2016 at the University of Rochester Featuring Keynote Speaker: Jasbir Puar, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University Each year, a diverse group of participants gather in Rochester, NY for a graduate conference held by the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies. This conference aims to foster an environment of interdisciplinary communication, knowledge exchange, and collaboration. We take geography to be the practice and process of mapping bodies, spaces, and experiences. In particular, we hope to inspire questions concerning the interruptions of such geographies, especially those relating to gender and sexuality. Such questions might include, but are not limited to: How does social, bodily, and geographical mobility complicate the mapping of spaces and bodies? How do media forms constitute counter­geographies? Does sharing a photo of a fallen Syrian refugee on one’s Facebook timeline intervene in a meaningful way? In what ways are sexed and/or sexualized bodies …

In-flight viewing

“My hypothesis (and as I state it, I’m trying to see if it holds up) is that a reversal has occurred. At the risk of reducing things to caricature, I’d tend to say that we’ve become very mobile in relation to images which have become more and more immobile.” -Serge Daney1 Another transpacific journey, and it seems the airline has discontinued serving complimentary alcoholic beverages. I swear the passenger across an empty seat at the aisle was on the same flight last fall. A pro, she had cocooned herself in the provided blanket, ordered a beer, and watched films on the small monitor installed in the back of the seat in front of her. I followed suit, as daytime drinking shifted to a permanent midnight of the sky. The only signal she was awake was the dull light from her LCD screen or hands atop the folding tray table holding a small book with removable cover. Could it be the same pale cloth cover now? The same woman on an annual journey corresponding to my own …

“I am Kenji” and the Indignity of Wearing the Others’ Look

Figure 1. “I AM KENJI,” Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/IAmKenjiGoto (Accessed March 8, 2015). On January 20, 2015, ISIS released a ransom video featuring two Japanese hostages identified as Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa. That same day, Goto’s friend Taku Nishimae started a Facebook page titled “I am Kenji,” and subsequently posted a photograph of himself holding a letter-sized card bearing the same three words (Figure 1). The accompanying text invited others to do the same to “show that we are united.”1 Nishimae’s photograph is difficult to look at, not only because his fatigued face betrays his shock and distress at the news of his friend’s captivity, but also because it foreshadows a photograph that ISIS would release five days later. “Foreshadowing” might be an inaccurate word choice given that the photograph in question was likely a conscious mimicking of Nishimae’s image, if not of its model, namely, the mass spectacle of the anti-terror marches staged in the wake of the assassinations of the cartoonists and staff of Charlie Hebdo whose slogan Je suis Charlie (“I am Charlie”) …

Indigenous Futurisms

A mix tape opens with a NASA countdown. It transitions to the words of John Mohawk, journalist, negotiator in regional and global conflicts, and Indigenous activist of the Seneca Turtle Reserve. The beats that follow are ambient, rhythmic, and transient; each fragment of a song, speech or manifesto morphs into the next without abating.

The Threads that Bind Us

In the home of an unknown Belgian collector, Ghada Amer’s work, La Belle Au Bois Dormant (1995) dances alone. The instillation consists of a white dress, a red dress, a chair, a mannequin and a music box. The red dress is entirely deflated, while the white dress appears starched and up right. The white dress hangs on a headless mannequin that has been rigged to spin in slow circles, constantly rotating the dress. The viewer gets the sense that the dress was made for the mannequin, not for an actual woman. While the red dress is entirely flat and has no sheen, the white dress appears to be glowing. The white dress is made from a heavy-weighted silk and the threads that embroider the dress interrupt the material’s radiance. Although the embroidery on the dress holds the complete text of the children’s fairy tail, The Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault, the exposed threads make the letters almost entirely illegible.1 What makes this work so mesmerizing is how Amer transforms these five ordinary objects into a …

Launching InVisible Culture Issue 21: Pursuit

InVisible Culture: An Electronic Journal of Visual Culture (IVC), published through the University of Rochester’s graduate program in Visual and Cultural Studies, is pleased to announce the launch of Issue 21: “Pursuit.” For this issue, we invited scholars and artists to explore ways pursuit manifests at both the individual and collective levels. What we received revealed the dual nature and contradictory inner-logic of pursuit: its focused trajectory coupled with its tendency to turn back on itself, operating in ways circuitous, surprising, vexing, and destructive. Authors Janet Wolff, Joel Gn Hong Zhan, Christopher Schubert and Timothy Welsh, Carolyn L. Kane, Diego Costa, artists Adam Sulzdorf-Liszkiewicz and Anton Hand, Erin Johnson, Paul Qaysi, Clint Enns, Walter Forsberg contributed articles and works of art that address at least two distinct but interrelated forms of pursuit which we are perpetually undertaking: technological pursuit and spatial pursuit. Issue 21: Pursuit (Fall 2014) IVC is a student run interdisciplinary journal published online twice a year in an open access format. Through peer-reviewed articles, creative works, and reviews of books, films, and exhibitions, our …