Author: IVC Author

Contributors / Issue 30 : Poetics of Play

Iasmin Omar Ata is a Middle Eastern & Muslim award-winning comics artist, game designer, and illustrator who creates art about coping with illness, understanding identity, dismantling oppressive structures, and Arab-Islamic futurism. Their recent graphic novel, Mis(h)adra, has resonated with readers and reviewers alike with its vivid and searingly honest account of epileptic lived experience. Iasmin has been reviewed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, The Electronic Intifada, Library Journal, NPR, and such; they’ve taught & spoken at the New York Public Library and Harvard University. They thrive on dedication, dreams, and hard work — and believe wholeheartedly in the healing power of art. Grant Bollmer is the author of three books, Inhuman Networks: Social Media and the Archaeology of Connection (2016, Bloomsbury), Theorizing Digital Cultures (2018, SAGE), and Materialist Media Theory: An Introduction (2019, Bloomsbury). He is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at North Carolina State University, where he teaches in the Department of Communication and the Ph.D. program in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media (CRDM), and is an Honorary Associate of the Department of Media …

The Kinesthetic Index: Video Games and the Body of Motion Capture

Written by Grant Bollmer In this essay, I present a history of the graphic adventure genre of video and computer games and its attempts at achieving a kind of cinematic realism through the registration of the body. In reviewing the history of this genre, I contextualize some early attempts to use motion capture and rotoscoping to incorporate human bodies into games, arguing that representation in games and other forms of digital media should be conceived not as deferring to the visual, but as reliant on the kinesthetic. While the visual presence of a human body may no longer be a coherent source of any link between a representation and physical reality, motion brings together digital images with the reality inscribed into media. This involves numerous questions about realism, indexicality, and affect, which I aim to intertwine and unfold below. In making this argument, I demonstrate three things. First, digital images are condensations of specific—if multiple—bodies that persist as representations that have some link with the physical world.1 Second, realism in games has long relied on …

Being

By Iasmin Omar Ata “We are the wound in the Arab world … everyone watches what happens to us.” –Nader Said1 Being is an abstract adventure game that explores, from a future lens, the past and present of the Palestinian lived experience.2 In the story of Being, the Palestinian diaspora has extended to outer space as the Earth crumbles. You play as a Palestinian cadet, sent back down to Earth by the colony, on a mission to recover artifacts, memories, and messages from a region near an old border. Your ship crashes into a ruined complex of houses; you step out of your ship into an eerie, red-light room. There are three doors around you and a table in the middle of the room, on which appear to be a cassette player as well as a cassette tape—but parts of the ribbon seem to be cut out. Curious as to what it would say, you begin looking around to see if the tape pieces are nearby. The first zone of the game focuses on memories …

The Origin Tapes

By Beina Xu The Origin Tapes is an essay film borne from the discovery of a suitcase of unseen VHS tapes recording my family’s migration from China to the U.S. in the 1980s. They contained images of landmark moments in personal and collective history: the first time I meet my father—which is also the first time I set foot in the U.S.—as well as footage of the Tiananmen riots of 1989, and late family members. Spellbound, I embarked on an emotionally arduous process to digitize and watch them for the first time. What emerged was a documented process of encounter—an archaeology of love. Years of migration and distance have strained—at times estranged—relations within my family. There was a marked gap between the way I felt about my upbringing, and the feeling the tapes transmitted to me in the moment I watched them, as if I actually lived two lives: “first as a child, then as an adult, with a screen of forgetfulness erected somewhere between them” (MacDougall 2006:69). How does one perceive love? And how …

Queerstory on Art and Sex: What’s love got to do with it?

By Trish Nixon Visceral desire, pleasures of the flesh, A pulsating heat that is all consuming A gaze that touches melting you into a pool of ecstasy My aim is to articulate truthfully what it means to inhabit my body. Rawness, pleasure, and deviant behavior are what excites me most. Currently, my studio practice is taking me on a search for a new kind of imagery, one where lines are blurred between gender constructs. The work crosses into various fields from painting to digital media. Installation and performance are also appropriate platforms. Food and self-pleasure are a consistent theme throughout. My images allow me the freedom to embrace my sexual body anyway I please. I do not seek to establish a barrier between my work and explicit imagery. Nor do I seek to align my work with a grand aesthetic theme. At this time, my images speak to sexual desires and fetishes outside of a normative framework surrounding the body. It is within this framework where I express my queerness, my vulnerability, and my need …

Amores Postmodernos

Featured image: Uy aqui y donde sea By Martin F. Wannam “Amores Postmodernos”a photographic series that explores queer subjects from Guatemala City with a contemporary narrative base of social media, sex, gender and sexuality created with religious symbolism as a way of proposing political disturbance to people that impose the norm by showing pleasure of a queer lifestyle. I want my work to render visible a community of humans that seek a queer heterotopia. As Michel Foucault suggests, “queer heterotopias are places where individuals can challenge the hereronormative regime and are free to perform their gender and sexuality without being qualified, marginalized or punish”.1 All of the subjects are friends or strangers that were encountered through my daily life, via social media, hookup apps, or circles of friends that in their own way are disrupting gender norms by exploring and experimenting with crafting a queer identity.  In thinking, in particular, about how queer love behaves towards oneself or to others, it cannot be defined by the norm but is defined through sexual practice or aesthetically transforming one´s …

Love in the dark

By Alexandra Halkias Love is colonized and recolonized. Never having been pure, technically love no longer can be said to exist really. Hallmark cards and diamonds, laws, LGBTQI+ struggles for its recognition, gowns, roses and designated beneficiaries populate the domain; not just the name is given. The very ground is gone. the grey melding of selves mundane lemon slice blood in the eyes the fury and the ice if anything manages to slither between  Anything There is an image of a father, a father who is dead.  The dead body in the bed.  Eyes closed, who closed them? The paid home carer. We got there a few minutes past. For almost an hour we talked to you, I held your hand, the doctor is coming, daddy. We called, he is coming. The color of the face, the position of the mouth. Sideway glances. The look of the mouth. My sister whispers to me, is he breathing? Holding your hand. Rubbing it. The way you used to rub ours. Realization dawns. Such words. The doctor comes. …

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 …

Black and White and Back: Reversed Negatives in Rula Halawani’s series “Negative Incursions”

by Sherena Razek Figure 1 Rula Halawani, Untitled XII, Negative Incursion series, 2002, archival print, 90 x 124 cm, edition of 5. Photograph courtesy of the artist and Ayyam Gallery. Write down! I am an Arab I have a name without a title Patient in a country Where people are enraged My roots Were entrenched before the birth of time And before the opening of the eras Before the pines, and the olive trees And before the grass grew – Mahmoud Darwish, “Identity Card”1 Acclaimed Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish expresses the inherent frustration of the Palestinian condition of invisible visibility in his 1964 poem “Identity Card.”2 Addressing an existence that is often negated, confined, and erased under Israeli colonial occupation, Darwish’s poetry speaks to a population that since 1948 has been constantly watched, but never seen. Half a century later, Darwish’s poetry maintains its relevance as the occupation continues to suppress and expand its hold on Palestinian territory. In 2002 during the Second Intifada, or Second Palestinian Uprising, Israeli Defence Forces launched “Operation Defensive Shield,” the …

Dying in Full Detail: Mortality and Digital Documentary

Review by Gwynne Fulton, Concordia University Malkowski, Jennifer. Dying in Full Detail: Mortality and Digital Documentary. Durham: Duke University Press, 2017. 264 pp. In Dying in Full Detail: Mortality and Digital Documentary, Jennifer Malkowski, Professor of Film & Media Studies at Smith College, looks at the intersection of death (as a corporeal and physiological process) and documentary (as a genre and mode of representation) in the digital era. Malkowski’s critical reappraisal of documentary death interrogates the desire to represent death in “full detail,” from analogue photography and film through live-streaming of digital video on mobile platforms. The desire to capture death, Malkowski notes, has “attracted many cameras” (3). It has been variously subject to cultural taboo and fascination; it persists in many modes and across multiple media, serving shifting social and political functions. In “Looking at War,” Susan Sontag registers 1945 as a pivotal turning point in representations of “death in the making.”1 New mobile lightweight technologies registered the brutal cost of modern warfare as never before, impelling debate about the incredible risk and imperious ethical necessity …