Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Timelines and Storytelling with Teen Leadership Seminar!

During the Teen Leadership Seminar at Mishkan Shalom Synagogue in Philadelphia last sunday we got to build a collaborative timeline using events from our lives, the news and the synagogues history then everyone picked out one event and shared their memories and thoughts with us:








Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Updates!

After a long period of waiting for decisions on grants relentlessly. I have recieved $350 from the Social Venture Fund at Hampshire College to go towards the purchase of a Flip Camera and DvDs/DvD cases. Additionally, they are donating 40 blank notebooks for use in the programs.

This brings the fundraising total up to $1,000. It's nice to get the extra digit in there.

More updates to come soon!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Re-Mapping Our (his)Stories: Synopsis

On the edge of a digital revolution the ways that we get and receive information are constantly changing. But one thing remains constant, our history, or does it? How do we see ourselves? Our histories? Re-mapping Our (his)Stories is a project that changes our perceptions of history by using multi-media representations of history through physical installation and online archive to change the way that we look at history. Allowing ourselves to see the patterns and cycles in histories so that we can build together for a better future.

Re-Mapping Our (his)Stories is a collection of stories, a preservation of lives and a reconstruction of histories. Untold stories posses the power to analyze, restructure and overthrow the systems that hold us captive. Through work running youth programming, academic research and personal, artistic reflection I will be creating a multi-media installation as well as an online collaborative community archive. The two products are mirrors of themselves one occupying physical space and the other occupying digital space, both seeking to understand the relationship between time and space and asking the question, what happens when we attempt to map time.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Feminist Media



Video Created during the Feminist Media Workshop as part of the Make/Shift RecLAmation Tour's stop in Amherst MA!

October 18th, 2010.

For more on Make/Shift RecLAmation - http://www.makeshiftreclamation.com/

The event was co-sponsored by the Feminist United Collective, Queer Community Alliance, Trans/Genderqueer Student Alliance and the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program at Hampshire College.

Thoughts on Feminism - a work in process

When I was a child I had a Barbie that I played with topless. My mother and aunt jokingly named her Michigan Barbie. Years later I stumbled on pictures of topless women in the 80s outside, somewhere. When confronted my mother explained they that was the Michigan Womyns Festival. Years later I heard the hilariously different versions of the time that my mother and aunt “accidentally” carpooled to the festival together. This is the association I grew up with to the Michigan Womyns Festival, tangled into the other stories of the women in my family, my mom and my aunt, feminists. I felt it like a legacy I was receiving and at the same time confusion with my own gender pushes me away from these definitions and associations with feminism.

When I arrived in college I was told a different narrative of Michigan. A transphobic space of rejection, not solidarity, told I would find myself more at home at Camp Trans. Michigan Womyns Festival became synonymous in this academic setting with the problems of 2nd wave feminism, no longer a place for me in the world that pushed me towards the third wave or no wave. I learned of 2nd wave feminism, and more generally feminism as an old wave, the movement of an older generation.

It is impossible for me to separate my work as an activist video maker from my experience growing up female bodied, white, Jewish, child of feminists, in a feminist synagogue. But when it came to my own personal identification this was never a term that I chose to use for myself.

As I form and examine the methodology of my current project I have come to realize just how much the 2nd wave feminist movement influences the core of my work. The lens through which I learned and have found myself to study oral history is through a feminist lens, examining the ways in which the personal is political, a crucial value of 2nd wave feminism.

Throughout my time at Hampshire I have found my work revolving around questioning the patriarchy, capitalism, and the systems of oppression they perpetuate. My work as an activist media maker is always anti-patriarchy and when it comes down to it I find myself drawn to that term more than to the term feminist. And yet, I feel, understand and know the pull towards feminism within my work. My current project centers around the concept of (his)Story, taking the ‘his’ out of history.

On Monday October 18th I partnered with Food For Thought Books in Amherst, and the Center for Feminisms, Queer Community Alliance, Trans Student Alliance, Feminist United Collective and Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program at Hampshire College to bring the Make/Shift Reclamation tour to Amherst for an afternoon workshop and evening performance. We spent the day in conversation with ourselves and each other dealing with the issues of contemporary feminism, what does that word mean and how does it influence our work? It was a good conversation, one that makes you think, that draws out the ideas that we have all been struggling with. The next day, as I was driving home after dropping the performers off at the train station to catch a train back to New York and continue with the tour I was texted by my 12 year old cousin, spurring an attempted conversation about what feminism is, opening up conversation on multiple levels in different spaces.

M- what show?

H- it was called make/shift reclamation

M- what it about?

H- feminism

M- it about friends?

H- what do you mean?

M- the show is about friends?

The moment she asked me if feminism was about friends (I believe she read it as friendinism) I realized the importance of my not brushing off this aspect of my life. Through the nature of my work I have often been forced to face the hipocracies within my life, if I advocate space for youth empowerment then who am I to shut my relatives, specifically, cousins, out of these conversations because they are not my intended audience. I want to teach them the values of the work that I do but this relationship is easily strained by family relationships. Knowing that I could not just dismiss this conversation I was then faced with the question, how do I explain feminism to this 12 year old?

to be continued…

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Re-Mapping Data References



This is an online album of screen shots of other web-based tools for data-mapping and visualization, I would like to create something along the lines of these tools.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fundraising Update

So far I have raised roughly $650 dollars to go towards the completion of this project!

This is great! I could not have done it without everyone who helped me along the way. Over the weekend my indiegogo fundraising campaign ended. It was no big deal, I barely noted the occasion. I realized a while ago that I was not going to meet my goal, but I am satisfied with the results of the campaign and the money I have right now.

The original project budget (the dream budget) is about $4,600, however, there will be ways for me to continue if this goal is not met. For one, I have started finding deals on items, such as the projector that was found by technical director, EJ, that only costs $100 instead of the originally projected $300. Additionally I expect that as time unfolds I will find other ways to trim the budget. My current barebones budget lies at $1100 and I believe that goal is easily do-able and I feel confident that I will not only meet it but exceed it.

I have also begun applying for grant funding from sources such as the Social Venture Fund at Hampshire College and Do Something, and organization that donates seed money to many youth produced projects regularly. In the near future I will continue to apply for grants as they come up.

ALSO RIGHT NOW the project is entered in the FACT Social Justice Competition:
http://www.netsquared.org/projects/re-mapping-our-hisstories

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE become a fan of the project and support this work! There are many benefits if my project does well in this contest such as consultations and funding for the project (that could potentially fund the project in full!)

Soon I will move the online fundraising component of my project to LongTail, a crowdfunding site promoting socially minded projects. While the website is still in it's beta form it will be going fully live soon and I am excited to be working with the founders of the site to host and promote the Re-Mapping Our (his)Stories project.

I want to thank everyone for helping/participating in this project so far! There is SO much more to come!

-Helyx

Monday, October 4, 2010

First Day with Teen Leadership Seminar! Introduction to Community History - I Am From

On October 3rd I had the first session of Re-Mapping Our (his)Stories with the youth at the Teen Leadership Seminar at Mishkan Shalom Synagogue in Philadelphia! The session was great. Below is the product of the session, a collaborative 'I am From' Poem:

Re-Mapping Our (his)Stories: The First Weekend, Project into Practice

On October 2nd I held the Philadelphia premier screening of El Trompo, the documentary created through the Midnight Media Coup as part of The Trek Project. The screening was a success, the event served as a promotional event and fundraiser for the Re-Mapping Our (his)Stories Project. During the screening I raised $160 dollars for the project, bringing the grand total up to $650!

After the movie was finished everyone at the screening was given a chance to paint a collaborative world map on the screen where we had just finished watching the movie. Below are pictures of the event:





Monday, September 27, 2010

The Story Box

The storybox is the physical embodiment of the Re-Mapping Our (his)Stories archive. The storybox is being created inside the frame of an old television, with turning channel knobs and plastic wood paneling. They storybox is equipped with a touch screen, camera, microphone, speakers and a projector. Using the storybox people will be able to browse the archive, create/input stories and present stories to large groups.

I believe that the TV represents a form of classic American (in reference to mainstream culture in the US) imagery. The television is a centerpiece of “modern” family life. A central location for information, family gatherings, and entertainment; however, the TV only works one-way, we are told what to watch. There is no choice in the content that comes to us and we have very limited options in relation to input. Everyday the media brings us gradually more consolidated messages. These messages tell us everything from how to look to how to think especially in relation to how we see ourselves.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Summary of the 4 Session Curriculum!

Introducing Community Histories:


Goals:
Establish and understand a sense of community.
Create an audio track
Understand the importance of history
Understand the importance of everyone’s voice

Highlights:
Creating a collaborative audio track!







What is your story?



Goals:
Understand that there are different portrayals of the same history/events
Create a community history timeline
Create some kind of visual media


Highlights:
Timeline of our own histories!
Making short video clips of our stories!






Creating a (his)Story


Goals:
Listen to someone’s history
Collaboratively create a media history.

Highlights:
Creating our own media (his)story based on an in-session interview with a community member!










Sharing (his)Story


Goals:
Reflect on the process of gathering and creating histories
Come up with a plan of action to display history work

Highlights:
Creating displays for our own (his)stories!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Reflections on the first 11 days of fundraising

Fundraising is hard. 11 Days ago I launched the fundraising campaign of my project on indiegogo- which is a crowd-funding website. Since then I have raised $115. Some of it has come from sources that I expected. Most of the donations have come from people who I was pleasantly surprised to see that she donated to me. This I suppose is the ups and downs of crowd funding. As a principle I like the concept, it’s an easy, visible and transparent way for me to put together $3000 and provide incentives for the people who donate. However, generating the interactivity with the website and the actual activity of donating has proved difficult. Many people who I was hoping would donate have not yet and I hope that the pace of fundraising will pick up in the next 49 days.

Any hints/tips out there for engaging folks in fundraising? What would help encourage you to donate???


check out and pass on the link-

http://www.indiegogo.com/Re-Mapping-Our-histories

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Capitalism Cannot Fix Capitalism- Moving Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

Initial Thoughts

One of the primary goals of the founding of the Midnight Media Coup is that I want to form the Coup as infrastructure within the goal of working within direct opposition to capitalism, including the Non-Profit Industrial Complex.

As I immerse myself in movement building through both my summer internship with the Media Mobilizing Project and my travels to Detroit I am constantly reminded that capitalism cannot fix what capitalism has created. The greed that is created by a capitalist system is directly responsible for the inequities, which are necessary for the functioning of the system. Our desire to always be at the top, to be the exception, the rags to riches story is not sustainable.

As BP attempts to clean up the mess that their greed has created the effects of the oil industry in that area are not new, and will probably be felt for decades if not centuries to come. Oil Companies in Northeastern PA continue to rob the area of its natural resources while poisoning the area and the people who live within it.

As we watch Verizon attempt to convince us that a tiered system of Internet access, that would deny the power of new media, of Internet and of voice to low-income people is a positive step in the free market place.

What we see everyday is a system that teaches us to equate citizenship, equality and worth with money. Yet, by the nature of classic economic scarcity, it is impossible for the majority of people to buy that citizenship.

The goal of liberal capitalism is equality, but what I seek is equity.

The Non-Profit Industrial Complex is a product of a system of non-profits that are captive to the capitalist system they seek to cope with. Instead of working towards legitimate change these non-profits create band-aide solutions thus continuing to ensure that they have a solid base of need to serve. This is not always due to conscious effort, but rather in my opinion manufactured ignorance to the complexity of systems.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Youth Program!

I would like to announce that I will be working with the Teen Leadership Seminar at Mishkan Shalom, the teens there will have the opportunity to create video, audio and more while studying and thinking about community in a jewish context.


Description of the Re-Mapping Our (his)Stories Program:

If you were given the chance to tell your own story, what would you say? How would you show people who you, your family and your community are?

Do you see representations of yourself in the media already? Do they portray what you and your life is really like?

As a part of the "Re-Mapping Our (his)Stories" project, you will learn the skills and be able to create your own (his)story in the form of audio tracks, zines, still pictures and even video. The finished product will become part of an archive, or collection, where people all over the world can share their own story and hear and learn from everyone else's.





Additionally! I am inviting ANY groups who want to be part of this project to contact me so that we can work together on creating a way that everyone can contribute to the creation of this collaborative, multi-media, multi-community (his)Story.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Beginning the Curriculum

10 Lessons
2 or 3 Hours each
Media Production is integrated with each lesson

This curriculum is being created in order to be implemented as part of the Re-Mapping Our (his)Stories Project. The curriculum is a crash course in media production and media literacy that uses community histories as a tool for creativity and content. Ultimately, those who participate in this curriculum will gain the skills to create a media history as well as the tools to analyze their positions in the world and ideally this will serve as a space to allow youth to empower themselves through their place within (his)story.

The lessons are being created for different age ranges, some specified, some not, anyone wishing to utilize this curriculum should pay attention to the specific needs present within their space and target the activities to fit the group.


Introduction
Community
History
Your (his)Story
Recreating
Keepers of History
Creation
Production
Presentation
Installation



I would like to start implementing and actually using this curriculum, if anyone knows of groups who would be interested in this sort of on going project they should contact me at hhconnects@gmail.com

(his)story

The L Word, Season 2, Episode 3-
(This is an extreamly brief background) For weeks now Jenny and Shane’s roommate, Mark, has been secretly recording the girls every move via hidden video camera (in the living room, kitchen, bedrooms) under the guise of “making a documentary” he has been collecting footage (While attempting to receive funding from a sleazy porn company). Jenny accidentally discovers the tapes one day and confronts Mark:

Jenny: “Do you have any sisters?”

Mark: “Yes, I have 2 younger sisters…”

Jenny: “I want you to ask them a question, and the most important thing is that you really listen to their answers, I want you to ask them about the very first time they were intruded upon by some man or a boy-.”

Mark: “What makes you think that my sisters have been intruded upon?”

Jenny: “Because there isn’t a single girl or woman in this world who hasn’t been intruded upon, and sometimes its relatively benign and sometimes its so fucking painful that you have no idea what this feels like.”



“Im going to decide when you can get those rapey cameras down, now get the fuck outta my room”


My relationship to Jenny on the L word is strenuous at best and yet there are times in which I can’t ignore her. The crudeness of the statement that there isn’t a single woman or girl in this world who has not been intruded upon by a man was strangely validating to me when I first heard it at maybe 17 years old, freshly out of the closet I spend a summer watching the L word with my girlfriend. Watching the same clip now 4 years later I am concerned with the lack of nuance in that statement and yet I feel part of me slipping away even as I write the former statement.

I do believe that there are power structures that function off of our socially constructed but mentally ingrained capitalistic society that emphasizes competition for “scarce” resources which creates the necessity of in-equality a battle which has been dominated by the straight, white, rich able-bodied, gender conforming etc. etc. etc. male.

(his)story

It is no wonder that in a world such as this the male takes a dominating position in history that ignores the roles of those who are not the straight, rich, WASP, male; specifically, within this country. This dominance thusly solidifies the role and the gaze of the male for centuries so long as it continues to be taught.

What is changed when a man is in control of the story, how does that lens modify/ignore the lives of those who are not male?

At a crossroads to understanding how to change the course of history for future generations it is necessary to learn history, real history, her-story, (his)story, my-story, your-story because together these narratives can show us errors and unite us as we fight the powers that create inequity.

Crucial to this project is my belief that through reclamation of histories communities can find space to strengthen, empower themselves and take ownership over the future. While this is not a systematic change it is my belief that gradually if people are able to re-frame the way that they see history it will change what is taught, thus creating greater systematic awareness and ability to fight the system.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Re-Mapping Our (his)Stories

Re-Mapping Our (his)Stories is a collection of stories, a preservation of lives and a reconstruction of histories. Untold stories posses the power to analyze, restructure and overthrow the systems that hold us captive. Communities must unite around stories of common history to seek the roots of oppression and fight the systems that hide those stories in the first place. Re-Mapping Our (his)Stories is a multi-media exploration of history, her-story, my-story, and your-story.

This project is being created as part of my Division III Project (similar to a senior thesis) at Hampshire College. The project consists of the creation and implementation of curriculum with youth that invites youth to re-create their own histories in the form of a 'media history' which is a hybrid of an oral history and a video project.

Ultimately these projects as well as my own 'media histories' will be showcased in an interactive historical time line as well as online which will re-map how histories are organized and presented. I believe that if we re-frame how histories are created and presented it can bring attention to the intersections and relationships between different histories.

This blog will serve as a forum for updating people on the status of the project throughout the next year.