Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rough Documentation of A Generation in 5 Portals

Check out the documentation of the 5 screen step into a Generation of (his)Story through 5 different portals. Part of the (his)Story: A Generation of Documentation.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

MMC Against the NPIC

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

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; but, the rags to riches story is not sustainable.

Currently, BP is attempting 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. At the same time, 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.

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. Everyday companies attempt to purchase our identities, our bodies, our souls. The draw us in with fancy advertisements, and promises to make our lives better, easier, to bring us everything we want quickly without penalty. But time and time again we must remember we cannot buy happiness.

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 very nature of capitalism depends on concentrating power among a small group. It depends on scarcity. It depends on inequality.

The goal of liberal interpretations capitalism is equality, but what I seek is equity. There is no equity in the capitalist system.

“From their inception foundations focused on research and dissemination of information designed ostensibly to ameliorate social issues – in a manner, however, that did not challenge capitalism” (Smith 4)

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 manufactured ignorance to the complexity of capitalist systems as well as the underhanded controlling of funders and those at the top to ensure they stay at the top. The very nature of the free market blinds us to the dangers of oppressive systems.

The Non-Profit industrial complex is held captive to the grant funding systems that provide these NGOs with the money necessary to survive in a capitalist economy. These funders are connected to power, money and influence. In the book, Selling Out, Alexandra Chasin examines the relationship of capital to citizenship and specifically the evolution of identity based on capital within the Gay community.

“Capital does not stay inside the boundaries of identity-based communities. Neither does it stay inside of national boundaries. Like mercury to mercury, capital tends to go to capitalists, wherever they are, sloughing off the traces of any identity it might temporarily appeared to have bourne.” (Chasin 52)

As movements become co-opted, buying into capitalism and confusing greater capital with equality their messages and ability to control their message becomes co-opted by these forces. And we are stuck once again attempting to destroy the master’s house with his tools. Capitalism cannot fix what capitalism has wrought.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


a lot of this project still only exists in the process, in an attempt to bring some of those stories out this is the first in what will be many snippets of journal entries that have contributed to this process

From October of 2010 - 8 years later

Both of my grandmothers died in October of 2002. I was 13. How do I reconcile my relationship to my grandmothers? In the last 8 years so much of my relationship to them has been formed in fantasy. I was denied the opportunity to form a mature relationship with them and I was cut off on the brink of maturity. My grandmothers couldn't make it to my Bat Mitzvah, they were both too sick at the time, one with alzthiemers, the other, with lung cancer.

My fathers mother, my jewish grandmother, listened to the service through my Aunts cell phone. When I went to visit her afterward I barely recognized the old woman sitting in the bed. It was 5 months before her death. She died on Columbus Day, a monday. The funeral was on wednesday. Her house felt so empty when we entered on Tuesday to clean up and make calls.

Her collection of sad clowns seemed fitting for the occasion. This house no longer held the warmth of the woman who made apple cake and briscut. My memories of her are so fleeting, I wonder what she would think of me today. It makes me sad that there are parts of me that I never got to share with her. But she was a woman who shaped me. The stories I hear of her give me strength, hope and laughter. She says her whole life started when she left Scranton for Philadelphia. She came to nursing school in the midst of WWII for nurse training and subsequent army service. But the war ended before her training and so she never had to serve. In her stories about nursing school we are at the same stage in our lives, her and I, but the context is also so different.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

(his)story: A Generation of Documentation

The multi-media installation component of this project was installed at Hampshire College over April 7th & 8th.

(his)Story: A Generation of Documentation

My life has been intensely documented, from both the inside and outside.

I can trace my existence not only in my memories and family stories, but also in the videos and photographs that document each moment. I am seeking power from this documentation, the power of another perspective on my lived experience. The documentation of my life gives me an alternative telling to supplement my own story.

My generation is the generation that grew with the Internet. Entering a Post-Cold War word, our lives are perpetually shaped by the means thru which we communicate in a globalized, digitized world.

Digital space is so vast while also so limited. Digital space manipulates our physical borders, bringing us closer to those who are far away and farther from those who are closest. The space stretches to the edge of infinity but our use of it is constrained by our ability to navigate effectively. This new frontier is full of possibility but also limitations if we don’t learn to properly harness its power.

What of my history is left in the place where I grew up? My identity has been physically erased by the system it was forced into, references to my sexuality censored from high schools archives. This leaves a tainted legacy, an invisible history. Pouring into my families’ memories I wonder what is left out? What is kept? What is hidden? How do we decipher the secrets of the past, what do we leave for the future?

The pieces in this show represent the documentation of our stories, in forms we are all too familiar with and in ways that subtly expose our memories and associations while challenging us to form new ones. We choose to document our lives, through pictures, video, stories, social media and more. We choose to leave behind documentation of our stories, our struggles and our triumphs. We seek to find ourselves within the broader context of these narratives, to understand our place within the world, to understand ourselves, our identities.

(his)Story is an intervention into our notions of history. (his)Story disrupts our perception of historical narrative and embraces the possibility of multiple concurrent historical narratives.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

From History to Memory Work: its about collecting the fragments

“In acknowledging the performative nature or remembering, memory work takes on board remembering’s productivity and encourages the practitioner to use the pretexts of memory, the traces of the past that remain in the present as raw material in the production of new stories about the past. These stories may heal the wounds of the past. They may also transform the ways individuals and communities live in and relate to the present and the future.” (Family Secrets, Annette Kuhn, p158)

September 11th, 2001. It is a day that we all remember differently, a day that history has already started to write a narrative around; the Pearl Harbor or Kennedy assassination of my generation. I was 12 years old on September 11th, my 7th grade class was on a bus headed from outside Philly to Western CT for a overnight, Jewish camping program. We were watching “The Mask” on the TVs on the bus, and I had drifted into a sleep somewhere in northern Jersey. I remember waking up and commenting sleepily to my friend, seated next to me about how it was so strange that there were big factories in a city like that. It was the first time I ever remember seeing the New York Skyline.

Those of us who owned cell phones at the time, of which I was not one, had not been allowed to bring them on the trip. But some of the teachers had phones. Soon they began frantically calling people. Rumors spread quickly throughout the bus, planes had flown into the Twin Towers. Or something, we weren’t sure. A hijacking, maybe? No one knew if it was an accident or not. People started screaming, crying, taking pictures.

I remember somebody said “we are watching history right now”. I remember that moment so distinctly. This idea in my head, what we were watching was this really big moment. Something was happening.

The day continues to be a blur. We pulled over at a rest stop, turned around and when we got back to the school they were all being really nice to us and gave us bagels. A lot of people were still crying, I didn’t really understand, but I remember trying to cry along. I remember my mom had been really worried about me when I finally got home that afternoon. She said she wanted to drive up there and find me and bring me back. I didn’t really want to do anything that afternoon, I sat and played on the computer and watched TV. I wanted to watch the news but she wouldn’t let me. She said they were just going to play the same thing over and over again and I didn’t need to see that. So I watched Nickelodeon.

Since that one day a lot of things have been made of it. With new statements and connotations, different parts of this memory come up, different images from television and movies supplement the memories of the towers in my own head. I snapped these pictures on my disposable camera that day, you cant see anything as well as we actually could. But they capture that day for me. A few snapshots to throw into the national memory, different experiences, different places, it’s a day we all remember differently.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why Mapping?

From Ashely Hunt’s “A World Map IN WHICH WE SEE” to classic mercator projections, maps serve as a visual representation of position, perception and power. Maps are used to guide and explain. When in the wrong hands they can be tools of propaganda and misrepresentation. They can also be powerful tools of social activism and organizing. We depend on geographic maps as representations of reality and yet the politics of power often skew what version of reality is displayed. We trust maps to guide us and because of this they hold a great ability to mold our perceptions. This mystical power has always drawn me in. As with other forms of visual representation maps can reach across borders of access while simultaneously creating and maintaining them.

Ashley Hunt - A World Map IN WHICH WE SEE-


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Re-Mapping Our (his)Stories -- Breaking it Down

Re: Remembering, Retelling, Rethinking

This project is about examining the things that are often left out of vast histories intended to appeal to wide majorities. Exploring the detail and the scale of experience and identity through history brings us to question how we have and how we will think about and represent history.

Mapping: New ways to look at the information we are given; creating our own representations

Mapping, in all its forms, from geographic, to data, is a representation. This project explores the ways that different representations can effect our reactions, our understandings and our memories. Using mapping and other such visual tools allows us to shed new light on representations of history.

Our: Giving people the space and tools to tell their own stories

The primary goal of this project is to diversify the voices from which we hear history. Often history is portrayed as a single narrative, however this narrative does not account for the experiences of most people. This project is about telling the stories of real people and communities; our stories, our lives, our histories.

(his): taking the (his) out of history.

Using an anti-patriarchal model is crucial to this work that seeks to break the power system under which history, as we know it is skewed and tainted in its portrayal. The project seeks to shift the focus away from the male, resisting the mainstream narrative that is constantly shoved down our throats.

Stories: using stories to put together all the pieces of the puzzle.

The power of a communal history lies in the telling of stories, both individual tales and group narratives. Telling our stories together brings power to those stories and this project seeks to strengthen narratives of history by encouraging the archiving, exploration and use of these stories.