BCNM is delighted to welcome three PhD, two MA, and one MFA candidate into the Designated Emphasis and Certificate program. Applications this semester were phenomenal and we’re thrilled by the unique perspectives each of our new students will bring to the Center.
Ms. Grace Gipson is a 2nd year doctoral student in the African American & African Diaspora Studies program with a designated emphasis in New Media at the University of California Berkeley. Grace’s area of research interests center on various representations of race and gender within black popular culture specifically in comic books, Afrofuturism and comic books, and performances of blackness. Her current research project includes offering a historical and cultural analysis of the visual aesthetics of Afrofuturism via the mediums of graphic novels and comic books, and their connection/linkage to the African Diasporic Imaginary. Professor Darrieck Scott has said that Grace is a “fearless and passionate young scholar whose eventual dissertation promises to blaze a trail in the emerging field of Comics Studies.” Grace’s research is at the heart of BCNM’s interdisciplinary critical inquiry as she assembles an archive of images and text and crafts “ways of reading and thinking about an understudied form of representation that partake of more familiar literary and visual forms but are distinct from them.”
Ryan Ikeda, Rhetoric, examines imbrications of technics and aesthetics among Cold War American poetry. While this interest evokes mediations of subjectivity, material iterability, and techno-determinisms, he focuses more immediately on the aesthetic possibilities afforded by new technical devices: the new ways of perceiving, thinking, and creating that each subject affords. In particular, he is studying Flarf —performance based, Google-SEO-generated poetry — as an exercise in cybernetic management since Flarf allows readers to critique not just the database, but the process of knowledge-making based on the Google related superstructure. He also explores Kenneth Goldsmith’s incorporation of the mechanization of the digital world in his art, considering how the writer’s capitulation to medium, medium-specificity and mediation makes creativity and expressivity exclusively human functions in a digital age. Ryan has also served as an editor for Essay Press, which publishes digital and print books.
Ursula Kwong-Brown, Music, is a composer of instrumental and electronic music for the concert hall and the stage. Her work has been performed in diverse venues such as Carnegie Hall, le Poisson Rouge and the Manhattan Movement & Arts Center in NYC, St Paul’s Chapel and Miller’s Theatre at Columbia University, and the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Ursula attended the Royal College of Music in London and Columbia University in New York where she received the Sudler Arts Prize and graduated with honors with a B.A. in music and biology. Her main composition teachers have been Tristan Murail, Justin Dello Joio, Edmund Campion and Ken Ueno. She is currently pursuing doctoral studies in composition at Berkeley University in California with support from a Mellon-Berkeley Fellowship and a focus on cross-disciplinary media.Ursula creates mixed media projects involving music and video. Currently, she is working on a series of installations, as well as exploring how musical training exposure affects perception, and designing sensors that alter playing techniques with real-time control over sound and video parameters. Through the Designated Emphasis, Ursula hopes to have the opportunity to devise and prototype such devices, while she gains a deeper theoretical knowledge of historical, political, and social contexts for the media that she uses in her work so that she understands the broader impact of her practice. For more information on Ursula’s work, visit www.ursulakwongbrown.org
Clement Hil Goldberg
Clement Hil Goldberg’s current research in the Art Practice MFA program challenges the anthropocentric gaze in order to engage an earthy triumvirate, a multiplicity of animal-landscape-other enacted to push against cultural erasure and assimilation. In collusion with a lineage of queer artists who have responded to systemic failure through anthropomorphic animal allegory, Goldberg constructs cross kingdom affiliations to render the non-normative as protagonist in order to make the case for wild life and wildlife as late stage capitalism becomes irreversible cataclysm. Primarily working in film, animation and sculpture, Clement’s work blends digital technologies with handmade fabrication. Their latest effort, Our Future Ends is a sculptural installation and experimental live action and animated film project based on near extinct lemurs. Prior work includes a recent stop motion web series about deer and fungi, The Deer Inbetween<thedeerinbetween.com>
Pablo Paredes, CS PhD candidate, hopes to focus on developing new interfaces that reflect the needs of humans as then related to urban environments. He has participated as the graduate student instructor (GSI) for the Sensing Cityscapes class, which created new technology mixing 3D printing with embedded electronics to create novel urban interfaces. Pablo is also currently working with Prof. Greg Niemeyer to create a demo for the city of San Leandro to showcase the use of sensors that will allow us to transform a new metric pedestrians/m2/second into fun and engaging interfaces, which should enhance security, walkability and development in urban environments. They are currently working on also creating a company that supports the concept, named Urban.io, which will focus on using the interactive lights and pedestrian sensing to develop novel interactive experiences for cities, campuses and buildings.
John Baxter Smith
John Baxter Smith, CED, is interested in developing sensor-based applications for his design projects. In the past, he has designed and prototyped landscape scaled robots whose programming and actions sought to modify a Bay edge site of abandoned salt flats over time. He has represented this concept both through traditional architectural drawings and the drawings produced through the actions of the robots, drones, and intelligent agents. Nicholas De Monchaux, a Professor at CED, says Baxter is “creative and deliberate when it comes to questions of media, technology, and representation.”