PLASMA

The PLASMA speaker series brings cutting-edge guests to UB to discuss innovations in media art and culture shaping the new millennium communication world.

PLASMA (Performances, Lectures, and Screenings in Media Art) brings to Buffalo celebrated theorists and artists who are exhibiting in some of the world’s most renowned museums and galleries, and writing on the cutting edge of new media theory and expression.

Each event brings internationally celebrated artists to discuss varied arts practices, models, modes, examples, and experiences in media arts.

The series serves as a kind of hub as to how courses in new media, digital poetics, game studies, locative media, robotics, installation, media theory and performance arts can be experienced.

In this series you can see and interact with artists that you would encounter in New York, Europe and Latin America, offering of a rich experience for the University at Buffalo, the city and Western New York.

The series provides, not expressive answers, but raises intriguing questions, exploring new avenues in the digital age, who we are, how we interact and where we are going.

For enrolled students, the class begins at 6:00pm.

PLASMA is presented by the Department of Media Study and the College of Arts and Sciences.

PLASMA 2020.
PLASMA Speaker Series

When: Select Mondays during Spring semesters, 6:30–8:30PM
Where: 112 Center for the Arts

2020 PLASMA Schedule

January 27

 Course Introductions: John Fiege

February 3 

Cody Mejeur

TITLE: Playing and Thinking Narratively: Video Games As/For Social Justice

BIO:

Cody Mejeur is a game scholar, developer, player, and activist whose work focuses on trans, queer, and feminist studies and social justice in video games and new media. They received their PhD in English from Michigan State University with specializations in game studies, digital humanities, and college teaching. Their work uses games to theorize narrative as an embodied and playful process that constructs how we understand ourselves, our realities, and our differences. They have published on games pedagogy, gender and queerness in games, and the narrative construction of reality in journals including Feminist Media Studies and Digital Humanities Quarterly and edited collections such as Beyond the Sea: Navigating Bioshock and The Pokémon Go Phenomenon. 

Their current projects include their first monograph, Queer Narrative, Queer Play: Player Experiences and Ludic Realities in Video Games, which focuses focuses on how narrative operates in games to structure inward experiences and outward realities, and further argues that storytelling can build more inclusive and socially just realities through play. They are also the project lead on Trans Folks Walking, a 3D walking simulator game that is an anthology of trans experiences developed in collaboration with local media and LGBTQ resource centers.

They work with the LGBTQ Video Game Archive on preserving and visualizing LGBTQ representation in video games. They are also editor at One Shot: A Journal of Critical Games & Play and serve as Diversity Officer for the Digital Games Research Association.

They are currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Games Studies in the UB Department of Media Study.

WESBITE: http://cmejeur.org/

February 10 

Geoff Marslett

TITLE: Interesting Ways to Almost (sometimes) Succeed at Filmmaking

BIO:

Geoff Marslett is a director, writer, producer, animator and actor. His career started with the punk rock animated short Monkey vs. Robot before directing two narrative films MARS and Loves Her Gun, as well as producing on and acting in the experimental feature documentary Yakona. He has appeared onscreen in films like Thou Wast Mild and Lovely and Tombstone Rashomon and even a TV guest staring role as the unibomber.

He currently resides in Austin, Texas and Boulder, Colorado splitting his time between filmmaking and teaching. His work has won awards at numerous festivals including SXSW and IndieMemphis; and he was named one of Filmmaker Magazines 25 New Filmmakers to Watch in 2009.

His most recent film The Phantom 52 premiered at Sundance in 2019 and has gone on to play over 75 film festivals.

He grew up a cowboy with an interest in physics and art, and has a cat named FatFace. He still loves making things.

WEBSITE: www.swervepictures.com

 

February 17 

Jeff Deutch from Syrian Archive 

ABOUT:

Syrian Archive is a Syrian-led and initiated collective of human rights activists dedicated to curating visual documentation relating to human rights violations and other crimes committed by all sides during the conflict in Syria with the goal of creating an evidence-based tool for reporting, advocacy and accountability purposes.

Through collecting, verifying, preserving, and investigating visual documentation of human rights violations in Syria, the Syrian Archive aims to preserve data as a digital memory, to establish a verified database of human rights violations, and to act as an evidence tool for legally implementing justice and accountability as concept and practice in Syria.

The Syrian Archive aims to support human rights investigators, advocates, media reporters, and journalists in their efforts to document human rights violations in Syria and worldwide through developing new open source tools as well as providing a transparent and replicable methodology for collecting, preserving, verifying and investigating visual documentation in conflict areas.

We believe that visual documentation of human rights violations that is transparent, detailed, and reliable are critical towards providing accountability and can positively contribute to post-conflict reconstruction and stability. Such documentation can humanise victims, reduce the space for dispute over numbers killed, help societies understand the true human costs of war, and support truth and reconciliation efforts.

BIO:

Jeff Deutch: Jeff is a researcher with Syrian Archive, where he develops workflows and methodologies for open source investigations. He additionally works on verification and long-form investigations and reports. Jeff is a fellow at the Centre for Internet and Human Rightand holds a PhD from Humboldt-University in Berlin.

 

WEBSITE: https://syrianarchive.org/en

 

TUESDAY February 18 @ 7pm

Film Screening of of IM Heung-Soon's 

    "Factory Complex" at Hallwalls

Factory Complex, 2014 - By IM Heung-soon

Behind the dramatic economic development in South Korea in the recent decades, there is a tale of oppression, especially of the marginalized female laborers. The film invites us to consider the lives of working-class women in the textile industry in the 1960s as the context for the continued struggles of women today who labor as flight attendants, cashiers, and temporary workers. Factory Complex explores the changing nature of work as well as the enduring question of survival and sustainability as the camera winds its way to present day Cambodia where precarious labor conditions demand our attention.

Factory Complex was awarded the Silver Lion at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015).

 

February 24 

IM Heung-Soon

Artist Bio:

IM Heung-soon (born South Korea, 1969) is an artist and filmmaker based in Seoul and Jeju Island. Beginning with his early works that were inspired by his own working-class family, he has consistently explored the lives of marginalized people. His political yet emotionally charged works take up different visual mediums such as photography, installation, film, public art, and community-driven art.

His feature films include Jeju Prayer (2012), Factory Complex (2014/2015), Ryeohaeng (2016), Reborn (2017), Exchange Diary (2015~2018, MOMOSE Aya X IM Heung-soon), Things that Do Us Part (2019). His work has been exhibited at the 2015 Sharjah Biennale; MoMA PS1, New York; The National Art Center, Tokyo; Tate Modern, London; Lincoln Center, New York; Pompidou Centre, Paris; the 2016 Taipei Biennale; the 2017 Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival; the 2017 Busan International Film Festival; the HKW, Berlin; the 2018 Carnegie International, Pittsburgh.

IM and KIM Min­kyung are co‐founders of BANDAL Doc film production company.

 

 

 

March 2 

Afroditi Psarra

BIO:

Afroditi Psarra is a multidisciplinary artist and an Assistant Professor of Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on the art and science interaction with a critical discourse in the creation of artifacts. She is interested in the use of the body as an interface of control, and the revitalization of tradition as a methodology of hacking existing norms about technical objects. She uses cyber crafts and other gendered practices as speculative strings, and open-source technologies as educational models of diffusing knowledge. She holds a PhD in Image, Technology and Design from the Complutense University of Madrid. Her dissertation entitled Cyberpunk and New Media Art focuses on the merging of science fiction ideas and concepts with performative and digital practices, and offers a philosophical, sociological and aesthetic analysis of the influence of new technologies in the contemporary artistic process. Her work has been presented at international media arts festivals such as Ars Electronica, Transmediale and CTM, Eyeo, Amber, Piksel and WRO Biennale between others, and published at conferences like Siggraph, ISWC (International Symposium of Wearable Computers) and EVA (Electronic Visualization and the Arts). She has worked on Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing at Disney Research Zurich. She recently won the Bergstrom Award for Art and Science for the collaborative project Listening Space, and was selected as a Mellon Foundation Faculty Fellow in the Arts at the University of Washington for the academic year 2019-20 for the collaborative research project Everyday Voices & Voids: Reclaiming our Data as Performance.


WEBSITE: http://afroditipsarra.com/

March 9 

METANOIA: AIDS, WOMEN, INCARCERATION AND VIDEO ACTIVISM"

Screening and Discussion with Katherine Cheairs, Alexandra Juhasz, and Margaret Rhee

Organized and Facilitated by DMS Assistant Professor Margaret Rhee

A selection of videos curated by Katherine Cheairs and Alexandra Juhasz as part of the exhibition  Metanoia: Transformation Through AIDS Archives and Activism​, this screening focuses upon the stories, activism and struggles of women, particularly Black women and women of color, who organized and become activists around injustices facing incarcerated women. At the heart of these videos is a deeply feminist commitment to freedom and a linked understanding that those on the inside are part of life on the outside, even if structural and penal forces work to deny them these connections. Questions of faith, race, gender, sexuality, what-could-be and the weight of systemic violence on all people permeate the work.

Spanning several generations within the AIDS activist and related video movements​, these videos honor the past and present of organizing work—its legacies, leaders and lessons—and offer insights into how activism of the not-so-distant past continues to inform contemporary movement work around incarceration. The videos also represent with power, beauty and eloquence, the transformative power of AIDS, activism and archives for women of color, prisoners and their allies.


Featuring the following films: I’m You, You’re Me: Women Surviving Prison, Living with AIDS (Catherine Saalfield-Gund and Debra Levine, 1992): 28 mins; Blind Eye to Justice, Directed and Edited by Carol Leigh. Produced by Cynthia Chandler (Women’s Positive Legal Action Network/ Justice NOW), 1998: 35 mins; Digital Stories, (From the Center/ Margaret Rhee, Isela Ford, and Allyse Gray, 2011): 15 mins.

 

 

March 23 

Gregg Bordowitz

BIO:

Since the late 1980s, writer, artist, and activist Gregg Bordowitz has made diverse works—essays, poems, performances, drawings, sculpture, and videos—that explore his Jewish, gay, and bisexual identities within the context of the ongoing AIDS crisis.

A professor and director of the Low-Residency MFA program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Bordowitz was an early participant in New York’s ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), where he cofounded various video collectives, including Testing the Limits, an advocacy group within ACT UP, and DIVA (Damn Interfering Video Activists). While developing a visual language capable of communicating harm-reduction models to a broad public in his collaborative works, he made his own videos and television broadcasts, such as some aspect of a shared lifestyle (1986) and Fast Trip, Long Drop (1993), that juxtaposed performance documentation, archival footage, role play, and recordings of protest demonstrations, drawing influence from feminist conceptual art. In recent years Bordowitz has increasingly introduced poetry and performance as art events, exploring histories of televised stand-up comedy in works such as Only Idiots Smile (2017) and Some Styles of Masculinity (2017).

 

March 30

Jon-Sesrie Goff

BIO:

Jon-Sesrie Goff is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, and arts-administrator. He believes cinema has the power to explore the intersection of race, power, identity, gender and the environment by unearthing the visceral representational value and authenticity behind the images propelled across varying diasporas. With over 15 years experience in media and film production, Jon has offered his lens to a variety of projects spanning many genres including the recently released and award-winning documentaries, including Out in the Night (POV, Logo 2015), Evolution of a Criminal (Independent Lens 2015) and Spit on the Broom (2019), among several other projects. He is currently in the final stages of production for his feature documentary directorial debut, “After Sherman.”

Goff is the executive director of The Flaherty, the media arts organization that runs the annual Robert Flaherty Film Seminar. Prior to joining the Flaherty, Goff served as the first Museum Specialist for Film at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture where he was responsible for developing the museum’s public film program until 2018. Goff is the 2016 recipient of the Southern Foodways Alliance John Egerton Prize for a body of work that addresses the theme of social and environmental justice through the prism of food. He was awarded the prestigious Princess Grace award in film in 2015. He  studied sociology, economics and theatre at Morehouse College, received his BA from The New School, and has an MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts from Duke University. 

http://jonsesriegoff.com/

 

April 6 

Sindhu Thirumalaisamy

BIO:

Sindhu Thirumalaisamy is an artist working across video, sound, text, and installation. Sindhu holds an MFA in visual art from the University of California, San Diego, is a participant of the Whitney Independent Study program, an alumnus of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, and the SOMA Summer program. Sindhu's work has been exhibited at The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego Museum of Art, Current:LA Public Art Triennial, Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM), Artists’ Television Access,  Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Edinburgh Festival of Art, Flux Factory, Kunsthaus Langenthal, Khoj International Artists' Association, International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala, and Dharamshala International Film Festival.

 

April 13 

Tiara Roxanne

TITLE: Decolonial Gestures within the Digital

BIO:

Dr. Tiara Roxanne is an Indigenous cyberfeminist scholar and artist based in Berlin. Her research and artistic practice explores the colonial structure embedded within artificial intelligence learning systems in her writing and her performance art through the use of textile.  Currently, her work is mediated through the color red. Tiara has presented her work at SOAS (London), SLU (Madrid), Transmediale (Berlin), Duke University (NC), re:publica (Berlin), Tech Open Air (Berlin), AMOQA (Athens), among others. She is currently a Researcher at DeZIM-Institut in Berlin, Germany.

 

April 20 

Jennie Faber from Dames Making Games

Dames Making Games is a not-for-profit video game arts organization that supports people who experience marginalization – especially because of their gender – and systemic barriers to participation in game and tech spaces to make, play and talk about video games. We teach computing skills for artistic expression, offer production and exhibition facilities, and provide community support for the creation of new media artworks.

DMG grew out of grassroots community support and in response to a demonstrated need for more inclusive access to independent video game arts and culture by providing community space and resources to artists working in the medium. Today, DMG has grown into a thriving organization with year-round programming and exhibitions, supporting its 620+ members and collaborating with the broader  arts community across Canada. DMG is a member of the Toronto Media Arts Centre, with 1,800 sq. ft. of permanent office, workshop and studio space.

https://dmg.to/

 

About Jennie Robinson Faber

Jennie Robinson Faber is a software developer, arts administrator and advocate for equity in game culture and community-based media, especially immersive and interactive experiential art. She has founded and operated  community spaces for media production and exhibition since 1996. She got her start in radio production and TV news, and now works to build space and equity in technology and the arts, fostering engaged communities that bridge disciplines and helping others create through storytelling and play. Her background includes over 18 years in the private and public sector with MSNBC, SAP, Toronto International Film Festival, CTV and the CBC.

Jennie is the executive director of Dames Making Games, a member-based  video game arts nonprofit based in Toronto, and has led its programming - including over 600 events, exhibitions, residencies and professional and artistic development programs - and operations since 2012. She co-founded Gamma Space Collaborative Studio and she is also the founder and event director of Bit Bazaar, a Toronto video game arts festival.

https://www.jenniefaber.com/

 

April 27

Rebekah Rutkoff

Rebekah Rutkoff’s lecture will focus on the 16mm films that American artist Lillian Schwartz (b. 1927) made using computers at Bell Labs—a hub of cutting-edge scientific experimentation—in the 1970s, and will zero in on one plane of her many-faceted artistic identity: Schwartz the abstract painter. Between 1968 and 1985, she created computer-mediated films, videos, optical effects, and animations as an unpaid resident visitor to Bell Labs. These early films contain stunning sequences of ever-shifting luminous color that Schwartz hand-painted and shot frame by frame. Her filmed paintings are intercut with microphotography and graphic performances—crystals grow, circles and lines dance—creating an unprecedented integration of the hard-edged and the viscous. Nobel Laureate and Bell Labs chief scientist Arno Penzias declared, “What we know as computer art began in December 1968, when Lillian Schwartz grasped a light pen and began to draw.” Rutkoff will look back at Schwartz’s ahead-of-the-curve career, which contains many such moments of retroactive recognition.

 

BIO:

Rebekah Rutkoff is a Brooklyn-based artist and writer whose work spans film, video, fiction, creative non-fiction and scholarship. She has an MFA program in film/video from the University of Iowa and aPhD Program in English from the CUNY: Graduate Center. She is the author of The Irresponsible Magician: Essays and Fictions (Semiotext(e), 2015), a collection of critical and performative texts on contemporary visual media, and she is the editor of a book of essays by and about the American avant-garde filmmaker Robert Beavers, published in May 2017 by the Austrian Film Museum/Columbia University Press. Her soon-to-be-completed monograph on Robert Beavers will be published by the Museum of Modern Art.

May 4 

Amelia Winger-Bearskin

BIO:

Amelia Winger-Bearskin is an artist/technologist who empowers people to leverage bleeding edge technology to effect positive change in the world. In 2019 she was an invited presenter to His Holiness Dalai Lama’s World Headquarters in Dharamsala for the Summit on Fostering Universal Ethics and Compassion. In 2018 she was awarded a McArthur and Sundance Institute fellowship for her 360 video immersive installation in collaboration with the artist Wendy Red Star (supported by the Google JUMP Creator program), exhibited at the Newark Museum and ASU in 2019. The non-profit she founded IDEA New Rochelle, in partnership with the New Rochelle Mayor’s Office, won the 2018 $1 Million Dollar Bloomberg Mayor’s Challenge for their VR/AR Citizen toolkit to help the community co-design their city. She is a Sundance Institute Creative advisor and alum of their New Frontiers Story Lab and Festival(AR/VR/XR/AI tech section). In 2018 she was awarded the 100k Alternative Realities Prize for her Virtual Reality Project from Engadget / Verizon Media.

Amelia is the founder of the stupidhackathon.com

Amelia is Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation of Oklahoma, Deer Clan.

 

Sponsored by the Department of Media Study in collaboration with UB Art Galleries, UB Arts Collaboratory, Humanities Institute Research Workshop on Digital Humanities, Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center, and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center.