cMAS Research

Current lines of research include:

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1. MediaArt Histories from the South

The 1960s was a decade of unprecedented transformations in the field of media arts. Artists, scientists, and technology enthusiasts experimented with new and old technologies including mail, print, computers, video, radio, and television broadcasting, leading to the development of new technologies and interdisciplinary media practices. By reviving avant-garde strategies and experimenting with the mass communication capacities of these technologies these artists built transnational networks of exchange as alternatives to mainstream systems of communication. In doing so, they transformed art from an object of aesthetic contemplation to a gesture of political action.

Despite the artists’ emphasis on breaking with established borders (disciplinary and geographical) historical narratives of this period tend to be written from an art historical perspective that focuses on art movements or monographs of mostly male artists. While recent efforts in establishing research programs in media art history have brought together media, science, and art to develop interdisciplinary methods, theories and historical narratives of media practices, these are predominantly mediated through a Euro-US centric-lens and have yet to acknowledge methods, practices, and theories from the global south. These exclusions reveal the residues of colonial frameworks and the gendered matrixes that still mediate the histories and practices of media arts.

This line of research seeks to answer the following research questions:

How did networks of artists, scientists and technology enthusiasts forged outside US and Europe contributed to the development of media arts during the 1960s? What do these networks tell us about alternative forms of knowledge production regarding global media art?

To what extent have the geopolitical and cultural contexts of the Cold War in combination with colonial frameworks and gendered biases in the production of knowledge have prevented the inclusion of artists from the global south in narratives of media arts?

How do the perspectives on race, gender and ideology that emerged in different parts of the world during the Global Sixties vary? What might these variations contribute to the wider project of de-centering the Euro-US biases in media arts and practices?

 

Current research projects in this area include:

Weaving the Electric Wave: Latin American Composers, 1914-1989
This project examines the significance of Latin American female avant-garde composers in the global histories of experimental art, and the histories of music and women and technology in 20th Century Latin America and the Caribbean.

El Corno Emplumado/ The Plumed Horn
Analyzes the bilingual (English/Spanish) magazine as a valuable historical source of the global 1960s. This study proposes to discuss the magazine as an epistolary, visual and literary media and trace the networks of artists, activist and intellectuals forged through the pages of the magazine.

Probing the history of the category “Interactive Art”
Taking a feminist art historical perspective, this line of research seeks to: (1) map out a genealogy of interactivity in relation to other categories of participatory art practices including: “sociological art”, “participatory art”, “relational aesthetics,” and “art therapy;” and (2) to interrogate the exclusions and possibilities of the category “interactive art” with respect to its exclusive relation to technology and its utopian promise of integrating the Other as co-creator.

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2. Feminizing the Media Archive

Feminizing the Archive is an ongoing and multifaceted project that expands Dr. Aceves Sepúlveda’s doctoral research and investigates the role of women as agents and producers of the archive. Considering the ways in which digital technologies are transforming conceptions of what constitutes an archive and practices of knowledge production and dissemination, this project looks at a diverse array of female-led archival practices. It seeks to unpack the tensions between performative forms and recorded forms of transferring knowledge and the ways in which such practices play a role in shaping political subjectivities.

Current research projects in this area include:

  • Remediating Mama Pina’s Archive
    Through different methods of remediation, this project investigates the family cookbook as an archival technology.
  • Towards a Feminist History of Media and Technology in Twentieth-Century Latin America
    This project seeks to examine the histories of women’s engagement with media and technology in Latin America from a feminist and interdisciplinary perspective.
  • Aging, Activism, and the Archives: Feminist Explorations across the Americas
    This project looks at women’s activism across the Americas through the lens of aging and their interest in developing and reactivating their own archives through digital technology. This project is developed in collaboration with Dr. May Chazan, Canada Research Chair in Gender and Women Studies at Trent University.

For a list of publications and exhibitions cMAS publications section.

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3. Digital Subjectivities

In our highly mediated lives, we are constantly negotiating between disembodied and embodied forms of socialization.  This line of inquiry investigates how emergent digital technologies mediate and shape our sense of self in a broad sense including notions of space, place, culture and health.

This line of research seeks to address:

How do gender, race, age and social-class promote and/or limit human interactions through digital platforms?

How are intergenerational communications facilitated through interactive digital platforms?

How are cultural identities and traditions shaped and kept alive through digital heritage projects?

How do graphic visualizations help the transfer and dissemination of knowledge and how this transfer shapes our sense of self?

How embodied forms of experience developed through immersive technologies such as VR shape the ways we think we are in and relate to our bodies?

What is the future of human-machine interaction? How will machines and humans communicate, see and surveil each other in ten years?

 

Current Projects in the area include:

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