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Processing Community Day


State of the Union
Coffee Break
The Resistance of Everyday Objects: Encoding Black Ritual Practice as Social Technology with Ron Morrison [Elegant Collisions]
The Voice in the Machine with Cynthia X. Hua
Incantation in Code with Lark VCR
Limitation as Poetry with Stalgia Grigg
Simulating Surveillance: Deconstructing the Designs of Algorithmic Surveillance Systems with Peter Polack
Room 4250
Neither Her nor HAL: Considering access and representation in the next generation of speech technology with Emily Saltz
Room 4240
Flower Eater (Understanding Software through Drawing) with Jeffrey Alan Scudder
Room 4220
Games For All! - Flatgames with p5.Play by Lee Tusman (all ages)
Featuring artwork by John Carpenter.
Intro to Open-Source: How to Contribute as Coders / Non-Coders with Evelyn Masso and Chandler McWilliams
Room 4220
Why open-source? How can coders / non-coders contribute? Bring your lunch to Room 4240 to meet people and learn the basics of Github and documentation.
Open Hour with the UCLA Arts Conditional Studio
Room 4240
Interested in working on code or need help troubleshooting? Bring your lunch to Room 4230 to meet people and work on something together.
Track intro with Taeyoon Choi & Johanna Hedva
Accessibility in an Open-Source Community with Claire Kearney-Volpe and Luis Morales-Navarro
Sharpness With Blurred Edges: How We Try To Represent Being In Pain with Luke Fischbeck
Eyeballs to the wall with Rachel Simanjuntak
Room 4220
LocalNet Adventure!! with Alden Rivendale Jones
Room 4240
Manifestos for radical inclusion with Linda Ravenswood
Room 4250
My Face is My Own! : Helping Kids Beat Facial Recognition Software with README (all ages)
Coffee Break
Business as Usual, CANCELED with Color Coded
A Cohort, Not a Curriculum with Molly Morin
you're doing a great job, professor! with A.M. Darke
Defense Against the Dark Arts with An Xiao Mina
Bias in Natural Language Processing: To Create or Reflect Society with Echo Theohar
Room 4220
Processing Peers with Jon-Kyle Mohr
Room 4250
ALIEN BODIES with The Best Friends Learning Gang & Johanna Hedva
Room 4240
Feminist Futures World Building Lab with Paisley Smith and Caitlin Conlen
Coffee Break
Play every day with Saskia Freeke
Party Games: Speculative Play Through Form with Kristin McWharter
A cloud machine in the dessert with Adelle Lin
Interworveld with Patrick Michael Ballard
The Deinstrumentalization of Games with Eddo Stern
Room 4220
Toward a Reflexive Data Culture with roopa vasudevan
Room 4250
Disability, Design and the Development of Accessible Creative Tools with Claire Kearney-Volpe and Luis Morales-Navarro
Room 4240
Monsters, Synths, and Future Gods by Angela ‘Mictlanxochitl’ Anderson Guerrero & Jason Wyman
Coffee Break
Community Open Mic
Interested in sharing ideas and thoughts with the community? Sign up to give a 5 minutes lightning talk. Sign-up sheet will be available at the venue.
See you next year!
Featuring artworks by Kate Hollenbach and Raven Kwok.
We will move location to celebrate the day at Thunderbird, 12217 Wilshire Blvd, LOS ANGELES, CA 90025.

Accessibility, Disability, and Care

The Accessibility, Disability and Care track investigates accessibility of software development and creative expression. How can we build software for implicit, nuanced and intricate form of care between people and within oneself? Accessibility is not only about explicit technical solutions. True accessibility begins by building on the understanding of normalcy, impairment, mental and physical health. In this track, we will criticize the mainstream narrative of technological solutions for accessibility, and propose an alternate method that begins with disability and community as the starting point for technology. We will investigate the latest initiatives for making Processing and other software more accessible for people who are Deaf, blind, disabled or impaired. We will discuss meaningful collaboration with various communities of social minorities and disabilities. We will imagine ways of making software accessible to those excluded in consumerist technology’s concept of personhood - those who can’t afford, those who aren’t visible and those who aren’t normatively abled. The track will be an open collaboration with the local community organizations and the disability community.

Track Coordinator: Taeyoon Choi
Organizer: Johanna Hedva

Accessibility, Disability, and Care Lightning Talks

Track Intro

An introduction to the track will be provided by Taeyoon Choi and Johanna Hedva.

Taeyoon Choi's photo

Taeyoon Choi is an artist, educator, and activist based in New York and Seoul. His art practice involves performance, electronics, drawings, and installations that form the basis for storytelling in public spaces. He co-founded the School for Poetic Computation where he continues to organize sessions and teach classes. He's currently a fellow at Data and Society Research Institute.

Johanna Hedva's photo

Johanna Hedva is the author of the novel On Hell (Sator Press, 2018). Their fiction, essays, and poems have appeared in Triple Canopy, Black Warrior Review, Entropy, Mask Magazine, 3:AM, The White Review, and elsewhere. Their work has been shown at Machine Project, Human Resources LA, the LA Architecture and Design Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art on the Moon. Their ongoing project on ableism, disability justice, and the politics of care, This Earth, Our Hospital, includes the essays "Sick Woman Theory" and "Letter to a Young Doctor."

Accessibility in an Open-Source Community

In line with the Processing Foundation’s mission to make learning how to code a more equitable pursuit, the P5 Access Project is an attempt to support the accessibility of Processing’s web library (p5.js), and associated resources. This work is intended to open up participation to people who are blind and interested in learning how to code. In this lightning talk, we will provide a brief overview of the history of the project, its evolution, and plans for the future.

Claire Kearney-Volpe's photo

Claire Kearney-Volpe is an Art Therapist, Accessibility Specialist, Designer, and Developer. She holds a Master's Degree from New York University's (NYU) Interactive Telecommunications Program and is currently a PhD Candidate in NYU's Rehabilitation Sciences Program. Her work centers around Disability, Human Computer Interaction, as well as, the accessibility of education technologies. For the last 4 years, she has been researching, developing and teaching coding to blind and low vision youth and young adults. To complete this work, Claire has partnered with the Processing Foundation, New York Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, Helen Keller Services for the Blind, The New York Public Library (Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library) and most recently with Oysters and Pearls in Uganda.

Luis Morales-Navarro's photo

Luis Morales-Navarro is interested in learning, learning communities, languages, and accessibility. He is passionate about making learning to code more accessible and thinking through the relationship between writing and coding. Luis works at the Omar Dengo Foundation in Costa Rica designing K-12 computational thinking learning experiences and resources. He was a 2018 Processing Foundation Fellow and is a p5.js contributor.

Sharpness With Blurred Edges: How We Try To Represent Being In Pain

A look at the specific problem of how being in pain is understood objectively—through brain imaging, biometric data, questionnaires, and intensity scales—and the general problem of how deeply subjective, qualitative experience is interpreted and represented. Giving thought to how we represent (diagnose, interpret, compare, discuss) pain—not even beginning to directly address comfort or relief—builds context for a shared understanding of an experience so immanent, individual and untranslatable that it has been said to break language. Special attention will be paid to experimental methods for modelling and discussing being-in-pain, as well as the role that interpretation plays in medical diagnosis—as an experiential, discursive process working alongside statistics and measurements. Taken together, what interpretive tools might we use to better understand varieties of unimaginable intensity?

Luke Fischbeck's photo

Luke Fischbeck is an artist, composer, and organizer who designs and tests structures for access and dissent. He is a contributing member of the group lucky dragons (with Sarah Rara), co-founder and principal organizer of Sumi Ink Club (a platform for collaborative art) and KCHUNG Radio (a cooperative broadcast project), and director of the non-profit arts organization Human Resources. His work, solo and in collaboration, has been presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA/PS1, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, London's Institute for Contemporary Art, LACMA, MOCA, and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the 54th Venice Biennale, Documenta 14, and The Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, among others.

Eyeballs to the wall

In this talk we’ll revisit the foundations of care as a jumping off point for the question “How can coding be used as a form of are?” Let’s explore what caring for someone well really means; How complex it can feel, but also how simple it can be. I’ll share some personal journeys I’ve had involving care and disability, and some projects that have inspired me on the path to understanding what care can look like when it comes to code.

Rachel Simanjuntak's photo

When it comes to war (figuratively speaking), Rachel Simanjuntak have learned that she is not built for the front-lines. she is more like the medic - dealing with the aftermath and seeing things from between. It’s not the most glorious position, but there’s power here. She can feel it.

Accessibility, Disability, and Care Sessions


The BFLG will host a hands-on workshop to envision the posthumanist future of bodily (im)possibilities. How will coming changes in technology, culture, and aesthetics, including our inevitable encounters with non-human life, affect the embodiment of non-normative humans? What can we do to imagine and enact those futures that embrace alterity and heal alienation while resisting those that erase difference from their worlds? Can we imagine our alien bodies outside beauty and body standards of ableist, white, cis-het supremacies? As with all BFLG Amateur Hours, the workshop is unguided and participants can decide for themselves how to approach the topic-provocation. Some possible activities include: futuristic prosthetic design and prototyping; a think tank for inventing speculative anti-normative bodies (using polymer clay, mold making, and photoshop); conceiving and creating alien bodybuilding magazines; doing transhumanist makeup tutorials; coming up with DIY anti-gravity movement activities; researching present and past futurist crip and queer histories; writing our own sci-fi. Through these playful interactions (and an adjunct reading room of relevant texts), we hope to stir up thought and discussion about the place of non-normative bodies and identities in technotopian visions of the future as well as the problematics and seductions of physically “enhancing” technologies. Will we invent an intimate criptopia or Peter Thiel’s voyeurist nightmare? That’s for the participants to decide!

The Best Friends Learning Gang's photo

ALIEN BODIES is facilitated by Johanna Hedva and The Best Friends Learning Gang. The Best Friend Learning Gang is a pedagogical experiment that approaches education as a collective, decentralized, and undisciplined activity. Started in 2013 by Dani Bustillo and Joey Cannizzaro, the BFLG hosts embodied workshops called "Amateur Hours," with no instructor, on topics they don't understand, emphasizing the process of learning over the delivery of a quantifiable result or skill.

Disability, Design and the Development of Accessible Creative Tools

As designers and developers, it is our responsibility to make our work more accessible to people with a range of abilities. Expressive and creative authoring tools are no different. This workshop will provide participants with an overview of and forum to discuss disability, digital accessibility best practices, creative tools/projects, as well as, the work of makers, artists and developers of exceptional ability.

Claire Kearney-Volpe's photo

Claire Kearney-Volpe is an Art Therapist, Accessibility Specialist, Designer, and Developer. She holds a Master's Degree from New York University's (NYU) Interactive Telecommunications Program and is currently a PhD Candidate in NYU's Rehabilitation Sciences Program. Her work centers around Disability, Human Computer Interaction, as well as, the accessibility of education technologies. For the last 4 years, she has been researching, developing and teaching coding to blind and low vision youth and young adults. To complete this work, Claire has partnered with the Processing Foundation, New York Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, Helen Keller Services for the Blind, The New York Public Library (Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library) and most recently with Oysters and Pearls in Uganda.

Luis Morales-Navarro's photo

Luis Morales-Navarro is interested in learning, learning communities, languages, and accessibility. He is passionate about making learning to code more accessible and thinking through the relationship between writing and coding. Luis works at the Omar Dengo Foundation in Costa Rica designing K-12 computational thinking learning experiences and resources. He was a 2018 Processing Foundation Fellow and is a p5.js contributor.

Neither Her nor HAL: Considering access and representation in the next generation of speech technology

This session asks attendees to consider speech technology as a critical design space. Attendees will examine the language politics that go into voice design for systems like Alexa. For example, why does Alexa speak in its particular dialect? What’s possible using tools like the p5.js speech library and Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) to make more adaptive and linguistically diverse voice systems? What can we learn from alternate perspectives, such as how voice is used in the blind community with screen reader software? This topic interests me as a UX professional with a language focus: I’ve worked as a Linguistics research assistant, as a strategist at the speech recognition company Pop Up Archive, and as a research lead for a Carnegie Mellon Master’s project working with many screen reader users. The 45 minutes will include a 20 minute presentation about issues and misconceptions related to voice user interfaces. The last 25 minutes will be a guided discussion on critical topics in voice design. Attendees might be asked to think about alternate power dynamics with voice assistants, new parameters in the phonetics, pragmatics, or syntax of synthesized speech, and to think about creative new use cases for voice on the web.

Emily Saltz's photo

Emily Saltz is a UX Professional and media geek. She went from studying Linguistics and Russian literature to wrangling design and content for Bay Area startups. In 2017 she earned a Master's in Human-Computer Interaction at CMU, with a focus on emerging technology like including conversational user interfaces and virtual reality. She's currently a UX designer for Bloomberg.

Radical Pedagogy

How might transparent teaching, modeling vulnerability, and positioning teachers as human beings create spaces for radical openness and productive dialogues? As teachers and students, what are some ways to model radical kindness within an institutional setting? How might integrating elements of uncertainty and unknown into the lesson plan open up possibilities for collective learning? How do we support each other to resist fear, injustice, and inflammatory rhetorics, on and off-campus?

The Radical Pedagogy track welcomes proposals that considers compassion, critical thought, and nuance as a core experience in teaching and learning. We are interested in applications that put an emphasis on:

  • Marginalized history and storytelling
  • Inclusive pedagogy and curriculum building
  • Building bridges between institutional, non-profit, DIY, and grassroot communities
  • Experimental teaching tools and materials

Track Coordinator: A.M. Darke
Organizer: Dorothy R. Santos

Radical pedagogy Lightning Talks

Business as Usual, CANCELED

Color Coded is a POC collective of artists, programmers, activists, and educators that formed out of a growing disillusion with “business as usual” in our chosen fields, as well as the realization that being dependent on the current economic system is dangerous and hazardous to our health and to our lives. Through the need to survive, we have started to navigate our own way choosing instead to collaborate with one another to advance sustainable, community-centric projects. Color Coded members will discuss their collaborative process at the intersection of art, technology, pedagogy, and sustainable communities. They will discuss the importance of clearly defining an ethical framework for collective organizing; their process for creating a non-extractive, non-exploitive collaborative workflow; and their model for engaging directly impacted community members in the design process, from ideation and prototyping to final production.

Color Coded's photo

Color Coded is a tech learning space for people of color of all identities. We are a transformative space that centers historically-excluded people in the co-teaching, co-creation, and co-ownership of new technologies. Through our projects and programming, we aim to expand mainstream definitions of technology so that they represent multiple forms of cultural production & creative strategies. We build tech that strengthens, rather than obscures, our ancestral knowledge. Our work supports and amplifies groups and individuals who are uplifting and sustaining communities of color in Los Angeles and beyond. Together, we advance sustainable, community-centric projects to stay life long learners, protect our families, defend our hoods, decolonize and indigenize, liberate ourselves, grow collective wealth, and simply thrive!

A Cohort, not a Curriculum

The Art & Creative Technology Lab at Weber State University has become home to a cohort of students making self-directed, critical projects in art and technology. Built on a one-time grant, and opened without staffing or programming, the lab operates through reading groups, bartered work time, and collaborative independent study classes. These work-arounds for running the lab with limited time and money have created space outside of regular curriculum where students take the lead in defining the values and practices that the facility is growing to support. In this presentation, I will discuss some of the learning the lab has enabled, the things I’ve learned from my students, advantages and pitfalls of working without a map, and reflections on institutional ambitions to scale up and formalize these and similar practices.

Molly Morin's photo

Molly Morin is an artist working at the intersection of digital and analog practices. She makes material representations of information through generative drawing, soft sculpture, and digital fabrication. Her projects set out to challenge assumed hierarchies, question our faith in data, and discover new means of making across traditional technical and disciplinary boundaries. She is has had recent activities include a solo show at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, an exhibition and lecture hosted by the Transcriptions Center at UC Santa Barbara, and a talk at the National Academy of Sciences.

As Foundations Coordinator for the Department of Visual Art and Design at Weber State University, Molly is dedicated to rigorous, inclusive education and to creating meaningful experiences early in the curriculum. Prior to joining the faculty at Weber State University, she taught at Clemson University, Tri-county Technical College, The University of Notre Dame, and Millsaps College.

You're Doing a Great Job, Professor!

I thought I had to perform expertise for students to think I’m a good teacher. Turns out they don’t care if I’m an expert, and neither should I. From vegan cults to the anti-syllabus syllabus, I’ll present my insights from a year of radical teaching, kindness, and how my students showed me I could do this.

A.M. Darke's photo

A.M. Darke is a conceptual artist, game designer, and activist designing games for everyday impact. She created the award-winning card game Objectif, which uses play to create dialogue around the intersection of race, gender, and standards of beauty. In 2017, she turned her Snapchat into a pop-up gallery for ar+ show, an exhibition on femininity, filters, face-detection, and a self-reflexive female gaze. Darke holds a B.A. in Design and an M.F.A. in Media Arts, both from UCLA. Her work has been shown internationally and featured in a variety of publications, including Forbes, Kill Screen, and The Creator’s Project.

Defense Against the Dark Arts

With hate groups and authoritarians wielding meme culture and media techniques from reality television to spread their messages, it's vital that marginalized communities learn to utilize new media environments to tell stories about their perspectives. This lightning talk will look at the tension of this moment, the history of propaganda and resistance, and outline possible ways forward.

An Xiao Mina's photo

An Xiao Mina is author of Memes to Movements: How the World’s Most Viral Media is Changing Social Protest and Power. She leads the product team at Meedan, where they are building Check, a platform for collaboratively verifying news in real time, and Bridge, a platform for translating social media and messaging app content. She is also a co-founder at the Credibility Coalition, an effort to develop a standard for assessing content credibility online, and co-chair of the W3C Credible Web Community Group. At Harvard University, Mina is an affiliate researcher at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and a recent 2016 Knight Visiting Fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, where she studied online language barriers and their impact on journalism. She has spoken at venues like Creative Mornings, Harvard Law School, the Personal Democracy Forum, and the International Journalism Festival, and she has contributed writing to publications like the the Atlantic, Quartz, Fast Company, and the Economist. With her collective The Civic Beat, she’s exhibited work in spaces such as the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Museum of the Moving Image. She is an advisory editor to Hyperallergic and serves on the board of China Residencies.

Bias in Natural Language Processing: To Create or Reflect Society

This lightning talk will introduce the core concepts of word embeddings and their influence on pre-existing androcentric and racial hegemonies in the English speaking world. It will briefly touch upon machine learning, sentiment analysis, and appraisal theory, but in an accessible and introductory way. Its focus is to open a discussion around the techniques which mechanically debias word embeddings, and reflect on their efficacy and social implications. We will also broach gender neutrality in non-english speaking languages, the warped underbelly of machine learning databases, and the “whig history” surrounding machine learning and its authors. The goal of this talk is to provide a comprehensive stance on natural language processing and its disparate elements, while underscoring the need for diversity in code.

Echo Theohar's photo

Echo Theohar is an artist and researcher working between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. She has served as a community technologist and lecturer at venues such as LACMA, The College Art Association, The Armory, The Mistake Room, Women’s Center for Creative Work, Coaxial, UCLA, Humboldt (Berlin), and AUP (Paris). She is currently completing an MFA under a Chancellor and Levitan Fellowship at UCSB.

Radical pedagogy Sessions

Manifesto for radical inclusion

This session takes the form of a hybrid workshop/and design challenge, to blend question and answer, with radical infusions of enthusiasm, care, energy, leading to a critical conversation about how to better support each other. In rapid succession we will learn what is critically lacking in our togetherness, what is working, what we want more of, emerging a radical mission statement for critical change - we will share the floor and listen radically and swiftly, creating a broadside of our collective tenets, in real time. The manifestation of our aims will then be printed and taken away for distribution and sharing by all! Manifestos on the move for radical critical change!

What if people have different goals? Will all our questions be answered? Will we have a meaningful time checking ourselves and creating a wave? Who is it up to? Who has the answers? What the fuck is going on!? What do you mean this all takes place in 45 minutes!?

Linda Ravenswood's photo

Linda Ravenswood is a poet and performance artist from Los Angeles, California. She is Founder and EIC of The Los Angeles Press, and a fellow at The Women’s Centre for Creative Work. An educator, lecturer, and dramaturge, Linda is writer in residence for the California Writers Project / Yefe Nof Award 2018 - 2019. She was shortlisted for poet laureate of Los Angeles in 2017.

Monsters, Synths, and Future Gods

What do the current culture of programming and visual arts tell us about monsters, synths, and future gods? What happens when we add decolonial and spiritual lenses to the examination of these monsters, synths, and future gods? And in light of these revelations, how does mutual reciprocity help us navigate building coalitions to counter neoliberal, capitalist, and colonial dominance within programming and visual arts?

Angela 'Mictlanxochitl' and Jason Wyman will develop narratives and work with Enrique Arriaga, an electronic sound artist, to create an audio-visual experience to open and stimulate a circle-based conversation with participants. As artists, cultural laborers, and neighbors, we hold visions for radical pedagogies that recreate our futures by challenging dominant narratives. The tools and means of living these pedagogies are rooted in how we embody spiritual, political, economic, and cultural environments. In particular with a sensitivity to the displacement of indigenous peoples and histories, the spectrum of gender and sexualities, multiple ways of knowing, and phenomenon. Our 45-minutes is an offering to reconstruct terminology, practices, and values as related to our monsters, synths, and future gods.

Angela ‘Mictlanxochitl’ Anderson Guerrero's photo

Angela ‘Mictlanxochitl’ Anderson Guerrero (Oakland and Mexico City) is a psychopomp of care for both spiritual and artistic ceremonies. She collaborates with space and artists who represent a process rupturing the illusions a tethered modernity. She grounds and explores the tensions of the role, purpose, and responsibilities of consent; and the contradictions and possibilities for art workers collaborating with not only artist, but also with the land, sacred objects, memories, subjugated histories, and knowledge holders. Her work in the community includes the offering of the “Indigenous Knowledge Gathering” on Ohlone territory in 2015 and on Tohono O'odham territory in 2016. Her panel participation in “White Privilege in Socially Engaged Art” at Open Engagement 2016 and the panel she led, “Reclaiming the Commons of Contemporary Art” at the Oakland Book Festival 2017 were both controversial and introspective discourses bending the mirrors between self and society. She serves as a council member of Danza de la Huitzlimetzli and Danza de Luna Chalchixiumeztli, a transterritorial Mexica ceremonial practice.

Jason Wyman's photo

Jason Wyman (San Francisco) is many things. Today, they are an artist exploring temporal being on both the physical and virtual planes. Their most recent installation invited everyone to BE JASON and examined themes of consent/participation, connection/introspection, reciprocity/exchange, and preciousness/transformation using mapping, reading, making and becoming. Their work has been featured at the Asian Art Museum, SOMArts Cultural Center, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, and Greenlining Institute.

Flower Eater (Understanding Creative Software through Drawing)

I have developed a non-competitive drawing game called Flower Eater to explore creative software design that can be effectively used to introduce computational media (both its benefits and shortcomings) to newcomers. In this workshop I will introduce the game and play it alongside the session's participants, who will also receive a published copy of the game's instructions to share with their own educational communities.

Jeffrey Alan Scudder's photo

Jeffrey Alan Scudder travels and spends his time performing, programming and making pictures. Since 2016 he has given over 50 lecture performances on Radical Digital Painting and related topics in the US and in Europe, often with collaborators Goodiepal & Pals, Julia Yerger, Artur Erman, and Casey REAS. He has taught at UCLA and Parsons The New School for Design and worked previously at the design studio Linked by Air. Jeffrey received an MFA in Sculpture from Yale University School of Art in 2013.

Under the Silicon, the Beach!

How can creative practice undermine the present and produce an imagination for alternative futures?

As software becomes increasingly central to all aspects of human life, artists and designers working with code play an important role for imagining the world outside of the status quo. How do practices that use software and design for esoteric, discursive, political and aesthetic ends, help us break free from predominant narratives? We are looking to showcase the work of a diverse group of artists, designers and thinkers who use code to:

  • Investigate opaque systems
  • Explore new aesthetics
  • Engage in algorithmic disobedience
  • Imagine alternate futures that subvert surveillance capitalism
  • Generate new world-making possibilities

Track Coordinators: Tega Brain and Sam Lavigne

Under the Silicon, the Beach! Lightning Talks

The Resistance of Everyday Objects: Encoding Black Ritual Practice as Social Technology

What happens when we consider the radical potential held within everyday materials? This talk is a meditation on various historic and diasporic technologies that black people have used to signify and encode sanctuary within hostile spaces. Through the semiotics of the Freedom Quilts, the network structures of the Negro Motorist Green Book, and the clandestine geographies of the Dorchester Greenlight project, we look at creative practices that suspend programmatic method, instead breaking open the materiality of familiar artifacts in favor of discordant moments for emerging possibilities.

Ron Morrison's photo

Ron Morrison [Elegant Collisions] is an interdisciplinary designer, artist, and researcher working across the fields of human geography, digital technology, and urbanism. Their practice works to investigate the generative ways in which the unassimilable refigures, complicates, and dissolves our understandings of race + geographic space as fixed and knowable. Focusing on boundaries, subjectivity, and protection they look for the ways that fissures and inconsistencies can allow for emergent moments to practice new spatial relationships and epistemologies. From these seemingly dissonant spaces we learn to rework and retune systems towards an increased potential for collaboration and action, from the quotidian to the phenomenological. From building open source platforms to upend the continued practice of solitary confinement to crafting community based archives to combat gentrification, their work investigates cartographies of slow violence, cybernetics, unassimilable data, and blackness. They have had work featured in AIA New York, the UN World Urban Forum, and the Tribeca Film Festival. Ron holds degrees in Psychology and Gender Studies, as well as a graduate degree in Design and Urban Ecologies from Parsons School of Design. They are currently an Annenburg PhD Fellow in the School of Cinematic Arts at USC in Los Angeles.

The Voice in the Machine

The Voice in the Machine is an art and journalism that explore Asian identity in the high-tech sector. Silicon Valley is at parts 50% first-generation immigrants, but these minorities are often excluded from public platforms such as press coverage or leadership positions. The project consists of recorded, anonymous interviews with Asian immigrants who work at major tech companies, anonymously share their thoughts on the political and social impacts of the technology they work on, focusing on globally-relevant issues such as immigration policy or algorithms and censorship. Excerpts from the project will be presented as well as background information about the Asian labor force within technology.

Cynthia X. Hua's photo

Cynthia X. Hua is a researcher and artist, working to understand artificial intelligence and the processes behind algorithmic technologies that tie them to culture, identity and economy. Hua has shown works at the The Mint Museum, the Asian Arts Institute, the SF Arts Institute, the Yerba Buena Center and other institutions. She is currently an incubator member with New Inc. She has previously spoken about technology and culture at outlets such as Theorizing the Web, Ars Electronica and Creative Tech Week.

Negative Possibility Space

The aesthetic qualities of limitation are difficult to discern. Grand narratives around software typically predict an ever-expanding horizon of action space, towards an aesthetic of a fully-empowered user. How does this myth of unadulterated agency map onto similar narratives of sovereignty, citizenship, and merit in America? If our lives are increasingly mediated by a technology that presents as boundless, does it become more difficult to see the oppressive structural boundaries within our society? There are few areas where the boundaries of possibility are more explicit and unwavering than software. What happens when this quality is treated as central to the medium? How can an artist create interactive systems that generate meaning through limitations, through sharply drawn boundaries? And more importantly, how can an artist do so through something other than the representation of futility? This talk briefly covers an approach to thinking through software as a medium of negative space and how artists can work to orient code towards the indeterminate, vulnerable and outraged.

Stalgia Grigg's photo

Stalgia Grigg is an artist, educator, and activist based in LA. He makes systems, interactive and non, to try to understand how revolutionary impulses move through culture. He has shown work at venues including the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Hammer Museum, and Coaxial Arts Foundation. Stalgia received a MFA at UCLA in Design Media Arts and a BSVA from Purchase College.

Incantation in Code

This talk explores the potential for virtual spell casting in Traumagotchi, a browser-based project in p5. On the Traumagotchi website, the user creates a virtualization of their trauma. A spin on virtual pets, these Traumagotchi can be fed, bathed, and rested. They circle endlessly in cyberspace, tending to the DeepInTheMachineWorldTraumaCompostShrine. While the website is active, the code casts virtual spells for healing. Because all the function and variable names are replaced with words of DeepMachineIncantation, the execution of code itself becomes a form of incantation. Conceptually, Traumagotchi is an inquiry into the limits of computation. It asks: Does the execution of code hold the same weight as spoken words? In the lightning talk, I will speak to the power of setting intention, queering functionality, and my desire to inject poetic, magical code into the fabric of the web.

Lark VCR's photo

Lark VCR aka. Virtually Conflicted Reality explores multiplicity of meaning and experience in an increasingly digitized world, nudging at the dissolving boundary between body and machine. Lark is a graduate of UC Berkeley’s MFA program and is currently teaching at the CADRE Digital Media Art Program at San Jose State University.

Simulating Surveillance: Deconstructing the Designs of Algorithmic Surveillance Systems

The LAPD's data analysis and crime prediction initiatives present us with algorithmic systems that attribute criminality to individuals and local communities without their immediate awareness. While we might denounce these systems for their opacity or scrutinize their statistical biases, it is equally important to address how these systems implicate certain consequences by design. Accordingly, we can analyze the public documentation, designs, and discourses of algorithmic surveillance systems to reveal their procedural tendencies, interactive capabilities, and regimes of visibility. In this lightning talk, I describe two visual simulations that I developed to interrogate these aspects of LAPD data analysis systems. As interactive renditions of algorithmic systems that are otherwise opaque to us, these simulations articulate system design principles in order to make their operations more legible. By doing so, they encourage us not just to identify how algorithmic systems are biased or opaque, but to ask how their design criteria and rationales enable particular biased practices and regimes of visibility.

Peter Polack's photo

Peter Polack is an interface developer and game designer that uses artistic practices to develop critical theories of computation. His research concerns the ways that approaches to theorizing or representing algorithms inform our capacity to critique and organize around their consequences. Peter is a PhD student in the Information Studies program at UCLA, where he is also a member of README, a student group that organizes around digital rights issues.

Under the Silicon, the Beach! Sessions

Toward a Reflexive Data Culture

How are we, as artists and programmers, both complicit in and in opposition to the often biased, discriminatory and otherwise problematic corporate and state data collection practices currently in place? How can we better use these tools in subversive political and social ways, without normalizing or lending more weight to their existence?

Join us for a discussion on what resistance, accountability and reflexivity mean for artists and researchers in the age of Big Data and surveillance. We'll start by identifying the problems inherent in data collection as a foundation for creative practice, and trace our discussion in a visual map in order to identify creative and effective ideas for immediate and constructive disobedience, methods for injecting humanity back into a form that often feels divorced from it, and ways toward a more utopian and conscientious future data practice.

roopa vasudevan's photo

roopa vasudevan (b. 1984, cleveland OH) is an american visual artist, computer programmer, and researcher, currently based in philadelphia. roopa’s work explores how increasing individual activity on the Internet is revealing systemic flaws and patterns in our social, cultural and political norms, as well as shifting our perception of them. she is also interested in the historical reading of data as a form of collective memory, how surveillance and data collection is altering our notions of what archives are and who is remembered, and coming up with more creative and ethical practices for data culture. she has exhibited internationally in belgium, china and the united states, and been featured on reuters, slate, hyperallergic, jezebel, complex, PSFK, the FADER, PBS NewsHour, public radio international, and more, as well as on american, french and german television. recently, she has been a participant in the SOHO20 residency lab (brooklyn, NY); the arctic circle residency (svalbard); china residencies’ #slowtrain digital residency (trans-siberian railway); the SPACES world artists program (cleveland, OH); and the flux factory artist collective (queens, NY). roopa received an MPS from the interactive telecommunications program (ITP) at NYU’s tisch school of the arts in 2013. between 2016 and 2018, she was an assistant arts professor of interactive media arts at NYU shanghai. she is currently pursuing her PhD at the annenberg school for communication at the university of pennsylvania.

Processing Peers

Join us for a relaxed workshop all about the peer-to-peer web and artistic practice. What is the peer-to-peer web? How is it different or similar to the existing web? How can one use it as an artist, either as part of practice or as means of publishing? We’ll begin with a brief overview of the historical relation between environment and art, establishing a context for questioning the possibility of alternative publishing methods today, then enter into a workshop, configuring a simple development environment in the p2p-enabled Beaker Browser. Guided first-hand experience creating a collaborative p5.js sketch using the number of peers on the network as a variable will provide a practical introduction for your own exploration of a better web. All internet users welcome, although at least a novice-level familiarity with javascript is suggested to participate in the workshop.

Jon-Kyle Mohr's photo

Jon-Kyle Mohr is an autodidact. Growing up in a musical family, he discovered design as a child through an interest in aviation, and began programming to contribute to the internet, the primary source of his informal education while unschooling. For several years he was a member of the team behind Cargo Collective, where he wore many hats. His work currently concerns the relation between networks, environment, and time.

LocalNet Adventure

The internet of today appears to us as a monolithic, totalizing force. In this workshop/alternate reality game we will do work to demystify it, imagine alternatives, and show how the internet doesn't have to be the only network around. To do so we will engage with and explore a simulated infrastructure of pocket local networks, on something like a digital scavenger hunt. Our goal is to be playful with our network technologies while still being critical of their uses and impacts on our lives.

Our primary tools are the command line, and Herbivore, an open-source packet sniffing and network visualization software. No previous experience with the command line or networks at all required, but participants will need to bring their own laptop.

Alden Jones' photo

Alden Rivendale Jones is a New York City based artist, researcher, and programmer working in performance and new media. Recent work themes include human to algorithm interactions, utopic infrastructures, and failure. Formerly they were a curator at hq Objective Gallery in Portland, OR. Currently they are a managing editor of Adjacent Journal and finishing a masters degree at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

Epic Play!

Play is not work; let’s start there. Play is also ubiquitous, a relationship, a stance, that someone can take up at any time or place. Like humor, play helps us cope with the world; and like humor, play can be critical and transformative. What does play look like when it isn’t connected to a game or a sport? What is it that makes play, play? Are there constituent elements required for play to begin? What makes a thing into a toy? Can “serious” play be fun?

The Epic Play! track will work to develop ideas, strategies, toys, and games that critique, dissolve, and reconfigure politics, social relationships, solitude and everyday life. We are looking for applications from children and adults using the concept of play to:

  • Heal fractured or stressed relationships
  • Flatten or invert hierarchies
  • Create solidarity in or against competition
  • Resist work
  • Escape

Track Coordinator: Chandler McWilliams

Epic Play! Talks

Play every day

At the start of 2015 I set myself the challenge to make a digital artwork every single day. The intention was to do this for a few months, instead it has continued for over 3,5 years now. Making daily sketches allows me to explore and experiment with new tools and aesthetics. In the beginning it felt uncomfortable to make something with unfamiliar tools. But after a while, there is a relaxed playful state where I’m free to play around with what I have learned. This is a process that I constantly return to when exploring new areas of my work.

Making daily sketches has become a time to relax and meditate. During this talk I want to share my experience and inspire others to create more through play.

Saskia Freeke's photo

Saskia Freeke is an artist, creative coder, interaction designer, visual designer and educator based in Amsterdam. She has a BA in Interaction Design and a MA in Computational Arts. Her work focuses on structure, geometry and playfulness. Central to her artistic practice is her daily digital art project that she started January 2015, where she experiments and explores creating patterns and animations. These artworks are mostly created with code. From her digital work she creates often physical artworks and she is interested in creating tangible interactive and playful installations. She previously taught at the University of the Arts Utrecht School for Games and Interaction in Visual Design and has taught Physical Computing at Goldsmiths University of London. Saskia has been a fellow with the Processing Foundation in 2017, where she created in collaboration with the Code Liberation Foundation multiple workshops including at A Maze Festival Berlin and a summer series at the V&A in London. In the Netherlands she helps with organizing Creative Coding Amsterdam and is the head of education for Creative Coding Utrecht.

Saskia’s talk is supported by the Creative Industry Fund NL.

Party Games: Speculative Play Through Form

Play, whether it be in children or adults is a space where social contracts can be tested, manipulated, and formed. The objects that accompany our play, in the same spirit, often can be designed to provoke gestures and behaviors that challenge what is socially accepted. Noise makers scream and holler and spit, blindfolds alienate and humiliate, piñatas burst with spectacle as bats swing through crowds. How can the rituals and formalities of celebration (birthday, graduation, retirement etc.) reinterpret our social contracts within digital and virtual spaces? Building inspiration from consumer games and objects that choreograph behavior, such as party blowers, noise makers, pin the tail on the donkey, bobbing for apples etc. McWharter will discuss new works that explore how the manipulation of these forms could produce new models of social interaction. Referencing recent research on toxic disinhibition in online social exchanges, this new body of work examines how physical contact within virtual space and physical form can generate speculative behaviors.

Kristin McWharter's photo

Kristin McWharter is a multi- disciplinary artist whose work interrogates the relationship between competition and intimacy. Integrating innovative and novel technologies within immersive sculptural installations and viewer- inclusive performances. McWharter's work imagines new and alternative forms of social behaviors and relationships. Inspired by 20th century social/ psychology research concerning “the self”, collective decision making, and technology as a contemporary spiritual authority, her work blurs the boundaries of social intimacy and consumer culture in an effort to evoke viewer’s individual relationships to affection, antagonism, sincerity and discomfort within the larger social context.

A cloud machine in the dessert

In 2018, we brought a cloud machine to the desert. All day, a series of clouds were generated and gently held in place by a machine-like sculpture. At night, they were illuminated by an interactive network of LED lights, revealing their inner geometries. The installation formed a juxtaposition of a fabricated structure and a natural phenomenon. Much of the project was dependent on choreography and timing of events to create dramatic effect, which was programmed in Processing on a small Linux machine. I'm looking forward to sharing this project with the Processing community, discussing the tools, experiments, and collaborative process for a mostly remote working team.

Saskia Freeke's photo

Adelle Lin is a creator from Malaysia that has lived in Asia and Australia before settling in the USA. With a background in math and architectural design, she has just completed an MS at NYU, focusing on the multimodal interaction problem space. She enjoys integrating the digital and physical to create playful experiences that serve as a canvas for unusual interactions. Adelle currently develops applications at Intel for emerging technologies and builds software tools for artists in her spare time. Combined with her personal practice, she has worked on projects for Paris Fashion Week, ICC Championships, CES, Play NYC, Play Times Square, Burning Man, A.Maze and Maker Faire. A member of Code Liberation and NYC Resistor, she loves to use games, maker tech and unicorns to build communities.


The Interworveld self is a concept that emerged as a way of presenting my work in 9 minutes. It is specific to this talk, and seeks to actively weave the different selves developed in my performance work with a frenetic montage of projects and associations in the form of a story. Puppet characters, set pieces, and drawings from different narratives show up in woozy and vertiginous vignettes to weigh in on process, indeterminacy, absurdity, and the possibility of using an artist conduit (myself) to reach new planes of existence, metanarratives, or develop a self beyond the body. From escape rooms, to teenage social media avatars, to sketch comedy: each character included will bring with it an impression of how reperforming our many selves in different social contexts creates new frames within which the theme and variation of our own emotional choreography is the content of life's play. The talk itself is a structure in which a play will occur, and the Interworveld self is the attempt to compress something as gooey as a sprawling cosmology into the crystalline structure of purpose and meaning. At once, a train wreck of half baked ideas can also be a public shedding and deconstruction of social conventions and expectations. Regardless of the product, this experiment is in the process of its own happening, and must happen before an audience.

Patrick Michael Ballard 's photo

Patrick Michael Ballard is an artist that lives and works at a cabin on the edge of the Angeles National Forest just outside of Los Angeles, CA. His work ranges across media including immersive theater, sculpture, performance, installation, drawing, writing, and sound composition.

The Deinstrumentalization of Games

In this talk I will discuss my approach to making and thinking about games in my creative practice and the creative and cultural space we cultivate at the UCLA Game Lab in an attempt to approach games as an artistic medium; and resist the intrumentalizing forces of Mass Entertainment, Tech Fetishism, Neo Liberal ideas about games fixing the world and doing useful things, and the High-Art //slash// luddite suspicions of new media art.

Eddo Stern's photo

Eddo Stern is an artist and game designer. He was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and lives in Los Angeles. He is a Professor at UCLA Design Media Arts where he directs the UCLA Game Lab teaches courses on game design and culture; and courses on media art. His work explores the uneasy and otherwise unconscious connections between physical existence and electronic simulation, surrounding the subject matters of violence, memory and identification. He works with various media including computer software & hardware, game design, live performance, digital video, and kinetic sculpture. He is a strong advocate for independent game development, and the inherent potential of game design as a medium for artistic expression and cultural impact.

Epic Play! Sessions

Feminist Futures World Building Lab

Feminist Futures is a multidisciplinary collaborative project imagining a utopian intersectional feminist world, 200 years in the future. Come learn about the project, discover the basic tenets of world building, and work together to design an artifact from this future world. See more about the ongoing project at feministfutures.org.

Feminisut Futures' photo

Paisley Smith is a Canadian virtual reality creator and documentary filmmaker. She is the creator of “Homestay” with the NFB Digital Studio and Jam3. She uses the design thinking process of world building in her work. She studied World Building at the USC School of Cinematic Arts in the newly developed World Building Media Lab, founded by production designer and futurist Alex McDowell.

Caitlin Conlen is a designer and artist. She has used world building techniques to facilitate language and communication for kids with Autism in her previous career as a behavior therapist, and is interested in the power of creative practices as tool for communication. She is a graduate from ArtCenter College of Design.

My Face is My Own! : Helping Kids Beat Facial Recognition Software

In this loosely structured session, participants will creatively engage with questions of privacy, autonomy, and data collection through collective face-painting and mask-making. Though README members will guide participants through a suggested menu of face-paint and mask options, experimentation is highly encouraged! We hope to paint some faces, make some masks, and encourage participants to paint/mask each other! Our goal is to test these "new faces" against facial recognition software. Will our imaginations outsmart the system? All materials will be provided.

README's photo

README is a collective of UCLA graduate students that advocates for digital rights including privacy, security, access, and intellectual freedom within libraries, archives, and information work. Initiated by MLIS students in 2016, README welcomes community members throughout UCLA to join our efforts. Through weekly lab hours, collaborative publications, interdisciplinary conversations, and practical workshops, we organize against oppressive uses of technology and open new possibilities for a more liberatory future.

We are proud members of the Electronic Frontier Alliance.

Games For All! - Flatgames with p5.play

A flatgame is an inclusive approach to game-making allowing anyone to make an interactive story or game using a cut and paste zine approach. Many flatgames tell autobiographies, short stories on memories or places visited, or create a virtual museum space, complete with soundtrack. p5-flatgame comes from the lineage of open-source, democratic software tools for online creation such as Twine and Flickgame, and is built with p5.js, p5.play and hammer,js. Participants will have a tutorial and brainstorming session and then create their own stories and games using p5-flatgame and photos, paint, markers or drawing software. At the end, we’ll exhibit the works we’ve created in a pop-up arcade and participants can choose to publish them online. Flatgame is intended to be a cross-generational workshop. All artmaking backgrounds and approaches welcome. Let’s expand our notion of what a game can be.

Lee Tusman's photo

Lee Tusman is an artist, programmer, and educator interested in the application of the radical ethos of collectives and DIY culture to the creation of, aesthetics, and open-source distribution methods of digital culture. He creates interactive media, artwork, software, bots, websites, virtual assistants, games, sound and radio stations alone and in collaboration. Areas of research and work include: decentralized networks, generative processes, sonification of data, alternative interface and performance tools, Linux and open source software, bots and digital assistants. He studied at Brandeis University and received his MFA at UCLA in Design Media Arts. He is Assistant Professor of New Media and Computer Science at Purchase College.