Lena Chen
Ralph Day
Huan He
Jonghong Park
Sal Moreno
Anisa Hosseinnezhad
Chanee Choi


The New Media Caucus’ 2021 Judson-Morrissey Excellence in New Media Award was granted to seven artist-scholars of color who are graduate and undergraduate students at universities and colleges worldwide; Lena Chen, Chanee Choi, Ralph Day, Huan He, Anisa Hosseinnezhad, Sal Moreno, and Jonghong Park. In its 3rd year, the scholarship has evolved from directly supporting travel to the College Art Association (CAA) conference to an unrestricted gift while CAA is held virtually. Through the scholarship, the NMC aims to bring visibility to these outstanding practitioners while helping to increase racial diversity in our field.

As rising scholars, the awardees represent the breadth of new media practice in the methods they are using, including video and film, physical computing, interactive games, sound, performance, and XR. While the traditional art world often lacks knowledge about the histories of digital and new media art, those same histories not only lack racial diversity in the perspectives that are featured and discussed, but they often centralize whiteness and ignore relationships between race and technology entirely. Among these rising scholars are those who are revisiting histories and underlining the already racialized applications of commercial and artistic media. As Huan He, one of this year’s awardees, writes, “Media and information technologies, their artifacts and histories, are often considered to be race-neutral. [Nam Jun] Paik offered me a way to think about the intersection of race and technology, both as a PhD scholar and as a maker.” (He, Huan, 2021). Through this scholarship, He and the six other 2021 Judson-Morrissey awardees are broadening and reframing new media conversations.

The works in this exhibition are considered here under three overlapping themes. The first includes works that involve repetitive sound, body movement or individual agency through moving image, sound and performance. In Ralph Day’s “Purgatory” (2021) and his UNC Asheville senior thesis Electronic Dance Music (EDM) workshop, he generates rhythmic electronic beats to create spaces of safety and free movement. In Sal Moreno’s “Dreaming Sound” (2020), the artist performs in a motion capture suit while wearing a VR headset. The free agency of Moreno’s body movement is captured and reflected back as real-time sound limited only by programmatic constraints. Moreno layers gesture with XR modalities and creates a rare example of extended reality and live performance.

The projects under our second theme highlight an attention to making. They craft a relationship between artist-made objects and participants through interactivity, automation and performance. The repetitive sound of “Moving Papers'' in Jonghong Park’s 2020 installation is the result of spinning DC motors connected to reels of white paper. Park’s motors reflect the give and take of human relationships as two people working in tandem begin reflecting and responding to one another’s actions. By animating strips of paper, Park places emphasis on otherwise banal everyday objects through their interactions. Through a post-pandemic gaze, a viewer cannot overlook the close, perhaps uncomfortable, proximity of the pairs of strips intermingling with one another as if in a busy social group. Chanee Choi presents video documentation from her installation “Polaris” (2019), that includes paper puppets and an immersive projection that maps across the four walls of the gallery and onto the viewers themselves. Choi creates colorful images on-screen with interactive games and at times, costumed performers moving through a space full of onlookers.Viewers are invited to engage directly with Choi’s work, to handle it as one would with traditional handicrafts. They become part of the direction that a piece takes as they are given agency to move and to take in the aesthetic and unique hand of the craftsperson.

The final group of works investigate the notion of the gaze and push back on media’s power to impose whiteness and cultural tropes on non-white, non-western viewers. Through an intersectional feminist approach, these artists seek to reclaim media for those who have more often been its object than its maker. Huan He’s “We Are Live” (2021) questions “liveness” and who has the privilege to go live with agency versus being the object of the camera, such as in the widely broadcast images of Vietnemese people impacted not only by the horrors of war in their home country, but exponentially by the distribution of images of AAPI people as victims of violence. Simultaneously, white Americans are portrayed as the newscasters in control of the live media image as those broadcasting a sense of calm to domestic and international viewers during wartime. Anisa Hosseinnezhad’s “Wherever the War, Whoever the Enemy” (2020), depicts landscapes of the Middle East with ghost-like movements rippling through grasses, skies, mountains, and villages. A static camera frames otherwise pristine natural scenes that now billow with tension through Hosseinnezhad’s hand-erasure of the military components in the foreground. Her expungement of the violent imagery from the edited US Army commercial leaves behind tranquil but glitched scenes, their stillness interrupted by the ghost-like movements of erasure. Editing imagery into a landscape through layering and green screen capture is a common effect, but here, Hosseinnezhad achieves the opposite by using a reductive rather than an additive process to bring the landscape back into view. She also includes her own closed captioned titles that describe what has been erased from the original advertisement, underscoring a deep sense of unease and disconnect between what is happening on the screen and what was intended by the original maker. Awardee Lena Chen and collaborator Maggie Oates' “Only Bans” (2021) game uses interactive browser-based technologies to critique the medium itself, intertwining the content and the approach used to create the work. In doing so, Chen and Oates ask the player to take the perspective of a sex worker who is making and uploading their own content. By reflecting the frustration of this task back on the viewer, Chen increases understanding of ways in which platforms must be navigated in order to make a living as a sex worker online.

Name: Lena Chen
Pronouns: She/Her
Instagram: @elleperil

I am a Chinese American artist, writer, organizer, and sex worker examining gender, labor, technology, and trauma. Engaging performance, writing, and social practice, my work is concerned with the fractured experience of womanhood: the state of being simultaneously revered and vilified, desired and rejected, empowered and objectified. I have produced participatory projects with various publics, including trauma survivors, sex workers, and abortion providers.

Named "Best Emerging Talent" at the B3 Biennial of the Moving Image (Frankfurt), I have performed and exhibited at Transmediale (Berlin), Baltimore Museum of Art, Färgfabriken (Stockholm), Tempting Failure (London), Die Digitale (Düsseldorf), and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin). Based between Pittsburgh, USA and Berlin Germany, I hold a B.A. in sociology from Harvard University and am currently pursuing my MFA at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Art.

Tell us a little about your background and your trajectory as an artist/ scholar.

Before I became an artist, I was a writer. In 2013, I moved to Berlin and changed my name to escape an Internet stalker. I was coping with the fallout of having nude photos of myself published without my consent and decided to become a nude model to process that experience. Under my new identity, I posed for dozens of artists, with the intention to write about this for an autobiographical novel. The novel remains unfinished, but this was my entry point into the arts. My academic background is actually in sociology, gender studies, and community organizing - elements which continue to inform my work today. Participatory and collaborative processes are at the center of my practice, which often blurs the line between art-making and activism. For example, during COVID-19, I hosted workshops on self-care and digital harm reduction, began an online performance group with sex workers across five timezones, and co-directed a summit on health equity for the BIPOC transgender and sex worker community. This process of relationship-building (initially in the absence of any grants or commissions) organically led to the creation of Play4UsNow, a "data dungeon" featuring an international cast of dominatrixes and sex workers who turned audience members' data into fetish objects. I work almost exclusively in collaborative formats - with my performance partner Michael Neumann, with the collective Maternal Fantasies (a group of artists/mothers), and with various collaborators in and outside of the arts. Even as a "solo artist", I typically work in alliance with communities (ideally, communities with whom I share lived experience) to translate stories into participatory performances and artworks that challenge perceptions of sexuality and power. Whether the final result is a piece of immersive theater or a video game, my goal is find safe(r) ways to draw the audience into interactive performances that may evoke difficult memories or engage with sensitive topics related to gender, race, sex, and trauma.

What are some of your main influences?

Feminist performance art of the 1960s and 70s (VALIE EXPORT, Yoko Ono) was my gateway drug into the art world. Many of them made art that couldn't be sold and wasn't well understood at the time of their creation, which has liberated me from worrying too much about commercial or critical interest. The late Scottish performance artist Adrian Howells has also been a great inspiration in my development of one-to-one performances, including works in which I breastfed strangers and shared foot massages with the public. I have studied the methods of social practice artists Suzanne Lacy and Mierle Laderman Ukeles as I embark upon participatory projects with various publics, including trauma survivors, sex workers, and abortion providers. In terms of thinkers and writers, I'm again influenced by the feminist tradition: Silvia Federici, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich - who have written about the complexities of labor, race, motherhood, and care.

What are you working on now?

OnlyBans, created in collaboration with Maggie Oates and Goofy Toof, is an interactive game that critically examines the policing of marginalized bodies and sexual labor to empathetically teach people about discrimination faced by sex workers online. Players encounter content moderation algorithms, shadowbanning, “real name” policies, facial recognition software, and other threats based on actual experiences of sex workers. Featuring real images and stories from sex workers themselves, OnlyBans offers a speculative vision of how marginalized communities can unite to protest these unjust policies and create better alternatives.

Name: Ralph Day
Pronouns: He/Him/His
Instagram: @Ralphie_Day

Ralph Day is an alchemist: He mixes together music, video, dance, and storytelling to take people to other worlds. He is graduating from University of North Carolina - Asheville this spring.


Tell us a little about your background and your trajectory as an artist/ scholar.

I was born in West Virginia and grew up mainly in Delaware. To avoid autonomy after high school, I enlisted in the military. When that chapter painfully closes, I move to Las Vegas and fall in love with Electronic Dance Music. I begin DJing there and continue embedding myself deeper into the cultures and communities that electronic music houses. As a black queer artist, this may have been the first time I truly felt safe and loved in public settings.

Thanks to the recommendation of a friend, I now live in Asheville, NC. Additionally, I am graduating from UNCA’s New Media program this spring. I often imagine my works at large scale events like the ones I frequented and aspire to have fully immersive environments. I work to create microcosms of the weird, fun, and moving.

What are some of your main influences?

Alex Grey, TAS, Android Jones, and the expanded imagination provided by altered states of consciousness.

What are you working on now?

A dance and culture workshop titled EDM 101 as part of my senior project and in conjunction with UNCA's 2021 Art for Our Times. Participants will learn about the history of EDM as it relates to black and queer communities while simultaneously learning the popular EDM dance style called “Shuffling” or “Cutting Shapes.”

Name: Huan He
Pronouns: he/him/his

Huan He (he/him/his) is a queer Chinese American scholar, maker, and poet. He is a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California and a recipient of a USC Research Enhancement Fellowship. Working at the intersection of race, technology, and visuality, his research and media practice conceptualizes digital histories as racial histories. Fascinated by the technical histories of digital, computational, and media artifacts, his work understands information technologies not simply as objects of scientific innovation but as artifacts of desire—of social dreams, hopes, fantasies, and fears in a particular historical moment. He is currently building two primary projects. The first is his dissertation, “The Racial Interface: Informatics and Asian/America,” which turns to Asian/American visual art and culture to examine myths of technological and racial “progress” in digital history. The second is his media remix series "See It Now," which explores “liveness” not simply as evidence of technological co-presence but as a mediation of ethical relations, of who gets “to live.” His writing appears in American Quarterly and College Literature: A Journal of Critical Literary Studies. He is a member of Palah Light Lab, a queer and feminist new media collective. In his spare time, he also writes poetry and has forthcoming work in wildness and Alaska Quarterly Review.

We Are Live2

Tell us a little about your background and your trajectory as an artist/ scholar.

I was born in Zhengzhou, China and have lived in many places in the North American continent, including Saskatchewan, Ontario, Maryland, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and New York. Currently, I reside in Los Angeles, CA. I graduated from Dartmouth College in 2013 with a degree in English literature and a minor in media studies. In my honors thesis, I explored queer desire and temporality in Asian/American literature. Before I entered my PhD program, I worked in the tech startup world as a project manager and was immersed in the world of web development and UX and graphic design. I entered my PhD program in 2015 to research Asian/American studies and culture. In many ways, my current research and creative agenda exploring race and technology unites both of these worlds but through the lens of media art and visual cultures. In my graduate program, I eventually found my way to the work of Nam June Paik (through his archive at the Smithsonian) and was fascinated by his involvement in the art & technology movement. I was interested in his social and racial commentary and critique and how that might be evident in his technological tinkering, especially since Paik was a minority within New York City avant-garde spaces. Media and information technologies, their artifacts and histories, are often considered to be race-neutral. Paik offered me a way to think about the intersection of race and technology, both as a PhD scholar and as a maker.

I began to explore multimedia forms of expression and critique when I realized certain things I wanted to say or do could be more compelling in visual form, rather than a scholarly essay. Through the courses and support of USC’s Media Arts + Practice (MA+P) program, I began to reinvest in my technical skills with video making, editing, and remix. During this time, I began to work on my media remix series “See It Now,” discussed below. I often think of Tara McPherson’s words from Feminist in a Software Lab: Difference + Design: “There’s an optimism born of making that is hard to reconcile with the negative force of critique” (22). For me, my artistic practice of making is very much linked to how I study race and technology as a graduate student. Thanks to the recommendation of a friend, I now live in Asheville, NC. Additionally, I am graduating from UNCA’s New Media program this spring. I often imagine my works at large scale events like the ones I frequented and aspire to have fully immersive environments. I work to create microcosms of the weird, fun, and moving.

What are some of your main influences?

My approach to new media is actually very influenced by the poetic form, especially poetry by writers of color. One major source of inspiration is the work of Korean American poet and media artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (b. 1951-1982), who is most famous for Dictee. Using experimental literary and visual forms to depict Korean diasporic history, memory, and longing, Dictee is a masterpiece in the language arts. However, what’s unique about Cha’s poetics is that it is inextricably linked to her approach to film, video, and media technologies. For instance, she was very influenced by apparatus and film theory and often used the occasion of the blank page to reproduce the operations of visuality and seeing itself. Language, for Cha, was not only a means of representation but could get at the procedure of visuality itself, a process that has consequences for marginalized subjects in history. In this sense, Cha is a profound media artist similar to others such as Nam June Paik, and her use of language is also a way to tinker with the desires wired into new media technologies—the way that Paik might use a magnet to distort televisual signals. Take, for instance, lines from her poem “audience distant relative:”

neither you nor i are visible to each other i can only assume that you can hear me i can only hope that you hear me

We see the diasporic desires emanating here, but it is also about the desires and the desiring at the heart of new information and communication technologies during her time. In the same way W.J.T. Mitchell asks, “what do pictures want?” I am interested in what our technologies want, and what “we” want through these technologies. These desires not only tell us more about the media technologies themselves but reveals their place and consequences in the larger social landscape. My research and media practice tries to get at these questions. For all of these reasons, I am also influenced more broadly by glitch and remix art as well as other engagements with multimedia experimentation.

What are you working on now?

Currently, I am working on a media remix series titled “See It Now,” drawing its name from Edward R. Murrow’s CBS docuseries broadcast in the 1950s. These media artworks explore the life and death worlds under technological regimes of “liveness.” I complicate the ideology of liveness and virtual presence that has characterized the televisual and digital age. My media art suggests that “liveness” is not simply evidence of technological prowess, but it also frames a visual field of ethical relations, of who gets “to live.” Interspersing remix technique, media footage, and experimental poetry, “See It Now” helps us rethink the ethical challenges and possibilities of developing new information technologies. I have included a link to the first piece in this series titled “We Are Live!” This video remix juxtaposes the spectacle of “liveness” against the violence of drone warfare, suggesting that both stem from an imperial vision of foreign land and bodies. Other future media remixes in this series explore the circulation of racial violence “live” videos, such as first-hand documentation of anti-black police brutality and anti-Asian hate crimes. What is this fascination with “liveness” in our new media landscapes, and what are the social and racial consequences?

Of course, I am still working on my dissertation titled “The Racial Interface: Informatics and Asian/America.” Through a visual archive of art, corporate, and government sources, “The Racial Interface” shows how racial liberalism’s experiments with agency, efficiency, and representation became bound to the rise of digital power in the 20th century. I am also pursuing a secondary research project on race, games, and cheating/hacking.

Name: Jonghong Park
Pronouns: He/Him
Instagram: @jonghong.p

Jonghong Park is an artist and designer based in Bremen. His work focuses on discovering, researching, and revealing inherent relational algorithms from nature, mundane artifacts, technical objects, and human behaviors, and exploring new media and digital technologies. He has worked as a designer in several studios in Seoul and is currently studying digital media at the University of the Arts Bremen in Germany.


Tell us a little about your background and your trajectory as an artist/ scholar.

I worked as a graphic designer in South-Korea for some years. At that time, I was constantly eager to study aesthetics, interactions, and philosophy, and finally went to study in Germany. I graduated from the University of the Arts Bremen with a Bachelor’s degree in Digital Media and am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Digital Media. My works mainly focuses on researching, uncovering and demonstrating the relationship between mundane artifacts, notions and phenomena. I consider relationality as a methodology that can define, characterize, differentiate, and identify inherent properties. Without the notion of relationship, everything that exists in the world, such as matter, notion, and history, cannot be recognized by humans. Just as matter and time coexist with each other, all relationships are interpreted as symbiotic relationships. Time is the relative amount of change in matter. Hence, the definition of a specific matter that exists in time changes according to its relationship. I only hope that I can continue to work on revealing the nature of things.

What are some of your main influences?

Poetic phrases that come to my mind instantly and curiosity about nature stimulate me. But most of the time, there are two paths to get the idea. The first are the trivial tools, artifacts, and machines surrounded with us. Technology as a categorized and structured nature always raises questions about the principle of operation. Knowing how a particular machine works, its purpose, what it senses and sends, we can define that machine. In other words, we can grasp the internal and external constituents of the machine, the relationship with external environmental factors and relationality within society. Also, things around us are always telling us something. They communicate with us both as intangible and tangible. We just embody it without knowing it. They are memories of our past, and they reveal notions outside of human perception. Artifacts and natural objects connect with me and evoke my little memories. Small personal digital experiences can also be a good subject for the next work.

The second are the philosophers. Especially, Whitehead and Simondon tell us how this world is made up and how we should look at it. When I look at things with their eyes, I feel as if they are communicating with us. I learn a lot from them and most of my work is leaning on their thoughts.

What are you working on now?

Currently, I am studying and working on the notion of repetitiveness, recursivity, and contingency. In this project, balloons, air and adhesive tape are used as materials. This is an attempt to define recursivity and contingency through the relationship between two objects with contrasting properties. This is therefore an attempt to define and demonstrate the coincidence in iteration as a recursive algorithm.

The stretching properties of synthetic latex and the expansion of air give each other energy to generate a specific shape. The shape of the balloon generated by interacting with the air is related to the adhesive tape. This pneumatic pressure, adhesion and elasticity interlock together to produce unpredictable shapes and wrinkles. This action occurs both inside and outside, so the balloon and tape act as both material and formwork.

The shape manifested in the two iterative movements of the expiratory-inspiratory movements and rotational movement is either a coincidence or an unexpected result. Such a coincidence can never happen alone. Coincidence manifests itself in relationships and systems. The consequences of any phenomena or events defined as coincidence are recursive results manifested as the accumulation of small changes in iterative motion. This creates new results and changes, that is to say, it promotes changes in the rules of the system.

Name: Sal Moreno
Pronouns: He/Him/His

I’m an artist and musician based in Chicago, IL. I’ve spent the past 2 years pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in Art and Technology, focused on the development of extended reality projects (XR includes virtual, augmented, and mixed reality). My practice focuses on the way that different aspects of the body can be utilized, modified, and extended to engage with our evolving relationship with emerging technology. Motion-capture has become a core anchor that weaves together elements of performance, sound, and computer-generated visuals. By integrating motion-capture into live performance, I am able to play and interact with visuals and sounds generated by the body in real-time, creating an exchange that further bridges the physical and the digital realms.


Tell us a little about your background and your trajectory as an artist/ scholar.

My first true commitment to the arts occurred in the 6th grade when I was introduced to percussion. I still remember the music teacher’s opening line: “Welcome to the world of drums!”. He then proceeded to show us all of the different percussion instruments that were in the classroom, and from then on I was hooked. I stuck with the percussion section throughout the rest of middle school, and was part of the drumline for the entirety of my high school experience.

At UC San Diego, I found myself beginning my undergraduate education trying my hand at STEM majors. Drifting through fields such as Aerospace Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Computer Science, I quickly discovered that these were not the right fit for me and made my way into Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts (ICAM). What intrigued me about ICAM was how the curriculum included courses from the Computer Science department. I still had a keen interest in computer programming, and I was curious about how I would be able to combine CS with the arts.

While I was an undergrad, I continued my heavy involvement with independent drum corps and percussion ensembles. Traveling to rehearsals and competitions consumed my weekends and made it feel as if I was leading a completely separate life from school. It was around the time when I aged-out that I switched my major to ICAM, and came to the realization that I could combine my experience of drumming with my studies and research.

And that’s what I’ve really been digging into these past 2 years as a grad student. Dissecting different aspects of my experience in marching band and making projects out of them. Using rhythm and movement, aspects that have been ingrained into my mind and muscle memory, in tandem with XR technologies, to re-frame and reshape these established Western concepts of synchronicity, coordination, and musicianship.

What are some of your main influences?

My experience with the marching arts! The physical and mental intensity of this activity has been so imprinted into the way I think that there will always be remnants of it within my work.

I wouldn't have been able to get to where I am now in my research without the influence of Milford Graves. I learned about the professor during my first semester of grad school, and getting to know his work, his philosophy, and his soul has been an inspiration that has carried me through the rigor of MFA. The connections between drumming and the martial arts was introduced to me back in my high school marching band days, but his documentary “Full Mantis” had a huge impact on allowing these ideas to resurface and expanded my mind on how I could engage with them.

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on my MFA thesis performance. The performance integrates and fuses the physical, virtual, and sonic realms through the interaction with a marching snare drum. Traditionally, the activity of marching band, drum corps, and percussion ensembles emphasizes uniformity, precision and accuracy as points of focus for developing shows and participating in competitions. Training musicians to perform in a cohesive manner, individually contributing to a whole and behaving as a single unit is a defining quality of this activity.

This performance shifts the focus to a more free-form method of drumming influenced by digital sound generated and manipulated by the body, made possible by wearing a motion capture suit. The sounds consist of digital synths and archival audio from previous percussion ensembles I was part of. Utilizing movements to warp this audio represents the dismantling of what I perceive to be an experience which limited creative expression at the level of the individual.

The visual component of the work offers insight into an expansive virtual space that gives representations of the tools (drumsticks, drum), sound, and the body. The use of lighting and filters allows for the virtual scenes to become part of the physical space. The relationship between the physical and virtual reinforces the liberation from the conventions of the marching arts. This feedback loop propels the performance and pushes that which is typically expected from and associated with a marching snare drum.

Name: Anisa Hosseinnezhad
Pronouns: she/her
Instagram: @hnanisa

Anisa Hosseinnezhad (she/her) is an Iranian Artist and Filmmaker. Her film and video work focuses on issues of displacement, immigration, and the militaristic U.S. imaginary. Her research is centered on West Asia, as rendered through by western media and its frequent collaborator the U.S. military industrial complex.


Tell us a little about your background and your trajectory as an artist/ scholar.

I was trained as a filmmaker at MassArt. My early works were focused on reconfiguring my own position as an Iranian queer person. I became interested in the fraught nature of representation and the power dynamics that are created by the presence of the camera. None of my early films follow a traditional structure or script. Instead, I act as a facilitator, fostering collaborative processes and leveraging the resulting power structure to enable collective rememberings and collaborative retellings. I use these structures to explore and interrogate issues of displacement, language, cultural barriers, integration, intimacy, and individual and collective perceptions of those issues. These films take on many forms: collaborative documentaries, narrative shorts, and video performances.

I was raised in the southernmost part of Iran, in the city of Bandar Abbas. My geographical proximity to the more Western sympathetic countries on the other side of the Persian Gulf, meant that I grew up consuming the western media projected by them. It was only after I was transplanted from the city that never saw snow, to the winters of Boston, that I became interested in examining the ways in which the media I consumed as a child, mostly created in the center of the U.S. empire, perceived and imagined me and my country and region.

In my writings and research, I focus on the U.S. practice of exporting popular media to the same nations and regions that it labels as its enemies and targets with political, economic, and military intervention. How does exported media reinforce agendas and identities, and how is western ideology an inaccessible narrative of accessibility? How can artists and scholars introduce counter-narratives or perhaps enable others to produce counter-narratives?

What are some of your main influences?

I have been influenced by a myriad of Artists and filmmakers; Harun Faroucki, Kamal Aljafari, John Akomfrah, Yoshua Okón, Bahar Noorizadeh, Anne Charlotte Robertson, Deborah Stratman, to name a few.

For Wherever the War, Whoever the Enemy, I was inspired by artists working with techniques of digital erasure; Paul Pfieffer, and Ryan Woodring, as well as Stephanie Syjuco’s series of Body Double.

What are you working on now?

Currently I’m working on an experimental-essay film that is an investigation of the oil fields dispersed around my Southern California neighborhood. I live in close proximity to 3000 of the 20000 functioning oil wells in Los Angeles County, and 4000 steps away from one of the largest active urban oil fields in the U.S. Weaving in my own experience as an Iranian living in exile, and using an array of images from google earth to archival footage, I try to make sense of the ways in which the oil itself has shaped my past and will shape my future.

Name: Chanee Choi
Pronouns: she/her
Instagram: @chaneec_studio

Chanee Choi has developed a ritualistic craft-based art practice that transcends the conservative and isolationist roots of traditional East Asian craftwork by focusing on a celebration of feminist theory and modern tech. Within this hybrid genre, she produces both embodied and virtual immersive experiences exploring the effect of immigration on issues of identity, and the synesthetic processes of corporeal-cognitive space.

Chanee is a transdisciplinary artist. She is originally from South Korea and now lives, works, and studies in Seattle, Washington. She earned her BFA in Craft Design from Dongduk Women’s University in 2013 and MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016. Choi is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Art and Technology at DXARTS at the University of Washington.

Her projects and exhibitions have been shown domestically and internationally, New York, Chicago, Covington(KY), Seattle, Los Angeles, Hongkong, Taipei, Berlin, Helsinki, and Seoul.


Tell us a little about your background and your trajectory as an artist/ scholar.

I was trained to make traditional Korean embroidery pieces, and eventually, it felt natural to blend this technique and its aesthetic principles with newer technologies, such as neon, video games, and E-textiles. I love traditional crafts but it was exciting to distance myself from the repressive patriarchal social expectations associated with them. I find that the 3D design process and game programming both calls on a skill set similar to traditional handicrafts. The small repetitive movements of my hands as I make 3D environments and art games feel very similar to the motions of weaving and embroidering a small piece of fabric. I feel at home in this work, rooted in craft, but I love how energetic, expansive, and wild the results can be. I want to immerse the audience’s mind and body in interactive installations that wash them into a more open state of being.

My artwork has combined East Asian traditional crafts and new media, forming a hybrid genre focused on immersive experiences. My research employs Orientalist aesthetics while exploring the specific dynamics of hierarchical social structures through a feminist lens. I research fashion-tech design and human-computer interactions to create interactive installations that immerse the audience both in mind and body, as in my previous projects Polaris(2019), and Loop Series(2016). Pandemic(2020-2021) was my first foray into the field of 3D game design. In my upcoming art project Remembrance(2021-2022) I will focus on Electroencephalography (EEG) and dementia.

What are some of your main influences?

My work has been shaped by individuals, history, culture, my studies, and my life, but the main influence has always come from the question ‘Why?’

What are you working on now?

I am developing my ArtGame project "Pandemic" (2021), and started researching "Remembrance"(2021-2022), an AI virtual reality animation addressing the poetics of a mind as it is dying of dementia.

"Pandemic" is set in an abstract reality that consists of seven different levels or stages, each taking place in a different location. The beginning of the game represents racist coronavirus tropes and racist clichés. The intensity of this xenophobia gradually gets more harmful level by level and is followed by a commentary on politics, classism, and the elite’s indifference toward lower socioeconomic groups.

"Remembrance" is an immersive virtual reality animation addressing the poetics of a mind as it is dying of dementia. My animation will be layered over the top of a colorful visual abstraction of the participant’s own electroencephalographic input (EEG) as monitored by a brain sensor and simulated with artificial Intelligence using letters and videos. The audio will be of a poem that is generated by a computer, this poem will be created by GPT-2 using a database of existing poems, novels and other writings about memory loss.

The goal of this project is to explore more deeply the nature of dementia divorced from its medicalization, perhaps even providing a lens through which the confusion and suffering of our loved ones with dementia can be experienced as something poetic. The process of degeneration is as beautiful as it is painful. The memory of a person with dementia slowly disappears, but the brain is a sensor that continues to want to collect data. What do we become when this happens?