Archive for May, 2008

Networks, Tactics, Breakdown @ 620 Putnam

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Forty people came to the review for Networks, Tactics, Breakdown. Beth Coleman, Amanda Parkes, Cati Vaucelle, Fender Schrade, and Ute Meta Bauer brought perspectives from various fields - cultural and media theory, industrial design, sound art and engineering - to a debate about how participatory networks online and off can address zones of emergency.

Natsuko preparing for the Zones of Emergency Exhibition tomorrow

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Today, we spent most of the day at 620 Putnam considering how we might bring our research, which has been mostly online, to this physical space. Owned by MIT, 620 Putnam is the site of a paint factory that has been neglected for what looks like years. As we contextualize our research off site without the tools and technologies with which we are familiar, we hope to generate a space for dialogue. Perhaps in this space we can re-examine the concepts of emergency that we have been exploring over the course of the term.

Songs for Sudan

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Singing sorrow in this poem/song edited from newspaper articles on Sudan

Song for Sudan

The government - humiliates - to - Wipe - OUT


slave girl

5 to 6 men raped us in rounds - could not forgive me - disowned me

where the men are - skin darker than ours

It is not in the culture of Sudan

It does not exist.

Singing sorrow My zone of emergency is the genocide happening in Sudan, where the black African population are being wiped out and especially the rape crisis affecting the women and girls in Sudan. When women taking refuge in camps leave to search for necessary food or water, they run the risk of gang rape and mutilation by the Janjaweed. Amnesty International says rape is used as a weapon of war in Sudan. The Sudanese government denies this is happening or that they are involved. Women who report violent attacks risk consequences in their communities and with the law. I want to sing sorrow to acknowledge the plight of African women and for the black African community, Christian and Muslim who are being murdered, raped and violently wiped out. Keening was a tradition in the past, where women used voice to mourn the sorrow or death. I want to use my voice to acknowledge what is happening in Sudan and open up a space of awareness, mourning and dialogue.  I gathered texts on the internet. Many of my selected articles were by New York Times reporter Nicholas D. Kristof. I edited the texts to create poems to sing for sudan.

“The Sudanese government and the Janjaweed militias, an Arab supremacist movement, have been carrying out a horrifying campaign of ethnic cleansing against African tribes. Some 2,700 villages have been destroyed, and as a result of the violence and the related starvation and disease, some 250,000 Sudanese have died, most in 2003 and 2004, and another two million have fled to refugee camps. The Bush administration has called these atrocities a genocide.”

Andrew S. Natsios, U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan in 2006-7 and Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development in 2001-6

New Urban Arts: how to _____

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

How to _____ is a collaborative project with New Urban Arts, a free interdisciplinary arts studio for Providence high school students and emerging artists. The “how to” video was chosen as a medium because of it’s potential to engage large audiences in art as makers through online participatory networks. The act of making a how to video is a creative act in and of itself and cements one’s knowledge of what it being demonstrated. In the context of a nonprofit arts organization, how to videos reflect the work of the organization to the outside world while strengthening student voices. For this project, six how to videos were made covering a variety of creative practices. They were posted on New Urban Arts youtube channel and posted on New Urban Arts wiki, which was created specifically for this project.

Julia Gualtieri, RISD, MA Art + Design Education, Community Tract

Zones of Emergency Exhibition + Party @ 620 Putnam Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

Friday, May 9th, 2008

The MIT Visual Arts Program is hosting a review and party to exhibit the research and art works of the Spring 2008 Zones of Emergency teams from 5 to 9pm at 620 Putnam Ave, Cambridge, the site of the MIT FEMA Trailer. As a symbol of emergency, the site will provide a space for dialogue to examine the scale and complexity of catastrophe scenarios. Projects from two courses (MIT 4.381/4.366 and RISD GRAD-103G-01 Participatory Media: Networks, Tactics, Breakdown taught by Amber Frid-Jimenez and 4.370/4.371: Research as Artistic Practice: The FEMA Trailer Project taught by Ute Meta Bauer and Jae Rhim Lee) examine how critical design practice and technology can generate new paradigms and alternative approaches to zones of emergency and disaster relief.

Amar Kanwar + Balakrishnan Rajagopal on The Human Condition

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Today, May 5, 2008, we are hosting a Zones of Emergency film screening, lecture and panel discussion at a the Stata Center (32-155) at MIT starting at 6pm. Amar Kanwar, filmmaker, and Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Professor of Law and Development and Director of the Program on Human Rights and Justice at MIT will speak on the topic of The Human Condition. Amar Kanwar will present “The Little Museum” with reflections on the image that lies between sorrow and resistance. This exploration will include extracts from different film projects such as Shrines 1991-2007, which emerges from labor and indigenous people’s resistance movements, The Torn First Pages, which emerges from the Burmese democracy movement and The Lightening Testimonies, which emerges from the search for language to understand the narratives of sexual violence in areas of conflict. Balakrishnan Rajagopal will talk about ‘normalizing emergency’ in development and human rights terms, drawing on Agamben, but with a specific focus on the condition of Dalits in India.

Can Do: Small steps. Big Impact.

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

Can Do is an experiment in gathering a collection of small steps everyone can make to positively change in our environment. It is based in the belief that building a community of people interested in taking some of these small steps can be a powerful motivating tool, and empower us with the knowledge of our collective impact.

The central idea for this project was that small lifestyle changes across many people hold tremendous power to affect my zone of emergency (the worsening environmental situation), and so I designed a web site where I could gather people’s ideas for those types of changes, and then track the aggregate contributions of each member.

More information:

Katy Harris, MFA Graphic Design, Candidate 2009

INSURGENT AND ONLINE: Utterances. A Diasporic Project for the 2008 Zimbabwe Election Experience

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

The elections are in process. For the past decade Zimbabwe has experienced a tumultuous turn of events: politically, socially, economically. On March 6th , 2008 Zimbabwe’s inflation was reported at 100,000 %. The diasporic experience of the crumbling socio-political fabric is the focus of this project. This project attempts to give agency back to the diasporic dialogue through an insurgent online practice or the manifesto as an ‘utterance.’ The method used for this expression is speech, or utterances, that remain anonymous, yet critical….. enough.

Tsitsi Isabel Gora

project process website:

audio samples: