[-empyre-] A call to artist and humanist to engage the cyberinfrastructure and grand challenges

Timothy Conway Murray tcm1 at cornell.edu
Mon Apr 7 00:56:56 EST 2014

Thanks so much, Kevin, for introducing -empyre- to the broad parameters of
networking that have so positively linked HASTAC and ARTCA.  In response
to the question you pose to the -empyre- community regarding what critical
roles artists and humanities might play, I'M wondering if you would be
able to point us towards specific examples of creative 'making' fostered
by ARCTA that have provided alternative models.  This would provide us
with more parameters for approaching the notion of 'criticality' that you

I'M also wondering if you necessarily meant to link criticality with
making?  I ask because Renate and I spent yesterday enjoying four films at
the Finger Lakes Enviornmental Film Festival.  We found ourselves
discussing the different emphases on critical approaches to networked
making in two films.  Laura Kissel's Cotton Road (2013) provides beautiful
and stunning footage that tracks the global flow of cotton from South
Caroline to China and back to the US (in finished garments).  While the
film provides a clear and and informative mapping of the economies
sustaining cotton, from US farming and cotton gins to shipping and Chinese
labor, the mapping itself is sustained by a lyrical flow of imagery,
interview, and synthetic sound for which stunning color and intertwined
string and narratives seem more the point than any precise critical
overview.  In contrast, Ben Kalina's Shored Up (2013) provides a sharply
critical expose of coastal erosion and beach engineering projects on the
East Coast of the US at a time when Hurricane Sandy devastated New Jersey
and New York to call international attention to global warming and rising
of the oceans.  Kalina integrated a mixture of disjointed media --
historical footage, internet searches, animation, traditional interviews,
etc. -- to provide a mediatic panorama of the shifting sands of ecological
motion.  While the tightness of Kalina's editing also enraptures his
spectators in the flow of his imagery and sounds, his viewers don't leave
his film without understanding the film's fundamental point of view that
planning for, public policy for, and expenditures for beach engineering
projects are all shaped by and dedicated to the financial 1%, leaving the
interests and concerns of the 99% (year-round working class beach
communities, surfers, fishermen, etc.) left to fend for themselves in
coastal areas reshaped to protect multi-million dollar developments and
personal mansions.  What was telling about watching these effective films
back to back was how Cotton Road seemed content with mapping the
international trail of cotton, whereas Shored Up provided a searing
critique of the flow and map of money that restricts work on coastal
erosion to the limited and selfish interests of the 1%.

Knowing that you are working on similar problems of networking in Latin
America, I'M wondering if you'd be able to point us to a couple of making
projects that provide strategies of the kinds of criticality to which you
are so committed.

Thanks so much, Kevin.  And, we'd also welcome hearing about similar
projects from the -empyre- community or comments on the contrast (if not a
false one) between making and criticality, etc.


Timothy Murray
Professor of Comparative Literature and English
Director, Society for the Humanities
Curator, Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media
A D White House
Cornell University,
Ithaca, New York 14853

On 4/5/14 11:17 AM, "Kevin Franklin" <kevinfranklin.edd at gmail.com> wrote:

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