[-empyre-] Welcome to Week 4 on -empyre-: New Media / Art / Representation

Soraya Murray semurray at ucsc.edu
Sun Apr 26 07:14:47 AEST 2015

Dear Morehshin and All,

You point out a significant and ongoing conundrum. On the one hand there's the "strategic essentialist" position, where one can be identified and categorized in order to have a sense of community, and maybe strength in numbers -- which some would argue comes at great cost due to the individual. On the other hand is the refusal of those often-hackneyed notions, and instead thinking of identity as much more fluid and provisional, but with the condition that it may be untranslatable into existing frameworks. 

I would love to hear from everyone about this ongoing issue, particularly in relationship to digital media. It has been a longer debate in art (I'm thinking of the push-back against identity art from the '90s, and various stances that paint the artist dealing with identity as native informant, trauma narrator, etc.) I'm also thinking of the historical coding of technology as "masculine" which Ruth Oldenziel discusses in relationship to late 19th and early 20th c. America. That is to say, the connection was not inherent, but forged over time.

I'm also very interested to hear from Claudia and others about their sense of the unique importance of women's presence in the digital. For example, Claudia, can you tell us more about what specifically attracted you to digital animation and made you feel that this was the specific space that you felt passionate about making an intervention? 


Soraya Murray, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor 
Film + Digital Media Department
University of California, Santa Cruz

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