[-empyre-] Introducing Machine Dreams Contributors: Ana Monroe and Jenny Rhee!
rhee.jennifer.s at gmail.com
Sun May 28 00:32:42 AEST 2017
I’m excited to be joining such a great conversation! Thank you for facilitating this, Margaret! I love Keith’s “Uncanny Emmett Till” piece and his discussion of the valley as justification for the inhuman. I totally agree! The uncanny valley and other “tests” that define the human are often mobilized to de-humanize certain people. This also resonates with Mark’s thoughts on the chatbots and intersectionality.
To respond to Margaret’s question, I first became interested in robots as a when I met the robot Leonardo at a robotics lab at MIT. Leonardo looks like a cute, cuddly stuffed animal with very expressive facial features and small, pink human-like hands. It looks a lot like a gremlin before it gets wet. As I was standing face-to-face with this robot, I was really arrested by it and all the complicated ways it was evoking and inscribing the human. I felt very compelled to explore these inscriptions from within the humanities. I felt this urgency even more strongly when I began researching the Department of Defense’s significant role in funding U.S. robotics research (including Leonardo, as well as Predator drones). My interest in robotic art comes from my desire to look for different robotic imaginaries (with their different funding structures and strategic priorities) that offer different visions of the human and possible futures outside of militarization (for example, the pieces in the Machine Dreams Zine!). I’m interested in how the robot inscribes certain visions of humanness and erases others, particularly in relation to race, gender, class, and citizenship. Or in other words, I’m interested in how the robot reflects larger societal practices of dehumanization. Speaking to Margaret’s question about revising, the further I got into my research on robots, the more I kept coming back to labor as the site where robots humanized and dehumanized. Robotic art plays with this attachment to labor in productive ways that at times reflects these attachments and at other times challenges them.
Department of English
Media, Art, & Text Ph.D. Program
Virginia Commonwealth University
> On May 26, 2017, at 3:31 PM, Margaret J Rhee <mrhee at uoregon.edu> wrote:
> Hi All,
> These conversation has been so generative, thanks everyone! Buoyed by all the very exciting work, and appreciate Keith and Sun Yung's insights, and joining the dialogue! To add to Keith and Sun Yung's wonderful contributions, I'm pleased to introduce two more participants from the Zine, Ana Monroe and Jenny Rhee!
> Ana Monroe is a designer and writer, and her inventive short fictional piece, Les Futures Flanuers, drawn from her MFA thesis at Art Center College of Design is on page 36.
> As a scholar, Jenny Rhee's moving piece, "Petit Mal, Proprioceptive Precocity, and Robotic Futures," on Big Dog, and other robotic art is excerpted from her forthcoming monograph, and included in the Machine Dreams Zine, page 45.
> Check out their respective work here: https://issuu.com/repcollective/docs/machine_dreams_issuu
> Their bios are below.
> To begin, like Sun Yung and Keith's exciting work on cyborg poetics and worlds, could you both speak on the inspirations behind your research on robots, and fiction writing? More specifically, I understand that both of your excerpts drew from a dissertation and a thesis, and I wondered if you could reflect on the process of revising into another form that was published in the Zine, and in your larger body of work?
> Jenny Rhee
> Jennifer Rhee is an assistant professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her book, All Too Human: Labor and Dehumanization in the Robotic Imaginary (forthcoming, University of Minnesota Press, 2018), examines cultural forms and technologies to highlight the robot's entanglement with dehumanization and devalued labor. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in venues including Camera Obscura, Configurations, Postmodern Culture, Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature, and Thresholds. She is working on a new book on counting technologies and practices, from the emergence of statistics to contemporary digital surveillance. Bringing science and technology into conversation with artistic and literary works, this book examines who determines what counts, who constitutes the uncounted or the uncountable, and who is all too readily counted.
> Ana Monroe
> One year after earning her Modern History A.B. from Columbia University in 2004 and following a quick stint as a translator at the first Apple Store in the world (Soho, New York), Ana began her design training by jumping into the creative role of Prop Stylist for Still Photography projects. In this position, Ana was responsible for the physical elements of the shoot: the props, the sets, the fabricated, and the found.Moving quickly into Production Design for both larger scale Stills projects as well as Motion Picture, Ana led the Art Department section of movie making.
> As a Production Designer, Ana worked closely with the Director and Director of Photography to bring a script off the page. Research into the visual languages of diverse groups and historical periods, ethnographic inquiries, and sheer imagination all combine to form identity of a production. The practical side of both Styling and Designing required the development project management skills. She created and managed budgets, schedules, and personnel. The scope of this role honed not only the ability to conceptualize and produce myriad design styles, but also that of visualizing and evaluating options, managing teams, and growing client relationships.
> She applied and was accepted with an Honors scholarship to the award winning Media Design Practices Department at Art Center College of Design in 2014. Working in the field with UNICEF as part of her 2014-2015 year, Ana quickly gained praise for her self directed technology projects with Luzira Primary School as well as her evaluations of UNICEF’s MobiStation and ICT projects.
> During her 2015-2016 thesis year, she received both Honors and Thesis Awards and worked with advisors such as BMW DesignWorks lead Mike Milley and Art Center College of Design's DesignMatters Chair Mariana Amatullo. She is now a Service Designer leading multiple projects from The Innovation Lab at OPM, detailed to the Office of Veterans Experience at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
> Margaret Rhee, Ph.D.
> Visiting Assistant Professor
> Women's and Gender Studies
> University of Oregon
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