PLASMA — Performances, Lectures, and Screenings in Media Art

 PLASMA 2017 :: PLASMA 2016 :: PLASMA 2015 :: PLASMA 2014

Performances, Lectures, and Screenings in Media Art (PLASMA) is a speakers series presented by the Department of Media Study and co-sponsored by the Department of English  and Graduate Student Association. The series is open to the public and focuses on contemporary practices and discourses in media art and culture.

Select Mondays, 6:30-8:30 PM, in CFA112

PLASMA 2018 Schedule:
Feb 5th Tony Conrad’s film Completely in the Present, with curators: Cathleen Chaffee, Rachel Adams and Tina Ryan.

Feb 12th Jibade-Khalil Huffman

Feb 19th Darius Kazemi

Darius Kazemi is an internet artist under the moniker Tiny Subversions. His best known works are the Random Shopper (a program that bought him random stuff from Amazon each month) and Content, Forever (a tool to generate rambling thinkpieces of arbitrary length). He has a small army of Twitter and Tumblr bots that he builds because they make him laugh. He founded NaNoGenMo, where participants spend a month writing algorithms to generate 50,000 word novels, and Bot Summit, a yearly gathering of people who make art bots. He cofounded Feel Train, a creative technology cooperative.

Feb 26th A Screening of Deepa Mehta’s 2016 film ANATOMY OF VIOLENCE, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with the film’s cinematographer Maithili Venkataraman.

ANATOMY OF VIOLENCE mixes fiction and fact in an improvised exploration of the events leading up to, and following, the notorious gang rape of a young woman by six men in a moving bus in New Delhi, December 16, 2012.

Twelve actors collaborated with filmmaker Deepa Mehta to imagine what might have driven these men towards such a savage assault. The film also imagines the nature of the young woman’s life, her family, her friends and her hopes and dreams before the fatal attack.

“What makes monsters?” is a question that this film stares directly at. It probes and explores where these young men could have come from and what might have motivated them. They have been called “monsters” but is this a simplistic labelling that relieves society and leaders from the responsibility of looking more deeply?

The film offers no clear answers but opens doors of inquiry which may stimulate further examination into the root causes and complexity of this particular and all too pervasive brutality against women. Twitter: @AOVOfficial Facebook: Anatomy of Violence

March 5th John Greyson
John Greyson is a Canadian director, writer, video artist, producer, and Political activist, whose work frequently deals with gay themes. Greyson is also a professor at York University’s film school, where he teaches film and video theory, film production, and editing. He was part of a loosely-affiliated group of filmmakers to emerge in the 1980s from Toronto known as the Toronto New Wave.

Though Greyson has won countless awards and achieved critical success with his films—most notably Zero Patience (1993) and Lilies (1996)—his outspoken persona, activism, and public image has also attracted international press and controversy.

March 12th Shu Lea Cheang

As an artist, filmmaker, networker, Shu Lea Cheang constructs networked installation and multi-player performance in participatory impromptu mode. She drafts sci-fi narratives in her film scenario and artwork imagination. She builds social interface with transgressive plots and open network that permits public participation. Engaged in media activism and video art for two decades (1980s- 1990s) in New York city, Cheang concluded her NYC period with a cybernoia film FRESH KILL (1994) and the first Guggenheim museum web art commission/collection BRANDON (1998-1999). After releasing her second feature “I.K.U” (2000) at Sundance Film Festival, she relocated to Eurozone where she took up large scale installations and networked performance while co- founded several collectives to pursue cross-disciplinary projects. From homesteading cyberspace in the 90s to her current retreat to post-crash BioNet zone, Cheang takes on viral love, bio hack in her current cycle of works.

March 19th Spring Break

March 26th Brenda Longfellow

Brenda Longfellow is an Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies in the Department of Film, York University and an award-winning filmmaker. She has published articles on documentary, feminist film theory and Canadian cinema in Public, CineTracts, Screen, and the Journal of Canadian Film Studies. She is a co-editor (with Scott MacKenzie and Tom Waugh) of the anthology The Perils of Pedagogy: The Works of John Greyson (2013) and Gendering the Nation: Canadian Women Filmmakers (1992). Her documentaries have been screened and broadcast internationally, winning prestigious awards including Best Cultural Documentary forTina in Mexico at the Havana International Film Festival (2002); a Canadian Genie for Shadowmaker/ Gwendolyn MacEwen, Poet (1998) and the Grand Prix at Oberhausen for Our Marilyn (1988). She was the 2018 recipient of the inaugural Faculty Research Award in AMPD, York University. Her most recent project, the interactive documentary OFFSHORE, is available at:

April 2nd Sha Xin Wei

Sha Xin Wei, Ph.D., is Professor and Director of the School of Arts, Media + Engineering at ASU where he directs the Synthesis Center for responsive environments and improvisation with colleagues in AME and affiliate research centers.  He is also on faculty at the European Graduate School.

His research interests are essentially interdisciplinary; he focuses on topological media, visualisation technologies, intersections between mathematics and humanities, and the critical study of media arts and sciences.

Sha Xin Wei studied mathematics at Harvard University and then completed his MA and PhD at Stanford University. His doctorate at Stanford University was devoted to “differential geometric performance and the technologies of writing in mathematics, computer science, and history and philosophy of science.”  It already reflected the interdisciplinary interests he continues to pursue in his career.

In 2001, he founded the Topological Lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. He describes it as “a fresh and unique atelier for art based research about how to make the places in which we live richer but not more complicated”.
Sha Xin Wei is a co-editor of two journals: Artificial Intelligence and Society and Creative Interfaces and Computer Graphics. He is also a founding editor of the journal Transmutations and a co-editor of the Experimental Practices book series at Rodopi Press.

His most recent monograph is entitled Poiesis and Enchantment in Topological Matter. It is published by MIT Press in 2013.

April 9th Maiko Tanaka

Maiko Tanaka is the Executive Director of Squeaky Wheel since 2016. She holds a BFA from OCADU and a Masters of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto. For over ten years Maiko has curated projects with prestigious and widely recognized arts institutions in Canada and abroad, including Trinity Square Video, Nuit Blanche at OCAD University, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (now Art Museum – University of Toronto), InterAccess, all in Toronto, as well as Casco – Office for Art, Design, and Theory in Utrecht, NL. Maiko also currently serves on programming committee of Gendai Gallery and editorial advisory of C Magazine. She is the co-editor of several catalogue publications including, The Grand Domestic Revolution Handbook published by Casco and Valiz, and Model Minority, published by Gendai Gallery and Publication Studio and has written numerous articles and catalogue essays on the topic of artistic research and practice.

April 16th Dana Cloud

Dana L. Cloud is Professor in the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies at Syracuse University. She is a longtime activist for social justice and the author of We Are the Union: Democratic Unionism and Dissent at Boeing and Control and Consolation in American Politics and Culture: Rhetorics of Therapy.​

April 23rd Curtis Marez

Curtis Marez is a Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego, Curtis Marez is the author of Drug Wars: The Political Economy of Narcotics (Minnesota, 2004) and Farm Worker Futurism: Speculative Technologies of Resistance (Minnesota, 2016).  He is also Past President of the American Studies Association; former editor of American Quarterly; and current editor, with Lisa Duggan, of the American Studies Now: Histories of the Present book series from the University of California Press. Marez is currently completing a third book, University Babylon: How Hollywood Helps Make Student Bodies of Color.

April 30th Lynne Sachs

Lynne Sachs makes films, installations, performances and web projects that explore the intricate relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences by weaving together poetry, collage, painting, politics and layered sound design. Strongly committed to a dialogue between cinematic theory and practice, she searches for a rigorous play between image and sound, pushing the visual and aural textures in her work with every new project.  Between 1994 and 2006, she produced five essay films that took her to Vietnam, Bosnia, Israel, Italy and Germany — sites affected by international war – where she looked at the space between a community’s collective memory and her own subjective perceptions. Lynne discovered her love of filmmaking while living in San Francisco where she worked closely with artists Bruce Conner, Ernie Gehr, Gunvor Nelson, Barbara Hammer, Craig Baldwin and Trin T. Min-ha.

Lynne’s recent work embraces a hybrid form combining the non-fiction, experimental and fiction modes. In the words of NYC artist Kelly Spivey, “Lynne allows her real film ‘characters’ to explore storytelling from various subjectivities, various selves and other-selves, opening up, perhaps ironically, a more authentic portrayal of being alive during a specific time, in a specific situation or place. We learn that to burrow down into our ability to imagine another’s pain or joy, and then to perform these as part of our own exploration for the camera, yields a deeper intimacy than if we’d simply ‘told the truth.’ Lynne Sachs’s work can best be epitomized by her interests in intimacy, collaboration and space.”

Sachs has made over 25 films which have screened at the New York Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival and Toronto’s Images Festival amongs others. They have also been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, Walker Art Center, Wexner Center for the Arts and other venues nationally and internationally. The Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, Festival International Nuevo Cine in Havana and the China Women’s Film Festival have all presented retrospectives of Sachs’ films. Lynne received a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship in the Creative Arts.  She lives in Brooklyn, New York and teaches part-time in the Art Department at Princeton University.

May 7th Navtej Johar

Navtej Singh Johar is one of India’s leading male dancers and choreographers whose work traverses freely between the traditional and the contemporary. Trained in Bharatanatyam at the Kalakshetra, Chennai, he also studied methodologies of dance scholarship at the Department of Performance Studies, New York University. His continual attempt at forging a space for freedom in dance is closely informed by a scholarly enquiry into the complex sociopolitical history of Indian dance; his choreographic work revolves around issues of boundaries, body and identity. Widely traveled, Johar has performed, lectured, choreographed and conducted workshops at prestigious venues all over the world. In 1996, he received the Times of India Fellowship to research the sociopolitical history of Bharatanatyam; the Charles Wallace Fellowship in 2000, a University of Michigan residency and the Sri Krishna Gana Sabha Award for abhinayain 2010. He is the founder of Studio Abhyas (New Delhi), a nonprofit organization dedicated to dance training, yoga, humane urban design and the care of stray animals.