D4TC: Contraband, Internet, and a POST state

Artist/writer Zach Blas was the visiting speaker for this week, and his work involving the breakdown of social media is seen as both art and a prominent social commentary.

While I thought that line of thinking was interesting, I was more interested in his statement about constantly being a state where we try to push things back. “Postfeminism, postracial, postgender, etc”

It would seem that we are always trying to get past these things, despite the fact that they are not yet resolved.

In Baby boy, Columbia pictures/john singleton film the character Melvin, played by Ving Rhames says, “You may think you are seeing some new [stuff] out here but this ain’t nothing but a rerun to me.”

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In reality we do seem to be circling the drain with our issues and struggles.  The term “Post racial” was first used in a 1971 New York Times article titles “compact Set up for “Post-racial’ south,” which claimed that the topic of race was going to be usurped by concerns of population increase, industrial development, and economic fluctuations. Some people view interracial dating or feeling attraction for non-normative bodies to be post-sex and postracial.

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Phoebe Robinson says, “Sexually desiring someone who does not share your skin tone is not some grand sign that society is becoming postracial, no matter what anymore tells you.

The truth is, people love throwing the term postracial around. Americans are so anxious to move on from the sins of our forefathers that we’re on the lookout for an and every symbol that our national nightmare of racism is over.”

I wonder when we’ll be post post. Or when we’ll just be present.






D4TC: Emerging Tech, Doomed World

“As you know Donald Trump has won the presidency.  I am spending the day with my family and my mom who is also staying home.  The fact that a man who is openly racist,  sexist, and overall does not care about people like me has been chosen to represent my country is devastating.  It’s so embarrassing.  I can’t stop crying.  I don’t want to face my fellow students who will ask if I voted, which I did and it didn’t matter.  Because somehow,  some way,  this is what the face of America has brought us.  This is what my people want to back,  this is who they want America to be, and I am horrified.  And I am so sorry,  but I need the day to mourn.” -Nov 9th

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For me there are things that are too painful sometimes to speak of, but you manage to look to your future, but will that consist of?

Sometimes it feels like everything is doomed, even innovations.

I am writing this paper on a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display and a 2.2 GHz Intel Core Processor. My father, 52, wrote some of his papers on a typewriter. For a millennial, there are several technologies that seem like archaic and obsolete novelties when compared to the technology of today. While the first typewriter was built by Pellegrino Turri in 1808, it wasn’t until the 1980’s with the rise of word processors and personal computers, that typewriters were displaced in the Western world.  Technology’s exponential growth is something that is both inspirational and worrisome. Society takes for granted these advancements largely due to how commonplace technology has become. Color TV sets in one’s home were not financially possible until the late 1960’s, and today we can “stream” videos from anywhere in less than a minute. Even our languages have changed to accommodate these advances.  Streaming, Googling, and downloading have no meaning outside a technological setting, and certainly didn’t fifty-two years ago.

Yet what are we doing with this technology? Where will it go?

Studies show that there is no specific direction of the development of Artificial Intelligence(AI). Maybe we will destroy nature and end up in the Matrix, fodder for our technology to sup on.


Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk, they all mention the possibility of extinction of humanity due to AI. As stated by them, humans lose control over artificial intelligence, and there is a possibility that they can be manipulated or destroyed by artificial intelligence.  More importantly, we don’t know how our technology effects our environment and frankly those in power don’t care.

Our soon to be commander and Chief Donald Trump said that “Global Warming” was a hoax created by the Chinese.




D4TC: Gesturing Towards Utopias

Queer Theory: According to Merritt Kopas and Naomi Clark

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Queer theory is at it’s origin the questioning of heteronormativity along its balancing counterpart, homonormativity.

Heteronormativity: is the belief that people fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) with natural roles in life.


Homonormativity is a word that addresses the problems of privilege in the queer community today as they intersect with White privilege, capitalism, sexism, transmisogyny, and cissexism, all of which end up leaving many people out of the movement toward greater sexual freedom and equality.



  • Queerness resides not in failure within the confines of the game’s rule system, but in playing with, testing, and perhaps even rejecting those rules themselves.




  • Human game relations: How people react to games based on their beliefs, and how those games change due to those beliefs.

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Early boardgames like The Mansion of Happiness were marketed as socially responsible games that taught children about Christian sins and virtues. (1843). Not long after, games like The Checkered Game of Life spun this in a more secular direction, promoting worldly values like going to college, getting rich, and getting married. (1860)

Yet the controversy of what is different often surfaces no matter the group or medium.

The Gamergate controversy concerns issues of sexism and progressivism in video game culture, stemming from a harassment campaign conducted primarily through the use of the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate.“The “gamer identity” being defended has hardened around cherishing games as a comfort zone where gamers can do and say anything they want without being criticized, without having to think about sexism, and without any girls in the clubhouse save those who tacitly agree not to make a fuss or raise their voices.” They were misogynist, and claimed that “political correctness” and “Journalism” had no place in the gamer world.



They were stopped, but they revealed to us a lot of the bigotry that was left unchecked within this sphere.

“Where can we take queerness and games and where are games taking us? In order to answer this question we need to come back to the question of what queerness means to us.”- Merritt Kopas


All in all queering may be one way to stop bigots. At least in this connotation.

Sustainability: Sprite Bike?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently on how I can reduce traffic pollution, which in a city like NY seems impossible. Even so, I’m starting to think of ideas.

For my idea, I thought that in order to help ease some of the traffic in NY, the NYC Citi bikes could start a branch of bikes that were tandem bikes, bikes that can hold more than one passenger.

The idea is that you can commute with a friend to the same area on this one bike, or someone going to the same area so long as you both agree to it. I think it would be a good idea because this bike would encourage people who already travel together to use a more environmentally safe way to get to their destination, and besides a Cab, the bus, or the subway, there are no other options to accommodate people who travel with more than one person.

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I also think this would be effective because of the vast reach of citi bikes. You can pretty much find one anywhere.

I think people would enjoy riding with their friends, and it would help reduce city foot traffic.

Ignoring the poorly written English by a native English speaker, the bike would be the same basic design as classical citi bikes.







It’ll be something to explore more in the summer. For now, my Barbies love it.

D4TC: Drone, Prying Eyes, and Big Brothers

Technology has created great advances in surveillance. While jokes about being watched are often used out of humor, it does show that our cavalier attitude towards surveillance is more natural than it used to be. In fact, most people actually expect to be watched or listened to. Some cameras ate visible, like those on our computers that we put a cover over or the red light cameras that make disputing tickets difficult. Others, are more discreet, like the cameras and microphones in our phones or drones that fly thousands of miles above seeking out information and sending it about to whoever flies it.

Calling on Siri, or Ok Google, or any automated system comes at a price none of us really think about. In order to hear our every whim, the microphone of these devices never turns off, and in turn, we are always being listened to.

Our ability to disseminate information faster than ever brings new questions about the ethical and moral components of information sharing. When we see people destroyed by runaway tweets and unearthed indecencies from their teens, our right to privacy is threatened in a way that previous generations have never had to face.

Technology’s growth is not something that can be stopped or should be stopped, and with terrorism and safety scares, surveillance cannot really be diminished, but without laws and boundaries to protect the rights of the people, we leave ourselves vulnerable to the intentions of the inventors, good or bad.

In the Atlantic’s paper, “Eyes over Compton,” we see an entire city being surveilled in a way that benefitted not those citizens whom were at the mercy of violence, but corrupt law officials putting good cops to shame.

This is the future if nothing is done to stop it.

In a secret test of mass surveillance technology, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sent a civilian aircraft* over Compton, California, capturing high-resolution video of everything that happened inside that 10-square-mile municipality.

Compton residents weren’t told about the spying, which happened in 2012. “We literally watched all of Compton during the times that we were flying, so we could zoom in anywhere within the city of Compton and follow cars and see people,” Ross McNutt of Persistence Surveillance Systems told the Center for Investigative Reporting, which unearthed and did the first reporting on this important story.”

Mr. McNutt is advocating that this technology be implemented the police system nationwide. Yet this grave invasion of privacy doesn’t seem at all corruptible? Is video footage not once again a speculation of what one point of view can see? Can it not be doctored and twisted in favor of those doing the surveilling, in this case, the departments?

Whoever is DOING the surveillance, automatically has power over the object of surveillance. You can choose what you want to see. It is easily one of the most corruptible pieces of tech we have today.


In Honor Harger’s article, “Drones Eye View” the use of drones in warfare is questioned ethically. There are artists who use their work to show how invasive drones can be, and the technology is frightening.

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Drone strikes, have been known to gun down or bomb areas in Iraq and Afghanistan, civilian casualties included, but I never knew that the laser targeting system that occurs before a drone strike is called, “The Light of God.”

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Where does it end? Is man desirous of that power of being everywhere? That omnipotence that was attributed to God?

For me, privacy is something that needs to be protected at all costs. If a company or individual gets control over your identity, they essentially control you and all of your interactions. Bodies of power could use this as a form of dominance over their citizenry, and they would be unable to fight back for fear of self-preservation. While I do believe some V for Vendetta like coupe will ensue, I think that measures to keep this from happening should be implemented before it does.

-Week 7

D4TC: The World of Tomorrow

The Hudson yards smart city is currently undergoing construction with some of the world’s leading architects paving the path for the “new New York.”

“Hudson Yards will be the nation’s first ‘quantified community,’ a testing ground for applied urban data science.”

It’s an exciting concept that we might one day live in cities that utilize resources in a way that is sustainable. However, at what cost do these smart cities come? And who are there smart cities for? With 20 million in the renovations, being constructed right off the High Line, one of the richest areas in NY, clearly I am not the demographic. So already we seen an issue. In order to make the cost of these cities feasible, only the super-rich will be able to pay the rent or mortgages of these places. The idea is that eventually the city could be completely renovated in this way, but how long will it take? Will certain measures be removed due to the demographic. Even now in the city you can view issues within communities with lower incomes. Food deserts, places without fresh produce or food that doesn’t come fried are a serious issue. One was you can clearly tell if you’re in a good or better off area is whether you see a Starbucks, or a Whole Foods. In Shannon Mattern’s “Instrument City,” she speaks about the renovations in deeper detail.

The engineered city is not just going to be sophisticated in design, it will be interwoven with circuits that feed data about the successes and failures of it’s design. Everything in this city, from the plant life to the SOIL, will be engineered.

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This may seem like something straight out of Jetsons, but self-sustainable communities exist today, though much less tech heavy. On Natural Living Ideas, you can learn how to build a self-sustaining home, and you can even make it modular. But when you build an entire ecosystem on a preexisting one, what are the ramifications? Have we humans gone too far?

In Mattern’s other work, “Cloud and Field,” she discusses how technology has changed our ability to interact with nature using things such as birdwatching and landscape drawing as examples. Our way of collecting data, using field notes in a journal and sketches, or simple experiments in a very physical sense has changes to drones, satellite information, and it seems that the world goes smaller each day. Places that were untouchable are now visible, even if not physically accessible.

Perhaps it is this lack of sacredness, this lack of not knowing what the environment really contributes to us, and us to it that makes us no longer respect nature. We seem to view our Earth as a tool rather than a delicate habitat. The Old earth is no longer useful, rather a new more tech savvy earth must replace it all the way from vegetation to soil.

WE ignore the reason for the need for technological solutions. Humans have created great waste and pollution on this planet. It is our fault, and this is no secret. So the question now becomes, are the these smart cities a solution?

Or merely, a bandaid?

-Week 6


D4TC Dictionary of the Possible

Dictionary of the Possible redefines how people view a dictionary but changing the definition from a word’s meaning to what emotions and scenarios it evokes. For example, when the word, “amateur” is defined, the text discusses the societal impact of amateur, it’s feminine connotation, and it’s relationship to other words that are no necessarily defined. In fact, each definition provides more questions than answers, which completely flips the idea of what a dictionary is supposed to be.

I thought it was interesting as well that most the definitions has an undercurrent of feminism speech and injustice interwoven in the dynamic. Amnesia is transformed from a condition, to an intentional forgetting, and the wave of feminism that is in it’s fifth reincarnation is attributed not just to humanity’s inability to see women as equals, but the active forgetting associated with things one finds abhorrent or pushes oneself into a realization they’d rather not have. Other definitions have a prose like meter. The definition of comrades is assembled in a series of short sentences, some not even fully sentences, in which the emotion of having a comrade or associations one might have with a comrade are explored. “To be safe but not saved,” is a particularly potent line, in which I believe it strongly suggests a true comrade is on equal footing with their companion. “Transgress together the neatly trimmed lawn” reminds me of a saying where a good friend will bail you out of jail, but a great friend will be in the cell with you. Comrade also delves into more romantic iterations, such as “a warmth to fold into” evoking comfort and vulnerability.

The dictionary continues all the way to zero, where the text discusses “Ground Zero” and it’s impact globally and within the community as an ultimate “pock” that cannot be removed. With this comparison, the nothingness and desolation of the word zero, to be without anything, to be void, is enhanced. In this way I can see how effective this dictionary was in making the readers think more deeply about words and how they can be used. The number zero was “redefined as a zone of silence.” which is horrifying but also not without hope. In the same vein, it is also a place where possibilities are endless because the space has no limits.

-Sydney, Week 5




D4TC: Foucault Impossible Prison

In Foucault’s work, I found that it was interesting that he spoke about literal prisons, but also how social and physical constructs can serve as prisons as well. There are so many more layers than typical enslavement, and a lot of it seems to do with what’s in your mind. For example, when Foucault speaks on the Prison, he notes that they are built with this watchtower that they cannot see whether there is a guard or not, and the bars are perpetually open. It’s this mindfulness, this mental expectation of being watched that is supposed to be a form of control, but creates a mental prison and paranoia.

He also speaks about how the guards attempt to have a clinical approach to the prisoners as though there is no personal enjoyment over the imprisonment of others, but Foucault knows that can’t be true. Especially in a place where you are at the mercy of others. No matter how good, is that not a great responsibility with a significant possibility for corruption? He speaks about the structure of the hospital, and how the visibility of the doctor and the proximity of people, ventilation, and water create a prison in their own way. Hospitals can only be in certain areas, patients are restrained to one room, and this feeling of imprisonment within those white walls is potent no matter the benefits.   He speaks even before the French Revolution, places with strict structures like hospitals, churches, and convents were regarded with a bit of disdain. Is it because we inherently despise being restrained? Or are we sickened by our desire to be structured?


D4TC: Xenofeminism

I notice that the word “feminism” is often regarded with the same kind of discomfort that people feel when “Black Lives Matter” or “sexual misconduct” make people perk up and at the same time settle deep within themselves lest they become an aggressor or freedom fighter of the cause. It seems that whenever an individual group attempts to bring attention to themselves, they are immediately set aside as an other, stereotyped, and isolated. Perhaps it is because in shedding the light of the misfortunate, the “have nots” you draw attention to the “haves” who are most commonly White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. There is a palpable guilt surrounded with having, and that in its own way can form as a separation. It is for this very reason that Xenofeminism is so potent.

When feminism, equal rights for women was first introduced, the feminine was immediately deemed to be female. With Xenofeminism we see a feminism that transcends sex, and goes straight to the issue of gender and gender roles. Equal rights no longer means equal wages. Equal rights now mean a woman being able to be strong, and a man being able to cry in public, both without being ridiculed. There are so many bad byproducts from a lack of feminism that don’t just effect women. And when we see a community where men and women thrive on mutual respect, it is a beautiful thing.

In Mastery of Non-Mastery, the Kobane women who fight for their freedom are soldiers. They can be commanders, they can work alongside men without fear that ego will get in the way. Is is unfortunate that terrorism and threat of death can create such a place. After all, are we all not equal once our survival is at stake?