“I wanted to invite artists to engage with the made-up phrase ‘vulnerability of virtuability’, brimming with my ESL poetry impulses.”
Curator’s Note (中文版本)
When I was a young adult living in South Korea, an online fortune-teller told me that I would have had a much better life if I were born male. Even though this forecast could have been true for any non-cisman in my culture, I felt personally discouraged. It was many years later that I started realizing that the algorithmic machine response based on the data I provided about me was not neutral from the power that shapes the automated message. How does it feel to be stuck in societal expectations and readings of who I can be? What is it like to be processed by a set of rules that are hostile to who you are? What does it mean to be “better” in our patriarchal societies where everyone is programmed to desire the capitalist “superiority” that guarantees more access to material fortunes and control over others?
The COVID-19 pandemic motivated many of us to deeply reflect on our own privilege in relation to others. While virtually communicating with the Digital Carnival Z team and dreaming up an online festival, I wanted to invite artists to engage with the made-up phrase “vulnerability of virtuability”, brimming with my ESL poetry impulses. We reserved our time and virtual space for 6 exhibiting artists and 7 public program artists who genuinely and beautifully responded to the theme in the context of “Z”.
Natasha Bacchus exercises self-love, claiming her connection to her ancestry in resisting colonial control over her body. Mickey Morgan reimagines colors for the geography of their ancestral land, reflecting on pink-washing and ongoing colonial violence against racialized peoples. Margaret Dragu re-writes her body as a novel, with filmic vocabularies that gradually reveal her daily experience of urban geography, portrayed by a person embodying mobility challenges. Danielle Long articulates mundane movements that give access to fluid and cinematic understandings of her childhood, (un)expressed identity, and future self. Juli Saragosa magnifies the sense of touch, transmitted through intimate audiovisual territories that mediate the boundary between the portrayed bodies and users’ bodies. Through creative uses of coding and poetic language, Kofi Oduro expands our imaginations about what humans can be, with enhanced senses made possible by technology and our embodiment of it. Public program artists Romi Kim and Robin Gaudreau explore issues of gaze through their drag performances. Sarah Shamash, Mallory Donen, and Lena Chen are introducing their artworks to have a dialogue about gender, labor, and surveillance. Angelica Poversky and Gina Goico share their thoughts on meme, trauma, cultivating care culture in the social media landscape.
While technology itself is neutral, human invention and implementation of modern technologies have largely been serving colonial and imperial interests, causing mass destructions and genocides. With the awareness of its power and potentials, I want us to seek ways of utilizing micro technologies of care that don’t require mass consumption of Mother Earth and sacrifices from the siblings who are racialized, disabled, non-binary, two spirit, trans, intersex, agender deserving more justice and love.
Minah Lee (she/her)
Digital Carnival Z is produced by Cinevolution Media Arts Society.
A grassroots, women-led, migrant-driven non-profit arts organization, Cinevolution‘s mission is to promote innovation and critical discourse through film and new media artworks, bring new ways of thinking and expression into cross-cultural communication and foster creative exchange and collaboration among filmmakers and media artists in Canada and around the world.