CAA 2020 Recap: Jevi

2020 Judson-Morrissey Fellows


Hi! I’m Jevi, and this February I received the 2020 Judson-Morrisey Excellence in New Media Award from the New Media Caucus. My journey began on Feb 10, a few days before the conference began. I had spent the week prior meticulously going through the conference calendar, highlighting events that were relevant to my thesis, interests, current or past courses, career-related, and a few that were tangential and would provide exposure to new ideas. 
I landed, for the first time, in Chicago, and was greeted by the wind! I later found out that it was sometimes referred to as the ‘Hawk’. A VERY fitting name. I spent the first night becoming familiar with downtown Chicago. As a resident of Toronto for quite some time, its sister city seemed familiar in many ways. It was like I had been there before, but not quite. A twilight zone of sorts. That night, I prepared for the next day, which was to be the start of a wonderful adventure.


Haven taken a course on Art in the Public Sphere, I made sure to visit as many public art pieces as I could within the Loop (downtown Chicago). Along the way, I visited the Design Museum of Chicago, but it was closed for renovations. However, the nearby Chicago Culture Centre was opened, and I then walked over the Art Institute of Chicago and fell in love. The architecture, paintings, installations, sculptures… I soaked in everything and made several pages of sketches and notes in my notepad. The most surprising of the collections for me was the textiles. It had never occurred to me before, just how much abstract beauty and inner reflection can be inspired by using textiles as a medium for sculptures and installations.
Being a new media artist, I naturally looked for interactive and new media exhibits, and found only two. Hopefully, as this field expands, there will be an increase of options for visitors. Nonetheless, I took away many ideas to incorporate into the presentation of new media works. I also made a stop to visit Jeff Koons’ work that was on display. The previous semester, I penned a critical piece that referenced a criticism of his work, authored by Byung-Chul Han in his 2017 book ‘Saving Beauty’. I was not fond of the pieces critically nor in print, and now I can add, in person as well.


Day one began with a bang with “HERSTORY: Digital Innovations” curated by the New Media Caucus. I knew immediately after this session that applying to attend this conference was one of the best personal, professional and academic decisions that I had made. I got to meet the New Media Caucus members at the Business Meeting that followed, and at another New Media Caucus curated panel. That evening ended with a special visit to the Thoma Foundation New Media Art collection – a beautiful space that was masterfully curated.
The rest of the week followed a similar pattern: enlightening talks from early morning to evening, with occasional special events on nights. The topics ranged from AR/VR, embodiment, AI and even a workshop on how to build a sustainable career as an artist. I walked away with around 30 pages of notes from the 19 sessions that I attended over the 4 days. I spent nights in the hotel going over what I had heard for the day, making connections between the themes explored.


The conference ended on Saturday, and I was scheduled to fly out early the next morning. That night, I found out that I could not leave the US due to a missing entry permit that I had left back into Canada. Fortunately, it was reading week at OCAD University, and I was able to have my stuff mailed to me which would only take a few days. I spent that week reflected on what I had experienced, and took the ‘L’ (train) to the Conservatory. It was definitely a worthwhile trip, and shortly before returning to Canada, I found out that I had won a raffle at the conference to return for 2021. I can’t wait to see what it is in store!