Greetings! My name is Constanza Salazar, and thanks to the Judson-Morrissey Excellence in New Media Art Award from the New Media Caucus Association (NMC), I had the pleasure of attending this year’s College of Art Association (CAA) Annual Conference held in New York City. I was able to make new connections, meet diverse scholars in my field, and most importantly, was able feel part of a community of like-minded and interdisciplinary scholars, artists, and educators among the members of the NMC.
Getting the opportunity to take part in a conference such as CAA, even as an attendant, is invaluable. As a Ph.D. student in the History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University, working on new media art is still a fairly new field rich with opportunity especially when with the right community to guide you. Because my scholarly interests concern artists involved with tactical media, hacking, sousveillance, and technology as resistance, getting the chance to talk to artists and make connections with them is extremely helpful especially for my dissertation research. Currently, my research comprises of thinking about technologies as possibilities of resistance especially by artists who have historically been disenfranchised. Rather than repeat the old adage of the dangers of technology, in our globalized and highly-connected world, I see technology and new media art as modes of possibility and the new avant-garde. Thus, after noting down this year’s panels, and panelists, it became imperative that I attend CAA.
Before I got the notice that I had received the award to attend CAA, I had noted all the panels I would go and listen to, and many included the NMC held panels of various topics concerning new media art. After receiving the award, I was able to attend all the events that I had wanted to go to with more ease, as my scholarship would cover the entirety of the conference attendance. Without worry, I was able to participate in all the NMC events and see all the panels (which were numerous!) that I was interested in. In particular, one of the most intellectually rewarding panels held by the NMC was Data Détournement, which included the panelist Hasan Elahi, an artist I’ve been researching for my dissertation due to his novel and creative ways of challenging issues of surveillance and their social implications from a visual standpoint. Moreover, the rest of the panelists were also fascinating: Derek Curry, Jennifer Gradecki, and Backslash delved into the possibilities of subversion as well as the limitations and ethical questions surrounding data.
Another great event of which I had the chance to take part of was the NMC Member Showcase at Hunter College in the MFA building. The showcase featured numerous participants, artists, theorists, and professors, all of which gave a short talk about their current work. This specific format was a nice break as it allowed a condensed presentation of works of art by the speaker that nicely contrasted the otherwise longer format of the CAA panels. The gallery space was full of people, members of NMC and soon to be members of NMC, and provided a warm and welcoming atmosphere for everyone to also get to know more about the NMC association. Again, to be in a room of like-minded individuals and to be able to celebrate the speakers was very rewarding.
Getting to attend the panels, taking part in NMC meet & greets, as well as participating in the workshop, Good Artists Torrent, Great Artists Fork, where we had the opportunity to craft our own light-up badge by altering code that runs on the badges, was entertaining and educational. Since meeting NMC, I have never felt so happy to be a member of an association, let alone feel compelled to be directly involved in helping to make the association even more successful. I want to thank Jim Jeffers and the NMC for the Judson-Morrissey Excellence in New Media Art Award and for inviting me to attend all the NMC events. Finally, thank you NMC for truly making this years CAA conference an enjoyable and enriching experience.