In accordance with the government’s scorched-earth policy, on November 12, 1938, a devastating fire was started in the city of Changsha, China. This military strategy calls for the intentional burning and destruction of all valuable resources, such as buildings, food, and transportation infrastructure, to prevent the invading enemy from utilizing them. During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), the governor of Changsha followed instructions from the Nationalist government to execute this scorched-earth policy. Yet officials mistakenly initiated the fire too quickly and destroyed the more-than-three-thousand-year-old city. In this fire, thousands of people lost their lives, and the majority of the city’s buildings were destroyed. Referred to today as the Changsha Fire of 1938, or the Wenxi Fire, this event left Changsha one of the most damaged cities during World War II, alongside Stalingrad, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. Zhongshan Pavilion is one of the few architectural structures that survived the 1938 Wenxi Fire. As technology widely applied in cultural preservation, photogrammetry can play a significant role in preserving this structure for future generations. Yet this project intends to further the conversation about the role of photogrammetry in memory preservation by considering the Zhongshan Pavilion as a heterogeneous site. The resulting virtual 3-D model opens new potentialities in challenging historical narratives that are told in the singular voice (the state’s) as presented at the physical site in Changsha. Rather than following the path of criticizing digitalization as an extension and magnification of fragmentedness and rootlessness, the constructed virtual 3-D model of Zhongshan Pavilion may expand the fixed and structured memory preserved in the physical location and bring vitality to the preservation of multiple memories in a new kind of public space.
Haoran Chang is a multidisciplinary artist who uses video installation, virtual reality, and digital print to explore the social construction and digital mediation in contemporary society. Chang is also the founder of Chameleon Gallery, an online virtual reality contemporary art gallery that focuses on bridging traditional media and virtual reality in creating, exhibiting, and distributing art.
Bloodlines is a 228-inch-long installation made horizontally in Microsoft Excel and then rotated 90 degrees to create a dripping or oozing effect down the wall. It began as an inquiry into naming and the organizational hierarchy of the family tree. The tree serves as a symbol of nature, an inherited organizer used to display relational hierarchies of time and power, enacted subsequently through myriad metaphors. If the medium is the message, the tree is the medium that validates the family as a natural hierarchical entity positioned in linear time. The tree is, and has been, an omnipresent symbol for how we order and understand relationships—tying together “nature” and “order” in our collective understanding of the family. Contemporary genealogical practices carried out on websites like Ancestry.com uphold hetero status markers of the family vis-à-vis patrilineal threads while privileging records of white lineages. Documents, or “records,” serve as archival evidence in this online database—thus archival evidence reflects social ties and social hierarchies. In this way, using Ancestry.com to gather family data and Excel to hold said data is revealing what was always there—the tree as disassociated from, but disingenuously carrying forth, our belief that nature is unquestionable.
Kinship is an A1 poster depicting “spheres of memories”—memories associated with “inherited” objects—tethered to physical points around my home, which is drawn as a blueprint. Each sphere is surrounded by a fuzziness, as a translation of uncertainty and precarity around truth and knowledge. In Bloodlines, the “document” or “record” carries forth the archival evidence of the state. Here, in a domestic space, familial objects take on that role. Emanating from them (the objects) are stories; memories of passed time and past relations, and I am their captive subject. Objects like these are passed down through bloodlines enforcing genetic logics of inheritance and pulling them, discontinuously, into affective and temporal relations between the original owner and the current one.
Hilary A. Short is a writer and designer. Currently at the University of Illinois at Chicago, she is both working towards a MA in Design Criticism and is the Art Director for the Office of Diversity’s Inclusive Classroom Initiative. Her work considers the roles and structures in society—highlighting the struggle between personal agency and pre-determinism. Within a feminist framework, she explores relationships to our own bodies, objects, and memories all while trying to keep a sense of humor over wondering whether or not we have control over anything. Hilary holds a MDes in Graphic Design and a BA in Sociology. Whatthehilary.com.
Homesickness Series, an ongoing series of monochromatic ink paintings modeled after tintype photography, frames the façades of individual homes in Detroit as a form of portraiture. If individual depictions of lost or endangered homes can be seen as portraits of the residents they once contained, and if homes are sites and containers of memory, then rendered windows and doors serve as both literal and psychological passageways into the interior of the home and the interior sites of the mind with its associated lived experiences and memories. As a corrective measure in representing Detroit, my practice uses visual or written means to provide the audience of my work with oft-overlooked historical contexts to illuminate the ways corporate abandonment, housing segregation, highway construction, and white flight led to city’s present day challenges.
Whitney Lea Sage is a multidisciplinary artist from metro Detroit, currently serving as assistant professor of art at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. Whitney’s work has previously been featured exhibitions at the Painting Center, Superfront LA, UICA, and the Muskegon Museum of Art, and will be featured in an upcoming solo exhibition at Ripon College. Whitney’s work has been featured in a number of publications including Manifest’s INDA 14, WomanArts Quarterly, Newfound Journal, and MoCAD’s Post-Industrial Complex catalog.
Jácome’s work explores how disability is conventionally represented and daily experienced, as well as the differences and gaps between these two. The leading threads of my work are disability and narratives. She is interested in contributing to a growing field that compiles the particular experiences of disability in the Latin American territories with languages and realities that are different from the ones that mainstream English-based disability studies portray. Her research focuses on her country, Mexico, and on the relationship between history and ways of seeing and naming: how we identify disability by visible markers, how we relate to it, how we name it, how the words and actions towards it have changed. The goal of her work is to raise awareness of how the words and actions perpetuate oppression, so that the need for counteractions in the everyday becomes clear.
Ana García Jácome is a Mexican visual artist. She holds a BFA from the School of Arts and Design of the National Autonomous University of Mexico and an MA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). She has been a grantee of SAIC, Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporáneo, and the Young Creators program of FONCA. Her work has been part of various exhibitions and screenings in Mexico City and Chicago.
Moore’s photo essay considers Hervé Youmbi’s 2017 artwork DUDH in the context of the current political crisis in Cameroon. For DUDH, Youmbi translated five articles from the Déclaration Universelle des Droits de l’Homme into Camfranglais and installed them on signs in the quartiers of New Bell Ngangue and Ndogpassi III in Douala, Cameroon. He printed one set of the five articles on a blue background for New Bell and the same articles on green for installation in Ndogpassi III. Youmbi unveiled the signs in December 2017 as part of the Salon Urbain de Douala (SUD) triennial.
Alexandra C. Moore is a PhD candidate in visual studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She researches contemporary art with a focus on artistic practices that connect African and European histories, and is particularly interested in how discourses of race, gender, belonging, and citizenship are constructed and transmitted through representations of territory and built space. At UC Santa Cruz she has held the positions of Public Humanities Graduate Instructor and Institute of the Arts and Sciences Curatorial Fellow. Alex earned a B.A. from Wesleyan University..
In the 1970s, artists and designers were trying to formalize their respective processes using rules. In the fine arts, there was a long period of reflection that had gained traction within the modern art movement. For designers, it presented an opportunity to formalize design practices and procedures, thus providing a rationale for repetitive processes. In both cases, grammar and syntax were used to frame the process of translating the rules into operations.
Marc Miller teaches in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Penn State University. He has degrees in fine arts, art history, architecture and landscape architecture. His research interests revolve around technology and representation methods in design including parametric design and television as design medium.