Announcing Glitch/Want: Conversations From the Palah Light Lab

We warmly invite you to GLITCH/WANT: CONVERSATIONS FROM THE PALAH LIGHT LAB held this Friday, June 11th. GLITCH/WANT features the exciting work of the Palah Light Lab cohort members in impromptu/informal panels. These panel conversations aim to ask and prompt questions across the diverse materials and projects as lab members’ work GLITCH-ES hegemonic ideologies and demonstrates WANT. While organized for generative dialogue with cohort members, we warmly welcome outside guests as interlocutors and allies to engage with the presentations and join the conversations with us.  

REGISTRATION LINK

https://tinyurl.com/4ukmtypm

PROGRAM & SCHEDULE

1:00 PM EST – Brief Welcome – Margaret Rhee, Cody Mejeur, Blair Johnson 

Panel one – 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm (moderated by Margaret Rhee)

Title: Queer and Trans Songs, Readers, Memories, and Poetry

name + brief description bio
Azalia Muchransyah – hybrid documentary film / Attention at Tension (2020, desktop documentary, 8m52s) or Tamu (2018, mockumentary, 14m51s) (tbc)Azalia Muchransyah is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and scholar from Indonesia. She received her Ph.D. in Media Study from the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York (SUNY) in 2021. Her research interests revolve around the intersections of media study, film study, film production, documentary and its hybrid forms, HIV study, feminist study, and activism, specifically in Indonesia. Her films have been officially selected and screened in international film festivals and academic conferences.
Charlie Best – video, media, drawing, and fabric mediums, expressing the nonbinary imagination+more Charlie Best (they/he) is an artist, sometimes teacher, and sometimes sewist still figuring things out. They are from the Western New York region and currently reside in Providence, RI. 
Rachid – E-literature, the reader, and the literary possibilities Rachid Benharrousse is a doctoral candidate of Cultural Studies at the Mohammed V University of Rabat, a Research Fellow of New Media and Digital Studies at the University at Buffalo, Research Fellow at War, Conflict & Global Migration at Global Research Network, an Early Career Researcher at AMEWS, and a Research Collaborator at the Paris Institute for Critical Thinking. He was recently a researcher in the Digital Self-Determination Research Sprint at Berkman Klein Center & Digital Asia Hub, Harvard University. His research interests encompass New Media Studies, Game Studies, Postcolonialism, Cultural Studies, Digital Studies, and Diasporic Literature.
Jocelyn E. Marshall: posthumousbirds, hybrid poetry-creative nonfiction collectionJocelyn E. Marshall is the 2021-2022 Dissertation Scholar at Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center and an English doctoral candidate at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her work focuses on queer and womxn artists working at the intersections of traumatic experience, displacement, and gender and sexuality studies. Jocelyn’s scholarly and creative work have appeared or are forthcoming in the Journal of American Culture, Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature in Context (ABC-CLIO LLC, 2021), Tripwire: A Journal of Poetics, Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry (Sibling Rivalry Press), Strange Stories Vol. 1 (Forty-Two Books, 2019), and elsewhere. Currently, Jocelyn serves on the College Art Association’s Committee on Women in the Arts and is co-editing a volume on trauma-informed pedagogy with Candace Skibba (Emerald Publishing, 2022).
Huan He – PoetryHuan He (he/him/his) is a queer Asian/American writer and gamer based in Los Angeles. He is a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. His research engages Asian/American studies, media and technology studies, visual culture, digital game studies, and poetics. He also writes poetry that explores race, sexuality, intimacy, and belonging from the perspective of a queer Chinese American raised by the prairies. His critical writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in American Quarterly, College Literature: A Journal of Critical Literary Studies, and Media-N. His poetry is forthcoming in wildness, Alaska Quarterly Review, and DIALOGIST.
George – poetry George Abraham (they/he) is a Palestinian american poet and writer from Jacksonville, FL. Their debut collection Birthright (Button Poetry, 2020) won the Big Other Book Award, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Bisexual Poetry. He is a board member for the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI), a recipient of fellowships from Kundiman and The Boston Foundation, and winner of the 2017 College Union Poetry Slam Invitational’s Best Poet title. Their work has appeared in The Nation, The American Poetry Review, The Baffler, The Paris Review, Mizna, and elsewhere. A graduate of Swarthmore College and Harvard University, Abraham currently teaches at Emerson College, and will be a Litowitz MFA+MA Candidate at Northwestern University in the fall. 

Panel two – 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm

Title: Personalities, Affect, and Games (moderated by Cody Mejeur)

name + brief description  bio
jess erion – Rhubarb Roastery trailer (and maybe a bonus surprise)Jess Erion (any pronouns) is a writer and game designer with an academic background in literature and anticolonialism. They are a recent alum of the NYU Game Center’s MFA program, and they studied at Harvard during undergrad. Currently, Jess is working as an editor at Red Thread Games while also developing the upcoming indie mobile game Rhubarb Roastery. 
Jordan Clapper – Twine game and Indigenous games researchJordan Clapper is a doctoral student in English at Brandeis University. They study Indigenous literature and video games and the queering effects these media have on the narratives they tell and the spaces they inhabit. They are looking to make games from an intersection of queerness and indigeneity as a way to promote Indigenous futurity. They are also studying the complicated ways that Indigenous identities manifest off the reservation.
Joan Nobile: “No Lone Wolves”, short documentary, 14:15Joan Nobile, as an emerging artist, has explored feminism, harassment, marginalized representation in media, media literacy & critique, and mental illness through her body of work. Her mediums include video games, glitch art, documentary, audio production, live video production, and video essays. She is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Media Art Production at University at Buffalo. She lives and works in Buffalo, NY with her partner and lots of books.

Panel three + final reception – 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Title: Digital Memories, Mars, and AI Afterlives (moderated by Blair Johnson)

name + brief description   bio
Sarah Sgro – poetry // introducing future collaborative multimedia projectSarah Sgro is a PhD Candidate in English at the University at Buffalo and received her MFA in Poetry from the University of Mississippi. She is the author of If the Future is a Fetish (YesYes Books 2019) and has published work in Peach Mag, Cosmonauts Avenue, BOAAT, and other journals. Her research interests include queer theory, the non/human, and digital and electronic waste.
Hanyu Liao – intro presentation + videoHanyu Liao is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher who is currently pursuing a practice-based PhD in the Department of Media Study at the University at Buffalo. Liao received her BA in Information Design, Tsinghua University, China; MFA in Digital+Media, Rhode Island School of Design; and Interdisciplinary MA in Humanities with a concentration in Film and Media Study and a secondary academic area in Art at University at Buffalo. With the bicultural and multi-disciplinary background, her artistic practice is diverse in medium and context, while unmistakably keeping its concept-driven quality. 
Evan Moritz – poetry // a live performance of a poem about the Martian Soli Sanus Project.Evan Moritz (he/him) recently received his MA in theatre and performance at University at Buffalo and is an incoming PhD student at the University of Toronto’s Center for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies. He is interested in the outer limits of science-fiction and fact with research focused on performance in Martian settlements of the near future. This work explores the relationship between colonization of planetary bodies, historic settler epistemes, the loss of liveness in the communication gaps between planets, global catastrophe on Earth and off, and more broadly, the sad or depressing aspects of the future.
Morgan Sammut – interactive fiction piece on twine based on Galatea, sffMorgan Sammut is an undergraduate at Mount Holyoke College, pursuing a degree in English with a minor in Computer Science. Her interests include electronic literature, video games, and hybrid writing. She is working on two projects currently, a Twine piece and a digital reimagining of Frankenstein


As a queer feminist media lab based out of the University at Buffalo Media Study Department, the lab hosts an invited annual cohort of graduate students and independent artists and scholars of queer feminist new media arts drawn nationally and internationally. In doing so, we aim to generate artistic, scholarly, and political conversations, community, and collective possibilities for social change inside and outside academic boundaries. Please see the detailed program and fliers for further information and the framing context of our conversations this Friday. 

Trans Folks Walking Alpha Demo Release

By Blair Johnson and Cody Mejeur

Palah Light Lab is excited to share the first public release of the alpha demo of Trans Folks Walking, consisting of its first playable level.

The player of Trans Folks Walking enters the space to a familiar scene: two swinging bathroom doors on either side of an industrial drinking fountain, each door clearly labeled with the standard blue sign for women and men. We’re in a library, it’s finals week, and the voice tells us that “trying to use the bathroom here when it’s so busy is scary. I don’t know which one to use.” As the player lingers in the hallway, trying to choose between these binary options, the inner voice offers more hypotheticals, accompanied by a foreboding and urgent score. 

Trans Folks Walking, a first-person narrative anthology game designed in Unity, creates a sense of space and embodiment as it is experienced by a trans character. The first level, in which the player character is put in the position of having to choose between two binary options for bathrooms in a college library, narrates the complexity and vulnerability of navigating this space. No matter which choice we make as a player, the anxiety and fear persists — a feeling which is made palpable through the game’s inner monologue and score. 

The game was included in an exhibition highlighting empathetic games developed by students at MSU, titled “Future Present: Design in a Time of Urgency,” an exhibit that ran during September 2020 curated by the Science Gallery Detroit. Trans Folks Walking  was created  in collaboration with the Empathic Games Initiative in the Department of Media & Information at Michigan State University, and is being further developed with support from the Mellon Foundation and UB’s Digital Scholarship Studio and Network

Palah Light Lab co-director and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Study, Cody Mejeur, is the project lead for Trans Folks Walking. Cody initially started the game in 2019 based in part on their research with queer games and their narratives and with the desire to increase opportunities for games made by and for queer and trans peoples. A major goal and commitment for the project is to invite community members to contribute their own stories to the anthology and have an active role in what those stories look like in the game–in other words, for trans players and community members to tell their stories as they want them to be told (and played!). The team currently includes Ronny Ford (MSU, project manager, narrative designer), Famous Clark (UB, programmer, level designer), Wes Turner (independent artist, environment designer), and Austin Wilson (MSU, composer, sound designer). Working on the game together has been an encouraging and hopeful experience in what games can be when they center community, care, and creating and sharing together across difference. 

The game will eventually include a series of levels in different spaces, and form a collection of short stories and experiences, ranging from the broad, as in the bathroom level, to the specific — the next level, for example, will center on being trans in a Christian church. The team describes the game as “[creating] space for trans folks to share their stories and for players to experience small parts of what it means to be trans. The game is intentionally designed as an anthology of short experiences that will grow in collaboration with trans people and their communities.” Another future level will focus on the experience of visiting a doctor’s office, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond these few levels, the team welcomes people interested in the project and potential collaborators to reach out with ideas for expanding the collection moving forward. 

For those interested in playing the first level, the alpha release demo can be found at https://cmejeur.itch.io/trans-folks-walking-alpha-demo. The team welcomes feedback from all and ideas for stories, levels, and experiences from trans folks in particular. They can best be reached by contacting Cody Mejeur at codymeje@buffalo.edu or Ronny Ford at fordron@msu.edu.

Screenshot of Trans Folks Walking

Call for 2020-2021 Cohort Members!

The Palah Light Lab at the University at Buffalo Department of Media Study welcomes an interdisciplinary, creative, and diverse community of artists, academics, and activists to join the 2020/2021 cohort of members. Our mission includes a commitment to political engagement and social justice through poetry, participation, gaming, and pedagogy. In particular, our lab has an emphasis on gaming and poetry and the innovative ways technology and equity can intersect in participatory ways. We are interested in working with individuals working in these fields and utilizing these approaches. Utilizing a feminist and queer-centered approach, we are interested in design and scholarship anchored in the humanities and scholarship informed by transdisciplinary practices. We are open to and encourage applicants in and out of academia, at any stage. International applicants are also welcome. Palah Light Lab centers the question of equity at the forefront of our work, and we seek to creatively and critically engage new media in experimental ways that address pressing social issues and injustices. 

Based out of the University of Buffalo (SUNY) Department of Media Study, Palah Light Lab is funded by SUNY Diversity Faculty Fellowship and co-led by Dr. Margaret Rhee and Dr. Cody Mejeur (Associate Director). Our graduate lab leads include Blair Johnson (English) and Leonardo Brida (DMS). To apply please fill out the form below.  For more information, see our website: https://ubwp.buffalo.edu/palahlight/about/

This year, the Palah Light Lab cohorts will consist of a small group of researchers, artists, and activists who join the Palah Light Lab for a year (or longer) to join our creative, intellectual, and political community. Members will receive access to community meetings, training, workshops, resources, and community from the lab space by virtual membership. Cohorts are invited to work on the lab’s ongoing projects, and/or to work on their own projects in creative, feminist, and queer new media with lab support and in conversation together. 

Lab Members Receive Access To 

  • Monthly Community Meetings
  • Workshops for training and mentoring
  • Opportunities for collaborations and movement building 
  • Optional writing group and creative group – space for critique and feedback
  • Skill share
  • Network of affiliated labs
  • Opportunity to write for the lab blog,  podcast, and leadership
  • Contribute to ongoing projects, such as video games, tangible computing poetry projects 
  •  Creative and scholarly community emphasizing diversity, innovation, and social justice 

What We Ask For

  • Participation in the monthly meetings
  • Rotating participation in leading the meetings (ie facilitation, notes, agenda)
  • Sharing projects
  • Providing feedback on others’ work/projects
  • Commitment to diversity, innovation, acceptance, and social justice 

If you have any questions or concerns as you complete this application, please contact Palahlightlab@gmail.com, Cody Mejeur (codymeje@buffalo.edu), or Margaret Rhee (mrhee@buffalo.edu

Members are committed to creative and intellectual conversations in a new media community committed to questions on justice guided and generosity, and questioning structures of power through creative and critical response. Committed to diversity, we activity seek and welcome Black, Indigenious, People of Color, Women, LGBTQIA, persons with disabilities, and other people at the intersections of these identities.

Applications will be accepted through November 16, 2020 11:59 pm, Eastern Time. 

Google Form Application Link: https://bit.ly/33ASd3P

Spanish Translation: 

Solicitud para formar parte del laboratorio de Palah Light 2020-2021

Este formulario funciona como aplicación para unirse al grupo de miembros del laboratorio, investigadores y artistas de Palah Light Lab 2020-2021. Las miembros de Palah Light Lab consisten en un pequeño grupo de investigadores, artistas y activistas que se unen al Palah Light Lab durante un año (o más) y reciben capacitación, talleres y comunidad dentro del laboratorio. Se invita a los participantes a trabajar en los proyectos en curso del laboratorio y / o a trabajar en sus propios proyectos en nuevos medios creativos, feministas y queer con el apoyo del laboratorio. Estamos abiertos a postulantes dentro y fuera de la academia, en cualquier etapa de formación. Los solicitantes internacionales también son bienvenidos.

Palah 파랗 Light Lab es un espacio creativo y crítico que fomenta la poesía, la participación y la pedagogía a través de la tecnología y la equidad. Utilizando un enfoque feminista y queer, estamos interesados ​​en el diseño anclado en las humanidades y el conocimiento informado por prácticas y tecnología transdisciplinarias. Palah Light Lab pone la cuestión de la equidad en el centro de su trabajo, y busca involucrar de manera creativa y crítica a los nuevos medios de manera experimental para abordar problemas urgentes  en el ámbito social y de injusticias. Con sede en el Departamento de Estudios de Medios de la Universidad de Buffalo, Palah Light Lab está financiado por la Beca de la Facultad de Diversidad de SUNY y dirigido por la Dra. Margaret Rhee. El laboratorio está codirigido por el director asociado, el Dr. Cody Mejeur, y Blair Johnson (Departamento de inglés) como líder del laboratorio de posgrado. El laboratorio promueve la creatividad, la guia y la colaboración feministas a través de un espacio creativo. Para obtener más información, consulte nuestro sitio web: https://ubwp.buffalo.edu/palahlight/about/

Lo que ofrecemos:

  • Reuniones grupales mensuales
  • Talleres de formación y tutoría
  • Oportunidades de colaboraciones
  • Grupo de redacción – espacio de crítica y retroalimentación
  • Compartir habilidades
  • Red de laboratorios afiliados
  • Oportunidad de escribir para el blog y liderazgo
  • Contribuir a proyectos en curso, como videojuegos, proyectos de poesía y podcast de laboratorio.

Lo que pedimos

  • Participar en las reuniones mensuales
  • Rotación de participación en la conducción de las reuniones (es decir, facilitación, notas, agenda)
  • Compartir proyectos
  • Proporcionar comentarios sobre el trabajo / proyectos de otros

Si tiene alguna pregunta o inquietud mientras completa esta solicitud, comuníquese con Palahlightlab@gmail.com, Margaret Rhee (mrhee@buffalo.edu) o Cody Mejeur (codymeje@buffalo.edu).

Las solicitudes se aceptarán hasta el 16 de noviembre de 2020 a las 11:59 p.m., hora del este.

Aplicación: https://bit.ly/33ASd3P

Graduation 2020

Palah Light Lab congratulates two of our graduating Light Labbers: Awa Sow and Andrea Pagan. We are grateful for all the work and research they contributed to the lab. Their presence will be missed as they move forward into the post-Buffalo beyond. 

Awa Sow graduates this May with a BS in Biological Sciences. Awa’s interests are in queer and film studies, and she worked on several related projects over the course of the semester. First, she facilitated the planning and visit of Alex Juhasz and Kat Chairs for their screening and talk, “Metanoia: Aids, Women, Incarceration and Video Activism,” as part of Buffalo’s PLASMA series. Awa also helped research the finalists for the Lambda Literary Awards, for which PLL founder Margaret Rhee was a judge this year. 

Andrea Pagan will defend her thesis project this August for her MFA in Media Study. She specializes in physical computing and installation work. 

In the lab, she applied her expertise to helping update and re-install “The Kimchi Poetry Machine,” a 2014 tangible-computing project by Margaret Rhee. Andrea also worked on compiling grant research and helping to research funding sources for the future of Palah Light Lab.