Margaret Rhee, Co-Director, Assistant Professor
Margaret Rhee is a poet, scholar, and new media artist. She is the author of the poetry collection Love, Robot named a 2017 Best Book of Poetry by Entropy Magazine and awarded a 2018 Elgin Award by the Science Fiction Poetry Association and the 2019 Best Book Award in Poetry by the Asian American Studies Association. Currently, she is completing her monograph How We Became Human: Race, Robots, and the Asian American Body soon to be reviewed. Forthcoming books under contract include a Queer Film Classics title on The Watermelon Woman and Poetry Machines: Letters to a Future Reader on the intersections of poetry, cinema, and ephemera. Her new media project The Kimchi Poetry Machine was exhibited in the Electronic Literature Collection Volume 3 and her feminist participatory digitalstorytelling project in the San Francisco Jail was awarded a Chancellor’s Award for Public Service. She was a College Fellow in Digital Practice in the English Department at Harvard University and a member of MetaLab @ Harvard. She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in ethnic studies with a designated emphasis in new media studies. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Study at SUNY Buffalo.
Cody Mejeur, Co-Director, Visiting Assistant Professor
Cody Mejeur is a game scholar, developer, player, and activist whose work focuses on trans, queer, and feminist studies and social justice in video games and new media. Their work uses games to theorize narrative as an embodied and playful process that constructs how we understand ourselves, our realities, and our differences. They have published on teaching with games, gender and queerness in games, and the narrative construction of reality in journals including Feminist Media Studies and Digital Humanities Quarterly and edited collections such as Beyond the Sea: Navigating Bioshock and The Pokémon Go Phenomenon.
Their current projects include their first monograph, Queer Narrative, Queer Play: Player Experiences and Ludic Realities in Video Games, which focuses focuses on how narrative operates in games to structure inward experiences and outward realities, and further argues that storytelling can build more inclusive and socially just realities through play. They are also the project lead on Trans Folks Walking, a 3D walking simulator game that is an anthology of trans experiences developed in collaboration with local media and LGBTQ resource centers.
In the Light Lab, Cody is building community partnerships in order to host events, workshops, and programs that use game design to address local and social justice issues. In particular, they want to create opportunities for women, people of color, and LGBTQ folks to create their own games and tell their own stories.
Blair Johnson is a poet and PhD candidate in English at the University at Buffalo, with a focus on media & visual studies, materiality, and technology. Her poems have appeared in Boston Review, DIAGRAM, and Best American Experimental Writing. With her partner, she makes handmade books & code poems. She currently works in the lab on a number of creative and research projects, including writing for the lab blog and organizing local community events.
Andrea Nelia Pagan is a current MFA candidate at the University at Buffalo’s Media Study department. Her work over the years has involved various computational methods used to achieve a deeper understanding of the data we, as humans, transmit when we interact with inanimate objects and spaces. At the start of her MFA, she focused on wearable devices with sensors that could measure physical data from the body (inputs), such as pulse, movement, temperate, and muscle electrical impulses. The outputs for the collections were expressed in coded graphics and sounds that would change as the incoming data did. Part of her thesis research focuses on how the use of visuals and sounds can create an alternative method of understanding of our constantly changing mind and body states. As someone who considers herself a visual learner, she seeks to explore more experimental visual and audible outputs to express and understand data. She has now shifted her focus on creating interactive installations involving space and anthropomorphic objects in order to explore what we can learn from interactions with the unfamiliar. Much of her work focuses on cultivating the interest on perceptions, and events that are neglected when adopting a user-friendly mentality.
Awa is a first generation college graduate student at the University of Buffalo. She studied Biological Sciences with hopes of entering the health field in the future. While she is passion in medicine and holistic healing, she also has an interest for media and activism. She shoots film on her spare time and wishes to get more involved in creative projects. Before University she was a part of YA-YA Network for young activists. She has advocated for the rights of black and brown bodies and queer youth. In her work in the lab and elsewhere, she works to integrate these interests. She is currently an undergraduate research assistant at a study in UB Behavioral Medicine.
Morgan 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 wants to expand what our idea of “literature” is and explore how we can use technology to further it. Currently, she is working on a project in Twine inspired by Emily Short’s interactive fiction piece Galatea. Morgan also works at the Fimbel Maker and Innovation Lab (or makerspace) at Mount Holyoke College, where she helps students use technology for both academic and personal projects. In her free time, she also enjoys fencing, baking, and crafting.
Cohort 2021 members
Ashley P. Jones
Ashley P. Jones (shehers) is a PhD candidate at Georgia State University in the Moving Image Studies program. Her research explores the intersections of feminist theory and digital games through narrative, aesthetics, and mechanics. She is currently writing her dissertation on the inherent feminist and queer procedures within digital games and their political valency outside the game.
Azalia Primadita Muchransyah
Azalia Muchransyah is a filmmaker, writer, and scholar from Indonesia. She is a Ph.D. Candidate in Media Study at University at Buffalo (SUNY), funded by the 2017 DIKTI Fulbright Scholarship. She is the Host and Producer for The Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy Podcast, a bi-weekly podcast where she interviews scholars about their interdisciplinary research topics. She is also a 2019-2021 Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory Scholar at HASTAC. Her research is on activist media, specifically for people living with HIV in Indonesian prison settings. Her short films have been officially selected and screened in international festivals and academic conferences. To know more about her works, please visit her ePortfolio at https://azalia.myportfolio.com/.
Charlie Best (they/them, he/him) is an artist, seamstrix, and teacher. They were born on and studied on the lands of the Haudenosaunee peoples; so-called “Western New York”. Their multidisciplinary practice has yielded experimental digital and analog media, performance, fiberwork, and works on paper. Their artwork is a system of relationships, devoted to producing, organizing, and/or facilitating visual and material culture that is grounded in queer and trans lineage, experience, and life. Currently, they are an instructor with UB’s Department of Media Study, and operate the online store “PlayClothes”.
Evan Moritz is an independent researcher who recently received his MA in theatre and performance at University at Buffalo, SUNY. He is interested in the outer limits of science-fiction and fact with research focused on performance in Martian settlements of the near future and his solo practice exploring similar themes. This work collectively 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.
Gabriela Cordoba Vivas
Gabriela Cordoba Vivas is an artist-scholar that works in the intersection between art, media, and social justice. She is a third-year student of the PhD in Media Study at the University at Buffalo. She holds a bachelor degree in Political Science with an Art History minor from Los Andes University and an MA in Communication and Media from the National University of Colombia. Her research has revolved around epistemological justice, the right to the city, and cultural representations of transgender sex work. She has worked in universities, government agencies, and cultural organizations leading socially engaged art projects, developing strategies for community engagement, and fostering research and creation practices committed to social change. Co-founder of CaldodeCultivo, an art collective that produces dignified narratives of marginalized communities using different artistic languages to amplify their struggles. With CaldodeCultivo she has participated in multiple biennales and art residencies in Europe and the Americas.
George Abraham (they/he) is a Palestinian american poet from Jacksonville, FL. They are the author of Birthright (Button Poetry) and the specimen’s apology (Sibling Rivalry Press). He is a recipient of fellowships from Kundiman and the Boston Foundation, and a board member for the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI). Their poetry and nonfiction have appeared in The
American Poetry Review, The Baffler, The Paris Review, The Missouri Review, Mizna, and elsewhere. He currently resides on stolen Massachusett land, where he is a Bioengineering PhD candidate at Harvard University, and teaches in Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College.
Hanyu 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, NY, US. Liao received her BA in Information Design, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China; MFA in Digital+Media, Rhode Island School of Design; and Interdisciplinary MA in Humanities (MAH) 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.
Huan He (he/him/his) is a queer Asian/American writer and gamer based in Los Angeles. He currently is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. His dissertation, titled “The Racial Interface: Informatics and Asian/America,” explores the co-evolution of racial and digital histories from 1942 to 1984. Through an Asian/American archive of art, corporate, and government sources, “The Racial Interface” shows how racial liberalism’s experiments with agency, individualism, and representation became bound to the rise of digital power in the 20th century. Broadly, his research is situated at the intersection of Asian/American studies, media and digital histories, and visual culture. This focus also overlaps with other interests in digital game studies, speculative fiction, digital humanities and pedagogy, and poetics. His writing has appeared in American Quarterly and College Literature: A Journal of Critical Literary Studies.
Jess is a writer and game designer who focuses on anticolonialism in much of their work. After finishing a degree in English at Harvard, they are now in the final semester of an MFA at NYU in Game Design. When not working, Jess enjoys hanging out with dogs, reading speculative fiction, and replaying old Harvest Moon games.
Joan Nobile, as an emerging artist, has explored feminism, media critique, and mental illness through her body of work. Joan was born in Brooklyn, New York, and attended SUNY Buffalo State, receiving a B.A. in Media Production in 2015. Growing up in New York City, she was inspired by daring artists like Keith Haring and the quilters advocating for those with HIV/AIDS, exposing her to social issues at an early age. Her mediums include video games, digital photography, documentary, audio production, live video production, and video essays. Her first documentary, focusing on sexism and misogyny in video games, The Gender Glitch, received an Honorable Mention award at the 2016 SUNYWide Film Festival. She is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Media Art Production at University at Buffalo. Joan lives and works in Buffalo, NY with her partner and too many books.
Jocelyn E. Marshall
Jocelyn E. Marshall is an English doctoral candidate and instructor at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her scholarly and curatorial projects focus on queer and womxn artists working at the intersections of traumatic experience, displacement, and gender and sexuality studies. Her creative projects include poetry, creative nonfiction, and visual art. Jocelyn’s work has appeared in the Journal of American Culture, Tripwire: A Journal of Poetics, Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry (Sibling Rivalry Press), Strange Stories Vol. 1 (Forty-Two Books, 2019), and elsewhere. Recently, she curated an online exhibition and virtual event series entitled “Being In-Between / In-Between Being,” an exploration of intertextual praxis and identity/ies by queer and womxn artists (UB Art Galleries, December 15 2020 – January 15 2021). 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 Emerald Publishing, 2022).
Jordan is a Ponca gamemaker, writer, and researcher. Their focus is in Indigenous and queer literature, media, and video games. From both a creative and a critical lens, they are interested in the ways that gameplay and narratives can be queered by Indigenous presence. They are looking to explore using older digital technologies, auto-ethnographic narrative, and vaporwave-style tactics of design to forge new directions for and by queer and Indigenous perspectives.
Maddy Clemente (she/hers) is an adoptee, scholar, and artist. She is finishing her degree in English Literature and Public Health at Boston University and hopes to pursue an MPH. Her research interests are science fiction, queer speculative futures, adoptee studies, and public health education and advocacy. She has worked with the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center on exploring adoptee identity through names and naming and with Peer Health Exchange on empowering young people through health education. Her scholarly and artistic works include pieces written on Asian American identity, Techno-orientalism, and artifacts made by carving, sculpting, and printmaking. You can view her artifacts and other works here: https://www.instagram.com/blloodmoonrising/
Rachid Benharrousse is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Mohamed V. He has been a Research Fellow at the Moroccan Cultural Studies Center at the University of Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah. Currently, he is a researcher of Game and Media Studies at the University at Buffalo. He is the author of Digital Poetry and the Transcendence of Print Poetry’s Boundaries. His research interests encompass Literary theory, Postcolonialism, North African Studies, Digital Studies, Electronic Literature, and Game Studies.
Sarah Sgro is a PhD student 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 temporalities, posthumanism, and the metaphorical and material implications of waste.