An interdisciplinary event series from the Liberal Arts Collective

(March – April 2022)

In August 2021, I became President of the Liberal Arts Collective (LAC), through which, as a member over the course of the 2020-2021 academic year, I helped produce the Unraveling the Anthropocene podcast.

As President, I helped organize an interdisciplinary event series consisting of two Zoom-based roundtables and one on-campus event for Spring 2022. Starting in September 2021, my colleagues and I brainstormed possible themes, settling on virtual reality and medical humanities, and reached out to possible speakers with an event proposal in the style of a CFP.  We planned two roundtables: (Co)Figurations of Future: Ecocritical Approaches to Virtual Worlds and (Co)Figurations of Care: Experience and Infrastructure in the Medical Humanities. The former was preceded by an on-campus virtual reality event.

I also spearheaded the series’ branding, which has been one of the most satisfying graphic design jobs I’ve ever completed.  Overall, I loved collaborating with my colleagues on this series and seeing our passion project evolve into an international dialogue with like-minded scholars and artists. More information on the series can be found below, and on the LAC website.

(Co)Figurations of Future: Ecocritical Approaches to Virtual Worlds

Virtual environments proliferate within the flatness of our screens, a flatness spatially structured by layers of hardware and code. From hypertext and social networks to the 3D worlds of video games and virtual reality, we wander and explore realities paralleling — and mirroring — our own. Often this engagement occurs through frameworks of interaction and play. Digitally-rendered worlds, whether constructed of text, images, video, or other interfaces, have the potential to reorient the relationship we have to our own planet in crisis. How do we relate virtual environments to non-virtual ones, particularly in our time of ecological devastation and climate change? (LAC website)

March 23, 2022: Experiencing VR

With the Dreamery and Teaching & Learning with Technology department, we co-hosted two one-hour long VR/360-degree video “screenings.” Using Oculus Quest headsets, we experienced Notes on Blindness and Traveling While Black, followed by a 30-minute open discussion about the technology and its uses.

March 24, 2022: Zoom Roundtable

This roundtable explored the ecocritical dimensions of digital and virtual environments and their value in today’s classrooms. We invited Alenda Y. Chang, Jonathan Correa, Kathryn Hamilton (a.k.a. Sister Sylvester), and Deniz Tortum. Through an interdisciplinary approach to video games, software, and contemporary art, we hope to (re)imagine digitized sociality as going beyond computers and humans to the environment more broadly. What are the possible future(s) envisioned by and through the experience of virtual worlds?

I loved moderating this roundtable and discussing ecocriticism, virtuality, pedagogy, and digitality with panelists I admire very much. And, of course, I used those old podcasting skills to reproduce the roundtable as a special episode of “Unraveling the Anthropocene“! Slides, resources, and speaker information can be found on the LAC website. Listen below:

(Co)Figurations of Care: Experience and Infrastructure in the Medical Humanities

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the notion that only medical knowledge is conducive to health, foregrounding the urgent necessity to rethink the entanglements between body, environment, infrastructure, culture, and governmentality. In this biopolitical environment, public medical knowledge should include and prioritize patients’ lived experiences of illness at different scales (familial, national, global) and intensities (death, loss, long-term effects of an unprecedented disease). Thus, patient vulnerabilities bring into consideration the complex web of relations between humans and built/natural environments & spaces. As vulnerabilities in medical access and treatment become more visible, so does the importance of architecture in facilitating health. There emerges a need to break down the scale of design in response to the mobility of sick bodies and to environmental elements such as air and light.  (LAC website)

April 7, 2022: Zoom roundtable

Moderated by LAC member Merve Şen (PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature & Visual Studies, Penn State) this roundtable discussed care and its multiple and diverse configurations. In the context of this event, care ranges from looking after a patient, to being attuned to the needs of the self and its surroundings, to reorganizing the built medical environment. We invited Anna Ulrikke Andersen, MK Czerwiec, and Victoria Lupascu, whose work reflects on the biopolitical management of health, medical spatial organization, and personal or fictional narratives of care. Our roundtable will discussed how visual art, architecture, and medical technologies can produce, contest, configure and disseminate spatial and embodied forms of knowledge, and call attention to care. More information can be found on the LAC website. Listen below:

Shoutout to LAC!

Rosemary Aviste, Michael Delayo, Camila Gutiérrez, Merve Şen

Event Photos

Event Posters

Speaker Information