MA+P MA+P

Undergrad Thesis 2022

Mine is an abstract and poetic film that explores identity, self and commodification in the context of a patriarchal capitalist society. The film begins with a young woman’s solo trip to the now abandoned park in her hometown which allows her to slip in and out of her earlier years for a brief moment. Upon returning home, she navigates her house in a new light, where she quickly realizes she can no longer find a way out, with each room representing a different part of the body and mind, neither of which she can escape.

Mine serves to question and break down a sense of self and the subsequent emotions while contextualizing oneself as a BIWOC in a capitalist society. The film is less about the broader social pressures inflicted to monetize efforts, but instead dissects the individual affective ramifications of forced commodification, and reflects on the enduring psychological impact of patriarchy on a sense and possession of self-agency in both a physical and mental capacity.

Zine On Beauty is an exploration of the ways in which beauty is used as tool of oppression through the lens of intersectional feminism. Presented in zine or magazine form, this project addresses how beauty has been used by the patriarchy to fuel multi-billion dollar industries and stunt the growth of womens’ social prominence. Highlighted topics include the history of the beauty myth and prescriptive beauty norm, beauty privilege, cosmetic surgery, white feminism, mental and physical health, social media, and healing. Each article is presented with an in depth interview featuring a peer of the artist who has offered to share their stories about beauty, from body dysmorphia and social media expectations to intersectional experiences with beauty standards. After reading, viewers should have a greater understanding of the pressure placed on women and femme presenting individuals to pursue beauty and how it negatively impacts their lives.

The “American Dream” has always been at the core of American life and culture. Not just for those born in this country, but for immigrants from every corner of the Earth, too. Work hard, do the right thing, and that white picket fence dream can belong to anyone. But what happens when the “American Dream,” turns out to be just that—a fantasy. What happens when a family is forced out of the only home, and the only neighborhood, that they have ever known?

Gentrification is at the heart of many of these questions. Specifically, it is the reason why many Latinx community members have a different experience with the “American Dream” than members of other communities in Los Angeles. As a short documentary film, Elysium explores the impact of gentrification on Latinx community members on Echo Park. It investigates the erasure and rebuilding of a community and culture in one of Los Angeles’ most historic neighborhoods. Elysium also tells the story of Dodger Stadium, and explores how its dark history of erasure is connected to the transformation of Echo Park today. These stories are told with the goal of inspiring a more equitable Los Angeles.

Tiger Tea Zine is an inclusive journal zine that offers a safe space to empower Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi individuals to share their experiences about mental health, culture, identity, and relationships. Through submission-based visual arts and narrative storytelling, Tiger Tea Zine humanizes the AAPI community and fights against both mental health stigma and generalizations of the model minority myth.

Tiger Tea Zine hopes to help others better understand what mental health is, what mental illnesses are like, what causes them, how people live with them, and how being Asian can bring in complexities of their own in those questions. This zine seeks to call out who AAPI individuals are, what they feel, how they dream, how they struggle, and how they fight to thrive. By sharing their stories and resonating with others, Tiger Tea Zine realizes a space in which AAPI individuals can co-exist with our insecurities, fears, desires, and triumphs—all while redefining what it means to be Asian.

I Just Want To Get Away From All Of This is a choose-your-own-adventure video game that represents the search for purpose in one’s life as they enter adulthood. You play as a recent college graduate trying to find your place in the world. Now that you are no longer a student, who are you? What is your purpose in life? The world is at your feet - what are you going to do with it?

You are facing an internal conflict. On one hand, you feel that your whole life thus far has led to this point, and you must continue down the “traditional” path of getting a job as soon as possible and devoting your life to your career. On the other hand, however, you feel an urge to break away from that path. You don’t want to devote your life to a single discipline and spend your life as a cog in a giant capitalistic machine. You are struggling to find yourself in a world where “purpose” is so highly valued, and is defined largely by one’s career path. How do you balance your need for stability and comfort with this urge to break away from the traditional path? Of course you need to survive, but you also want to live. In this game, you must navigate life, making decisions that align with your values while trying to support yourself financially and maintain your physical and mental health. Each choice you make has consequences, for good or for bad, and will ultimately affect where you end up at the end of the narrative.

Popular media comes with a social responsibility, especially towards our younger generations. The power behind popular media is its accessibility—stories belonging to iconic characters reach people of all races, ethnicities, classes, and genders. With young generations at the forefront of media consumption, producers of popular media have a social responsibility to be cognizant of the audience it will reach and how it may impact them. Using the format of the children’s book, What I See Is What I’ll Be discusses how this power has not been used to its full potential in terms of creating a progressive and inclusive social climate for kids.

The purpose of What I See Is What I’ll Be is to teach viewers why media is such a powerful tool when it comes to educating students, why there is social responsibility when it comes to content creation, and how by targeting young audiences with intentional content, media is capable of reshaping global culture landscapes to be more progressive and inclusive.

Shadows of Memory is an interactive installation exploring the ephemerality of memory and the intricacies of human connection. In the timelines of our lives, we meet briefly at junctions. These moments are transient, but the places remain, holding the emotions that were so real to us then. Using a magic flashlight, you can reveal the story of an intense emotional relationship as told through narrative dance. Seven scenes lie dormant, waiting for your flashlight beam to illuminate their part of the story. The work is a testament to the bittersweet beauty of things that will only exist in this moment and never again.

Climate change is a real problem. The evidence supports it. However, certain politicians in the United States continue to deny its existence or severity. As conspiratorial as it may sound, the reason for this is money. Corporations, non-profit organizations, and other interest groups are legally allowed to donate money to politicians in a practice known as lobbying.

TheCooldownProject aims to demystify the practice of lobbying in the U.S. Congress through the lens of climate change. By gathering donation and voting data from all one hundred Senators, TheCooldownProject combines user-experience design, politics, and data visualization. It allows constituents to explore how much money their Congresspeople receive from renewable and non-renewable energy companies, how their Congresspeople compare to the rest, and allows constituents to discover trends based on party lines and state populations. At its core, TheCooldownProject aims to make lobbying information more accessible to the average voter, and reveals how corporate money is influencing the politics of the United States.

Coem (“code” + “poem”) is a multi-coded (Mateas & Montfort 2005) esoteric programming language that explores how poetry can be made purposeful and code can be made emotional. With roots in codeworks and electronic literature, aesthetic programming, and critical code studies, the language strives to bring into conversation the fields of programming, poetry, linguistics, and typography. Rather than executing instructions, the poet/programmer writes statements as a meditative exercise in truth and expression. As a triptych of source code, output logs, and error messages, the work questions the purpose of language within the contrasting contexts of programming and poetry, where language is either a means to an end or a meaningful text, but rarely both. In feminist opposition to general-purpose technology that emphasises efficiency and clarity, the language is an experiment in personal computing that foregrounds ambiguity, emotion, metaphor, and design.

Please Give a Call to Yeye is a web-based audio documentary that explores the intergenerational relationship between my paternal grandfather - Yeye - and me. Despite being closely involved in raising my brothers and I, we never seemed to fully understand our grandparents beyond their familiar and warm roles. Decades ago, our grandparents faced the tumultuous sociopolitical and economic realities of a regime-changed China. They experienced the turbulent shocks of Chairman Mao and his party’s radical policies that disrupted and defined life for Chinese citizens in that era.

Through a series of phone calls, my brothers and I embark on a journey to uncover and understand my grandfather’s complex relationship with China. In the difficult process, we find ourselves far more removed than initially expected.

We find ourselves separated by physical distance due to Yeye living in Toronto, sundered by what in Chinese is called a 代沟, or “generational chasm,” and torn between our understanding of history through education, and the oft-opposing experiences described by Yeye.

Through sensitivities fogged and obstructed by time, scrambles to find meaning lost in translation, and the dissection of countless visceral portraits of hardship, the piece struggles to sow two understandings together. To find common ground in space disconnected by forces beyond our grasp, to locate where seemingly parallel lines—intersect.

Dress Rehearsal: The Making of a Musical explores the musical theatre creative process and the ability for the art form to encourage civic imagination and social change. Musical theatre, whether experienced as an actor, crew member or audience member, has the power to shift social conversation and action through the embodiment of new and alternate realities, yet various monetary and educational constraints limit access to the theatre arts. This project discusses the systemic issues within the musical theatre industry that create barriers to democratization, while providing a road map for the process of creating new musical theatre narratives as an independent creator through my own experiences. Through this project, I hope to demystify the musical theatre creation process and open up new avenues for connection amongst creators, while also exploring theories for creating a more democratized musical theatre industry.

Abundance is a ‘trans’medial narrative depicting a young child's journey to seek acceptance within themselves amidst a resistant community. The story highlights one narrative many trans/queer individuals face within their own journey of self-acceptance through a fictional lens. Specifically, Abundance sheds light on the theory of “monstification”- the act of altering yourself to further find peace within one's own body and pushing away societal expectations of what is deemed “normal.” This narrative tells its story through an illustrative novel, a digital rendition, as well as tangible body modifications through tattoos as means to heal the trans community through body art. Abundance is written, illustrated, and told by Ren Ye and Kris Yuan, who are Trans POC themselves.


Mine

Kayla Adams


Mine is an abstract and poetic film that explores identity, self and commodification in the context of a patriarchal capitalist society. The film begins with a young woman’s solo trip to the now abandoned park in her hometown which allows her to slip in and out of her earlier years for a brief moment. Upon returning home, she navigates her house in a new light, where she quickly realizes she can no longer find a way out, with each room representing a different part of the body and mind, neither of which she can escape.

Mine serves to question and break down a sense of self and the subsequent emotions while contextualizing oneself as a BIWOC in a capitalist society. The film is less about the broader social pressures inflicted to monetize efforts, but instead dissects the individual affective ramifications of forced commodification, and reflects on the enduring psychological impact of patriarchy on a sense and possession of self-agency in both a physical and mental capacity.


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Tiger Tea Zine

Kyle Ang


Tiger Tea Zine is an inclusive journal zine that offers a safe space to empower Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi individuals to share their experiences about mental health, culture, identity, and relationships. Through submission-based visual arts and narrative storytelling, Tiger Tea Zine humanizes the AAPI community and fights against both mental health stigma and generalizations of the model minority myth.

Tiger Tea Zine hopes to help others better understand what mental health is, what mental illnesses are like, what causes them, how people live with them, and how being Asian can bring in complexities of their own in those questions. This zine seeks to call out who AAPI individuals are, what they feel, how they dream, how they struggle, and how they fight to thrive. By sharing their stories and resonating with others, Tiger Tea Zine realizes a space in which AAPI individuals can co-exist with our insecurities, fears, desires, and triumphs—all while redefining what it means to be Asian.


Back to top

Shadows of Memory

Jay Borgwardt


Shadows of Memory is an interactive installation exploring the ephemerality of memory and the intricacies of human connection. In the timelines of our lives, we meet briefly at junctions. These moments are transient, but the places remain, holding the emotions that were so real to us then. Using a magic flashlight, you can reveal the story of an intense emotional relationship as told through narrative dance. Seven scenes lie dormant, waiting for your flashlight beam to illuminate their part of the story. The work is a testament to the bittersweet beauty of things that will only exist in this moment and never again.


Back to top

Please Give a Call to Yeye

Katie Chan


Please Give a Call to Yeye is a web-based audio documentary that explores the intergenerational relationship between my paternal grandfather - Yeye - and me. Despite being closely involved in raising my brothers and I, we never seemed to fully understand our grandparents beyond their familiar and warm roles. Decades ago, our grandparents faced the tumultuous sociopolitical and economic realities of a regime-changed China. They experienced the turbulent shocks of Chairman Mao and his party’s radical policies that disrupted and defined life for Chinese citizens in that era.

Through a series of phone calls, my brothers and I embark on a journey to uncover and understand my grandfather’s complex relationship with China. In the difficult process, we find ourselves far more removed than initially expected.

We find ourselves separated by physical distance due to Yeye living in Toronto, sundered by what in Chinese is called a 代沟, or “generational chasm,” and torn between our understanding of history through education, and the oft-opposing experiences described by Yeye.

Through sensitivities fogged and obstructed by time, scrambles to find meaning lost in translation, and the dissection of countless visceral portraits of hardship, the piece struggles to sow two understandings together. To find common ground in space disconnected by forces beyond our grasp, to locate where seemingly parallel lines—intersect.


Back to top

Zine On Beauty

Esha Chekuri


Zine On Beauty is an exploration of the ways in which beauty is used as tool of oppression through the lens of intersectional feminism. Presented in zine or magazine form, this project addresses how beauty has been used by the patriarchy to fuel multi-billion dollar industries and stunt the growth of womens’ social prominence. Highlighted topics include the history of the beauty myth and prescriptive beauty norm, beauty privilege, cosmetic surgery, white feminism, mental and physical health, social media, and healing. Each article is presented with an in depth interview featuring a peer of the artist who has offered to share their stories about beauty, from body dysmorphia and social media expectations to intersectional experiences with beauty standards. After reading, viewers should have a greater understanding of the pressure placed on women and femme presenting individuals to pursue beauty and how it negatively impacts their lives.


Back to top

I Just Want To Get Away From All Of This

Abigail Floyd


I Just Want To Get Away From All Of This is a choose-your-own-adventure video game that represents the search for purpose in one’s life as they enter adulthood. You play as a recent college graduate trying to find your place in the world. Now that you are no longer a student, who are you? What is your purpose in life? The world is at your feet - what are you going to do with it?

You are facing an internal conflict. On one hand, you feel that your whole life thus far has led to this point, and you must continue down the “traditional” path of getting a job as soon as possible and devoting your life to your career. On the other hand, however, you feel an urge to break away from that path. You don’t want to devote your life to a single discipline and spend your life as a cog in a giant capitalistic machine. You are struggling to find yourself in a world where “purpose” is so highly valued, and is defined largely by one’s career path. How do you balance your need for stability and comfort with this urge to break away from the traditional path? Of course you need to survive, but you also want to live. In this game, you must navigate life, making decisions that align with your values while trying to support yourself financially and maintain your physical and mental health. Each choice you make has consequences, for good or for bad, and will ultimately affect where you end up at the end of the narrative.


Back to top

TheCooldownProject

Jose Guaraco


Climate change is a real problem. The evidence supports it. However, certain politicians in the United States continue to deny its existence or severity. As conspiratorial as it may sound, the reason for this is money. Corporations, non-profit organizations, and other interest groups are legally allowed to donate money to politicians in a practice known as lobbying.

TheCooldownProject aims to demystify the practice of lobbying in the U.S. Congress through the lens of climate change. By gathering donation and voting data from all one hundred Senators, TheCooldownProject combines user-experience design, politics, and data visualization. It allows constituents to explore how much money their Congresspeople receive from renewable and non-renewable energy companies, how their Congresspeople compare to the rest, and allows constituents to discover trends based on party lines and state populations. At its core, TheCooldownProject aims to make lobbying information more accessible to the average voter, and reveals how corporate money is influencing the politics of the United States.


Back to top

Dress Rehearsal: The Making of a Musical

Zazu Lippert


Dress Rehearsal: The Making of a Musical explores the musical theatre creative process and the ability for the art form to encourage civic imagination and social change. Musical theatre, whether experienced as an actor, crew member or audience member, has the power to shift social conversation and action through the embodiment of new and alternate realities, yet various monetary and educational constraints limit access to the theatre arts. This project discusses the systemic issues within the musical theatre industry that create barriers to democratization, while providing a road map for the process of creating new musical theatre narratives as an independent creator through my own experiences. Through this project, I hope to demystify the musical theatre creation process and open up new avenues for connection amongst creators, while also exploring theories for creating a more democratized musical theatre industry.


Back to top

Elysium

Joseph Masters


The “American Dream” has always been at the core of American life and culture. Not just for those born in this country, but for immigrants from every corner of the Earth, too. Work hard, do the right thing, and that white picket fence dream can belong to anyone. But what happens when the “American Dream,” turns out to be just that—a fantasy. What happens when a family is forced out of the only home, and the only neighborhood, that they have ever known?

Gentrification is at the heart of many of these questions. Specifically, it is the reason why many Latinx community members have a different experience with the “American Dream” than members of other communities in Los Angeles. As a short documentary film, Elysium explores the impact of gentrification on Latinx community members on Echo Park. It investigates the erasure and rebuilding of a community and culture in one of Los Angeles’ most historic neighborhoods. Elysium also tells the story of Dodger Stadium, and explores how its dark history of erasure is connected to the transformation of Echo Park today. These stories are told with the goal of inspiring a more equitable Los Angeles.


Back to top

What I See Is What I'll Be

Kristin Wong


Popular media comes with a social responsibility, especially towards our younger generations. The power behind popular media is its accessibility—stories belonging to iconic characters reach people of all races, ethnicities, classes, and genders. With young generations at the forefront of media consumption, producers of popular media have a social responsibility to be cognizant of the audience it will reach and how it may impact them. Using the format of the children’s book, What I See Is What I’ll Be discusses how this power has not been used to its full potential in terms of creating a progressive and inclusive social climate for kids.

The purpose of What I See Is What I’ll Be is to teach viewers why media is such a powerful tool when it comes to educating students, why there is social responsibility when it comes to content creation, and how by targeting young audiences with intentional content, media is capable of reshaping global culture landscapes to be more progressive and inclusive.


Back to top

Coem: A Poetic Programming Language

Katherine Yang


Coem (“code” + “poem”) is a multi-coded (Mateas & Montfort 2005) esoteric programming language that explores how poetry can be made purposeful and code can be made emotional. With roots in codeworks and electronic literature, aesthetic programming, and critical code studies, the language strives to bring into conversation the fields of programming, poetry, linguistics, and typography. Rather than executing instructions, the poet/programmer writes statements as a meditative exercise in truth and expression. As a triptych of source code, output logs, and error messages, the work questions the purpose of language within the contrasting contexts of programming and poetry, where language is either a means to an end or a meaningful text, but rarely both. In feminist opposition to general-purpose technology that emphasises efficiency and clarity, the language is an experiment in personal computing that foregrounds ambiguity, emotion, metaphor, and design.


Back to top

Abundance

Ren Ye, Kris Yuan


Abundance is a ‘trans’medial narrative depicting a young child's journey to seek acceptance within themselves amidst a resistant community. The story highlights one narrative many trans/queer individuals face within their own journey of self-acceptance through a fictional lens. Specifically, Abundance sheds light on the theory of “monstification”- the act of altering yourself to further find peace within one's own body and pushing away societal expectations of what is deemed “normal.” This narrative tells its story through an illustrative novel, a digital rendition, as well as tangible body modifications through tattoos as means to heal the trans community through body art. Abundance is written, illustrated, and told by Ren Ye and Kris Yuan, who are Trans POC themselves.


Back to top