Undergrad Exhibition 2021

This is a selection of semester-long capstone projects from our 2021 undergraduate cohort in the Media Arts and Practice major and non-majors who are pursuing the Honors track of the Digital Studies minor. The projects demonstrate the wide range of interdisciplinary interests, research, ideation, discovery and creation that the students have undertaken during their time in the MA+P program.

MA+P Majors: Emily Billow, Bailey Lawrence, Jessica Li, Ethan Kurzrock, Tia Kemp, and Anissa Santos
Honors in Digital Studies: Garret Flynn

We would like to honor these seniors for their creativity and hard work, congratulate them on their graduation from USC, and support them as they continue their academic and professional journey.

What started as a pitch deck and Google Chrome extension for my senior thesis project, transformed into a software startup company, committed to ending discrimination in the workplace.

3/5 U.S. employees have experienced witnesses discrimination at work. 76% of job seekers report a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and companies in the U.S. are currently spending $64 billion on workplace discrimination. Companies and job seekers are loosing money and talent.

Equa helps companies by offering diversity consulting services and job seekers by providing them with company’s diversity information all in one place, on their website. Equa also helps you by making it easy to decide which businesses to purchase from. Equa breaks down the number of people of color, gender, leadership positions, sexual misconduct lawsuits, DEI initiatives, trainings, and more, for a specific company.

Let's transform the way diversity, equity, and inclusion is integrated in the workplace. Equa plans to officially launch fall of 2021.

Haggadah Project is an intergenerational video storytelling workshop in which middle school students capture video stories about elders in their family (grandparents, relatives) and collaborate with them creatively. Students make interview-based documentary films about memory objects, cultural activities, and historical testimony. In the workshop case studies, student participants reported stronger multi-generational relationships, deeper understanding of historical events, and insights about their religious and cultural identities. The curriculum and case study results are available on a website, ​ , and will be utilized by educators at several middle schools in the Los Angeles area to launch future intergenerational video storytelling workshops.

Emily’s latest short documentary, Diesel Death Zone, explores communities housed between the The Los Angeles-Long Beach Port complex, oil refineries, and busy freeways, which deal with some of the worst air pollution in the US. Residents have been forced to take matters into their own hands, facing an apathetic government and powerful corporate superpowers throughout their fight for environmental justice. Jesse Marquez of The Coalition For a Safe Environment leads the way, sharing his passion for the community and tragic history growing up in Wilmington. This project comes at a crucial time, as minority populations are more likely to die from COVID-19 just because of the air pollution where they live. Emily aims to highlight the voices of these people, who are consistently exploited and ignored.

“In Her Memory” is a pitch deck made for an interactive exhibit dedicated to the education and the remembrance of the euphemistically called ""comfort women"" who were women and girls forced into sexual slavery under Imperial Japan during the 1930s and WW2. This project combines historical research and analysis with research in museum design and digital interactivity to conceive an engaging exhibit design that would provide an American audience with a comprehensive and tangible understanding of this complex history. The central question of this project is how do we effectively educate a modern western audience about the importance and relevance of unknown history from other parts of the world? This project attempts to put women at the center of the narrative and includes their voices as both evidence and examples of activism as they encourage the accountability and awareness of rape in war and general society. This speculative exhibit ultimately aims to introduce and create dialogue around the uncomfortable topic of sexual violence in history in order to bring awareness to global atrocities and to promote the sharing and hearing of victim stories as a means to promote change.

​*In this project I do not intend to speak for these women or claim that this is the solution for any of the tension that still remains between Japan and other Asian countries, but I do believe that the sharing and elevation of foreign narratives and histories is necessary in order to expand our worldwide views and understandings. All the audio clips are just prototypes and my voice would not be used in the final translations.

Throughout American history, ideals of beauty have interlocked with gendered and racialized standards of what it looks like to fit in, and what happens when you are excluded from definitions of beauty and feminism. In limited shades, we find limited access to opportunity, limited representation, and a limited perception of what it means to be whole.

Through interwoven audio diaries and performative documentary, It Starts with a Shade takes audiences on an abstract exploration of personal, multigenerational recounts of self-discovery and acceptance through the intersectional lenses of Blackness, beauty, and womenhood.

The story features Ethel Reid McNeil, a Southern-raised, stubborn-yet-sweet powerhouse who identifies Blackness with grit, independence, and success; Kaliya Ware, an aspiring YouTube beauty influencer who promotes an equal playing field for Black feminist thought and body-inclusivity; and Cherae Ensor (45), a mother of four and creative soul who instills family-grown lessons of Black excellence in her multi-racial household.

​In the lifelong pursuit of self-discovery, all three women find common ground in faith, resilience, and deep truths that tie where they've been with where they're going. In their stories, we find seeds of promise: inspiration for stories to come and a reminder of the beauty in reflection.

We have families. We eat at the dinner table. We have families who tell us what to eat, when to eat, and how to accept an arsenal of unsolicited comments about our bodies. They tell us we have eaten too much or too little. One day we’re too skinny, and within a matter of seconds, we’re too fat. And most days, we have no say. Pass the Salt is a community-generated mapping project that compiles geolocated moments of cultural dissonance at the dinner table. The intent of this project is to create a safe space for marginalized voices of mutli-ethnic and multi-generational families to share their own stories surrounding food and body image by posting anonymous anecdotes onto this map-based mobile platform. Through compiling a living archive of these moments of bodily joy, shame, and contentment, Pass the Salt fosters body-positive solidarity across cultures, communities, and dinner tables around the globe.

Brainstorm is a cooperative brain-computer interface (BCI) game that explores novel modes of user interaction enabled by web-based BCI systems. Participants transform a 3D brain—rendered as a 50k point cloud in WebGL—to display brainwave data at varying levels of scientific and artistic abstraction. All participants with a compatible EEG headset may remotely live stream data to the system. These participants cooperate to synchronize their brain activity in an experimental interactive experience. In parallel, all participants are encouraged to reflect on speculative applications as well as ethical, legal, and social concerns inspired by their experience. By hosting a series of events where diverse stakeholders engage with Brainstorm, we aim to promote the development of widely accessible brain-responsive experiences for the Web.