Author: Paloma

My Exhibition Opens Next Month!

logue_posters_8.5x11It’s been more than a year since I started ideating and working on this project, and about ten months since developing it under the Dietrich Honors Research Fellowship. My project has changed a lot now from the first time I pitched it to my advisors, and on my way to completing my project I’ve had to let go of ambitions to replace them for more feasible goals. However, I am satisfied with the work I have successfully completed within the limited time and resources available.

Like my project’s goals and logistics, my thesis’ schedule has changed repeatedly. I initially planned to have my thesis paper completely written by the spring semester’s first month, but instead found myself working 24/7 on the project’s exhibition – which is a blessing in disguise. The purpose of writing my paper before the exhibition was to establish strategies to test throughout my curatorial work, yet there is a limited amount of challenges one can predict before setting oneself to do something.

Having working knowledge from all the research and writing I completed during the summer and fall semester has surely helped to make informed decisions throughout the curatorial process. Hopefully, those “informed” decisions and guesses will prove successful – we’ll see the outcomes after our thesis’ exhibition opening on March 1 at Assemble. I look forward to hearing others opinions on the project, and analyze my curatorial work as part of my written thesis.

So far, ups and downs, I have loved working on this project, and look forward to similar opportunities in the future.

For now, I will be disappearing from the social map until April, when I will finish my thesis. However, please stop by our exhibit opening Friday, March 1 from 6-10pm and say hi!

Follow my project on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @projectlogue

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Summer might be done, but my project barely started!

Summer may be (almost) done, but my senior project’s just starting to take form.

I am satisfied with the amount of work I’ve accomplished during the past three months, including prepping my elevator pitch, reading over 40+ scholarly articles, and continuing to meet various of Pittsburgh’s diverse communities.

It’s been hard work – and it will certainly continue to be during the academic year – but also, rewarding.

The knowledge I’ve acquired during the summer has proved valuable for both my project, and my academic career. Learning about cultural appropriation, the imposition of cultural values, and cultural exchange initiatives/policies has allowed me to acknowledge that there “are no obvious solutions” – only different ways of approaching and doing things.

Prepped with this mindset, I look forward to the start of the Fall semester. Here we go!

“The obvious solution is no solution at all”

I remember reading this quote at the start of my research and feeling defeated.

I optimistically sought to focus my summer research on acquiring a better understanding on cultural appropriation and cultural theory, so that I could best contribute to the debate with “solutions” or “alternatives.” Yet, just when I was barely starting to research, I read the quote: “the obvious solution is no solution at all.” My mission to seek solutions quickly felt futile.

As I kept on reading, the same quote stood in the back of my mind. Reading arguments in favor, against, and in-between, it was soon clear to me that – given the controversial nature of this topic – there is no obvious or “correct” solution at all. Moreover, as I read and keep reading I noticed that, rather than alternatives or solutions, what there seems to be – regarding my research topic – is a lot of opinions.

Papers stopped being the communication of “ultimate truths,” to become opinion-pieces or argumentative essays. Intellectual contributions did not require testing as much as they required sample evidence. And research was not merely an “objective” contribution to knowledge, but also a tool for propaganda.

Based on these observations, I have started to reconsider the goals for my research. I am no longer looking for “solutions” or “alternatives” as I read about cultural appropriation and theory. Rather, I am looking for ideas, concepts and theories that could help me justify and define my project within a broader context. Reading and learning about opinions so I can make my own opinion and defend it.

I must say – knowing how I have reacted to many of my summer research readings – that the idea of deciding on an opinion and defending it is quite intimidating. However, when compared to the goal of finding “solutions,” making an opinion not only seems more feasible, but also seems like a more exciting aim.

With a new redefined goal set in mind, I am ready to continue my readings to later develop a specific opinion about my research topic.

Until then, I am more than happy to pitch you my project as whatever you may label it – research, thesis or propaganda.

Inspiration Finds You – Working.

paloma-blog-2“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” – Pablo Picasso

My progress in the past weeks can be described by this quote.

I can say I’ve been researching here and there – “here” meaning the time I spend actively reviewing articles from scholarly journals, anthologies, and books; and “there,” the time I spend taking breaks to eat, de-stress, and breathe. In this sense, not only am I learning about controversial views on cultural appropriation as applied to artistic practice, but also am constantly inspired by visuals or conversations I encounter on my daily life:

“How do certain privileges that we might have access to determine which issues we pursue, and how does this pursuit make the needs of those with no such access invisible?”
– Schulman, B. “Feminists, Political Correctness, and ‘Free’ Speech.”

“A culture is only as great as its dreams and its dreams are dreampt by Artists.”
– A tent at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Arts Festival

“I liked to think of my work as ‘giving voice to the voiceless’”
– Someone, at a research fellowship activity

“My (works) are about questions. They are not about answers.”
– Duane Michals

“the obvious solution is no solution at all”
– Potter Jr., Parker B. “Appropriating the Visitor by Addressing the Second Person.”

I am aware that these quotes may seem out of context as I share them, and that context is VERY important, too.

I look forward to provide more context to these quotes in the following months. As for now, I’ll devote myself to read and to grab more ideas “here” and “there.”

Let’s keep inspiration coming.

Hello, Pittsburgh!

I am excited to immerse myself in the city this summer, and to meet and experience the Pittsburgh that lies outside the Carnegie Mellon campus-bubble. Invested in storytelling as a medium that can connect audiences of different backgrounds to distinct realities, I am passionate about cultural exchange and the arts and am eager to combine my interests as I undertake my summer research.

My research seeks to explore how the combination of artistic expression and translation can diminish social and linguistic barriers to promote cultural inclusion, interaction, and exchange. As part of my research, I am currently learning about cultural theory, translation methods, and artistic practices across the performing, visual, and literary arts.

My research findings will be used to develop “Project -LOGUE,” a platform in which Pittsburgh-based storytellers who speak languages other than English will work with artists and translators to develop art showcasing their cultural narratives. These artworks will be developed through a series of workshops (Fall semester), and will be showcased at a multilingual exhibition (Spring semester).

So far, I have met so many incredible people, organizations and communities along with my collaborator Abigail Salmon. As Pittsburgh is home to more than 40 different languages, I look forward to continuing to meet more amazing people along the way.