Totally irrelevant image from the  National Geographic Photo Archive

Totally irrelevant image from the National Geographic Photo Archive

Lots of my current and recent-past Masters thesis advisees (I teach only MA students) are doing some pretty amazing things. I’m just so happy for them, I want to share their news:

James D. Graham, a thesis advisee from 2008 who won our program’s first Distinguished Thesis Award, is a doctoral student in architecture at Columbia, and he’s published a fantastic article — which started out as a footnote in his Masters thesis — on Friedrich Kiesler and Rossum’s Universal Robots in the Winter 2013 issue of Grey Room. I’m sure this is only one of innumerable fantastic projects he’s engaged in.

Ben Mendelsohn, a thesis advisee who graduated in 2010 — also with a Distinguished Thesis Award for his “Buried, Bundled and Behind Closed Doors,” a widely celebrated video on Manhattan’s internet infrastructure — is a LeBoff Fellow and PhD student in the Department of Media, Culture and Communication at NYU. He and his partner, Alex Chohlas-Wood, have also been doing some fabulous work with the Dredge Research Collaborative, which examines the technicalities and political-economic, social, and geologic impacts of, well, dredging (see his video for DredgeFest here).

Tanya Toft, an advisee and research assistant who graduated in 2011 (and who wrote a wonderful thesis for another Masters program she was completing simultaneously, in Denmark), is a Ph.D. Fellow in the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen, and this past summer she was a resident at both CuratorLab in Stockholm and the Node Center for Curatorial Studies in Berlin. And just last week, here in New York, she hosted the first leg of Nordic Outbreak, a six-city global exhibition of Nordic moving image arts that she co-curated.

Alex Campolo, a thesis advisee who graduated in 2012 — again with the Distinguished Thesis Award for his beautiful and brilliant study of how the stock ticker influenced formal economic theory and temporality — is currently working as a researcher at the Harmony Institute. But he’s been weighing several offers from a whole bunch of awesome PhD programs, and he’s recently accepted a generous and prestigious fellowship. I can say more about this later. [Update: Starting in Fall 2013 Alex will be a LeBoff Fellow and PhD student in the Department of Media Culture and Communication at NYU, where he will take part in inter-institutional research with the Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing. Yay!]

Ran Kim is finishing an extraordinarily thoughtful and poetic thesis on sound, ethnography, place, and performance. Ran has been collaborating with Patricia Clough, from the CUNY Grad Center, and a number of other graduate students to produce Ecstatic Corona, a multimedia performance exploring politics and memory in Corona, Queens — and this work has come to function, essentially, as a “case study” for Ran’s thesis. She’s an accomplished filmmaker, sound-mixer, and photographer; she took all the lovely photos (and served as translator) during our trip to Paju Bookcity in Korea this past summer. Her work was published in my article on Places — and I posted a few more photos here. Ran will be starting an MA in Performance Studies at NYU in the fall.

And Rory Solomon is finishing up a truly stellar thesis that “performs” a media archaeology of “the stack” — the network stack, the application stack, etc. For the past four+ years Rory’s been the incredible tech lead on the Urban Research Toolkit, an open-source mapping tool we’ve been using in our Urban Media Archaeology class. He’s also been working as Tech Lead at Bank Street College of Education, faculty at Parsons, and collaborator on a number of art projects. He recently presented his work at SCMS, has an article coming out this summer in Amodern, and was invited to take part in a Networks research collective at Duke!

That’s a whole lot of rad (did anybody else watch this film, like, a thousand times growing up?).

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