2014-2015: Virus

Spring 2015 Events

February 3
Zach Blas and micha cárdenas
Virus | Viral: Queer and Trans Contaminations

blas-cardenasZach Blas and micha cárdenas will collaboratively perform a hybrid of theoretical inquiry and artistic praxis, exhibiting and discussing a variety of projects and practices in relation with varying queer, transgender, and feminist conceptions of the virus, including viral media, aesthetics, affect, race, borders, and globalization.

cárdenas will discuss, among other works, virus.circus, a collaboration with Elle Mehrmand. virus.circus is an episodic series of performances exploring a speculative world of queer futures of latex sexuality and DIY medicine in resistance to virus hysteria. The project considers the tensions between histories of queer politics of HIV and the present transnational politics of viruses such as H1N1 in order to unearth the racialization of medical rhetoric, microscopic migration and global inequity.

Blas will explore queer readings of the relations between the virus and viral, alongside art projects Queer Technologies (2007–2012), which centers on critiquing the heteronormative underpinnings of technological architectures, design, and functionality by re-imaging a technology designed for queer use, and Facial Weaponization Suite (2011–2014), a series of masks designed to evade biometric facial recognition technologies.

February 10
Wizdom Powell & Bertil Lindbland (respondent)wizdom-powell
“Working in the Shadows of Eunice Rivers: Spreading me-search, re-membering history, and eliminating Black male health inequalities”

Wizdom Powell is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses primarily on investigating psychosocial determinants of African American men’s mental and physical health across the life-course. More specifically, her research investigates the contribution of gender (e.g., social constructions of masculinity), intergenerational transmission, socioeconomic status, socioenvironmental processes (e.g., racial discrimination), health-related attitudes (e.g., medical mistrust) and behavior to African American men’s mental and physical health status.

February 17
Pato Hebertpato-herbert
“Catalyzing Desires: Corpus and the Praxis of HIV Prevention”

Corpus was a journal that featured art, cultural criticism, poetry, short stories, essays and humor to reveal the fissures and possibilities of HIV prevention efforts in gay and bisexual communities. From 2003–2008, seven editions of Corpus totaling 35,000 copies were made available for free across the country. Hebert will discuss the strategies, content, historical context and challenges of this unique community-based publishing project.

Patrick “Pato” Hebert is an intermedia artist, educator and cultural worker based in Los Angeles and New York.  His work explores the aesthetics, ethics and poetics of interconnectedness. The practice works across a range of media including photography, installation, sculpture, language, light, temporality and graphic design.

March 3
jonna-mazetJonna Mazet
“Spillover: Using a One Health approach to promote discovery and control potentially pandemic viruses”

The appearance and spread of viruses, such as HIV/AIDS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Ebola, and pandemic influenza, have had profound global health impacts and adverse ramifications for human livelihoods and broader scale economics. The lives lost and financial consequences have illustrated our vulnerability to the emergence of infectious diseases and the disappearing barriers between the developing and developed world. By enhancing in-country capacity for detection, response, and prevention of viral pathogen spillover, our consortium successfully implemented a targeted risk-based surveillance strategy as an approach to pandemic prevention based not on humans as sentinels of disease but on detecting viruses early, at their source, where intervention strategies can be implemented before there is opportunity for spillover and spread in people.

March 10
Luther Castillo
“La salud como un derecho humano”/ “Healthcare is a human right”

Where does utopia and reality meet? Dr. Luther Castillo will expound on the rampant lack of access to healthcare as a violation of the most basic of human rights. He will discuss the viability of alternative models of healthcare in developing countries, and the role of the youth and medical students. He will share the achievements of a model collaboration between Honduran youth graduated from the medical school at the National Autonomous University in Honduras (UNAH) and youth graduated from the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in Cuba, which represents cutting edge medical and social advances in alternative provision of healthcare.

March 24
wendy-chunWendy Chun
“How things spread: habits versus viruses”

Wendy Chun is Professor and Chair of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University. She has studied both Systems Design Engineering and English Literature, which she combines and mutates in her current work on digital media. She is author of _Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics_ (MIT, 2006), and _Programmed Visions: Software and Memory (MIT 2011). She has been a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard and a Wriston Fellow at Brown, as well as a visiting associate professor in the History of Science Department at Harvard, of which she is currently an Associate. She is working on a monograph entitled _Imagined Networks_.

April 7
rachel-leeRachel Lee
“Viral’s Undiscriminating Spiral: Experiments in Synthetic Biology and the End of Politics”

Rachel C. Lee is Associate Professor of English and Gender’s Studies at UCLA, and founder of the Life (Un)Ltd project at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women. She is the author of The Exquisite Corpse of Asian America: Biopolitics, Biosociality and Posthuman Ecologies (2014) published in the Sexual Cultures series at NYU Press. Her scholarship draws on critical methods from race/ethnic studies in conjunction with theories of gender and sexuality.

Sponsored by the Compton Foundation Visiting Fellows Endowed Fund

April 21
robert-reid-pharrRobert Reid Pharr
“Essex Hemphill and the Poetics of Catabolism”

Robert F. Reid-Pharr is Distinguished Professor of English and American Studies at the City University of New York.  He is the author most recently of Once You Go Black: Choice, Desire, and The Black American Intellectual (NYU, 2007).  He lives in Brooklyn.


May 5
tim-deanTim Dean
“F***ing with a Virus”

This lecture discusses the unregulated experiments that gay men have been undertaking with HIV-transmission.  What is at stake in incorporating a virus into one’s sex life?

Tim Dean is philosopher and author, notable in the field of contemporary queer theory, and author of several works on the subject. He is a professor of English and the director of the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is the author of Unlimited Intimacy: Reflections on the Subculture of Barebacking.

Fall 2014 Events

Speakers: Monica Palacios, Joey Terrill and Robb Hernandez

Monday, December 1

Featuring speakers Monica Palacios, Joey Terrill and Robb Hernandez, the event highlights queer Latina/o artists, scholars and activists who have shaped social consciousness through creative forms of expression. The panel is part of both the MCSI speaker series Virus and a week-long schedule of events supporting World AIDS day.

World AIDS Day is held on December 1 each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.


Nigel Taylor_1

Dr. Nigel Taylor
Senior Research Scientist at Principal Investigator at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
“Biotech and its Impact for Smallholder African Farmers”

Tuesday, November 11

At the Danforth Center,  Dr. Nigel Taylor is a member of the Institute for International Crop Improvement. Taylor’s research focuses on plant tissue culture and the genetic transformation technologies required to deliver improved cassava to farmers in East and West Africa. His lab leads the Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa (VIRCA) project and is focused on developing virus resistant cassava in collaboration with researchers in Uganda  and Kenya.

Art Exhibit: American Sitcom
ARTISTS: Takuji Kogo & Mike Bode

Tuesday, September 16

A multi-channel video installation, American Sitcom uses text animations of transcriptions of monologues taken from online V-logger’s videos that have been uploaded to YouTube. A talk given by the artists will explore the viral nature of the Internet and how it relates to their exhibit.

Art Exhibition: ALLIED AGAINST AIDS: Sue Coe’s AIDS Portfolio

Thursday, September 25

Drawn from the permanent collection of the Pomona College Museum of Art, this exhibit showcases the work of “graphic witness” Sue Coe. As part of the mobilization to raise consciousness about AIDS, Coe’s AIDS Portfolio preserves the voices of those ravaged by AIDS and the urgent need for action.

Atherton Dinner and Film Screening: United in Anger
DIRECTORS: Jim Hubbard and Sarah Schulman

Tuesday, September 23

jim-hubbardsarah-schulmanUnited in Anger: A History of ACT UP (2012)  is an inspiring documentary about the activist movement from the perspective of the people in the trenches fighting the AIDS epidemic. Using oral histories and rare archival footage, the film depicts the efforts of ACT UP as it battles corporate greed, social indifference and government neglect.

Join filmmakers Jim Hubbard and Sarah Schulman for a Q&A after the film. A panel discussion with local activists will follow at Pitzer’s yearly Atherton Dinner, which will begin at 6:15.