CANCELED: Daemons Tools Art Tech with Marisa Morán Jahn

Presented by the Berkeley Center for New Media

A daemon for ancient Greeks referred to a divinity or being betwixt and between humans and the supernatural, an inner spirit or inspiring force. Today, the term daemon commonly refers to a discrete background process that handles requests for services such as print spooling and file transfers, and is dormant when not required. A tool is a device or implement used to carry out a specific function. To tool something is to customize it for a particular use. In this lecture, Marisa Morán Jahn weaves together her interest in creative technology as mythmaking and codesigning with and for historically underserved communities. She draws from her background as an artist working across media to probe questions such as: Why are agonistic approaches to technology essential in building tolerance? How can we shift frameworks in order to best understand how people are actually using creative technology? How can creative technology be used in movement building?

An artist and Berkeley alumna of Ecuadorian and Chinese descent, Marisa Morán Jahn founded Studio REV-, a nonprofit organization whose public art and creative media impacts the lives of low-wage workers, immigrants, women, and youth. Key projects include El Bibliobandido (a masked, story-eating bandit who terrorizes little kids to offer him stories they’ve written), Video Slink Uganda (experimental films slipped or “slinked” into Uganda’s bootleg cinemas), and Contratados (a Yelp! for migrant workers). As an artist in residence with the National Domestic Workers Alliance since 2012, Jahn cocreated various projects that amplify the voices of caregivers—America’s fastest-growing workforce—including two mobile studios, an app for domestic workers, and a Sundance-supported documentary series. Jahn’s work has been described by Artforum as “exemplifying the possibilities of art as social practice.” She has been awarded grants from Creative Capital, the Rockefeller Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, MAP Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, and Anonymous Was a Woman; her work has been showcased at the White House, Museum of Modern Art, New Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Walker Art Center, and more. Jahn has taught K-12 youth since 1999 and is currently a lecturer in MIT’s Department of Art, Culture, and Technology, her own alma mater.