Culture & Society

Fifty Shades Of The Same Caramel

This piece speaks to the lasting impact of colonialism within the Caribbean. It shows how degrees of African-ness can be used to separate peoples within a shared narrative. As the witness, the author is an added layer of American diaspora struggling to accept the microaggressions enacted by the fair collector using the pejorative “negra” (black) towards a person of Haitian descent.

Everyday Surreality: When Civility Meets Anarchy

Is it just me, or is life just surreal? The common theme of this photo series is conveying everyday surreality. Granted that New York is a very good place to capture this, but to some degree, examples of this can be found everywhere. There is normality and order, and then there are exceptions to this. I find the exceptions stirring. Is there a moral or profound conclusion? I don’t think so. Some aspects of life can escape notice to an untrained eye — I used my camera to linger on them long enough, intending to bring them more firmly into the conscious mind.

The Nature of Protest

The question of “why do we protest”? is easy to answer. When and how we protest are more complicated questions with blurred lines and no easy answers. What are the results from lines crossed or limits reached? How does the severity of the injustice relate to the medium of revolt? In these works, the artist investigates the methods of loud and quiet violence that are the result of public and private suffering. He takes a look at the scene without context, so we may ask “what emotions bring individuals to this point and how do we react upon seeing it expressed”?

Living Room

Everything we do on this planet has expectations in one way, shape, or form. Deviate from that, and everything starts to fall off the rails. What happens when we keep pushing against that barrier? On the brink of an alcohol/drug-induced bender, the main character feels herself slipping further and further away from the habitual norm of society’s day-to-day life. The question is, is this so wrong? In “Living Room,” we explore what it means to have these sexual, political, and social transgressions in today’s climate.

Relics of Last Week’s Civilization: Is the US Losing Its Way?

Human civilizations have evolved as humans have, culminating in advanced societies of social and cultural organization. Despite humanity’s success on a grand scale, do the current protests, threats to peace, and societal discontent foreshadow the demise of one of the world’s leading hegemonies? Is it human nature to incite violence and encourage chaos, destroying what we’d once created? How can we utilize the relics of last week’s civilization to rebuild?

Lafayette #2

A common human experience is feeling our differences outweigh our similarities, amounting to the formation of groups we feel we can identify with. The formation of socio-political groups based on religion, race, social background, or class (i.e. identity politics) has become a primary feature of the modern culture wars in the United States as a method for rectifying historical wrongs and engaging with social justice — but is this way of thinking helping? “Lafayette #2” grapples with these cultural qualms and what it means to hold a particular identity amidst societal upheaval.

Frankincense and Myrrh: A Promise to Live Fully

September 11th shook a nation — it still haunts the USA today. This memoir piece marks an emotional journey, and the physical complication of flying a few days after the terrorist attack to a memorial service of someone killed in the second plane. It is a reminder that life is temporary, and to live fully despite this.

Meditations on Yugoslavia

What experiences shape our life trajectories and sense of self? What roles do family heritage, state formation, and linguistic and cultural barriers have in creating a person? Are we just byproducts of events and nature, both outside our control? The following personal essay focuses on the author’s background as a refugee from the former Yugoslavia and makes the case for why we should think of the ‘refugee experience’ as a distinct category from the larger ‘immigrant experience.’ The author argues that because refugees are forcibly displaced from their home countries, they have a unique relationship both to the places from which they had to leave as well as the places in which they ultimately end up.