Beyond the Breakdown (Grace Lee, Lauren Lee McCarthy, Tony Patrick)

Rapid Response Fellow 2020 - 2020

Grace Lee is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles. She recently produced and directed AND SHE COULD BE NEXT, a two-part documentary series about women of color transforming US politics that is POV’s first broadcast series. She also directed and produced the Peabody Award-winningAMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS about the legendary civil rights activist which The HollywoodReporter called “an entertainingly revealing portrait of the power of a single individual to effect change.” The film won multiple festival audience awards and was broadcast on the PBS documentary series POV. Other directing credits include the Emmy-nominated MAKERS: WOMEN IN POLITICS for PBS; the interactive online documentary K-TOWN ‘92 about the1992 Los Angeles civil unrest, OFF THE MENU: ASIAN AMERICA; and the feature film JANEANE FROM DES MOINES, set during the 2012 presidential campaign, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. She has been a Sundance Institute Fellow, a 2017 Chicken & Egg Breakthrough Award winner, an envoy of the American Film Showcase andis co-founder of the Asian American Documentary Network. She also recently directed and produced two episodes of PBS’ five-part series ASIAN AMERICANS.

Lauren Lee McCarthy is an LA-based artist examining social relationships in the midst of surveillance, automation, and algorithmic living. She is the creator of p5.js, an open source JavaScript platform that aims to make creative expression and coding on the web accessible and inclusive. She is Co-Director of the Processing Foundation, a non-profit whose mission is to promote software literacy within the visual arts, and visual literacy within technology-related fields—and to make these fields accessible to diverse communities. She is an Associate Professor at UCLA Design Media Arts. Lauren is a 2020 Sundance New Frontier Fellow, 2019 Creative Capital Grantee, ZERO1 Arts Incubator Resident, and has previously held residencies with Sundance New Frontiers, Eyebeam, CMU STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, Autodesk, NYU ITP, and Ars Electronica, among others. Her work has been exhibited internationally, at places such as Ars Electronica, the Barbican Centre, Fotomuseum Winterthur, SIGGRAPH, IDFA DocLab, Science Gallery Dublin, Seoul Museum of Art, and the Japan Media Arts Festival. She’s the recipient of grants from the Knight Foundation, the Online News Association, Mozilla Foundation, Google AMI, Sundance Institute New Frontiers, Turner Broadcasting, and Rhizome.

Tony Patrick is a WorldBuilder, Immersive director, and founder of the Tenfold Gaming Initiative.

As an author/director of numerous screenplays, short films, and documentaries (HBO, Cinemax, and the CBC) in conjunction with a series of published comics under his belt (Batman & The Signal, X’ed), Tony’s penchant for creating fictional and immersive worlds catapulted him into future-facing residencies sponsored by Sundance New Frontier, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Verizon 5G, Ryot, and IFP.

When he’s not advocating for underrepresented students to embark on game design/tech careers through the Tenfold Gaming Initiative (TGI), he’s generating new artworks, prototypes, and civic solutions in his Community-WorldBuilding workshops with artists, entrepreneurs, and communities-at-large.

His current XR project ‘WHITEPAPER’ serves as the basis for a new XR format termed Experiential comics.

What do you plan to do during Phase 1 of Rapid Response?

We plan to begin with our current moment of breakdown and work collectively using a process of world building to imagine an alternate narrative for a near future reality. Central to this narrative will be an interrogation of the algorithms that structure our consumption of information and daily experience. These algorithmic suggestion engines are designed to keep us consuming and powerless, by prompting us down a tunnel of escalating divisive content. Through a series of collaborative building sessions, we will design alternatives, and an encompassing world that supports them. As we live under lockdown, the internet functions as primary site of communication and experience right now. To intervene and reimagine this space, we will create a browser extension to rapidly prototype ideas via an augmented layer over the internet. In this way, we may hack our normal data-induced online behaviors, offering paths to a different vision. We are interested in the dialogue that emerges around this future narrative, and the outputs of this prototyping process that can directly feed back into the world.

How does your work relate to the theme of the open call?

In this moment of breakdown, it is time to pause, reassess, and start building alternatives. Our process will bring artists together to design and prototype a collective future, beginning with our everyday experience together on the internet. Can we hack the ways we engage with media and each other online and IRL? How can this intervention offer a space for self-reflection where we notice ourselves playing into broken systems, and take back control?

What does the future look like to you?

Significant challenge that asks more of all of us than we imagine possible. Requiring care, presence, radical belief in other ways of working together.