The Next Conversation: “Music and Mixed Reality”


Event Date: Tuesday, March 20, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

The Summary

In conjunction with the ongoing 9e2 project, we’re continuing our conversation about art and new technologies. In the last conversation, we looked at fundamental questions of synthetic realities. This month we’re going deeper into music as an important element of any immersive realities. Read on below for details.

The Guests (see guest bios below)

Evie Powell, game designer; president, Verge of Brilliance

Arami walker, artist, musician

Aliysha Kaija, artist, musician

Andrew Luck, multimedia producer, sound designer, and researcher

The Story

This time we’re focusing on the sound elements and more specifically, the music, in mixed reality, in immersive technologies. At first glance, it seems that visual elements are at the core of any immersion, whether in virtual reality, 360 degree video, or in augmented reality. But it may be that sound and music hold the key to a powerful experience in an immersion.

I remember back in the very first days of video teleconferencing participating in a transcontinental conference, and thinking how the sound, which was crystal clear, made the person on the screen feel as though they were right there in front of us. The video, not so much. Of course video has gone through revolutionary shifts since then, but there is still something about a well-made, and well-placed, sound in creating another reality, in producing a sense of immersion.

That sound placement can be key; it’s the world of spatial audio, where stereo recording gives way to binaural audio such that sounds appear to be coming from specific directions, and then, more recently, to 3D audio, or ambisonics, where sound changes to reflect the user’s movement through a virtual space.

But this is just sound. How does music, as a structured and emotive set of sounds, play into the creation of immersive realities? If immersive technologies are to be a way of telling stories, and possibly critical stories, how is music part of that storytelling? Do the new technologies, especially 3D audio, allow for the creation of what may effectively be a new form of music production? Can the interactive potentials of mixed reality allow for a music that is fluid, that will never be heard more than once in the same way?

Come talk about it.

The Guests in Detail

Evie Powell graduated from University of North Carolina at Charlotte with her Ph.D in Computer Science. Her research interests varied to include socially pervasive game experiences and context aware gaming using mobile technologies. In school, her primary research project was a social networking game called “Snag’em,” which is designed to teach valuable networking skills and increase the sense of community among game players. Dr. Powell uses pervasive game design principles and popular social game design strategies to create an experience that increases sense of community, specifically within the computing community, with the end goal of positively impacting student retention and increase student success within computing.

Arami walker is a multidimensional artist who intends to use the power of media, performance arts, and technology to catalyze a shift in consciousness throughout the world. Inspired by language learning, poetry, music and immersive reality building, she hopes to use traditional and non- traditional media to promote a healthier way to share stories.

From her statement: “Arami walker is tired of making her life path sound more academic and digestible.

I sing truth, to heal the masses, and to learn how to love myself.

My Life started when I told my Dad, I want to be an artist.”

Aliysha Kaija centers herself in her life purpose of “Be the Light.” She has toured the world making music and touches the soul of everyone she meets. As a creator, teacher and healer, she uses touch and sound healing to help people reach deeper levels of self, empathy and human experience.

Andrew Luck is a computer musician, hacker, instructor, and community organizer living in Seattle, Washington. He was born in the rural Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, and music, videos games, and television fueled a burning curiosity for other cultures. Sharing media’s potential for learning and expression is a driving force to his community building and expression. At Appalachian State University, Andrew studied media literacy and explored the balance of simulacra in non-fiction video. It was at this time Andrew began creating computer music and DJing acousmatic dance music. Multimedia production has enabled him to promote and produce music and community events since 2000.

Between 2009 and 2014 Andrew joined forces with Adam Houghton to form the musical duo SPLATINUM. In 2014 Andrew ventured back into education and research. After a decade of work in industry on products and events for music and entertainment, research presented a unique and exciting growth opportunity. Simultaneously, Andrew discovered the second wave of virtual reality, and in his work, observed young students creating music with technology at an invigorating pace. Expressing musical ideas and building songs was expedited with technology and new musical interfaces. This inspired a pivot into creating musical worlds and interfaces in VR, a promising new computing platform, that will be highly accessible.

Andrew found a way into hackathons, as a sound designer and musician. Currently, he is an avid participant in the Seattle VR community, attending and competing in hackathons regularly. He has won four awards in Seattle VR Hackathons since 2016. Actively building and creating tools that empower people to improvise musical interactions in immersive environments is Andrew’s current mission.


The Next Conversation: “Mixed Realities, Immersive Realities”

Event Date: Wednesday, January 17, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

The Summary

We’re seeing amazing, and sometimes stunning, developments in new technologies that give us new views into the world around us. What are the options for these technologies in terms of art, creativity, storytelling? What’s amazing about VR, AR, 360º? Read on below for more details. (And note the Wednesday date for this conversation, instead of the regular Tuesday evening.)

The Guests (see guest bios below)

Gretchen Burger, artist, co-founder of fearless360º

Benjamin Van Citters, artist, software developer

Ivan Evdokimov, CEO, Zengalt

Bernard Yee, executive producer, program manager, Oculus

The Story

In this series, we have on occasion looked at specific media for creativity: sculpture, drawing, video, and so forth. This time we’re exploring a new set of media: virtual reality, augmented reality, 360º immersion; all of which we can see under a broader category: mixed reality.

We’re employing this series to continue the discussions of art, science, and technology begun with 9e2 in 2016.

No other technology has had such potential to transport viewers, to immerse them so directly in other realities, and to give them the potentials to create their own worlds. The question: what can we do with these realities that hasn’t been done before? What is exciting about creating new worlds, or twisting this one? What is the potential for telling our stories, for creating art?

Where do the new media stand today as tools for making art? And where are we going? Where should we be going?

Example: One of the hits on virtual reality is that it is limited by the headset, so that only one person at a time can view a virtual reality installation. But at a Town Hall lecture a few weeks ago, virtual reality pioneer and new tech philosopher Jaron Lanier suggested that he wouldn’t want the clunky VR headset to go away in favor of something more streamlined, that can be worn all the time. For him, donning the clunky headset is a ritual of passage, a concrete signifier that one has entered a completely new experience.

What are the astounding things that one can do with these technologies? Come and talk about it.

Meanwhile, we’re guest curating one episode in Davida Ingram’s public programs series at the Seattle Public Library, on January 29. Entitled “A 9e2 Conversation: Seattle as a Place for Art, Science, and Technology,” the discussion will look at how Seattle, as a noted science and tech center, fosters—or perhaps doesn’t foster—interplay between art, science, and technology. Guests include Susie Lee, Sandy Cioffi, Christopher Shaw, and others. Find details at

The Guests in Detail

Gretchen Burger is an artist, educator, media-maker, and co-founder of fearless360º, a start-up working at the intersection of art, culture, education, storytelling and technology to develop content, programming, and curriculum for immersive / VR / AR / 360º media. Gretchen has an MFA in Video Art & Installation from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and has taught video production and editing at the Art Institute of Seattle, Seattle University, Cornish College of the Arts, and the Northwest Film Forum. A long time activist and documentary filmmaker, Gretchen serves on the board of the Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Network and is a co-founder of the Seattle Documentary Association.

By day Benjamin Van Citters is a software developer, but by night he is a procedural and software artist. Based in Seattle, Washington, Ben’s work plays with iterative mathematical algorithms, digital imaging, data, video and audio. He has performed live visuals with musicians at Seattle festivals Bumbershoot, Sasquatch, Decibel Festival and Capitol Hill Block Party. His “Mind at Large,” a site-specific virtual reality installation co-created with Brandon Aleson and Reilly Donovan, is currently on exhibit at Interstitial, a gallery in Georgetown.

Ivan Evdokimov is the CEO of Zengalt, which creates mixed reality experiences for museums, architects, and other industries. Their Vyzn technology allows for creating HoloLens experiences without writing code, while “Land of Dinosaurs” is a HoloLens application that creates an expanded museum experience.

Bernard Yee is currently Executive Producer/TPM at Oculus on the Oculus Rex team in Seattle. Oculus Rex has created the seminal VR experiences for Oculus current generation of hardware: Dreamdeck (showcasing final shipping optics and tracking), Toybox (exploring the idea of social presence in a shared VR space), Farlands (a launch game for the Rift), Prologue (an introduction to VR experience for the GearVR) and First Contact (an introduction to hand presence via the Oculus Touch controllers).

Bernie has worked in the game industry on a wide variety of games and genres in both development and publishing roles, most recently at PopCap (lead producer on Plants vs Zombies 2 and Peggle 2), and Bungie (Destiny). Prior to moving to Seattle, Bernie worked at smaller game startups in New York City, and also Harmonix (Rock Band), Atari, Disney Interactive and Sony Online Entertainment (EverQuest). He also taught game design and production at the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The Next Conversation: “New Skins: Apparel, Shelter, and Identity”

Event Date: Tuesday, November 28, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

The Summary

As part of our thinking about change, this time we’re looking at new skins, the ways in which we skin ourselves, and how that relates to fashion, architecture, art, and especially technological change. Read on for more detail.

The Guests (see guest bios below)

Afroditi Psarra, artist, Assistant Professor, DXARTS,  University of Washington

Heidi Parker, media and marketing consultant

Vikram Prakash, Professor of Architecture, University of Washington

Gabriel-Bello Diaz, fashion designer and engineer; Engineering and Design Instructor, TAF Academy

The Story

This topic may, at first glance, feel diffuse, extending through fashion, architecture, art, and technology. But I can see a number of interconnecting themes, running through design and making, and effectively culminating in the way we skin ourselves. And how that skinning is one way that say who we are, and who we are to become.

There’s a huge amount to say on this; I’ll be brief here. Clothing is of course a core part of the statement we make everyday about who we are and how we live our lives. But it has always been at the core of who we were to become. It’s no accident that some of the most enduring images of Surrealism are of costumes and clothing. The making of clothing has also been at the forefront of developments in manufacturing and making, and commerce. The shifts that are happening now, in materials, design, and selling, have broad repercussions across society.

Meanwhile, as the world of wearables expands and grows more complex, how does the idea of wearable technologies affect our lives? And what roles do art and performance play in those shifts?

Finally, there’s a fascinating interplay between fashion and architecture, with a creation of lived design, lived environments. I’d guess that Alexander McQueen will come up in the conversation, as will the artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. and his concept of five skins.

Come and talk about it.

This will be the last conversation on 2017. Next year, we’ll be focusing on some of edges and intersections around art and performance and some of the new technologies in virtual and augmented reality, biotech, 3D audio, computational photography, and more. Stay tuned.

The Guests in Detail

Afroditi Psarra is a multidisciplinary artist working with e-textiles, diy electronics and sound. Her artistic interest focuses on concepts such as the body as an interface, contemporary handicrafts and folk tradition, pop iconography, retrofuturistic aesthetics and the role of women in contemporary culture. Her artworks include a wide variety of media and techniques that extend from embroidery, soft circuits, hacking and creative coding, to interactive installations and sound performances.

She holds a PhD in Image, Technology and Design from the Complutense University of Madrid. Her academic research Cyberpunk and New Media Art focuses on the merge of science fiction ideas and concepts with performative and digital practices, and offers a philosophical, sociological and aesthetic analysis of the influence of new technologies in the contemporary artistic process.

Her work has been presented at numerous platforms such as Siggraph in Vancouver, Ars Electronica in Linz, Transmediale and CTM in Berlin, Amber in Istanbul, Piksel in Bergen, Electropixel in Nantes and MakerFaire in Rome between others. She has worked as an intern on Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing at Disney Research Zurich. She is currently appointed as assistant professor in the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA.

Heidi Parker has been working behind the scenes for over 20 years to produce and craft the stories that brands and artists tell. A recent transplant to Seattle, she previously worked in New York on campaigns from Eternity and cK One to Bon Jovi and Revlon. Technology, pop culture, politics, and art all inform her best work with the new wave of communications through the disruptive tactics of the new shift toward tech informing her most recent work.

Dr. Vikramāditya “Vikram” Prakāsh is an architect, an architectural historian and theorist. He works on issues of modernism, postcoloniality, global history, urban theory, and fashion & architecture.

His books include Chandigarh’s Le Corbusier: The Struggle for Modernity in Postcolonial India,  A Global History of Architecture (with Francis DK Ching & Mark Jarzombek), Colonial Modernities: Building, Dwelling and Architecture in British India and Ceylon (with Peter Scriver, co-eds), The Architecture of Shivdatt Sharma and Chandigarh: An Architectural Guide. A Global History is widely used as a textbook and being translated into five languages. He is currently working on Deruralization: The Modernist City in the Age of Globalization (Routledge: 2017).

Vikram has served as Associate Dean and Chair at the University of Washington. His administrative experience includes capital campaigning, strategic planning, institutional networking, and mentoring. His public service includes terms on the Boards of the Seattle Center and the Seattle AIA.

Currently, Vikram is the Director of the Chandigarh Urban Lab, and founding board member of GAHTC – the Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative. He is co-PI (with Mark M. Jarzombek, MIT) of a 2.5 million dollar Mellon Foundation grants to develop the teaching of global history in the academy. He also hosts ArchitectureTalk – a bi-weekly podcast dedicated to conversations on architecture and design thinking.

Vikram grew up in Chandigarh, India. He lives in Seattle with his wife and three children. He loves poetry, and is a modern dance and theater enthusiast. Fashion and architecture, or Body-Architecture, is his newest passion, an experiment in trying to cross-pollinate diverse disciplinary design intelligences.

Gabriel-Bello Diaz works in Seattle as a writer, architectural researcher, and instructor. His writings and reach focus on robotics and neuroscience in architecture and the emergence of the “digital artisan” in relation to the history of fabrication. As an instructor, he focuses on 3-D modeling and printing through the studies of complex geometries generated from both nature and mathematics. He has presented work in several conferences and exhibitions, including Robots in Architecture (2012), Venice Architecture Biennale 2012, and Future Traditions 2013. Diaz is director of the Future Architecture Coalition, a global nonprofit organization that advocates for new standard in public school education and initiates interventions in different countries with the international design team.

The Next Conversation: “Inquiry: Educating for Change”

Event Date: Tuesday, October 24, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

The Summary

If we are in the midst of massive cultural change, how does that change affect the ways in which we learn, both as children and adults? Can education get us ready for the changes that are coming? And how do art and rapidly changing technologies play into education?

The Guests (see guest bios below)

James Miles, Executive Director, Arts Corps; actor, teacher

Michelle Zimmerman, teacher, Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning Sciences, Renton Prep Christian School

Donte Felder, Head Teacher, Orca K-8 School; screenwriter

Lara Davis, artist, racial equity consultant, Arts Education Manager, City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture

The Story

This time, we’re looking at education and inquiry in a time of change. And we’re looking at the role of art and technology in shifts in the way we learn.

In planning for the next 9e2, one of the things we’re looking at is a set of huge changes happening in the world, in part as a result of a wealth of new technologies, but also simply because of the introduction of new ways to thinking, imagining, organizing ourselves. We’re looking at the art and culture of technological and scientific change. And at the core of any culture is learning.

As new technologies and new social models become ubiquitous, the ways in which we interact and get information are changing deeply. Those changes can’t help having a solid effect on the ways in which we teach and learn.

Many of the familiar models for teaching and learning were designed for another time, for another world. What will replace them?

If we believe common accounts, especially in the popular press, the world of learning is in a sorry state; people are coming of age without a fundamental understanding of the way the world works. But we see plenty of examples that run counter to that sense; innovation and energy seem to be everywhere.

We’ve assembled a group of guests who are actively involved in creating new learning models, in innovation and experiment in integrating art and integrating technology into learning. This will be a fascinating conversation. Come talk about it.

The Guests in Detail

Originally from Chicago, James Miles has just moved to Seattle from Brooklyn, NY where he worked as an actor and educator for 19 years. Before joining Arts Corps, he was the Director of Education at Urban Arts Partnership, in New York City. James has also facilitated workshops and designed curriculum for the New Victory Theater, Roundabout Theatre, Disney Theatrical Group, and others. Previously a professor at NYU, James taught a myriad of classes, ranging from Acting and Directing to EdTech and Special Education. He is on the board of directors for the Association of Teaching Artists and the Teaching Artist Journal. A graduate of Morehouse College and Brandeis University, James has presented at SXSWedu, NYU’s IMPACT Festival, Creative Tech Week, EdTech Europe, Google Educator Bootcamp, and has provided professional development to teachers across the world. His work has been covered by Pie News, New Profit, Complex Magazine, NPR, CBS, US Department of Education, and ASCD. James is a former accountant, model, and actor. He can be frequently found on Twitter, as @fresh_professor, writing about arts education, educational policy, and academic inequity.

Michelle Zimmerman, PhD, has taught all grades from Pre-K through 10th within the past 16 years, with a focus on middle and high school since 2009. She has presented her research across the US and Canada since 2007, and to Satya Nadella and his executive team. The evidence of her original research and theory into practice can be seen in designing Renton Prep. She was thrilled to see the school become FETC STEM Excellence Award Finalist for 2016 as top 3 STEM Middle Schools in the Nation, Microsoft Showcase School, and receive the Award of Excellence for Digital Curriculum and Content Strategy from The Learning Counsel, and the inaugural Lester R. Bayer Award for Excellence in Urban Education. Dr. Zimmerman is a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Surface Expert, Lead PBS DigitalMedia Innovator, and was named 2016 NCCE Outstanding Technology Educator of the Year, and received the Ahead of the Class – Excellence in Education Award (presented by Renton City Council and Seattle Seahawks). Her high school STEM students co-authored an invited chapter with her to add to her original research chapter in Revolutionizing Education with Digital Ink: The Impact of Pen and Touch Technology on Education (Human-Computer Interaction Series, Springer 2016). The legacy of her work is expressed through her students submitting their own proposals, speaking at international conferences and co-authoring invited blogs.  She most recently spoke at the New York Academy of Medicine for STEM Summit 5.0.

Donte Felder is fueled and inspired by the students he teaches at Orca K-8, an alternative school in South Seattle. Besides exploring the formation of the United States and the philosophy of story, Felder is energized by the many possibilities that are presented when writing a screenplay. Felder is a graduate of Goddard College where he received his MFA in Creative Writing with a focus on screenwriting. He is on the board of directors of Hugo House and Arts Corps. Felder is happily married and has three wonderful children. This interview shows Donte’s ideas about the Orca Film and Theater Academy.

Lara Davis is an artist, racial equity consultant, and arts administrator working at the intersection of culture, public education, and social justice.  She has served as a Seattle arts commissioner and as program director for Arts Corps, a nationally recognized youth arts education organization.  As arts education manager for the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Lara co-leads The Creative Advantage, a public/private initiative to reinvest in equitable arts education for all Seattle students. Lara is the inaugural co-chair for the National Guild for Community Arts Education’s ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian/API Arab, Native American) Network, serves on the National Advisory Committee for the Teaching Artists Guild, is a 2017 Marshall Memorial Fellow, and the 2015 recipient of the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Award.  She knows firsthand the power of creativity necessary to build access, transform communities, and inspire systemic change.

The Next Conversation: “Change”

Event Date: Wednesday, September 27, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

To link to this announcement, do so at


The Summary

This time, we’re looking at change, at the enormous changes happening around us. Read on below for details. (Note that this one happens on Wednesday rather than the traditional Tuesday, and that’s Wednesday the 27th.)

The Guests

Hisam Goueli, gerontologist and geriatric psychiatrist; activist, performing artist, recent candidate for Seattle City Council; Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Washington

Edwin G. Lindo, activist, attorney, instructor at University of Washington School of Law; member of the People’s Party

Julie Cruse, designer and technologist; Manager, Instructional Design and Outreach at the University of Washington

Sandy Cioffi, film and video artist; activist; media educator and innovator


The Story

Change. It’s one of the essential themes that marks these early years in the 21st century, in Seattle, across the United States, and especially across the globe. It’s becoming especially apparent that we, the people, are experiencing tremendous change, a massive cultural shift.

It’s easy to suggest that any change we are seeing is just more of the same: Heraclitus of Ephesus is one of the most oft-paraphrased philosophers of ancient Greece, with “The only thing that is constant is change.” But something different is going on, something that goes beyond the everyday. Increasingly, we’re hearing the idea that today’s changes are unprecedented, like nothing that has been seen in decades, even centuries, or maybe forever.

A couple of disparate examples: theater critic Chris Jones’s Like it or not, we are in the midst of a second arts revolution, from the Chicago Tribune in June 2017. Jones sees what’s happening now as “the second radical revolution of expressive life,” after Gutenberg. Or from a different angle, read Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? from the last month’s Atlantic Monthly. The author, professor of psychology Jean Twenge, looks at the effects that smart phones are having on the current generation of youth. She describes the extent of the changes: “In all my analyses of generational data—some reaching back to the 1930s—I had never seen anything like it.”

These essays are both from the popular press and are thus might be suspect, but both are rigorous and thoughtful. And whether we agree with the arguments in either piece, what’s remarkable is this growing sense of unprecedented change. It’s like the scene in the science fiction/horror film where the scientist keeps checking her unbelievable results, and they keep coming up dramatic and possibly horrifying.

Of course, those who’ve been following the data on the anthropocene, the idea that we are going through a Great Acceleration, may have a good sense of what I’m talking about.

But one of the strange aspects of this cultural change is the extent to which it can seem invisible. It’s so huge, so complex, and we are so immersed in it, that it can be hard to see, much less make sense of it. It’s a little like climate change: We get up every morning and it seems a lot like yesterday, and tomorrow will feel a lot like today. Unless we follow the data, or are directly affected by a superstorm, it can seem theoretical, or at best happening to someone else.

Cultural and social changes can feel the same way, out there somewhere, in Washington, DC, say. But Seattle is a focal point for technological change, and we’ve also become a laboratory for social change, whether it’s gay marriage, marijuana legalization, or the remarkable role of the People’s Party in the recent mayoral primary.

In 2016, a group of us produced 9e2, a festival of art, science, and technology. In February 2018 we’re coming back with another 9e2, and this time we’re taking the intersections of art, science, and technology as a way of getting a handle on some of that change and possibly shape it.

This fall, I’m devoting this conversation series to exploring some of the key concepts that 9e2 will raise. We begin by looking at “Change.” I’ve invited four fascinating change agents to look at changes that are happening now, and what may be coming.

Come and have a conversation.

The Guests in Detail

Edwin G. Lindo—We don’t have a brief bio for Edwin, but this page gives an excellent sense of his background.

Julie Cruse has created engaging experiences, programs, and strategies across diverse media and industries for over a decade. She designed programs at two colleges, curricula for five colleges, engagement strategies for over twenty entities, and numerous interactive platforms “in out (and) thru” learning, sciences, health, games, and arts. Distinctions exceed thirty grants and honors for scholarly, artistic, and entrepreneurial excellence, including recognition as Outstanding Alumni in Innovation (Ohio State University, Summer 2009).

Cruse holds Master’s degrees in Media Arts and Sciences from Arizona State University and in Dance and Technology from The Ohio State University. In both programs she designed and researched mixed reality systems for holistic learning through play, collaboration, interaction, and movement to engage and sustain communities. Recent presentations include Games + Learning + Society, and Emerge: Artists + Scientists Redesign the Future.

As inaugural Instructional Technologist of Oberlin College Media Center (OCMC) Cruse designed and realized OCMC to support media in learning and research. She is currently Manager, Instructional Design and Outreach at the University of Washington.

Sandy Cioffi is the founder and executive director of fearless360º, a new media and virtual reality production company in Seattle. Sandy recently founded and directed SIFFX 2016, a showcase of the most current and creative thinking in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and 360° immersion. As a 2016 Stranger Genius Award nominee, Sandy has been recognized as a cultural innovator.

Sandy has produced and/or directed several films as a film and video artist, including the critically acclaimed Sweet Crude, Crocodile Tears, Terminal 187, and Just Us. She has worked with human rights organizations in using video as a documentation and verification tool – specifically providing video evidence during the 1998 Marching Season in Northern Ireland. She documented the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride in 2003. Sandy was also a frequent guest on the NPR show Rewind which ended production when host Bill Radke left Seattle for Los Angeles. Sandy has also created media design for live performance at the Annex Theater, Hugo House, The Seattle Repertory Theater and On the Boards.

Sandy has worked with young people extensively as an artist in residence and through the mentor/apprentice film program at the Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center. As a long-time educator, she has also taught film at Seattle Central Community College, Seattle University, and Cornish College of the Arts.

Born to Egyptian Muslim Immigrants in 1978 in Minneapolis, Hisam Goueli was raised with the notion that people are far more important than material objects and that giving back to one’s community is an essential part of living. With such strong moral values in place, Hisam completed a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Zoology and a Medical Doctorate at the University of Wisconsin. Committed to serving vulnerable, under served and uninsured patient populations, Hisam trained in both Family Medicine and Psychiatry with additional certification in international health. After traveling the world and working with multiple non-governmental organizations to improve maternal and child health, Hisam moved to Atlanta, Georgia. He served as the Medical Director for Inpatient Geriatric Psychiatry and Neuropsychiatry at Emory University. In 2012, Hisam and his Peruvian partner, Roberto, moved to Seattle, married and adopted Evita, a Golden Retriever.  Presently, Hisam is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Washington and works at Northwest Hospital in Gerontology and Geriatric Psychiatry.

Hisam has received numerous local and regional awards for his clinical care, teaching and community advocacy. He won national attention from Alpha Omega Alpha (the national honor medical society) for his work to address the enrollment disparities of women in health-related professions. He went on to help decrease the “under 5 mortality” crisis in Guatemala by creating a project to develop women as leaders in healthcare. Hisam has also worked with dentists to establish a low-cost dental clinic in Madison and a mobile health care bus in Egypt. He has worked with Planned Parenthood, providing care to patients in need. Hisam has counseled and provided psychiatric management for transgender patients who suffered from body dysmorphia, depressive and anxiety disorders. He has helped LGBTQ patients newly diagnosed with HIV.  Hisam’s passion for improving the lives of the less fortunate and community enhancement echoes throughout his work and life.

Outside of his field of study, Goueli is a local performing artist and storyteller. He performs improvisational theater, scripted theater, circus and burlesque throughout Seattle. His work in the arts has helped him to develop community and build his chosen family. He currently serves as a Board Member for Theatre Off Jackson in the International District. Hisam proudly supports the arts, and believes that arts & culture help to retain the creative soul of a city.

Coming Up

Inquiry: Educating for Change,” Tuesday October 24, 7 to 9pm


James Miles, actor; Executive Director, Arts Corps

Donte Felder, Head Teacher, Orca Middle School; screenwriter

Michelle Zimmerman, Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning Sciences, Renton Prep Christian School (tentative)

Lara Davis, Arts Education Manager, City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture; performer

New Skins: Apparel, Shelter, and Identity,” Tuesday November 28, 7 to 9pm


Anna Rose Telcs, artist and designer

Heidi Parker, media and marketing consultant

Vikram Prakash, Professor of Architecture, University of Washington

Gabriel-Bello Diaz, fashion designer and engineer; Engineering and Design Instructor, Technology Access Foundation Academy

The conversations are back!

The conversations are back from their smoky summer hiatus!

We’ve put together a great conversation series for the fall. It’s built around the idea of change, and we’re running it in conjunction with 9e2. As most of you know, 9e2 was an art, science, and technology festival that we ran in October 2016. 9e2 is coming back in February 2018 as a smaller festival. This one will explore the idea that our society is going through tremendous and unprecedented change and engage the dynamics of living through that change.

(By the way, if you’re on the 9e2 mailing list, you’ve already received a note about the conversations. Regrets about the duplication. If you want to be on that list for future 9e2 announcements, let me know.)

We’re using the fall conversations as a way to focus the themes for February. 9e2 2018 will go deeply into learning and ideas, weaving art installations and performances together with workshops, conversations, presentations, and maker projects. The fall conversations will help to create an initial framework for that.

Here’s the list. You’ll be getting more detail closer to the actual dates.

Change,” Wednesday September 28, 7 to 9pm


Hisam Goueli, performing artist, gerontologist, and geriatric psychiatrist; recent candidate for Seattle City Council

Edwin Lindo, activist, attorney, instructor at University of Washington School of Law; member of the People’s Party (tentative)

Julie Cruse, designer and technologist; Manager, Instructional Design and Outreach, Learning Technologies, University of Washington

And one more…

Inquiry: Educating for Change,” Tuesday October 24, 7 to 9pm


James Miles, actor; Executive Director, Arts Corps

Donte Felder, Head Teacher, Orca Middle School; screenwriter

Michelle Zimmerman, Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning Sciences, Renton Prep Christian School (tentative)

Lara Davis, Arts Education Manager, City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture; performer

New Skins: Apparel, Shelter, and Identity,” Tuesday November 28, 7 to 9pm


Anna Rose Telcs, artist and designer

Heidi Parker, media and marketing consultant

Vikram Prakash, Professor of Architecture, University of Washington

Gabriel-Bello Diaz, fashion designer and engineer; Engineering and Design Instructor, Technology Access Foundation Academy

And as always, the conversations will happen at Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle.

The Next Conversation: “Should We Love Our Work?”


Event Date: Tuesday, May 23, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle


The Summary

This time, we’re asking questions about the nature of work, and especially: “Should we love our work?” Read on below for details.

The Guests

Michael Hardt, professor of literature and Italian at Duke University

Kathi Weeks, professor in the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University

The Story in Detail

This time we’re partnering with Red May, a month-long vacation from capitalism. It’s both a celebration of the color red, and through a series of lectures, discussions, and film showings, an opportunity to “assume for the month that the market is not the solution to the problems that the market creates.”

We’ll be talking with Michael Hardt and Kathi Weeks. Both are professors at Duke University, and incidentally, both received their Master’s and Ph.D degrees from the University of Washington.

Hardt is best known for authoring, with Italian Marxist sociologist and political philosopher Antonio Negri, the landmark book Empire in 2000. In 2011, Weeks published an exploration of the nature of work: The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics and Postwork Imaginaries.

Longtime followers of the conversation series may recall that in 2003 we explored some of the ideas in Empire in a conversation with Charles Mudede, Nicholas Veroli, Mary Ann Peters, and Carol Brown. We’re excited to have Michael Hardt and Kathi Weeks on hand for this one.

For this conversation, we’ll be delving into the question of what is means to love one’s work. In the words of Red May organizer Philip Wohlstetter, “What kind of work do you do? Do you love it? Should you? Should what you love be harnessed to the rhythm of work? Where does the imperative to love work come from? Should we be doing less work? More? Should we even use the word ‘should’ when talking about work?”

Come talk about it.

And for those who want to do some preliminary reading, you can take a look at online copies of The Problem with Work and Empire. Or buy them at your local bookstore.

This conversation is the last before we break for the summer; we’ll be back in the fall.

The Next Conversation: “Ennui and Overload – What Do We Do Now, Part 4


Event Date: Tuesday, April 18, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

The Summary

Resistance to 45 and his minions will take time, possibly a long time. We will need to be in this for the long haul. But how do we keep up the energy, the passion? Can we? And should we? Read on below for details.

The Guests

As with the other installments in this series, you’re the guests. Though we may have a few surprise voices. Come.

The Story in Detail

It has been 87 days since the inauguration of Mr. 45. For many of us, these have been difficult days. There has been a dual track: laughing and eye-rolling at the absurdity, incompetence, and stupidity on display, while at the same time, cringing at what appears to be expressions of pure evil.

We know something of what we need to do to counter what we see happening. And many of us are taking action. The various living room conversations and community groups that sprung up in January are, for the most part, continuing, from what I can see. But I also wonder if we’re beginning to lose energy a bit.

It’s hard to maintain the focus, the passion and energy that brought so many people out for the Women’s March, or the spontaneous airport demonstrations when 45’s first executive order on immigration came out.

How do we deal with that? Can we maintain the passion? Or might it be better over the long run not to? Maybe it needs to relax for the long haul, like a marriage that in order to survive evolves from passion and hot sex to fondness and companionship over the years.

Or maybe not.

These remain strange times, wide-open times, both locally and nationally. Come talk about it.

Finally, my apologies for the very short notice on this one. Maybe a little ennui, a little weariness…?

And on May 23, in partnership with the huge Red May project, we’ll be doing the following. Stay tuned for more information.

Tuesday May 23

7:00 – 8:30   Vermillion, 1508 11th Ave

John Boylan’s Conversation: “Should We Love Our Work?”

Guests: Michael Hardt, Kathi Weeks

What kind of work do you do? Do you love it? Should you? Should what you love be harnessed to the rhythm of work? Where does the imperative to love work come from? Should we be doing less work? More? Should we even use the word ‘should’ when talking about work? Join host John Boylan and guests Kathi Weeks (The Problem with Work) and Michael Hardt (Empire trilogy) in another of Boylan’s freewheeling Socratic conversations.

The Next Conversation: “Culture Jamming? – What Do We Do Now, Part 3”

Event Date: Tuesday, February 28, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

The Summary

This time, we’re looking at culture jamming, an ongoing critique of mass consumer culture. And we’re asking: How do the ways of culture jamming translate to political protest and political action?  Read on below for details.

The Guests

We’re working on gathering a few. Stay tuned.

The Story in Detail

Before we get down to details, a note: We’ve just published a resource guide to community activism and engagement, with a lot of how-to links. In the Age of 45, Resources for Becoming the Engaged and Powerful Citizens We Need to Be. Check it out. And feel free to share and copy it, as long as you credit it and do not modify it. Even just one of the many links provides a set of techniques, tools, and contacts for acting, building, organizing in the world today.

Now to the subject at hand. This is the third in a series of conversations about culture, art, and activism in a strange, dangerous, and difficult time.

This month we’re talking about culture jamming. Simply put, culture jamming involves taking the language and techniques of mass culture: advertising, television, radio, and big public displays, and plays with them, twisting them to create something that satirizes and subverts that same mass culture. The best examples involve humor and a sense of the absurd to create new insights. It was first identified as such in the 1980s, but examples go back decades.

The common picture of culture jamming is, say, a billboard that has been editorialized toward a satirical message. But that, of course, is illegal. And beyond getting knowing chuckle from passers-by, is it effective at all?

Culture jamming is everywhere, from the art of Banksy to the ubiquitous images of Shepard Fairy. When Reverend Billy and Church of Stop Shopping went into a Gap in Times Square and, among many other stunts and bits of theater, very publicly started to dicker with the hapless sales clerk over the price of a shirt, harkening back to an older Times Square, before it was “cleaned up” (or went into a Disney store and wandered the store, talking loudly on fake cell phones about Disney policies and products), that was culture jamming.

At the outset, flash mobs were culture jamming, at least until they became tools for advertising. But even then, they still hold a huge potential for creating a beautiful and powerful disturbance of the everyday.

Culture jamming arose originally as a response to the commercialization and materialism of everyday life, and the power of business to determine our lives. The question: how useful is it as a set of tools, ideas, and techniques for dealing with the political situations that we face today?

The “Resist” banner that Greenpeace unfurled behind the White House just after the inauguration was culture jamming. Rather than just a protest, the action took advantage of the iconic nature of the White House itself to create an image of being powerful, a sense that “we are everywhere.”

But beyond making some of us feel good, preaching to Reverend Billy’s choir, how effective is culture jamming as a political act? Can it advance or change policy? Can it change minds, or build movements?

Come and talk about it.

And a bit of reading:

The Next Conversation: “Creating New Narratives – What Do We Do Now, Part 2”

Event Date: Tuesday, January 31, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle.

The Summary

This time, we’re looking at how to create progressive narratives that become everyday common sense. Read on below for details.

The Guests

We’re working on gathering the guests. Stay tuned.

The Story in Detail

We ended last year’s conversation series with “What Do We Do Now?” We packed the house, and it was a great rousing conversation. The only rule was to focus on solutions and the future, not to rehash the past year.

One of my favorite comments came from a woman who asked that people show common respect for people who especially deserve that and are not likely to get it. She referenced young African-American men specifically.

Another comment came from a man from Russia, who recalled that when Putin’s power grabs were becoming apparent, the streets of Russia’s big cities filled with people in protest. But then Putin’s government cracked down and effectively ended those protests. After that, the opposition had no structures and no ideas for moving forward, and the opposition dissipated. The United States is different, he said. We have the ideas, institutions, and tools for mounting an effective opposition. All we need is the will.

For January, we’re going to stick with the “What Do We Do Now?” theme, with this question: “How do we create powerful and effective new narratives?” How do we control the definitions of everyday life? It’s a critically important question, and here’s why:

In the months and years to come, people will need to get engaged and stay that way, at multiple levels: locally and nationally, organizing with friends and strangers, building connections, applying legislative pressure, holding the press accountable, taking to the streets when that makes sense strategically.

But one of the activities that is especially well suited to the artists, writers, and performers on this list is messaging. A whole lot of political power comes with whoever controls the messages. It comes from narratives that are so effective that they come to be taken for common sense. They become the dominant story.

A good example, from the Right, is the idea of political correctness. Political correctness is a cynical, sarcastic notion that cultural sensitivity is by nature excessive and bad. One can’t be just a little politically correct; it’s all or nothing. And determining who is politically correct is never the province of the subject of the epithet; it’s a privilege that is always appropriated by the critic.

And yet, over time, through incessant repetition, it has come to be seen as a given; the very existence of political correctness is not questioned.

At the core of any fight we get the sort of culture we want, where compassion and decency are the norm, with equality of opportunity and systems that are healthy for all living things, is the need to populate the culture with stories, ideas, even just phrases, that are so effective that they become the dominant narrative. Rather than being seen as the position of the Left or the progressives, they come to be taken for granted as the truth.

How do we do that? That’s what we will talk about. Come.

If you want some background on my thinking on this, I posted an essay, “Creating a New Narrative” a few weeks ago. And note that these ideas are very (and I emphasize “very”) loosely connected to notions of cultural hegemony. Here is a good definition.