Tag Archives: Mark Yudof

Planning for the School Year with micha cárdenas (UCSD)

14 Sep

Last month SOTA sent out a Q&A to the UCIRA list-serv about preparing for the school year and got back some great responses, posted here. After it was posted we got one more really insightful response from micha cárdenas at UC San Diego. If you would like to respond to this or other Q & As post a comment on this text or email ucirasota@gmail.com.

Q: Recently on Remaking the University blog Michael Meranze (UCLA) reflected on the summer and the upcoming school year: “This year crucial issues about the organization of University life and work, about the relationships between the campuses, the intersection between UC and the larger Higher Education system, about pensions, staff layoffs, and student fees are going to confront us all. This summer may have been quiet—but in all likelihood it is the calm before the storm.” SOTA wants to know what challenges do people need to be preparing for, thinking about as the school year begins? What is on your mind?

A: micha cárdenas (Lecturer, Visual Arts Department and Critical Gender Studies and Artist/Theorist, bang.lab; all at UCSD) – For me, what’s on my mind is the question “how far can I go?” As a lecturer, I’m very aware that I can lose my job for participating in indefinite strikes, blockades and occupations, but they are the only actions that I think are going to be effective at this point. We’re all coming back to a university reshaped by budget cuts, and we have to choose between acceptance and noncompliance. For myself, at UCSD, I was saddened last year to see so many large marches and single or few day strikes totally co-opted by [UC President] Yudof. Across the UC, huge marches happen, and Yudof puts out a press release the next day saying how proud he is of the democracy in action in our school system, when really there is none. Really, we come back to fewer jobs, friends laid off, fewer classes for students and more tuition. I applaud and support efforts Ken spoke of to coordinate a non-payment plan of the tuition increases. I feel myself, like the only thing on my mind is how to join and support efforts that are continuing to start blockades and occupations, because I think we’re long past any semblance of democracy or negotiation and are at the point where we have to either stop the machine of privatization or help it function. I was also saddened by what I saw happen at many UCSD rallies where a diversity of tactics was not respected. I saw march organizers, “protest police”, literally break up and stop multiple street blockades at UCSD last school year, and that can’t happen. Hopefully those of us willing to stop the working of the university in order to open a space to re-imagine and reclaim education can see now that the name “activist” or the “organizer” t-shirt is not enough to indicate an ally, and that we have to find solidarity and build it with those people we share an affinity and a passion with and act on that solidarity. I for one, am ready to put my body on the line and hope I can find some people who are willing to join me.

Fred Lonidier on Labor, Arts and UCSD

31 Aug
SOTA Interview with UCSD’s Fred Lonidier, (President of UC-AFT San Diego Local 2034)

Fred Lonidier studied at Yuba College and San Francisco State (graduate work in sociology and photography) before becoming a member of the UCSD graduate program. He joined the faculty in 1972. Lonidier’s work deals with the sociological possibilities of photography applied to social change and has been exhibited at the Houston Center for Photography, the Oakland Museum, the Long Beach Museum, the San Francisco Art Institute, the Focus Gallery, the Kitchen, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City, the Los Angeles Institute for Contemporary Art, the Whitney in New York, and the Friends of Photography in Carmel. He has also had exhibits in a number of union halls such as the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, ACTWU, SEIU, CWA, and Gallery 1199 of the NYC Hospital Workers Union. In 1983 he placed a large photo/text installation in the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council. He has been the guiding energy behind Labor Link TV which cablecasts on three channels in San Diego County.

“Whither UCSD? Maquiladoras in its Future? or the Business of U.C.S.D. is Business?" 9 digital pigment print panels, 72" x 54"

How do you think that conflicts around labor and economics in the university uniquely effect the arts?

Well, every art department, gallery, performance space, etc. face cuts.  I am not in the loop for everything one would consider the arts in the U.C. System, but at UCSD we will not really have an art gallery any more and spaces we have been in line for in Mandeville Center when music moved out and into a new building are being held up because renovation funds are limited.  There are two HUGE recital spaces empty and unused starting last year due to funding shorts.

UCSD is a science campus with medical and engineering schools and there are privately funded institutes all over the place, so it is just obvious to the eye when driving in and walking around where the power and wealth are.  One measure will show up later as, after a hiring freeze for two years, a few replacement and new FTA (Full Time Employee) are coming.  The arts and humanities will, of course, apply but we will not know until later the allocations across the campus nor the system.
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Why I made a formal statement to the UCSD Police

26 Aug
Brett Stalbaum at UCSD Police Department

Brett Stalbaum at UCSD Police Department to out himself over virtual sit-ins 7/21/2010 (Image: Paula Poole)

Many people have heard about the criminal investigation of UC San Diego Professor Ricardo Dominguez related to his symbolic protest actions aka Virtual Sit-ins this past March 4th on the servers of the UC Office of the President (UCOP). Republished below is a report back from one of Dominguez’s frequent collaborators and fellow UCSD faculty Brett Stalbaum. This case is extremely important as a precedent setting conflict, bringing together the activism around the UC budget crisis, academic freedom, tenure, and the intersections of online and border activism.

To learn more about the “investigations” and support for Professor Ricardo Dominguez and Electronic Disturbance Theater/b.a.n.g lab click here read and watch these news reports about the “investigations”:

How to help:

  • Donate to the legal fund supporting Dominguez here.
  • Sign the “Stop De-Tenuring of Ricardo Dominguez” petition here.

Reposted from Walkingtools.net:

“I hope you agree that our tradition
of view-point neutral application of
policies governing professional
conduct by faculty and staff is one
of the great strengths we rely on to
demonstrate our commitment to
the public good.”

University of California President Mark Yudof
(Response to UC MRG Core Members Letter of concern over the persecution of Professor Dominguez, April 20th 2010.)

In this post, I would like to highlight the issue of view-point neutral application of University of California Policy by both the University of California Office of the President and UCSD. On July 21st2010 I went to the UCSD Police Department to give a formal statement on the criminal investigation of Professor Ricardo Dominguez. Dominguez is being investigated for a Virtual Sit-in held on March 4th of this year, and yet apparently not (the Police seemed not to know of it) for a virtual sit-in held on March 19th-21st 2008. In fact, as noted elsewhere, UCSD Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Paul Drake actually promoted Dominguez for the latter, yet two years later is trying to fire him for the former, in spite of some very disturbing facts including that both virtual sit-in events involved the same servers (ucop.edu and bang.calit2.net.) First you love him then you hate him. What really is happening here?

The history of Virtual Sit-ins is something that Ricardo and I both know something about, having co-founded the Electronic Disturbance Theater and produced the original FloodNet Applet (along with Carmin Karasic and Stefan Wray) in 1998, and further having implemented many performances (peaceful online protests against President Bill Clinton, his administration and “his” Pentagon, as well as Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo and others) in support of the Zapatista indigenous communities of Chiapas. In the interstice between then and now, Ricardo has remained one of the leading theorists and art practitioners of Electronic Civil Disobedience (a term he helped coin with the Critical Art Ensemble previous to our work with the Electronic Disturbance Theater.) Also in that time, I worked on other collaborations (C5 Corporation, paintersflat.net) where I developed a practice in location aware media in the arts. (GPS, mobile phones, code…) Our practice as active collaborators was rekindled in recent years working on an Artivist project titled the Transborder Immigrant Tool, which has been denounced by Republican Congressmen, and has generated troubling death threats from the public.

There was a reason I moved on from EDT for what has turned out to be close to a decade now. Simply stated: Virtual sit-ins occupy a gray area between (as Ricardo often says) affect in effect. Virtual sit-ins don’t hurt anything or anyone, yet they have some of the appearances of being a bot-net attack, the latter being unambiguously illegal. Our development of virtual sit-in technologies was always focused on playing in the gray spaces of the affective and appearance, specifically designed for purposes of 1) Artivism, and 2) conceptual art practice exploring the unique material and social dimensions of a new medium: the internet. Virtual sit-ins have never been effective in terms of damaging servers, and have been ridiculed by hackers as technically ineffective. But the only reason I quit developing new software myself (circa 2000) was that professional system admins – and no doubt many public relations consultants – were onto our game. (And, probably unimpressed with artivistic gestures such as causing the names of the people massacred at Acteal to appear in President Zedillo’s web server’s error logs.) With few exceptions – and at that mostly triggered by under-trained government bureaucrats – virtual-sit ins simply stopped garnering much of the kind of art, media, public and critical attention that we had previously been able to divert to Chiapas. And when my friend and C5 colleague Bruce Gardner gave me a GPS device to use in 2000, and shared some of his early computer code with me, I became interested in a practice exploring another new medium that for me, frankly, had very little political dimension.

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Mark Yudof’s Thriller: A Performative Protest

27 Jul

Creative activism by a student shows the unique role that art can play in representing conflicts playing out on a rhetorical level.

From: Chrissy Noble, UCD

[To view the video of this performance click this link]

On June 1, 2010, students around the Memorial Union Patio gathered and watched curiously as a polished but oblivious man in a crisp business suit laid out a blanket in the center of the patio, one of the most highly trafficked areas on campus, and began picnicking from a basket filled with gourmet cheeses, breads, and “wine.” After he took only a few elegantly executed sniffs and sips, a nosy reporter, who began asking questions about budget cuts and furloughs, interrupted him. Perturbed but obliged, the man humored the reporter. As his final response echoed through the patio, an eerie and familiar tune began to waft through the area. “Student-zombies,” adorned with theatrical makeup, typical college wear, and backpacks, began to emerge from various spots on the patio and angrily approach the picnic blanket. This is Mark Yudof’s Thriller.

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