AND HOW THIS PROJECT CAME TO BE
Throughout my childhood, painting functioned as a vehicle for personal expression. My paints covered my face for internal battles of mixed identity, as well as colored my existence with purpose. Just like mixed paint, I never felt quite Korean enough for Korea, but not American enough for America. But, again, like mixed paint, my being was made up of many identities that just never quite fit any hexcode.
Yet, these background life experiences informed my interests in research for topics on intersectional feminism, diversity in institutionalized constructs, and critique of technology under the lens of Asian-American identity. I found that I could utilize these interests that emanated from my personal identities and fuse them with my technical interests in the integration of data, science, technology and art to communicate narratives. My vision became a palette knife, synthesizing multiple fields into new shades of antidisciplinary research.
But this project started with story.
My eyes widened as I listened to Lauren about her experience in the creation of p5.js and its first contributors conference filled with anyone willing to join. While excited, Lauren questioned the possibility of managing a conference with potentially mostly novice programmers. At the end of the conference, she discovered the capability of a community to educate and support one another. A conference is only successful when the community is involved.
Diversity with Code + Art became an opportunity to witness firsthand what Lauren was able to see in the conference: the merging art and technology at the hands of enthusiastic, inclusive people.
Together, we developed a short-term independent research project to highlight brilliant Asian women and gender non-conforming creators in the broader context of how to incorporate diversity in the code and art community through representation and visibility. This ongoing project takes on a qualitative approach, consisting of interviews with Asian, female-identifying and gender non- conforming individuals to discuss their experience with coding environments as artists or activists, as well as a collection of artwork done by these artists to be presented on the p5.js homepage. The project aimed to inspire audiences in seeing reflections of identities they can resonate with as important creators, introduce more voices to a collective conversation, diversify the code community, and showcase more communities in the continuation of this series.
Lauren and the p5.js community illustrate the immeasurable value of inclusion, solidarity, and education to, as well as with, others, through their conferences and open-source environment. This project is an example for the mere beginnings to an ultimately exciting, greater picture on how to continually involve marginalized populations into art and technology. And I am so excited to share this with you all today.
Chelly Jin is a student at UCLA, studying Design | Media Art and Digital Humanities. She hybridizes science, technology, activism, and art to tell stories through interactive multimedia journalism and new forms of data visualization.
On a more serious note, do you like my pineapple socks in this photo...