Week 46

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The end of October kicked off a busy sprint of teaching, making, thesis writing, and I am barely reflecting on it all. There’s quite a bit of extra-curricular research and work that I’m making into a separate blog post (standby) . In terms of making, I’ve spent a healthy amount of time prototyping and iterating on an interactive oracle deck, [ divinación en migración ], which I’ll be showing this weekend at the b4b3l4b exhibition, Migratory Pathways curated by the amazing Joty Dhaliwal.

This week I met with my committee for the first time to review the abstract and proposal for my thesis project, tentatively titled:

{ remnants } of a { ritual }

I got some really helpful feedback, so I’m excited to switch gears from writing to making / focusing on the production of my thesis. Some lingering questions:

  • What are the rules of engagement?

  • How many people can interact with the kammer at a given time?

  • Is there a provocation for the installation to bleed into the real world after the show?

Below are some excerpts from my presentation:


Oh magical realism…

I just finished Isabel Allende’s Ciudad de las Bestias and I’m reminiscing on being in the Amazon rainforest in 2013 for the production of Defending Eden.

Visiting the library this week I pulled a few books on the theory and history of magical realism, and how it’s evolved in the Americas. I’m hoping to integrate some of the surrealist and marvelous themes of magical realism into the overall aesthetic of my thesis project. Namely, altering my grandfather’s photographs with prismatic and kaleidoscopic imagery.

More soon on concrete frameworks.

(becoming) extinct

A fun snapshot of using Grow-A-Game: a very helpful tool for designing and prototyping games that, “prioritizes human value.”

I collaborated with a classmate, Shimul Chowdhury, to create a game in ~15 mins with the following prompts:

  1. dance dance revolution

  2. respect for elders

  3. animal world

  4. researching

Our interpretation was a game titled ( BECOMING ) EXTINCT to honor our extinct and soon to be extinct animal ancestors. I should note that we were thrown in a few challenges like needing to use a first aid kit, and that players would need to remove one shoe. The playtest went well, and although there was a bit of giggling at the beginning, the performance offering at the end was surprisingly lovely and resonant. The players had chosen the Vaquita and found an ice pack in the first aid kit that made a really nice maraca-shaking sound. They used the up and down movement of the vaquita to choreograph a synchronized durational piece.


A reading about navigating ancestral healing and the other(world).


    • This card appeared last week in the same placement of my reading! It’s funny because I’ve been reflecting a lot on how I’ve changed over the years, and how previously I was super into occult energy and its connection to spirituality. In my early twenties I felt very connected to the spirit world, namely through my grandmother, but that started to wane once I graduated college and started working with a lot of engineers. It felt as though my spiritual side conflicted with my desire to appease the logic-oriented minds of my male peers. Not only that, but part of my awakening came from acknowledging my queerness, and that too felt like it experienced erasure in order to conform. I became hardened, and lost a connection to the synchronicities and patterns that used to give me so much joy.

  • PRESENT: Knight of swords, Duty (yellow)

    • Now that I’m in the process of rebalancing, and connecting with intergenerational history as I work on my thesis project, I can feel a lot of unsettling, chaotic energy. I’ve been focused on resolving the future (i.e. what my thesis will look/feel/be like), and haven’t spent enough time with the past or the present. This is probably because I’ve been trying to piece together all this media and memory for my project as a result of my impulsive desire to order everything (when really its meant to exist in subtle disarray). I’ve been over-organizing and forcing the outcome, when its already been flowing in a direction that is beautiful and resonant. Part of trusting this process has really been about navigating anxieties of the unknown, and reintegrating self-care and self-reflection into my practice. As M says, TRUST THE PROCESS.

  • FUTURE: 13 death, Rebirth (purple)

    • It’s been comforting to see purple cards show in my future outcomes; purple referring to higher levels of consciousness, spirit, and healing. The death card generally has a bad wrap, as many folks think it is a literal indication of something or someone dying. The interpretation of the card however denotes change and transformation that is powerful, and usually necessary. This card might indicate that there is a phase of my life that will be soon ending or evolving. Tbh I am hoping it’s my ocd-tendencies and ‘need’ for control. I also feel like the distinction between my feminine and masculine side will start to meld a bit more, as I become more comfortable acknowledging aspects of my personality and way of being. Starting to deconstruct my rigid behaviors will be fruitful as I lean back into my intuitive, fluid self.

Zoe Sandovalmfa, thesis, future