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Minh-ha T. Pham and Brian Camarao
"Silencing's Intimate Geographies: A Meditation on 'Apartment 9K'"

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2007
Transmodernities/Translocalities: Panel Discussion

12:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. Polycentric sessions and screenings, San Francisco Art Institute, Lecture hall and classrooms
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Apartment 9K began as a meditation on social phobias—specifically, the fear of racial, religious, and sexual terrors—that shape our current public discourse regarding notions like the Axis of Evil, the War on Terrorism, Defense of Marriage Act and border control. We realized very quickly that the power of public discourse is such that it seeps into our individual consciousness only to be externalized again in our everyday conversations and cultural and political practices. Thus, the Culture of Fear we now live in is both an external and social phobia as well as, and perhaps more perniciously, an internal and internalized phobia.

Apartment 9K explores the interplay and the inevitable tensions between these phobias as well as between neighboring, overlapping, and sometimes interconstitutive tensions. Some of these include the tensions between the hypervisibility of marked others and their simultaneous un-visiblilty; between the notions of intimacy and invasiveness (especially in relation to cultural representationality); between being captured by the gaze and confounding it; between the cultural work of the spectator and the social work of the reader; between the image and the text; and between our public and private memories.

Participant Bios:
Brian J. Camarao is a graphic designer and photographer from the San Francisco Bay Area who is now based in New York City. He got his Bachelor’s degree in Applied Art and Design at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1996 and has most recently shown his work at APAture 2006, Kearny Street Workshop’s multimedia arts festival in San Francisco. As an artist, he is interested in photographic techniques that defamiliarize the familiar, in the interplay of multimedia formats, and the ways in which still images can imbue a feeling of movement.

Minh-Ha T. Pham is an Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in the Asian Pacific American Studies program in the Social and Cultural Analysis department at New York University. She is working on a book that explores sonic markers of difference—that is, the ways in which the otic informs scopic knowledge about race, gender, class, sexuality, and citizenship.