micha cárdenas is a performer, writer, student, educator, mixed-race trans femme latina who works with movement as a technology of change. micha is a Provost Fellow and PhD student in Media Arts + Practice (iMAP) at University of Southern California and a member of the art collective Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0. micha’s individual and collaborative work has been seen in museums, galleries, biennials and keynotes around the world. Her co-authored book The Transreal: Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realitieswas published by Atropos Press in 2012.
In 2013 micha was a fellow at the Post Media Lab at Leuphana University in Germany, a New Directions Scholar at the USC Center for Feminist Research and a MacArthur Foundation HASTAC Scholar. She holds an MFA from University of California, San Diego, an MA in Communication from the European Graduate School and a BS in Computer Science from Florida International University. She blogs at michacardenas.org and tweets at @michacardenas
In Trans Desire, Cárdenas offers us nothing less than a practical theory of desire that creates livable, affirmative worlds that resist the violence of capitalism and heteronormativity.
- Zach Blas, E-MISFÉRICA
In this daring and poetic study [The Transreal], Micha Cárdenas guides us through the world of the transexual, the transgenerational, the transpolitical, the transborder. The transreal is both a multilayered space and an existential condition. Brilliant.
- Diana Taylor, University Professor, Performance Studies and Spanish, New York University Founding Director, Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics
Cárdenas offers new relational modes of modulation, conduction, and calibration that are not based on difference, reduction, or lack, adopting the structuring principles of ecologies rather than the apparatus. What emerges is a transreal geometry of intimacy: dynamic assemblies of scalar bodies, historical and transitional, distributed and consolidated in new forms of material agency, affective amplification, and erotic transgression… The transreal becomes not only a tool for analysis but also a political practice: a call for the transformation of reality itself, in all its sensory resonances, by way of incorporating the turbulent forces at its core.
- Jordan Crandall, Associate Professor, Visual Arts, University of California, San Diego
Micha Cárdenas and her playmates are ontological guerrillas who know that blowing up the dominant order of power/knowledge is only the first step towards real revolution. The crucial next step is materializing virtual possibilities immanent in our current situation. Read the book, and make a little transreality yourself.
- Susan Stryker, transgender theorist, filmmaker, and academic Director, Institute for LGBT Studies, Associate Professor, Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Arizona
Micha’s extended period of immersion in SL [Second Life] enhances RL [Real Life] and actualizes SL as an alternate operational system, one that allows us to perform beyond the boundaries of our skin and beyond the local space that we inhabit.
micha cárdenas is a Los Angeles based, Colombian-American, transgender/genderqueer artist/theorist who works with movement as a technology of change. She is a PhD student in Media Arts and Practice (iMAP) at University of Southern California and a member of Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0. micha’s project Local Autonomy Networks was selected for the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial in San Jose and was the subject of their keynote performance at the 2012 Allied Media Conference. Her co-authored book The Transreal: Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realities, published by Atropos Press in 2012, discusses artists’ strategies for using multiple realities, such as augmented, mixed and alternate reality, and the intersection of those strategies with the politics of gender, in a transnational context. They blog at transreal.org and tweets @michacardenas.
Previously, micha was the Interim Associate Director of Art and Technology in the Culture, Art and Technology program of Sixth College at UCSD. She has been a Lecturer in the Visual Arts department and Critical Gender Studies programs at UCSD and an Artist/Researcher at CRCA and the b.a.n.g. lab at Calit2.
micha holds an MFA from the University of California San Diego, an MA in Media and Communications with distinction from the European Graduate School and a BS in Computer Science from Florida International University. Her collaboration with Elle Mehrmand, mixed relations, was the recipient of the UCIRA Emerging Fields Award for 2009. Micha’s publications include “I am Transreal”, in Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation from Seal Press, Trans Desire/Affective Cyborgs, with Barbara Fornssler, from Atropos Press and Becoming Dragon: A Transversal Technology Study in Code Drift from CTheory.
micha’s performances, videos and collaborations have been seen in biennials, museums, galleries, community spaces and public spaces around the world including the Haus der Kulturen der Welt at Transmediale 2013, Platoon Kunsthalle, Berlin Hauptbanhof, Dark Side of the Digital Conference, the 2012 Zero1 Biennial, 2012 Opening Night of the Allied Media Conference, 2010 California Biennial, The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics in Bogota, Colombia, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, Arse Elektronika, GLAMFA 2009 at Cal State Long Beach, Los Angeles Convention Center at Supersonic 2009, the Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum in Alexandria, Egypt, The University of Texas at Dallas, El Centro Cultural de Tijuana (CECUT), the 2008 Whitney Biennial in collaboration with Neighborhood Public Radio, Artivistic 2007 and 2009 in Montreal, Eyebeam NYC and the Gallery@Calit2, the US/Mexico border checkpoint during the Political Equator II, The Art and Social Space Laboratory at the Central Bank Museum of Ecuador, The Gallery Project in Ann Arbor, the Marcuse Gallery at UCSD, the Steinmatte at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Swizterland, the Rubber Rose Gallery, The Voz Alta Project, freEtech 2007, the Casa de Iniciativas in Málaga, Spain, the Americas Social Forum in Quito, Ecuador and the Seoul Human Rights festival as well as on Free Speech TV and Paper Tiger TV. For a complete and up to date list, see her cv here: transreal.org/cv
micha’s artwork and collective projects have appeared in publications including Art21, Associated Press, BBC World, CNN, Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone Italy, Wired, Vice Magazine, Missy Magazine, .dpi magazine, the Networked Performance blog, the San Diego Reader, San Diego City Beat, San Diego Union Tribune, Art as Authority, Dr. Dobbs Journal, Secondlife.com, New World Notes and Brooklyn is Watching. Micha’s writing has been featured in the Journal of Popular Music Studies, No More Potlucks, the Inflexions journal, Digimag, NewMediaFix.net, Augmentology.com and in the San Diego Reader.
Micha taught “Electronic Technologies for Art” in the UCSD Visual Arts Department in 2009 and 2010. In addition, they taught “Gender and Sexuality in Art” in the Critical Gender Studies Program at UCSD.
Micha was the recipient of a 2008 Open Classroom Challenge Grant from UCIRA and taught a class entitled “Collective Art Practice, Performative and Networked Approaches to Challenging Power”. She has been a guest speaker at Concordia University in Montreal, USC, UCLA, Duke University, Calarts, University of Texas at Dallas, McGill University in Montreal, UCSD, SDSU and other universities. She has presented papers on their projects and collaborations at numerous conferences and festivals including the Digital Arts and Culture Conference at UC Irvine, Society of Photonic Imaging Engineers “Electronic Imaging” Conference in San Jose, and the Ctheory Digital Studies Workshop in Victoria.
Micha has collaborated with Ricardo Dominguez, Brett Stalbaum, Amy Sara Carroll and Elle Mehrmand on the Transborder Immigrant Tool.
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