PUBLIC EVENT | Digital Fridays: March 31, 3:00pm-4:00pm EST featuring HASTAC Scholars Waleska Solórzano and Ian G. Williams

Join us for our upcoming Digital Friday featuring HASTAC Scholars Waleska Solórzano and Ian G. Williams

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Exploring a Venesporic Lesbian Utopia in Fina Torres’ Liz in September,” Waleska Solórzano.

According to the United Nations, more than seven million Venezuelans are displaced across international borders as of October 2022. The social, economic, and political deterioration of the country due to the implosion of the heteropatriarchal vision of the socialist Bolivarian Revolution has created an unsustainable environment for its citizens, particularly for the queer population. Homophobic rhetoric and violence against the LGBTQIA+ community allow heterosexuality to secure its hegemony so that it can maintain its status as the idealized sexual orientation in the Venezuelan imaginary. For example, lesbians in Venezuela, and the Venezuelan diaspora, or what I call the Venespora, seldom dare to publicly embrace their sexuality considering visibility perpetuates their precarity. Liz in September (2014), a film based on Jane Chambers’ landmark lesbian drama Last Summer at Bluefish Cove (1975) by Venezuelan filmmaker Fina Torres, subverts heteronormative dynamics in Venezuelan society by constructing a lesbian utopia. This paper seeks to examine queer spectatorial pleasure in Latin American cinema vis-à-vis the range and tenacity of nonnormative gestures between the characters in the film to offer a framework that breaks heteropatriarchal linguistic codes and elicits an inclusive future in (and out of) Venezuela.

The Pleasures and Perils of Generative AI Imagery: Remarks from Social Work,” Ian G. Williams.

Algorithmically generated imagery (“AI Art”) is seemingly ubiquitous on social media today, yet still a relatively new and emergent phenomena. Its existence stirs up and reconfigures familiar debates about the relationship between creativity, machinery, property, and economic structures. This presentation will reflect on observations from two collaborative image generation processes the presenter participated in between September 2022 and March 2023, where discourse about the ethics and politics of AI art was interwoven with the pleasures of playful exploration.

Speaker Bios:

Waleska Solórzano received her Master’s Degree in Philosophy with a concentration in Ethics and Public Affairs as well as a CERG in Women and Gender Studies at George Mason University. From 2018 to 2019, Waleska lived in Indonesia, where she researched anti-human trafficking initiatives and the transformative healing potential of aesthetic practices as a Boren Fellow. Aesthetic theory, contemporary art movements, and ethnography motivate her academic practice. Her research implements utopian social and political thought as a framework for analyzing issues relating to identity formation, gender and sexuality, migration, and queer artistic practices, as it relates to the Venezuelan diaspora, or what she terms the Venespora. Currently, she is researching the Venespora while pursuing her doctoral degree at Cornell University in the Romance Studies Department, the Spanish and Portuguese Section.

Ian G. Williams, LMSW is a student in the Ph.D. Program in Social Welfare and the Advanced Certificate Program in Interactive Technology and Pedagogy at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is a Program Social Media Fellow with the Graduate Center Digital Initiatives, and a 2022-2024 HASTAC Scholar. Ian researches the intersections of technology, human service organizations, and social theory. Ian holds an MSW in Organizational Management and Leadership from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, and a BA in East Asian Studies, Cultural Studies, and World Religions from McGill University.

Twitter: @igraywill // Mastadon: