Whitney Pow, an assistant professor of queer and transgender media studies, is a scholar, historian, and game designer whose research focuses on queer and trans histories of video games, software, and computational media. Pow’s work has been published in Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, ROMchip: A Journal of Game Histories, and The Velvet Light Trap. Their most recent interactive art piece, Digital TV Breakfast, was exhibited at Ars Electronica as a part of the art exhibition Chicago New Media 1972-1992. We interviewed them about their scholarship and art.
My research traces the legacies of trans people who have been foundational to early game design and development."
How has the pandemic shaped your scholarship?
The last physical archive I was able to visit before quarantine was The Phil Morton Memorial Research Archive at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which was curated by professor and glitch artist Jon Cates. During my visits, I spent time digitizing sets of analog Sony U-matic videocassette tapes in a tiny room with a computer and dubbing equipment, and I had the opportunity to create live analog video art using SAIC’s Sandin Image Processor with glitch artist and teacher James Connoly. Not too long before, I met with Jamie Faye Fenton in person, when she came to a gallery exhibit of Chicago New Media 1972-1992, where my digital video game piece, Digital TV Breakfast (2018) was on exhibit. Being in small, dark rooms, and meeting with people in person seems strangely impossible to do now, and I hope to return to Chicago in the near future to continue my research.
In award-winning research, master's candidate Destiny Lopez proposes ways to make media accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing.
Cassius Adair, a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, is an independent audio producer, writer, and researcher. We asked him about his scholarship on queer and transgender lives.