“Data and Site: Visualizing Indexicality” lecture @ Florida State


I am giving a lecture on my research tomorrow at a Florida State Department of Geography colloquium. I’ll be addressing artistic and cultural works that make use of data visualization and various forms of mapping to critique or engage issues surrounding data privacy, militarism, and surveillance. I will be giving a preview of a new web-based project involving mapping and cats. I will also talk about Representing Place, the collaborative graduate seminar I co-taught with Prof. Phil Steinberg in Geography.

“Data and Site: Visualizing Indexicality”
Owen Mundy, Assistant Professor in Art
Friday April 18, 3:30-4:30pm
DeVoe Moore Conference Center, Bellamy 150-E.

Stop SOPA Blackout

You might notice my site and blog looks a little, well, opaque this week. Here’s a screenshot.

I’m running a script on my site that censors all the content in order to bring attention to a law being pushed through congress right now. The SOPA (“Stop Online Piracy Act”) is a terrible piece of legislation that gives broad powers for the courts to take down sites by claims from “infringed” users. If SOPA passes as-is, it could devastate the artistic expression and livelihood of many artists, hackers, and entrepreneurs.

More information at fightforthefuture.org

You can protest the SOPA bill and install the blackout code on your site to let your visitors know what they could miss out if SOPA does pass.

Paste this code into your Tumblr themes, website, and more…

<script type="text/javascript">
  var FATLAB_Stop_SOPA = {
    color : '#000000',
    promote : true

  document.write('<scr'+'ipt src="http://fffff.at/stop_sopa/blackout.js?v=1&e83a2c"></scr'+'ipt>');

Drain Magazine – Power issue and new site

I am happy to announce the launch of the new website for Drain: Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture and the corresponding release of issue #11 POWER, which I co-organized with Avantika Bawa.

POWER, issue #11

This issue of Drain attempts to expose the cultural faciality of power, as well as manifestations of power as simulacra which obfuscate traditional inquiries into its construction. If power connects the virtual and the actual, how does cultural creativity channel or destabilize this connectivity? The corporate-academic-entertainment-military-industrial complex and its front-end, the global information machine floods us with images and images of images, to cause sensory overload, and yet, at the same time, acute sensory deprivation. Most of all, power entrenches a visual literacy that allows us to see only its style, leaving us unable to access other ways of seeing and becoming. How can we parody this visual literacy, and the speed, cadence and grammar of this power and its affects?

Necropolis by Roi Kuper

If the simulation of power is necessary and absolute, can creative acts and molecular politics slip through the surveillance and desensitizing of territorializing systems?

GWOTEM by J.M. Badoud

This issue of Drain presents artworks, essays, and other creative works to actualize answers to these questions and re-channel them into different connectivities, ways of becoming and conceptual production.

The Gift of Giving by Oscar Perez

We are pleased to present Ian Buchanan and Roi Kuper as our feature writer and featured artist. This issue also includes essays by Emma Cocker and Chris Revelle, as well as interviews by Alexander Stewart with artist Andy Roache and Bertha Husband with Blazo Kovacevic. In our Creative Writing section, we present works by Camille Meyer, BT Shaw & Elizabeth Lopeman, Vanessa Norton, Emma Cocker and Morgan Campbell. Art projects works by Jamie Badoud, Diana Heise, Cyrico Lopes, Bob Paris and Oscar Perez.

Past issues

Letter in Support of Ricardo Dominguez and Brett Stalbaum


To whom it may concern,

I write this letter in support of Professors Ricardo Dominguez and Brett Stalbaum, and their collaborators at the Bang.Lab at the University of California, San Diego. The criminalization of the research conducted by Dominguez and Staulbaum can and should be expected by xenophobic and racist outsiders in the San Diego community, but I was appalled to hear that the University of California is not whole-heartedly supporting Professors Dominguez and Stalbaum in the wake of recent hateful and threatening responses to their current work. 

As a logistical tool, one could argue their Transborder Immigrant Tool will be only as effectual as the amount of GPS-enabled cell phones that can be made available in the area. Consider especially their demographic primarily includes human beings that would take the chance to cross miles of desert by foot, risking starvation and death, in order to find a better life. While efforts may be made to help the logistics of this project, this is not a group you would expect to have income to acquire such devices.

I think most importantly their research should be looked at as a humanitarian gesture to bring into light an important problem in this geographic region. The inequality between classes in this area, drawn along racial and political boundaries, has caused a deep resentment on both sides of the border. Professor Dominguez and Stalbaum’s tool, while it takes the form of a functional opportunity to save the lives of other human beings, is as much a cultural product that initiates a very public conversation about an important issue, and suggests at the heart of the problem is the inability for some groups to consider the well-being of others.

It is important the University of California facilitate this conversation and acknowledge the contribution this project makes to the fields of visual arts, human computer interaction, and cultural studies, and support the work of Professors Dominguez and Stalbaum in a time when they need it most.


Owen Mundy
Assistant Professor
Department of Art
Florida State University

Masters of Visual Arts, 2008
University of California, San Diego

Learn more about the issue

As usual, a perspective on past issues related to this problem in the area will help contextualize this one.

Learn about Herbert Marcuse and his problems with San Diego/UCSD in this documentary

Even more related, David Avalos, Elizabeth Cisco, and Louis Hock’s Art Rebate project which garnered all kinds of dissidence from the San Diego community, was intended specifically to bring into the public eye an important and overlooked part of the local economy—that of wages and labor of migrant workers.

UC San Diego professor who studies disobedience gains followers — and investigators, LA Times

Other letters

Temporary Services in Chicago