Letter from the Editor
    Hello and welcome to ADJACENT Issue 8: DISEMBODIMENT.
    There is much I can say about the past year and all the ways we have been forced, as a species, to recognize the precarity of our existence. We continue to dance between evident fragility and extraordinary resilience—in the ways we can/not move through the world, to the reduction of connectable pathways, to the fricative explosions that occur when we finally do come together. A whole new vocabulary peppers conversation. Everyone is a researcher.
    Issue 8 commenced in the midst of all this, challenged not only by a totally-remote production, but also by the formation of an almost entirely new team of students as the majority of the previous masthead moved on to life after ITP. Some of us have yet to meet in the flesh (will we ever?), even as we floated through screens into each other’s most intimate quarters. ADJACENT has always been a demanding extracurricular project, and I am humbled by the fact that, in defiance of disruption, we present the journal’s most ambitious issue to date. This is DISEMBODIMENT.
    In Virtually Immortal, Cara Peralta-Neel reflects on digital life after death, asking, “should I design my posthumous avatar now, to leave some comfort for my friends and family?” Erin (Nire) Cuana uses the lens of chaotic eroticism to heal our relationship with Artificial Intelligence in Machine Kink. Katherine Dillon places information designers on the front lines of communicating the impact of crisis in One, Two, Many, as we struggle to understand the unseeable. And in Gaze Makes the Glitch, Cy X documents a process toward fixing the anti-blackness, transphobia, and ableism that is embedded in all systems, including ourselves.
    Issue 8 also includes ADJACENT’s first-ever collection of interactive articles, in pursuit of broadening the boundaries of how research can be presented and accessed. Nuntinee Tansrisakul, Tong Wu, Mina Zarfsaz, and Yuguang Zhang consider interpretations of time, collective selves, routine, and sociocultural metaphors in experiential media artwork curated by the journal’s design and dev teams. A group of ITP students who spent seven weeks exploring the Cybernetics of Sex with Melanie Hoff document their research with the creation of a collaborative webzine.
    It was difficult to pick featured articles for this letter, which is a great problem to have. I hope that you dive in and explore the issue in full—best experienced on desktop, as the issue itself is recursively interactive.
    Thank you to the authors, artists, editors, developers, designers, communicators, and faculty who stuck it through to make this happen. Hopefully we can celebrate in person one day.
    Until then,
    Gabriella M. Garcia Managing Editor, ADJACENT
  • Virtually Immortal

    Cara Neel

    The advent of technologies like deepfakes and AI-powered chatbots have opened the door to the possibility of a digital afterlife. What does it mean to die when we can still be alive online?

  • Machine Kink

    Erin Cuana

    In what ways can we collaborate with AI to nurture our shadow desires in a realm of a controlled environment so that we may not actually be destroyed? Through the lens of chaotic eroticism, the oscillation of wanting to “create” the Artificial Super Intelligence and simultaneously wishing for it to surpass and dominate or consume us becomes a multi-layered power play that presents an opportunity for a healing intimacy with the machine.

  • One, Two, Many: Visualizing Tragedy at Scale

    Katherine Dillon

    The coronavirus struck at a moment coincident with a massive rise in computing power, the availability of expansive datasets and the proliferation of modeling software tools. In newsrooms and academic settings all over the world it is the information designers who are on the front lines of communicating the impact of the crisis, as we struggle to understand the unseeable, and grapple with the barrage of pandemic-related numbers thrust upon us.

  • Gaze Makes the Glitch

    Cy X

    How do you fix the anti-blackness, transphobia, and ableism that is embedded in the hardware and software of most of our systems, government, technology, and within ourselves? Artist Cy X explores how “the glitch” can reveal possibilities and new worlds that have yet to be dreamed of.

  • Every Voice Heard: Imagining Feminist Voice Technologies

    Becca Ricks and Zoe Bachman

    As our devices increasingly occupy our personal spaces, smart technology is poised to impact how we socialize, how we relate to one another, and how we view our bodies. How are these technologies shaping our bodies and our relationships to one another? And how can we reimagine our smart technologies to better reflect a feminist articulation of embodiment?

  • @myfriendsylvia and Aging Virtually

    Ziv Schneider

    Ziv Schneider reflects on the short life of Sylvia, a virtual Instagram influencer she created and aged over the course of five months. The project capped off with a virtual funeral for Sylvia, as she was fondly remembered by her creators and followers on Instagram. The experiment sheds light on prevalent ageism in digital space and offers an alternative to the mainstream design of virtual humans.

  • A Robot Didn’t Write This Article: AI Art And The New Assembly Line

    Brent Bailey

    AI was invented to replace labor. Even creative professions may be tomorrow’s low-level, low-paying work––all of us cogs in an algorithm chain and the results will be bland and boring.

  • Be THERE Now

    Livia Foldes

    Telepresence—the promise of a technology that will let us “be THERE now”—is an old dream with a new urgency. But when it feels like we’re really there, it’s easy to ignore the connections facilitating our “natural” experience: the systems that mediate our communication, the workers who build and maintain them, the ecosystems and laborers who supply the raw materials. 

  • Pandemic Hauntologies: Performing our Absence with Lonely Synthesizers

    Dominic Barrett

    As we lose access to the prosperous future promised by the consumer boom of the 80s and 90s, vaporwave provides a kind of nostalgic look at an alternate universe. Similarly, as the pandemic stripped away the time we spend at shows or with other people, modular synths provided a facsimile of comfort and presence, having been programmed by a now absent human musician. Perhaps hauntology explains the popularity of both these phenomenons.

  • 404 This Art Does Not Exist

    Owen Roberts

    Artist Owen Roberts collects series of screenshots from various missing art works – aka “dead art links” – in an attempt to patch together a timeline of when they were published, when they may have disappeared, and possibly even why they were left to die.

  • Layer by Layer, A Study of Scale

    Nuntinee Tansrisakul

    Interactive Article

    A collection of digital sketches experimenting with our physical experiences of time.

  • Daily Dividuals / One Man Band

    Tong Wu

    Interactive Article

    One Man Band, as the latest issue of the art project Daily Dividuals, is a fantasy monologue in which “one” exists as a collective of his/her digital and physical doppelgängers who are trapped in a monotonous daily routine.

  • shadowplay

    Mina Zarfsaz

    Interactive Article

    Databending and film lend structure to this nonlinear interactive essay on scientific interpretation, appropriating the sociocultural metaphors of the microbiome to contemplate the nature of evolution. Twenty experiments are weft with queries on the theater of truth-telling.

  • A Slice of Shared Self

    Yuguang Zhang

    Interactive Article

    Here’s a slice of our shared self in the eyes of an AI, reflected off an algorithmically aligned/mis-aligned collective of camera feeds, including yours in real time.

  • Cybernetics of Sex Webzine

    Cybernetics of Sex Webzine Working Group (Emma Grimm, Viola He, Melanie Hoff, Zeyao Li, Chaski No, Aileen Stanziola)

    Interactive Article

    The Cybernetics of Sex Webzine is a shifting pool. A collection of ephemera, projects, questions, and reflections that were part of our Fall 2020 ITP class, “Cybernetics of Sex: Technology, Feminisms, & the Choreography of Control.”