Grace Afsari-Mamagani




Information experience design is at the core of my scholarly and professional work. And, built into this obsession with how we organize, store, and convey information is a concern for everything lost in the process of “cleaning.” Art and poetics offer a means to grapple with the lives and experiences elided or rewritten by structural modes of encoding information.

As I began writing academically on the literature of Jacqueline Woodson, I became interested in all of the ways that data make place (specifically with regards to the gentrifying neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn, both the topic of a Woodson novel and my home at the time).

Because Woodson and I represent profoundly different lived experiences of place across time and race, I knew I had to situate my own encounters with the borough and the “data” shaping its cultural narrative in order to produce intentional and responsible scholarly work. In a poetic-visual atlas, I presented Woodson’s texts as interlocutors for my own poetry on embodied traversal through the neighborhood. I experimented with modes of representing layered and often conflicting information, such as NYPD city crime data; instances of street art and their commodification on social media; demographic information; and accounts of graffiti and incarceration in Woodson’s work. I set out to play with materiality, printing and drawing on vellum, tracing paper, cardstock, and mats.

in other instances of deconstructing data-driven spatial narratives, I’ve collaborated on a digital magnetic poetry interface that allows users to remix social media data tied to but obscured from a geographic location; interactive digital archives tracing the community history of Brownsville, Brooklyn; and experimental poetry generators.

These projects offer me the space to imagine resistant cartographies and speculative design methodologies that embrace mess, feeling, and material.

Skills & technologies:
- bookmaking
- mixed media art
- data research & analysis
- archival research & digitization
- p5.js, social media APIs, Heroku