Meditation Apps and the Unbearable Whiteness of Wellness
This field review examines the two most popular for-profit meditation apps, Calm and Headspace, in order to critique the implicit whiteness what is sometimes called "the wellness-industrial complex." By looking to the visual, haptic, and auditory design of for-profit meditation apps, it shows how a sanitized version of “Eastern philosophies,” particularly Zen Buddhism, have become an alibi for the large-scale abandonment of care for those who need it the most.
What's Your Color? Mood-Conditioning the Postwar Domestic Interior
Forthcoming in Camera Obscura in December 2023
This article unearths emergent discourses surrounding color and "personality" in the postwar American domestic interior. Though color consultants in the 1950s and '60s emphasized that the home was a space for consumers to assert their uniqueness through color customization, the piece reveals how this so-called freedom of choice in fact rendered normative race, class, and gender categoriis subject to further standardization and classification in the name of social and technological “progress.”
Fabricating Images at the Color Factory
In this essay, I reflect on two visits to the Color Factory pop-up "Instagram exhibition" in New York and Houston. Through a combination of auto-ethnography and material/cultural analysis, I reveal how the digitally mediated infrastructure of such spaces, which are designed simultaneously for both physical visitors and virtual spectators, enable the self-surveillance and quantification of the body on social media through "happy" and "childlike" color.
Nabokov's Optical Paintbox: Color in The Real Life of Sebastian Knight
This article presents a newly discovered drawing of a color wheel by Nabokov himself, which points to his long-term interest in color theory and the relationship between word and image. Focusing on The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (1941) but also drawing extensively from Speak, Memory (1951) and Nabokov’s critical essays, it examines the ways color theory straddles the boundary between art and science. Throughout, this article also addresses Nabokov’s personal interests, such as chess, lepidoptery, and painting, as they pertain to color and his interest in thematic patterning and the construction of "reality" across his work.
Transmedia Adaptation, or the Kinesthetics of Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World
Adaptation Vol. 9, No. 3 (2016): 417–427.
This essay explores how Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World (2010, dir. Edgar Wright), based on the Canadian cult comic series by Brian Lee O’Malley, attempts to translate the text/image construction of comics into cinematic form through a series of transmedial tactics. Highlighting the film's innovative cinematic strategies and attentiveness to comics and video games, it shows how Scott Pilgrim's unconventional approach to adaptation provides a unique locus for both adaptation and media studies in its destabilization of formal, theoretical, and disciplinary boundaries.