Emergency & Emergence – Participant Bios

Panel 1: “Emergent Techniques, Emergent Technics”:

Charlotte Orzel is a first year doctoral student in the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Film and Media Studies program, and holds an MA in Media Studies from Concordia University. She recently completed her Master’s thesis, a study of emerging exhibition practices at Canada’s monopoly exhibitor, Cineplex, and is currently developing a dissertation on contemporary cinemagoing in North America.

Miguel Penabella is a MA/PhD student in Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research examines the complex effects of temporality on narrative, national identity, and spectatorship, and he is interested in theorizations of slowness in film, slow violence, and the relationship of politics and style in global art cinema with a focus on Southeast Asian filmmakers. He also has a background in theorizing videogame narrative and game space, and has presented and published papers at USC, Georgia State, and Yale University.

Emma St. Lawrence is a second year MA student in the Cinema & Media Studies program at USC. Before joining the department, Emma worked on the digital media team at the Victoria and Albert Museum and as an arts & culture journalist for counterculture magazine Wildabout. In 2016, she completed a research fellowship conducting quantitative and qualitative research on live cinema in the United Kingdom. Her work considers interactive spectatorship, myth and folklore in genre film, and experimental, experiential film.

Harris Kornstein is a doctoral student in Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU, focusing on digital culture, media art and activism, and queer politics. Harris is also a media artist and drag queen, whose work has been included in galleries, festivals, and publications worldwide, and whose writing has appeared in Wired, The Guardian, and Studies in Gender and Sexuality, among others.

Interactive Exhibitions

Lisa Müller-Trede is an Annenberg Fellow and PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Media Arts and Practice (iMAP) at USC School of Cinematic Arts, Los Angeles. She received a BA in Communication Science at the University of Vienna, a BA in Drama at the Vienna Conservatory, and her MA in the program Solo/Dance/Authorship at the University of the Arts in Berlin.
Lisa is a filmmaker and performance artist interested in the performative dimension of virtuality and the virtual in the live event. Her work focuses on the body in its live, recorded and augmented state. Often combining various media in live film shoots or performative exhibitions, she explores the body’s physical limits. This is a core catalyst for her engagement with the body, the camera, the means of the editing room and devices and software allowing for augmented and virtual reality.
She performed and exhibited works at the Venice Biennale, at Tanz im August Berlin, at the Kunstverein Hamburg, the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn, the Independent Art Fair New York, Performing Arts Festival Berlin, and at the Frieze London, often collaborating with the artist John Bock.

Ioana Mischie is a Romania-born cinematic storyteller, whose portfolio includes a vivid collection of filmmaking, creative writing and transmedia storytelling. Currently affiliated as a Fulbright Grantee at USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles, California focussing on transmedia storytelling (with VR/AR/MR/XR components). Her cinematic projects were selected to programs such as the Berlinale Script Station, Sundance Workshop in Italy, Locarno Academy Meetings, Midpoint Central European Script Center, The Steamer Salon, have traveled at more than 50 festivals worldwide and received awards for storytelling, prototyping, filmmaking.
Since September 2012, she is the co-founder and head of Storyscapes, a non-profit association focusing transmedia storytelling and interactive narratives, created by a group of film and visual art students. Since December 2015, she is the programs coordinator of CINETic, a recently founded research center focused on the interaction of neuroscience, audio-visual art and advanced technologies (VR, AR, MR). Graduated in Audio-Visual Communication and the Screenwriting MA program of UNATC, where she is currently enrolled in her PhD studies on transmedia storytelling.

Panel 2: “Emergency Conditions: Resistance and Resistant Media”: 

Mazyar Mahdavifar is pursuing his MA degree in Film Studies at Chapman University. His academic interests include feminist film theory, national cinemas, cinema of the Middle East, and Iranian cinema. His work has been published in the journal Offscreen.

Daniel Carnie is a graduate student in the Comparative Literature department at UCI. Daniel’s research is concerned with Palestinian film and literature, Anti-zionist history, and theories of settler colonialism.

Annette LePique is an arts writer and scholar based in Chicago. Her research interests include African American cinema, Black Feminism, eroticism, and abjection. 

William Russell is an activist, labor organizer, filmmaker, and academic. He is currently an M.A. student at USC in the Cinema and Media Studies department studying digital media theory. He has been working as a commercial videographer since 2005 as well as having directed several music videos and short documentaries.

Panel 3: “Emergency as Structure, and Alternatives to Emergency”

Dylan Howell is a writer, filmmaker and educator living in Los Angeles. His current research focuses on documentary media and visual modernism. He completed his MA in Aesthetics and Politics at California Institute of the Arts. Outside of the academy, he has taught and organized with Machine Project, Trade School Los Angeles, The Public School and College Track.

Charlie Furman received his BA from the University of Southern California in 2010 and is now back as a 2nd year Cinema and Media Studies Masters Student. In the years between finishing his undergraduate degree and returning to USC, he served as the digital coordinator for a number of mass marches, including the People’s Climate March, the largest demonstration demanding action on climate change in history. His research focuses on media representation of political movements in worlds both real and fictional.

Ritika Kaushik is a PhD student at the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago. She has worked as a Research Associate at Sarai–Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) and as an Editorial Assistant for the peer-reviewed journal BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies. Kaushik works on documentary film and historiography and focuses particularly on bureaucratic and state sponsored film practice in India during 1960s and 1970s. She has a background in film and media production and also completed an M.Phil in Cinema Studies at School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU, New Delhi.

Panel 4: “The Emergence of Activism: Past and Present Protest”

Ellie Tse’s current research and curatorial practice focus on the visual and textual culture of Sinophone articulations and “long-distance” social practices in transnational activist contexts. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Ellie is primarily interested in the difficulty of identity formation and democratic process in polarizing and paradoxical national, transnational and “boundary” contexts – sites of struggle which play host to equally nebulous modes of socialization and acculturation found in and beyond Hong Kong and China. Actively building a parallel practice that bridges research and production, Ellie is committed to practice-led and participatory methods. She is involved with experiential education, community engagement and curriculum development, and has organized and taught several youth leadership programs internationally.
Ellie holds a B.A. with Distinction in Visual & Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is pursuing a Ph.D in Asian Languages & Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Gaurav Pai is a second year PhD student at UW’s Department of Comparative Literature, Cinema and Media Studies, where Gaurav also works as a teaching assistant. Gaurav did a master’s in International Studies at UW’s Jackson School of International Studies. Gaurav is currently working towards a dissertation that revolves around non-fiction cinema in Mexico between 1961 and 1987. Gaurav mainly studies political and social documentaries around the globe through the prism of montage, the human face, the city, sound and silence, fiction and truth. In the past Gaurav has published an essay on 1940s Indian cinema.

Till Kadritzke is a doctoral candidate at the Graduate School for North American Studies (Freie Universität Berlin). His dissertation project is titled Losing Control: New Hollywood Film and the Affective Politics of Expressivity in the 1970s. He is also working as a freelance film critic.

Charlotte Farrell holds a Ph.D. in Theater and Performance Studies from the University of New South Wales, Sydney. She is based in New York City where she is Director of the Center for Performance Research, Visiting Scholar at the Segal Theatre Center, CUNY, and an adjunct lecturer in the Dramatic Literature program at NYU. Her scholarship and reviews have been published in the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Theatre SurveySomatechnicsPeripetiMedia International Australia, RealTime Arts and the book, Corporeality and Culture.

Panel 5: “Emerging Geographies: Imaging and Imagining Physical Space”

As a teenager, Jamie Lee Mohr hitchhiked and rode freight trains across the United States. The stories of people she encountered ignited her fascination with how the framework and composition of each individual story operates within an ecosystem of internalized mythologies.  She investigated the political dimensions of cultural narrative during her field research in Sustainable Development and is now preparing for a new film project that explores similar topics in Estonia.

Hannah Soebbing is an MA student in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California. Her research probes issues of imaging travel and place, with an emphasis on the role of U.S. television in constructing notions of regionality, elsewheres, and national cohesion or fracture in the American national imaginary. In addition to her educational work as a writing tutor and teaching assistant, Hannah has worked extensively in the Detroit, MI restaurant industry, which informs her secondary and related interest in the ways in which culinary discourse and practices intersect with processes of gentrification in U.S. cities.

Harry Hvdson is a Ph.D. student in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California. Their work thinks against carceral media infrastructures through Black feminist epistemologies, queer theory, trans studies, and abolitionist frameworks. To that end, they do work with Youth Justice Coalition.

Emily Rauber Rodriguez is a PhD student in Cinema and Media Studies at USC School of Cinematic Arts. She previously earned an MA from USC in Cinema and Media Studies, and a BA in Film Studies and Psychology from Barnard College, Columbia University. Emily’s research interests include the depiction, participation, and fandom of Latinxs in speculative fiction film and comics. She tweets at @vintagecameos.


Anirban Baishya is a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at the Division of Cinema and Media Studies, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California. His doctoral research examined selfies and the rise of digital selfhood in contemporary India. His research interests include digital media, surveillance and cellphone cultures.

Charlotte Farrell holds a Ph.D. in Theater and Performance Studies from the University of New South Wales, Sydney. She is based in New York City where she is Director of the Center for Performance Research, Visiting Scholar at the Segal Theatre Center, CUNY, and an adjunct lecturer in the Dramatic Literature program at NYU. Her scholarship and reviews have been published in the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Theatre Survey, Somatechnics, Peripeti, Media International Australia, RealTime Arts and the book, Corporeality and Culture.

Aniko Imre is a Professor in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California.

Professor Priya Jaikumar of USC’s Department of Cinema and Media Studies teaches and writes on colonial and postcolonial cinemas, comparative modernities and aesthetics, film policy, state power, theories of history and cultural geography. She is the author of Cinema at the End of Empire: A Politics of Transition in Britain and India (Duke, University Press 2006) and her book Where Histories Reside: India as Filmed Space is forthcoming in 2019, also from Duke.

Jeff Watson, Ph.D. (@remotedevice) is an Assistant Professor of Interactive Media and Games at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, and a director of the Situation Lab (@sitlab). An interdisciplinary scholar-designer, Watson uses a range of methods to investigate the relationships among play, technology, creativity, and politics.

Faculty Roundtable

Tara McPherson is Professor and Chair of Cinema & Media Studies in USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and Director of the Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study. She is a Ph.D. advisor in the MAP program, USC’s innovative practice-based Ph.D., and also an affiliated faculty member in the American Studies and Ethnicity Department. Her scholarship engages the cultural dimensions of media, including the intersection of gender, race, affect, and place, with a particular interest in digital media. Here, her research focuses on the digital humanities, early software histories, gender, and race, as well as upon the development of new tools and paradigms for digital publishing, learning, and authorship. She is author of Feminist in a Software Lab: Difference + Design (Harvard UP: 2018) and the award-winning Reconstructing Dixie: Race, Gender and Nostalgia in the Imagined South (Duke UP: 2003), co-editor of Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture (Duke UP: 2003) and of Transmedia Frictions: The Digital, The Arts + the Humanities (California, 2014), and editor of Digital Youth, Innovation and the Unexpected, part of the MacArthur Foundation series on Digital Media and Learning (MIT Press, 2008.) She was the Founding Editor of Vectors, http://www.vectorsjournal.org, a multimedia peer-reviewed journal affiliated with the Open Humanities Press. She is the founding lead PI on the authoring platform, Scalar, and for the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture, http://scalar.usc.edu/. Her research has been funded by the Mellon, Ford, Annenberg, and MacArthur Foundations, as well as by the NEH.

Vicki Callahan is Professor of Practice at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts in the Division of Media Arts + Practice. Her research and teaching is focused on the integration of theory and practice with attention to issues in film and media history, feminist studies, digital culture, media strategies for social change, and public scholarship. She is the author of Zones of Anxiety: Movement, Musidora, and the Crime Serials of Louis Feuillade (WSUP 2005), editor for the collection, Reclaiming the Archive: Feminism and Film History (WSUP 2010), and co-editor with Virginia Kuhn for the collection Future Texts: Subversive Performance and Feminist Bodies (Parlor Press, 2016). She has two book projects in process, one on gender issues in emergent media (with Sarah Atkinson at Kings College) and a monograph on the silent film director and actor, Mabel Normand. She was an NEH fellow for the inaugural workshop, “Scholarship in Sound and Image,” on Videographic Criticism at Middlebury College, and in 2015 she was in residence at University College Cork, Ireland as a Fulbright Scholar with a focus on digital media praxis. Her documentary film project, The Lowcountry, on questions of racial justice and reconciliation in Charleston after the Walter Scott and Mother Emanuel killing has received two South Carolina Humanities grants as well as support from the Yip Harburg and Coastal Community Foundations.

J.D. Connor is an Associate Professor in the Division of Cinema and Media Studies at USC. Dr. Connor currently serves as Director of Graduate Studies. Dr. Connor’s new book, Hollywood Math and Aftermath: The Economic Image and the Digital Recession was published by Bloomsbury in August. Dr. Connor’s previous book, The Studios after the Studios: Neoclassical Hollywood, 1970–2010, was published by Stanford in 2015. He is working on projects about audiotaping, worldbuilding, and comedy. He writes periodically for lareviewofbooks.com, he tweets more frequently @jdconnor.

Nitin Govil is Associate Professor of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. He works on media in comparative contexts, focusing on cultural exchanges between East and West. His books include Orienting Hollywood: A Century of Film Culture between Los Angeles and Bombay and the co-authored Global Hollywood.