Golan Levin: Welcome back everyone. So for the last few minutes here we’re going to have a group discussion Q&A moderated by professor of Games Learning at the Parsons School of Design John Sharp. Come on in, John. And come on in everyone else, too. I’m gonna pop out.
John Sharp: Thank you, Golan. Thank you everybody else from the STUDIO for having us today. Thank you all, artists, for your awesome talks. I know y’all’s work fairly well from the last eighteen months or however long we’ve been on this trip together. But every time I speak to you and I hear you all speak about your work I’m learning more and more. So thank you again.
So first question, which however is moved to speak—we’ll conduct this kind of like a Quaker meeting, those of you who want to answer one of my questions, please do. If you do not want to answer it, then please don’t. I’m really curious about how getting in the weeds with your amendments has informed your thinking about the amendment you’ve been working on. As you’ve moved through the project did your initial impressions and sort of the impetus for your work change at all, or did you become more strong in your resolve and your interpretation and feelings about the amendment you worked on?
Margaret Schedel: Maybe Melissa and I can take that.
Schedel: I don’t think our plan changed much. We were really inspired by that “states, people, or federal” from the very beginning. And I think what really has changed is how we listen to the news, right. Melissa listed a bunch of cases now that are gonna be decided by the Tenth Amendment, and it’s just fascinating that it wasn’t used for a long time and now…is. Melissa, anything to add there?
Melissa F. Clarke: Yeah no, I think that’s pretty much it. Just the context is evolving right in front of us with current laws that’re being passed, especially with abortion and LGBTQ rights. So you know, the original conceptual designs haven’t changed much, but definitely reinforcing that understanding just with many of the amendments with contemporary events. I would say that like Meg pointed out, we had a very elaborate plan in terms of the installation, but then went on a site visit. And that part, just the physical piece, we were like oh, we’ve gotta scale this back. [laughs]
But knowing that this exhibit will show in other venues, and that it’s possible to do other iterations of the piece, and seeing that there’s another piece online and we’re kind of interested in doing something similar. Yeah, just also being responsive to the site is another part of the iteration process in the the Tenth Amendment piece.
Sharp: Anyone else have any thoughts on that question?
Danielle Isadora Butler: Sure. I would say that my concept developed and changed a lot as I spoke to more lawyers. And I feel like my piece is really like…I feel like I was the test subject for my piece and then ooh, finding that entryway in. I feel like I’ve become much more engaged and able to articulate why I think our punitive justice system is broken but also tried to really find a very specific, small way to talk about that? And that was definitely the hardest and most interesting thing to me.
Sharp: I’m curious if there’s been any kind of…I don’t know how to phrase it…ambient bleed from being part of this project and thinking about some of the other amendments in the Bill of Rights. If any of you are now inspired to maybe think about, or maybe wish you were working on one of the other amendments in the Bill of Rights.
Clarke: I can respond to that just a little bit. Just at a high level, I think all of the cases that I’ve seen I just want to congratulate the artists, because their interpretation of the amendment has made me want to dive deeper into each one. Like, I really feel that each artist, through the discovery process, has brought to the surface a lot of very tangible concepts behind these amendments or legalspeak. And I’m really thankful to have learned so much. So thank you.
Peter Bradley: Yeah, I always thought that Nine was the weirdest one. And I have no idea like…I kinda want to look up the history of it now and see what cases have revolved around it and what are these hidden rights. But Ryan, that project seems so insane. I can’t wait to sit down at the terminal and give that a shot.
Ryan Kuo: Yeah, thanks. You know it’s funny, like…for me my… I was kinda like, honestly I was looking at the amendments and I was like “should I apply for this thing or not?” And then I read this one, and it just immediately… I mean it was like all the kind of tensions and frustrations that had built up at the beginning of the pandemic, just kinda came and slapped me in the face so to speak. And sort of the grasp that that amendment has had on my kind of personal interpretations of what’s been going on around me actually hasn’t changed.
And so there was a point at which I wondered if I was just actually just really strongly projecting a very personal reading onto it? And so I actually went and met with Leah Rosen, the legal advisor on this. You know, I basically asked her like, it seems like this amendment would both support a notion of privacy rights as well as you know, forms of extremism or violence. And she said yeah, basically. That it is vague enough for that, and that’s perhaps one reason why I don’t think that the Ninth has actually been a deciding…I don’t know the terminology—like citation in any like major cases. It was part of a few very important ones, but it wasn’t ever the main amendment cited. So anyway.
Sharp: Fun fact: When we first put the call out, we assumed we were going to be inundated with First and Second Amendments proposals. And actually the Ninth and the Third were the two that yielded the most proposals. And the only reason I can guess that with the Ninth was Radiolab’s podcast More Perfect did an episode about the Ninth amendment which made it sound really kind of cool and mysterious. That’s my only theory as to why the Ninth received so much attention.
Yeah, the pandemic, it came up a number of times in your presentations and I feel like in many ways has really kind of forced things to the surface, and I feel in a weird way. Maybe it’s just because I’m inside this project. But I feel like I see the amendments popping up in the news constantly, not by name but by ah yes, I see legally where this is going. I’m curious if any of you have had similar kinds of impressions of seeing the Bill of Rights more fully in our world.
Ian McNeely: Well I can speak to that in terms of the Seventh Amendment, the right to a jury trial in civil cases. Because the news for the last few years has been so contentious. And without naming names, I know there are a lot of people in politics who’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, and consequences to come from crimes. And it seems like ultimately one of the mechanisms that I’d never realized so robust is civil liability. And that many people who should face consequences, those consequences may ultimately be in civil courts, before a jury and the Seventh Amendment will be alive and determining the results of those cases.
Arnab Chakravarty: One of the other interesting thing I kind of noticed around this was like [indistinct] and because of the nature of how our digitally-mediated lives changed, juries were being done on Zoom. Immigration laws for example are completely okay with people staying outside the residency requirements of the country—for being in the country has been changed. So I can basically do this talk sitting in or wherever; I’m still allowed back in America.
So like, the nature of technology has also kind of made some of these laws much more interesting than they probably were before, because of the sheer nature of our presence, of physical presence that has changed so dramatically. Like even the Third, what does it mean for the soldier to come inside your house, allies— There are so many of these issues that have been brought to the surface because of technology.
Sharp: I mean, I think hand in hand with the pandemic was the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all of the other lives that were lost. As well as that increased pressure on immigration. And so all of these things have really combined to really draw our attentions to the Bill of Rights and what these rights actually are and are not for us.
One last question. Playable works, all works are prone to interpretations that may or may not have anything to do with what the creator had intended but I feel it playable works are particularly— [recording cuts short]