SPEAKER INTERVIEW: Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo

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This is a series of interviews with the speakers of Digital Family Summit, June 29-July 1.
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Cynthia Lawson JaramilloCynthia Lawson Jaramillo is a digital artist, technologist and educator. She is particularly interested in time and transience. Her artwork has been internationally exhibited and performed, including at Giacobetti Paul GalleryExit Art and HERE Arts (NYC), UCLA Hammer Museum (LA), Point Éphémère (Paris) and the Museums of Modern Art in Bogotá and Medellín (Colombia). She recently self-published “Of and In Cities,” an academically framed art book about five of her photographic projects, and “Cross Urban,” which documents the first two years of an ongoing collaboration with Klaus Fruchtnis. Cynthia has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá) and a Masters in Interactive Telecommunications (ITP) from New York University. She is currently Assistant Professor of Integrated Design in the School of Design Strategies at Parsons The New School for Design and a founding member of Occupy University.

twitter: @cynthialawson
website: CynthiaLawson.com
session: Action!  Digital Video Workshop Saturday June 30, 9:30AM-12:30 PM
session:  Digital Photography Studio, Saturday Jun 30, 2:30 PM-5:30 PM

How did you get involved with blogging?
I got a B.S. in Electrical Engineering after which I became an art professor, teaching art students who to incorporate programming & electronics into their artwork. I moved to NY for a Masters in Interactive Media and have never looked back. As an academic, and an artist, I teach and use digital media creation and all sorts of online platforms for my teaching and my own practice.

What’s your favorite technology to help you blog/write/tweet/edit?
I prefer applications and platforms that do one thing and they do it very well. I read via Tweetie (very sparse Mac application), and tweet via Timely.is which allows me to schedule tweets, for free, with some good performance analytics. What’s great about both is the fact the minimal amount of features in each. I’m not a fan of Twitter applications that allows us to do so many things, it takes me 10 minutes to remember how to get to that one feature.

If you could travel back in time and send yourself a message, what would it be?
Other than to buy stock such as Apple and Google many years ago? I would have reinforced that it was OK to be a nerd and to dedicate myself to the things I loved. I still consider myself a nerd (it’s on my personal business card), and am proud to focus on and engage in what I love with passion and commitment.

Any advice for young bloggers?
I have advice on two points. The first, is to focus on becoming great learners, because technology will continue to change at a rapid speed, so it won’t be about who is an expert today, but who becomes the expert tomorrow on the newest platform. The second, is to encourage thoughtful and critical interactions online. So much of digital media has become about fast and short, that the world could really use slow and in-depth. After all, wouldn’t it be awesome if digital media creators could contribute to the wicked and seemingly unsolvable problems of the world?

What’s the biggest danger facing digital teens & their families today?
“Danger” is a strong word. As someone who grew up in places were there were actual “dangers” I would say there aren’t any. Perhaps what comes to mind is privacy, yet that is the danger of ignorance. So the best thing we all can do is to ensure techno literacy that includes issues of privacy and always knowing what settings to turn on or off.

What are you going to talk about at the conference?
I am teaching two introductory workshops: one on photography and the other on video. I hope to be able to share some tips & techniques which are often not kept in mind in this everyone-is-a-photographer-and-artist-on-Instagram world of image-making. The teaser: lighting, lighting, lighting. Oh, and a tripod and silent room. More, later!

What’s next for you after the Digital Family Summit?
I have a solo exhibition opening on August 15th, of photography and video. I’m most excited about my new interactive installation “Slow Landscapes.” I’m also co-organizing a conference on Community at Parsons in the fall. For both, you can stay tuned via Twitter @cynthialawson or my website, http://cynthialawson.com

Anything else you’d like to tell us?
I feel fortunate to be thinking about digital media & families – not the usual ecosystem I consider in these themes.

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 Adam Gertsacov is the co-founder and co-organizer of Digital Family Summit.  He wears many hats, including those of a professional clown, an author and publisher, an artist/educator, a non-profit administrator, a P.T. Barnum impersonator, a flea circus impresario, and the esteemed hat of the Clown Laureate of Greenbelt, Maryland.  

In his copious freetime, he blogs at http://www.clownlink.com and http://www.dadapalooza.com, as well as a few other places.
You can find out more about his clown work at http://www.acmeclown.com

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