Why aesthetic advocacy?

Because art works when words don't. 

Since 2015, Dr. McKain's students have used local, national, and international
art exhibitions to call attention to the political, racial, informational,
and environmental challenges of our post-digital world.

Since 2017, this work has been in partnership with
the Institute for Aesthetic Advocacy and the Institute for Digital Humanity.

Event footage can be found there.  A partial exhibition list is here:



All Bullets Shatter:
Untold Stories of Gun Violence and Trauma (May 2022)

Co-Sponsors: Minnesota Second Chance Coalition; Guns Down, Love, Up; Protect Minnesota; North Suburban Center for the Arts; Urban Educators; Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives; Ohio State University; Georgia State University; Portland State University;
and University of Pittsburgh Prison Writing Project.

 
Plugging In:
Surveillance and Technology (October 2021)

Co-Sponsors: ACLU MN, Reclaim the Block, Safety Not Surveillance
 
Digital Rights Are Civil Rights:
Race and Technology (February 2021)

Co-Sponsors: ACLU MN, Councilman Steve Fletcher, Little Earth Native American HUD Community
 
Contaminated:
Call For Art And Stories During COVID (May 2020)

 
Sad Girls and Hopeful Women:
A Cross-Cultural Conversation on Feminism (December 2019)

 
Y2K16:
A Digital Ethics "Science Fair" for the 21st Century (December 2016)

 
School Shootings:
A Culture of Violence (December 2015)

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Y2K16: Surviving the Digital Apocalypse:

A Digital Ethics "Science Fair" For The 21st Century

Mediums:
Audio and video installations, graphic design, projections, video games, performance art, live action role-playing, scripted drama, theoretical exegeses, music, painting, xmas lights, cellphones, cardboard, costumes, film.

 

Artists:
English 3710: Critical Digital Media Theory (Fall 2016)


Location:
Saint Paul, MN.  December 2016.

Description:
Y2K16 aesthetically enacted the technological controversies of Campaign 2016 -- the post-fact society, filter bubble, algorithmic discrimination, social isolation, uncivil political discourse, etc. -- to spur public engagement, and civic education, on post-digital American politics.

 

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School Shootings: A Culture of Violence

An Exhibit on Interdisciplinary Incoherence

Mediums:
Sound and video installations, academic research papers, police tape, news footage of school shootings, dozens of interviews with faculty (across the humanities, arts, social sciences, and physical sciences) on the causes of school violence (including culture, economics, race, masculinity, video games, gun laws, and America's 21st century decline).

Artists:
Freshmen Seminar (Fall 2015)

Location:
Saint Paul, MN.  December 2015 

Description:
Students searched for academic answers to the epidemic of school violence. Then they made art instead. 

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Aesthetic advocacy pushes politics and poetics into one experiential space: Enabling empathy to enlist critical action to fight apathy.