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Snap the Drag, 2020-21
Augmented Reality Drag Cabaret series, developed using Snapchat Lens Studio, Youtube, Zoom, After Effects, Computer Vision Collaborators: Gabriel Moore, Eric Angerlo, Daniel Benitez
As part of a series of workshops in collaboration with Princeton University’s LGBT center during the pandemic, I developed a project, Snap the Drag, to engage students with the complex function of drag culture in LGBTQ+ history, by using augmented reality to experiment with radical forms of self- expression.
During spring break, students were invited to work with visiting speakers and faculty across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, with the aim of providing a safe space for culturally relevant experiments in XR technology. Invited speaker Shaka McGlotten, Professor of Media Studies and Anthropology at Purchase College- SUNY, collaborated as a visiting lecturer for this workshop, in the Spring of 2021.
Snap the Drag both innovated with and parodied the contemporary use of augmented reality filters; questioning how AR relates to the history of drag through the mainstreaming of experimental forms of self-expression- often originating in LGBTQ+ history- and what these conversations may mean for the advancement, or further marginalization- of LGBTQ+ communities.
Snap’s Lens Studio
Lens Studio, a new software by Snap, the camera company behind Snapchat, is an easy to learn fully customizable Augmented Reality development environment.
Users can either pick from templates, or create custom characters- based on Aruco Markers, face-tracking maps, or other triggers, to develop advanced and easy-to-use AR filters.
Collaboration with the LGBT Center
As part of an ongoing series of collaborations between the Princeton LGBT Center and the Out in STEM alliance, I was delighted to further foster LGBTQ+ oriented activities; in order to engage a wide audience by appealing to interests in contemporary technology, like Augmented Reality.
Computer Vision Drag Show!
During the SIGGRAPH event, I invited critical theorist/drag performer & University of Arizona professor Harris Kornstein to deliver a lecture on pronoun usage in digital spaces.
Kornstein discussed research on the intersections of computer vision algorithms, facial recognition, and drag culture. Kornstein ignited the night with a solo performance as Lil’ Hot Mess, a performative project.