Visualizing Toxic Subjects

Imaging Risk: Lead Poisoning and Information Distribution in Southern California

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Visualizing Lead Risk

Caption: Lead risk map from Vox (working with the Washington State Department of Health). The researchers used the age of houses (lead paint) and poverty to estimate risk. Lead risk hotspots tend to be concentrated in urban areas (see LA and San Diego), particularly old industrial areas. States with large swaths of rural areas are also more vulnerable to exposure. Maps like this are very rarely created because cities and states are not required to report data on lead poisoning. As a result, there is a gap in knowledge and data. This map attempts to solve this issue by making visible places that are potentially at risk for lead and thus, in need of intervention.

Design Statement: Maps like this are very rarely created because cities and states are not required to report data on lead poisoning. As a result, there is a gap in knowledge and data. This map attempts to solve this issue by making visible places that are potentially at risk for lead and thus, in need of intervention. California, in 2017, passed landmark legislation requiring all health care providers and labaratories to report all results of lead poisoning tests to the California Department of Public Health. Rectifying this gap in data is crucial to raising awareness on lead poisoning as more resources can be distributed to places with more instances in lead poisoning. However, at the current moment, there is no nationwide mandate to report and as a result, healthcare providers and the public are not aware of the amount of instances of lead poisoning and even the risk for being exposed to lead in their own communities.

Who is a toxic victim?

Caption: The left three images are taken from the World Health Organization (WHO) website on lead poisoning. The photo on the bottom is the main photo on the website. The one on the top left is the cover for a booklet on lead poisoning published by WHO and the photo in top middle is from a photoseries on environmental health from WHO. All three point to a particular population, mainly brown and black and in a third world country, as being the most susceptible to lead poisoning even though a study done by scientists at Simon Fraser University estimates that lead exposure contributes to 400,000 deaths per year in the US. Result of study is on the right.

Design Statement: I juxtaposed these 4 images (the three from WHO and one from a study done by Simon Fraser) because the three from WHO point to a particular population, mainly brown and black and in a third world country, as being the most susceptible to lead poisoning even though the study from Simon Fraser, as well as recent events such as Flint, Michigan, point to unsafe drinking water and poor infrastructures in the US as well. Representations of potential victims of lead poisoning or other enviromental health hazards influence perceptions of risk and who is most likely to be at risk. As a result, little attention is paid to the risks and hazards experienced daily by many Americans.

Exposure ... to information

Caption: Two infographics on lead exposure and common sources of lead exposure, the left is from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the right is from WHO. The information in these two infographics points to lack of knowledge in the public on lead risk and lead poisoning.  How much lead exposure is safe? Where are the sources of lead?

Design Statement: I am interested in infographics because they index potential knowledge gaps between the public and scientists or government officials. These two infographics on lead poisoning are indicative of what the employees and volunteers non-profit organizations and governing bodies deem to be missing information among the public.

Infographics are also an important form of communication between different social and cultural groups as their purpose is for experts to distill large amounts of often complicated information into easily digestible information for a broader public. Thus, it is crucial to understand the avenues through which expert knowledge travels, what type of information is picked to be disseminated, and how that knowledge is formed and transformed through various mediums, platforms, and people.

Corporeal Landscapes: Discourse, Memory, and Embodiment In Mexico's Changing Climate

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Rain, Family, and Sensory Experience: Imagining Quotidian Climate Change

Caption: Brother and Sister Escape Rain Storm. 

This image is of Pancha and Chon Alanis, brother and sister, taken during my preliminary feildwork in Coamiles, Nayarit, Mexico. I chose this image particularly because it does something that I have difficulty capturing textually, it vividly captures weather as well as bodily/sensorial experience. It also gives the observer an opportunity to visualize the field as an affective plane, where affect is being transmitted through environment, bodies present, and bodies viewing. 

As my project attempts to articulate the everyday experiences, memories, affects, and embodiments that eventually become the foundations for which farmers are able to describe, pinpoint, and make real climate change, I fixate on images like these which capture moments which eventually become memories of "climate change." These visualizations are thus intended to be images of retrospect, in which climate change becomes articulated as the changes within one's lifetime. 

Imagining Climate Change

Caption: Collage of "Climate Change" Google Search. 

This collage brings together numerous images from goolge searches of "climate change" in order to visualize how climate change is being popularly imagined, explained, and experienced. In many instances, these images appear right away, often indicating the most recent news reports on climate change. Through these searches one can see how climate change, at a quick glance, is  being represented through juxtapositions between quotidian imagery and foreboding descriptions. Images of children, farmers, and icebergs are coupled with descriptors such as "grim," "dire," and "crisis." 

By using this as one of my own ethnographic images I hope to illustrate how climate change happens simultaneously in our imaginaries as apocalyptic specticle and everyday slow violence. I also hope to drive forward the question: how can we bridge the gap between the spectacular and the everyday? 

Toxic Masculinity: Interrogating Mechanisms Undercutting Gendered Possibilities

Toxic masculinity
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Toxic masculinity

Created Image: Toxic Socialization of Masculinity

This image illustrated how toxic masculinity and educational contexts in different temporality and locality shape one another and serve the same purpose to solidify and legitimize the masculine way of "doing" gender.  From the left, the graduating class consisiting of white male high school students in Wisconsin, US shameless gives the Sig Heil Nazi sign during their class photo to assert their intersectional power and priviliege of race and gender.  On the right, a group of middle school male students in Chengdu, China were made to sign their names on a banner, which reads "Masculine Boys (Yang-Gang-Nan-Hai)" in response to the national call for making boys like boys.

Design Statement: I selected and combined these two images to pinpoint how the toxic ideology of masculinity is produced by and produces educational systems in both Chinese and the US societies.

  • The image relfects how educational practices across two cultures serve to solidfy and legitimize masculinity.
  • This image reflects how toxic masculinity on the one hand can be constructed and, on the other hand, shapes nad reinforces the ways in which young boys are "correctly" socialized into the so-called masculine men.

SOURCE

Shao, Jianmin. 2018. “Created image: Masculine socialization in education.” In Toxic Masculinity, created by Jianmin Shao. In Visualizing Toxic Subjects Digital Exhibit, curated by James Adams and Kim Fortun. The Center for Ethnography. March.

Toxic masculinity

Created Image: Hegemonic Heteronormativity

This image was created by two different pictures online to demonstrate how heteronormativity signifying the masculine way of "doing" family (i.e., protecting traditional nuclear family for benefits of the next geneation) creates marginality for sexual minority individuals in Taiwan who desire family diversity and alternative ways of "doing" family. On the top, a group of men bringing their wivies and children to a gathering with the purpose of advocating traditional nuclear family values and devaluing family diveristy and gender inclusive education.  On the bottom, results showed that right-wing ideology prevailed in the nearest referendums in Taiwan, with voters rejecting same-sex marriage and gender inclusive education. 

Design Statement: I selected and combined these two images to reveal the hegemonic heteronormativity, a concept originated from queer theory.

  • This image reflects the masculine way of "doing" family--that is, stablize traditional nuclear family through the claims of protecting children while marginalizing and delegitmazing diverse forms of family. 

SOURCE

Shao, Jianmin. 2018. “Created image: Hegemonic heteronormativity.” In Toxic Masculinity, created by Jianmin Shao. In Visualizing Toxic Subjects Digital Exhibit, curated by James Adams and Kim Fortun. The Center for Ethnography. March.

Toxic masculinity

Created Image: Cisgender Fragility

This image shows the ways in which cisgender individuals utilize the ideology of gender essentialism and gener binary to create boundaries undercutting transgender individuals' accessiblity to bathrooms.  On the left, a group of pastors, community activists, and politicans in Houston came out fighting against the "bathroom bill," leading to the defeat of the bill.  On the right, a group of UCLA students were adovacting gender essentialism and protesting about bathroom accessiblity for transgender individuals.  Both groups used the similar kind of tactic (i.e., the use of gender essentialism and gender binary) to achieve their goals, thus again solidfying and entrenching hegemonic gendered perceptions. 

Design Statement: I selected and combined these two image to reflect upon how transgender individuals are policed, marginalized, and even erased by cisgender ideology.

  • This image is rooted in the ideology of gender essentialism and gender binary.
  • This image pinponts the sex/gender system perpetuating a world full of violence towards transgender individuals.

SOURCE

Shao, Jianmin. 2018. “Created image: Cisgender fragility.” In Toxic Masculinity, created by Jianmin Shao. In Visualizing Toxic Subjects Digital Exhibit, curated by James Adams and Kim Fortun. The Center for Ethnography. March.

Rachel Lee & Mehar Maju: No Parking Next to Garden

The image’s subject is the community garden which serves as a proxy for the community itself. The spatial location of the garden near the freeway will inevitably impact the health and...Read more

A part of the neighborhood

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Steel Reserve

The image captures several modes of toxicity. The can is trash left on the street, the traffic below is constant, and the freeway itself sits below the surface streets indicating the removal of vast amounts of soil. The clean lines and painted surface serve to overshadow the overwhelming pollution produced just feet below.

I took this photo while walking my dog.

Freeway woodland

This photo is facing west on Maple Street along the northern border of the 210 freeway just before the Los Robles Avenue overpass. There are a steady stream of mostly cars and occasional UPS and Fed-Ex delivery trucks. In taking the photo, I tried to show the complete coverage of the freeway by the trees. In this photograph, the freeway is not directly seen, but it is the reason reason for the trees to be there. The vehicle traffic and air pollution produced on the other side of the trees is visually blocked out by the sense of a small woodland area. The photo points to the significant landscaping expertise that is required for freeway maintenance.

I took this photo while walking my dog.

No parking next to the garden, through traffic only

The photo was taken facing south at the corner of Maple St. and Oakland Ave. It shows how the freeway can disappear from view even though it is across the street. The community garden must deal with both the terrible air quality next to the freeway and numerous rodents that live along the freeway and forage at night in the community garden. 

I took this photo while walking my dog.

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