Research News

UW-Madison's Ahn exploring ‘Social Homelessness on U.S. Campuses’

August 27, 2019

UW-Madison's Yeohyun Ahn recently presented her new project, which focuses on isolation and marginalization in higher education, at the 2019 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) Games, Entertainment, and Media (GEM) Conference hosted by Yale University’s Center for Collaborative Arts and Media June 19-22.

Being Ignored
This image is called "Generative Selfie." Yeohyun Ahn
explains that it a selfie produced with a computer algorithm
to express a moment of being brushed off. The image is a
series of "Being Ignored Version 2.0." She notes that it is
an ongoing documentary selfie to portrait Asian female
faculty members on U.S. campuses.
Ahn is an assistant professor of graphic design and interactive media with the School of Education's Art Department.

Ahn's project, which is titled “Social Homelessness on U.S. Campuses,” brings together multidisciplinary art and design research to explore the isolation of Asian female faculty members in higher education. Social Homelessness consists of a series of self-portrait photography, site-specific art installation, Guerrilla projection, public speaking, and work by Asian Female Scholars, a group that supports Asian female faculty members of mostly white institutions. 

The project initially began with an interactive art software, “Being Ignored Version 1.0,” which created selfies with light and computer algorithm. Ahn originally used this software to recognize the dignity and humanity of those who are homeless and being ignored in Porter County, Indiana.

After reading “Here I am, Faith Stories of Korean American Clergy-women," Ahn was inspired to use similar interactive art technologies to examine social homelessness. Social homelessness is defined as a lack of ​community to associate with or rely on, contributing to an isolated and alienated feeling.

Ahn has developed this project into a mobile application, as well, to enhance public exposure and participation by using phones and social media.

Her work will also be showcased this fall at ARTECH 2019, an international conference on digital and interactive arts hosted in Braga, Portugal.

Learn more about Ahn's project via the socialhomelessness.com website.