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Micha Cárdenas

Micha Cárdenas
Allied Media Conference 2012 Opening Ceremony
Born 1977
Nationality American
Education University of California San Diego
Known for Performance

Micha Cárdenas is a transgender artist and theorist. She works in digital media, performance and social practice.


  • Artwork and Performances 1
  • Books 2
  • Teaching and Research 3
  • Education 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Artwork and Performances

Cárdenas has presented her work around the world, including keynote performances at the 2014 Digital Gender workshop at Umeå University in Sweden,[1] 2013 Dark Side of the Digital Conference[2] and 2012 Allied Media Conference,[3] performances at the 2012 Zero1 Biennial in San Jose,[4] and the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics 7th Encuentro in Bogotá, Colombia[5] and collective exhibitions at the 2010 California Biennial,[6][7] and the 2009 Mérida Biennial.[8] In 2008, Cardenas performed Becoming Dragon, a 365 hour mixed reality performance in Second Life.[9] Recent projects include Local Autonomy Networks [10] and virus.circus, a collaboration with Elle Mehrmand.[11] She has also curated exhibits in Los Angeles, New York and Tijuana, Mexico.,[12][13][14]

As a member of the Electronic Disturbance Theater/b.a.n.g. lab,[15] she helped design the Transborder Immigrant Tool, a GPS device designed to guide immigrants illegally crossing the US-Mexico border and to help them find water stations during their journey.[16] Cardenas argued that the aim of this project was "about giving water to somebody who's dying in the desert of dehydration,"[17] but which critics claimed was an irresponsible use of government funds, and a tool that would also help facilitate other illegal activity, like smuggling, as well.[15] Ultimately, all investigations of the project were dropped without finding any misuse of funds or illegal activity on the part of the artists.[18]


In 2013, Cárdenas' poetry and a statement on poetics was published in the anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics ISBN 978-1937658106 by Nightboat Books. The editors describe the book as the first anthology of transgender and genderqueer poetry.

In 2012, Cárdenas' co-authored book The Transreal: Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realities ISBN 0-9839152-4-5 was published by Atropos Press. The book discusses art, games and activism that use multiple realities, including augmented reality, mixed reality and alternate reality approaches.

Cárdenas' first book, co-authored with Barbara Fornssler, Trans Desire / Affective Cyborgs ISBN 0982530994 discusses an experimental conception of politics based in desire.[19]

Cárdenas has published several works related to the theoretical issues raised in her performances including "Becoming Dragon, A Transversal Technology Study" in the 2013 book Critical Digital Studies ISBN 978-1442614666 from University of Toronto press,[20] and "I Am Transreal" in the book Gender Outlaws the Next Generation, edited by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman.[21] Additional published works include "Technesexual Interface: Erotic Mixed Reality Performance",[22] in co-authored with Elle Mehrmand.

Teaching and Research

Cárdenas was a Lecturer in the Visual Arts Department[23] and Critical Gender Studies Program[24] at UCSD in 2009 and 2010. She was previously the Interim Associate Director of Art and Technology for the Culture, Art and Technology program at UCSD[25] and a researcher at the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts, CalIT2 and the UCSD School of Medicine.[26] Cárdenas also worked in the Experimental Game Lab at the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts on the Scalable City project.[27]


Cárdenas is currently a PhD Candidate and Provost Fellow[28] at the University of Southern California in the Media Arts and Practice program. She received her MFA at the University of California San Diego in the summer of 2009, and holds a Master's degree in Media and Communications with distinction from the European Graduate School and a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Florida International University.


  1. ^ "Digital Gender Workshop, Sweden, Abstracts and workshop programme". 
  2. ^ "Dark Side of the Digital, University of Michigan, Milwaukee". 
  3. ^ "AMC2012 Opening Ceremony: Experiments in the Species Self". 
  4. ^ Sarah Beth (July 17, 2012). ["" "eMERGE, The ZERO1 Street Festival"]. 
  5. ^ "Micha Cárdenas and Elle Mehrmand". August 22, 2009. Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  6. ^ Name (required) (February 15, 2011). "Another Righteous Transfer, Not the Same Old Song and Dance: Recent Encounters with Karen Adelman and Flora Wiegmann". Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  7. ^ Hart, Hugh (November 15, 2010). "Screw-Embedded Football ‘Breathes’ on Respirator". Wired. Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Biennale: Arte Nuevo Interactiva '09". Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  9. ^ Hello, Guest (December 21, 2008). "Online-world immersion probes possibilities of transformation, San Diego Union Tribune, by Scott LaFee". Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Feature Interview: Micha Cardenas". 
  11. ^ "MCA Presents Here Not There, Will Bowen,". Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  12. ^ HOUSE OF ART: Lui Velazquez, Derrik Chinn,, San Diego Union Tribune
  13. ^ 
  14. ^ 
  15. ^ a b Rhett, Joshua (April 7, 2010). "Critics Blast Transborder Immigrant Tool As 'Irresponsible' Use Of Technology". Fox News. Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  16. ^ "AJE". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  17. ^ Spagat, Elliot (December 30, 2009). "Activists want to give GPS to immigrants | Wichita Eagle". Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  18. ^ Name *. "Interview with Ricardo Dominguez, Zach Blas, Reclamations Journal". Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  19. ^ "e-misferica, Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, NYU". Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Becoming Dragon, A Transversal Technology Study". November 4, 2009. Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  21. ^ J. Rudy Flesher (February 1, 2011). "Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation – Book Review Part 2". Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Technesexual Interface: Erotic Mixed Reality Performance". Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  23. ^ Visiting Faculty, UCSD Visual Arts Department
  24. ^ "critical gender studies fall courses, UCSD Critical Gender Studies Program" (PDF). Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  25. ^ Micha Cardenas, Culture, Art and Technology Program Website
  26. ^ "Productive confusions: learning from simulations of pandemic virus outbreaks in Second Life (Proceedings Paper)". Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Scalable City by Sheldon Brown and the Experimental Game Lab". Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  28. ^ "USC Provost Fellows". 

External links

  • Cardenas' Blog
  • Cardenas' curated exhibitions at UCSD's Culture, Art and Technology Program
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