Monday, December 5, 2016

History 12A Final Project

History of Race in Mass Imprisonment

By Joshua Woods

The United States of America leads the world in incarceration rate. Numbers have more than quadrupled over the decades.  If you want to point the finger, you can blame generations of racism and racial discrimination this nation was born on dating back to slavery. America has never been absolutely free. From slavery, to Jim Crow laws, and now mass imprisonment. The reason I picked these events or eras in history is because they all have ties and contributed to the America being the leader of mass incarceration.


The Spanish and Portuguese began bring slaves to the new world (The Caribbean) in the late 1400's and 1500's. Slavery in America didn't really jump until the 1600's. Black slaves were seen as property and not human beings. Taken from their homes, packed like sardines in these boats and shipped the the Americas to be sold to plantation owners. America was built during these times and if a race starts of as slaves, they are going to be looked down upon and treated a certain way.  

13th Amendment (End of Slavery)

Following the civil war, the thirteenth amendment was ratified ending slavery and involuntary servitude. The loophole is that it continues by, "... except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.." This made it legal to use criminals pretty much as slaves. Plantation owners needed replacements for slaves so they looked to criminals. Not to forget, even though slavery was ruled out, the southern half of the country was still in favor of it. "In the decades following Emancipation Proclamation, scholars, policymakers, and social welfare reformers had analyzed the disparate rates of black incarceration as empirical "proof" of the "criminal nature" of African Americans." (Hinton) As soon as blacks lost the label as slave, they gained the term criminal. 

Convict Leasing to Chain Gangs

Plantation owners did not want to pay employees high wages so they looked to convict leasing. This allowed them to get free work out of convicts. By 1908 this became illegal and chain gangs became the leader for convict working. Convicts no longer worked for private industries. They then worked on the state's chain gang serving the needs of building the roads ultimately helping develop the south. Majority of the chain gang were blacks. Even black women were included in the gang because they were not seen as women. 

Jim Crow Laws

This is the system implemented by the south to segregate whites from blacks. This system lasted almost a century from the late 1800's to the mid 1900's. Blacks still weren't seen as equal at this time. The reason I included the Jim Crow Laws in the history of mass incarceration because it built up more tension between whites and blacks that led to rising incarceration rates when it ended. The more blacks fought to be equal, the more whites feared and sought to get rid of blacks. An idea for such was imprisoning them. If they are locked up, they cannot interfere. 

                                                                        War on Poverty turned Crime turned Drugs

President Lyndon B. Johnson believed in creating a great society. He did so by declaring a war on poverty, and creating domestic programs that institute federally sponsored social welfare programs such as medicare and medicaid. LBJ hoped this would alleviate problems of racial and economic inequities.The civil rights act was just past but LBJ that this didn't make black and whites equal until they were living and taken care of equally. LBJ did this in response to a high national poverty rate and a skyrocketing crime rate. When this war on poverty was not happening quick enough and crime continued to rise,  LBJ's third point in his national strategy was "Attacking Crime by the Roots." He sought to do this through "Bail requirements need not add families to the welfare rolls. Court procedures need not increase a sense of unfair and differential treatment. Sentencing practices need not require that the poor go to jail while others pay fines. Imprisonment need not result in loss of job skills. Social injustice is not the sole reason for crime. Social justice is not the sole cure," (Johnson). 

President saw fighting crime in a different lens and targeted drugs. "In 1971 Nixon issued a message to Congress on drug abuse prevention and control, in which he declared drug abuse (by which he meant all use of any drug banned by the government) to be "public enemy number one." This was a direct attack on blacks and hippies. Associating blacks with heroine and antiwar hippies with marijuana. 
"In the media of the 1960s and '70s, political militants became emblematic, fear -inspiring "criminals." Images of African Americans dominated these representations in newspapers and on television- Black Panthers, political prisoners such as George Jackson ans Angela Davis, and participants in urban rebellions in Watts, Detroit, and Newark," (Kilgore). Blacks, especially the youth, were then labeled super predators, animals, and the main problem with crime in america.
Nixon more than doubled the police funding. Making our police more military. 
President Reagan, like Nixon, was determined to take on drugs. The biggest target for Reagan was crack cocaine. He took the war even further establishing mandatory sentencing/minimums for crack which were longer than regular powder cocaine. "Under these minimums, more people are sentenced to prison, and they generally stay much longer than under previous sentencing laws," (Kilgore). This was another hit on colored people in America. Blacks and Latinos were caught more with crack because it was cheaper and they were going to jail for life for it. Suburban whites that were caught with powdered cocaine would get only a slap in the wrist. these new sentencing laws more than doubled the prison population over the decades. It went further than a drug ting, it became a race thing. It allowed police to racially target black people. Some of which had to do years in prison for crimes they didn't even commit.

Present Day 

The United States accounts for only 5% of the world population but has 25% of the world's prisoners. Billions and billions of dollars are being poured into these prisons. The minorities that make up such a small percentage  of the population in America make up a majority of the US prison population. The United States is supposed to be the land of the free but has never been free for all. 

Works Cited

"American Anti-Slavery and Civil Rights Timeline." Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2016. <>.
Hinton, Elizabeth Kai. From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2016. Print.
Initiative, Prison Policy. "Tracking State Prison Growth in 50 States   Tweet !function(d,s,id){var Js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src="//";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");." Tracking State Prison Growth in 50 States | Prison Policy Initiative. N.p., 28 May 2014. Web. 03 Dec. 2016. <>.
Johnson, Lyndon B. "Lyndon B. Johnson: Special Message to the Congress on Crime and Law Enforcement." Lyndon B. Johnson: Special Message to the Congress on Crime and Law Enforcement. The American Presidency Project, 9 Mar. 1966. Web. 05 Dec. 2016. <>.
Kilgore, James William. Understanding Mass Incarceration: A People's Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time. New York: New, The, 2015. Print.
Unknown. "WEEK 5 Global Interconnections." WEEK 5 Global Interconnections. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2016. <>.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Event #3

Event #3
Staring in the Age of Destruction
On this Thursday, June 3, 2016, a day after a tragic event on the UCLA campus, I went to an event in the event center called Staring in the Age of Destruction or S.A.D. This event meant a lot after yesterdays tragedy. Walking into the exhibit there was so much going on my friend and I felt pretty long. There was no flow of projects but they all had an aspect of darkness to them which were all kind of creepy. Some actually were not as creepy as others and because of that they stuck out and seemed to no fit. 
Me starting to play the game

One work that caught my attention the most was [Project Iron]. It is described as "An interactive exploration of the spaces and images evoked by sketches drawn by the artist over the course of several months. It got its name from the attempt to combine a passionate interest in gameplay-driven interactivity with a desire to create a richly detailed and expressive environment."
(Some gameplay screenshots)
This part of the exhibit caught my attention because it looked like a video game and I am a gamer. Since I was a kid, If I saw a controller sitting there, and the words "press start" then by all means i am going to press start and give the game a try. It started out kind of messed up because the artist said that there was supposed to be a tutorial that popped up and walked you through the game. Since it didn't work he tried to restart it and try a different version. This different version ended up being worse because it had major glitches that made you restart. So he put back on the better version with no tutorial. I started to figure out how the game works. You are this little robot thing and you can switch between these two worlds kind of and get through what seems like a maze to find these red dots.

After I gave up, I had a conversation with the artist. I asked him what was the real purpose of the game. He described the game as an industrial science fiction game. I asked him if the game was beatable like is there an end goal. He responded that the real objective of the game is to get to the other side of the bridge that you start on. He said that the red dots that you try to get give you power ups and allow you to run faster and jump higher. He believe this piece is fun and very approachable which it really is.
My teammate, Jacob, the artist, Tobias Heinemann, and Me

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Event #2

Event #2
"Leap Before You Look"
Friday May 13, 2016
For my second event, a group of my teammates and I went to an exhibition at the hammer museum. This event was the called Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957. This was the first exhibit on this college in the United States. Black Mountain College was an experimental school that had a major effect on the way art was taught and practiced. When we first entered the gallery where the the exhibit was being held, we were very lost and confused. We seemed to be out of place because it seemed like everybody else knew where to go and what exactly to look at. Every piece of art seemed to be random because we could not recognize any flow or rarely any similarity. After doing some background research it somewhat made sense to me since every piece was done by different artist and they all had their own artistic style/perspective. Even all pieces had some interesting features, a few stuck out more than others. 

These pieces to the right suspended from the roof in the middle of one of the rooms it caught my attention. When I looked closer, I was able to see the unique convoluted design woven into these two parts. The artistic style is done in a fine threading fashion for this weaving. These would make for some fashionable curtains to say the least.

This piece to the right looked to be the funnest part of the exhibit. It is some type of clay-mation of people and a town. Not all art is pretty or defined perfectly to every degree but all art should make you say something or at least give you your own explanation to what you think it is and this piece is that. I do not think it was the most beautiful pieces in this collection by any means but it made me feel the most comfortable because it seems the most genuine and human. It's not perfect but it's art.

This last piece is the one I decided to take a picture with because its randomness. This piece is called Study for Pyramid by Mary Callery done in 1949. From far away it looked like a stack of sticks or branches or even a sculpture of a Mandarin figure. When you get closer and really look at it, it is a stack of people looking figures (one male with a female on top of him)  that are assembled in a pyramid. The artist is very clever for the name once I figured out what the piece was. 
For this being my very first trip to the hammer museum, I believe it was a success. I never knew art exhibits could be so interesting. It opened my eyes on how intricate every artist is with their very one style on every detail of their pieces.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Space + Art - Week 9

Space + Art
Week 9
Josh Woods

This week we learned about space and that it involves everything we have learned this quarter from robotics and nanotechnology to biotech. Space is looked to be the meaning of life but ultimately is empty space with the earth practically a blue dot. We have been fascinated by space since the Romans, but we have not been able to travel to outer space until the last century. 

It was very interesting to see the powers of ten by Ray Eames for IBM. It takes us from 10 to the 24th power meters away (which is the furthest point away from earth we know) to 10 to the negative 15th power meters in a single proton in a man's hand (which is the lowest limit we know since we don't know what is in a proton yet).From that of a distance back it just looks like empty space with little speck galaxies floating around in darkness. This puts us as humans into perspective as in we are smaller than a dot, practically nothing in thus universe yet we are made up of millions of even smaller specks in atoms. 

In the history of space taught in lecture by professor Vensa, a few parts really stuck out to me and caught my interest more than others. One of them being the discovery of buckyballs in 1996 that led to a Nobel prize. It was hypothesized that buckyballs had been brought by comets and meteorites that hit earth very long ago and brought with them vital organic compounds such as the helium trapped in the buckyballs. This led to the early work in nanotechnology. They have even recently been found in space as a solid even though they had only been found in gas before. 

Another is the Ansari X Prize also in 1996. X Prize Foundation created a space competition for 10 million dollars to the 1st non-government org. to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space in two weeks. This was created to chase the idea of cheap space flight for tourist. The Tier One project designed by Burt Rutan (financed by Microsoft) using the experimental space plan Spaceship One won it on October 4th, 2004 that cost 100 million dollars to win only 10 million (sadly). With this success more people have been inspired to create easir space travel such as Richard Branson (owner of Virgin Atlantic) and Elon Musk with SpaceX (PayPal founder). 

A lot of art has also been inspired by space. From pictures to paintings to even movie. From the 1950's onward, the ideas of space exploration fantasy and fiction have been so intriguing. Films like Lost in Space, Star Trek, and Star Wars have so many fans even now. early cartoons like the Jetsons have even been inspired by space and the future. This is another place space meets art.
Star Trek 

"Ansari XPRIZE." Ansari XPRIZE. XPRIZE Foundation, n.d. Web. 29 May 2016. <>.
CNN. "Virgin Galactic to Unveil New Spaceship." YouTube. YouTube, 19 Feb. 2016. Web. 29 May 2016. <>.
Gartner, John. "Nanotech: Up and Atom." RSS. N.p., 7 Sept. 2004. Web. 29 May 2016. <>.
Palca, Joe. "A Discoverer Of The Buckyball Offers Tips On Winning A Nobel Prize." NPR. NPR, 8 Oct. 2015. Web. 29 May 2016. <>.
Stepanov, Aleksandr. "Powers of Ten Charles and Ray Eames on." YouTube. YouTube, 03 Mar. 2011. Web. 29 May 2016. <>.
"United NationsOffice for Outer Space Affairs." A History of Space. UNOOSA, n.d. Web. 29 May 2016. <>.

Event #1

Event #1
May 3, 2016

The first event I attended was a lecture by the great Anne Neimetz. She is a former student of professor Vensa who went on to be a professional media artist and designer. Throughout the presentation, she showed all of her previous major projects that she worked on or contributed too. It was very interesting to see the correlation between what she has went on to do in her career and what we have learned this quarter about art and science. Her work that is most intriguing is the wearable fashion her and her students have created.

One of the projects she worked on was Stretching L.A. 2013. This exhibition included 4 performers wearing sensor suspenders. When stretched, the suspenders play a hand full of Larry King statements (one per suspender). The four guys make music with these sounds ultimately making the suspenders wearable musical instruments. This ties science and fashion (art) together making an interactive clothing.

Another one of her projects was one that is very relative to our time now where technology is giving people access to places and things they couldn't access before. This exhibition was called "Drone Sweet Drone" This project sparks conversation on the use of drones and the threats of their capabilities.

Ms. Neimetz has inspired me to look more into interactive design. You can tell the type of inspiration she gives off by the work of her students which gets better every year. Her work is one of the best illustrations of art and science coming together. When the science gets better the more interactive and fashionable the art costumes become.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Nanotech + Art - Week 8

NanoTech + Art
 Week 8
Josh Woods

After this week's lecture, my mind has been blown with information on nano technology. It is all around us most likely having them on you right now in your clothing or accessories. nanotechnology has made it possible for our phones to become smaller and smaller in size with more capabilities over the decades. I am fascinated not only on what I learned but my ignorance on the subject. Learning that the pictures of molecules that we've seen since science classes in junior high, are not what they really are left me boggled. The different pictures and what they are represented by represent a practically invisible molecules. These molecules are actually clouds of electrons and probabilities.
Gecko foot
With today's technology, we are able to mimic nature and give products and technology attributes that we not able to before. Scientist have been inspired by geckos feet to create new adhesive. These feet have fine nano structure that allows them to stick up to walls and support their weight. This inspired reusable tape. The Lotus leaf has inspired self cleaning fabrics and sprays. There is a shoe cleaner that my brother has lectured me on purchasing. You spray it on your shoes and they pretty much can't get dirty. I always wondered where they get these ideas from and now I know that it is all nano technology.

Other interesting uses of nanotechnology are in nanomedicine. Nanomedicines are being discovered to help fight diseases like never before. The most interesting are nanoshells. The nanoshells may be used for cancer therapy.They work through a physical selectivity through enhanced permeation retention. EPR is where the shells are linked to antibodies to detect and kill cancer cells. New nanotechnology may even one day be able to regenerate tissues and organs.

Nanotechnology is an art. Scientist are able to design things that humans have not been capable of creating until now. this line of work will only expand. Artist can create pieces and structures down to the genetics of what they are made of to create sleeker designs or give them special attributes. This technology can take art to another level both visual and biological.  

Anthonyxdoe. "How To: Protect Your Shoes - Crep Protect!" YouTube. YouTube, 16 July 2015. Web. 23 May 2016. <>.
Deemer, Carla. "Self-Cleaning, Reusable Tape." Nanotech Etc. N.p., 24 Feb. 2014. Web. 23 May 2016. <>.
"The Evolution of Mobile Phones - Easy Tech Now." Easy Tech Now. N.p., 14 Mar. 2016. Web. 23 May 2016. <>.
"Nanotechnology 101." Nano. National Nanotechnology Initiative, n.d. Web. 23 May 2016. <>.
Potocnik, Ivan. "NeverWet Blows My Mind." YouTube. YouTube, 21 Aug. 2013. Web. 23 May 2016. <>.
West, Jennifer. "Nanotechnology Animations: Nanoshells." Nanotechnology: Critical Endeavor in Cancer. National Cancer Institute, n.d. Web. 23 May 2016. <>.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Neurosci + Art - Week 7

Neurosci + Art
Week 7
Josh Woods

The brain is a complex piece of art only God could create. For centuries, we have tried to solve its complexities. The brain is what controls what and how people conceive things such as art. Neuroscience is the bridge that can help artist capture the audience they want as in making their art have the affects to make people react the way the artist intends them to. 

Many scientist believe that different parts of the brain control and create different thoughts. Here comes the idea of conscious versus unconscious thinking (Sigmund Freud). conscious thinking is fully cognitive thinking where you rationalize the entire picture and think thoroughly to make decisions and actions. Unconscious thinking is thinking and decision making that you aren't even aware of. It comes natural and is just a part of you, like you don't even have to think about it. Something you have either been born with or trained to do.

Other than natural decision making in your brain, chemicals and drugs are used to alter our mental states. The drugs artists use to use were cocaine and LSD. Cocaine was used by Freud to cure depression,sexual impotence, and all psychological problems but led to physical and moral decadence. LSD  was created by Hofmann looking for a blood stimulant but ended up creating this hallucinogenic drug. These drugs create a head change which changes the way you see everything. they can cause you to see things that aren't even there and cause many people to ultimately go insane. Nowadays, people use molly and Xanax. These drugs intended purposes are nowhere near what people use them for now. Originally used as antidepressants. 

When people aren't in their natural mental state, they see things differently. Art is all about perception. What you see is what you make of it and that is the beauty of art. If they could create a drug in neuroscience that can alter your brain to make everyone that takes it see the same thing that would be a breakthrough. 

Cherry, Kendra. "The Conscious and Unconscious Mind." N.p., 17 Dec. 2015. Web. 16 May 2016. <>.
"A History of Xanax Over the Past Decades." Xanax History. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2016. <>.
"LSD: Effects, Hazards & Extent of Use -" LSD: Effects, Hazards & Extent of Use - N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2016. <>.
N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2016. <>.
"Stop Negative Thoughts: Choosing a Healthier Way of Thinking-Topic Overview." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 16 May 2016. <>.
Strain, Jeremy. "Brain String Theory." The Neuro Bureau. N.p., 31 Mar. 2013. Web. 16 May 2016. <>.