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My Phone Lies to Me: Fake News Poetry Workshops as Radical Digital Media Literacy

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My Phone Lies to Me is foremost an invitation and invocation for you to participate, with others, in an experiment in knowing and working with the internet differently: Fake News Poetry Workshops. Between 2018 and 2019, Alexandra Juhasz participated in more than 20 workshops around the world. These continue. Each differs in form and structure, but participants are always asked to attend to research, their own knowledge about internet truth and social media, and what they can learn from their workshop and previous ones.

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Alexandra Juhasz

Dr. Alexandra Juhasz is Distinguished Professor of Film at Brooklyn College, CUNY. She makes and studies committed media practices that contribute to political change and individual and community growth. She is new to poetry. She is the author of AIDS TV: Identity, Community and Alternative Video (Duke University Press, 1995); Women of Vision: Histories in Feminist Film and Video (University of Minnesota Press, 2001); F is for Phony: Fake Documentary and Truth’s Undoing, co-edited with Jesse Lerner (Minnesota, 2005); Learning from YouTube (MIT Press, 2011: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/learning-youtube); co-edited with Alisa Lebow, The Blackwell Companion on Contemporary Documentary (2015); with Yvonne Welbon, Sisters in the Life: 25 Years of African-American Lesbian Filmmaking (Duke University Press, 2018); with Jih-Fei Cheng and Nishant Shahani AIDS and the Distribution of Crises (Duke 2020); and with Nishant Shah, FAKE! (Melos Press, 2020). Dr. Juhasz is also the producer of educational videotapes on feminist issues from AIDS to teen pregnancy as well as the feature fake documentaries The Watermelon Woman (Cheryl Dunye, 1997) and The Owls (Dunye, 2010). Her current work is on and about feminist Internet culture including fake news (http://scalar.me/100hardtruths) and Fake News Poetry Workshops (fakenews-poetry.org), YouTube (aljean.wordpress.com), and feminist pedagogy and community (feministonlinespaces.com and ev-ent-anglement.com). With Anne Balsamo, she was founding co-facilitator of the network, FemTechNet: femtechnet.org.

Description

My Phone Lies to Me is foremost an invitation and invocation for you to participate, with others, in an experiment in knowing and working with the internet differently: Fake News Poetry Workshops. Between 2018 and 2019, Alexandra Juhasz participated in more than 20 workshops around the world. These continue. Each differs in form and structure, but participants are always asked to attend to research, their own knowledge about internet truth and social media, and what they can learn from their workshop and previous ones. Sometimes they write poems.

This book presents 100 such poems created during those sessions by their diverse participants and under the tutelage of twenty or more participating poets who co-designed each workshop to suit their interests and those of their communities of practice. As moving, eloquent, and useful as these poems may be—and you are invited to indulge in and listen to them—enjoying and learning from them is only one part of this book’s aspirations. Four short chapters by Alexandra Juhasz, embedded within and speaking to others’ poems, explain what Fake News Poetry Workshops make, do, and believe in, as well as the background behind Juhasz’s emotional and intellectual journey toward and within them. Here, you can read more about the ideas contributing to and further developed in the Workshops coming from a range of fields including critical internet studies, queer and feminist studies, media literacy, and artistic expression. Together her four chapters form the backbone and justification for this ongoing experiment, one where you too can collaborate with others, think deeply about social media truths, and create your own workshop and poems. 

This project is interested in contravening logics of the internet that have fanned fake news into the conflagration it is today. Fake News Poetry Workshops are one way to counter dominant and dominating internet modes and values, to fight the corrupt ways of being and knowing that use digital media to create, fuel, and weaponize fake news and the people, machines, and corporations that make them. The project has verified good news in the face of fake news. We can gather together in our many local places and use analog structures (about digital things and ways) to generate, hold, and share “art answers to fake questions.” 

 

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