Art Hx Alumni
David Chmielewski, Social Media Manager (Fall 2021)
David Chmielewski is a sophomore in Princeton’s class of 2024 interested in studying the history of culture and how it intersects with socioeconomic contexts. Art history, and the history of culture broadly, is influenced by the social but also holds incredible power to shape the social in return, making Art Hx’s project of interpreting medical images and their relationship to the racial history of Western medicine crucial. On campus, David writes for two campus publications: The Daily Princetonian and the Nassau Weekly.
Luke Naessens, Graduate Research Assistant (Fall 2021)
Luke Naessens is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. He studies the intersections of colonialism, activism, and postwar and contemporary art and visual culture in the United States. His dissertation traces a series of encounters between two models of temporality, aesthetics, and politics in the 1970s: Postminimalism and Red Power. It examines why the decade’s countercultural visions of the future remained invested in the colonial imaginaries and material conditions that constrained Indigenous life in North America; and attends to moments when art, visual culture, and activist tactics imagined alternative worlds. Before graduate school, Luke worked on the curatorial team at the Barbican Art Gallery in London, and received a BA in art history and English literature from Trinity College, Dublin, and an MA in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art.
Luke is enthusiastic about Art Hx’s use of interdisciplinary research and digital resources to make visible the entanglement of aesthetics and colonial science, and he is especially interested in investigating the way contemporary medical and environmental inequities have been shaped by the historical expropriation, marginalization, and suppression of Indigenous forms of knowledge.
Megan Pai, Designer (Fall 2021)
Megan Pai is an undergraduate student at Princeton University’s School of Architecture and the Program in Visual Arts. As an artist and designer, her personal practice engages with themes of memory, storage, and the relative capacity for physical and digital environments to hold information. In her recent work, Megan produced an experimental publication about digital space through an investigative, research-driven mode of collection; alongside her collaborator Cammie Lee, she led a series of interviews with artists in an attempt to think critically about topics ranging from interface design and the development of Internet subcultures, to broader questions of privacy, accessibility, and the implications of representing bodies and identities digitally.
In continuing the design work that previous Art Hx designer Bhavani Srinivas began, Megan hopes to evolve the visual identity of Art Hx such that it can sustain the growing archive while finding new ways to reframe its contents to reveal the underlying complexities. She sees the great importance in Art Hx as it serves not only as a research tool, but as a platform for visitors to actively participate in the dialogue that it initiates. Megan believes in the website as it situates itself in an extended temporal space, acknowledging the expansiveness of stories that have yet to be addressed as constellations of histories gradually accumulate. The work moves slower so that the information can settle deeper in this living resource.
Bhavani Srinivas, Designer (Summer 2020 – Spring 2021)
Bhavani Srinivas is an artist and recent graduate of Princeton University’s Department of Art and Archaeology. In her senior thesis exhibition, Bhavani surfaced relationships between family ritual, trade, food histories, and craft techniques through installations in fiber, metal, glass, found material, and other media. On campus, she was a Co-Convener of the Religious Life Council, a member of Students for Prison Education, Abolition, and Reform, and a Peer Arts Advisor for the Lewis Center for the Arts.
Bhavani designed the Art Hx website as a response to the histories aggregated in the Art Hx Database and to contemporary norms in institutional website design. Bhavani is particularly interested in researching the ways in which difference and perceived ugliness have been medicalized. Through working on Art Hx, she has also been able to learn more deeply and critically about histories related to her family, which includes several physicians.
Sydnae Taylor, Undergraduate Research Assistant (Summer 2020 – Spring 2021)
Sydnae Taylor is a sophomore from Kingston, Jamaica at Princeton University majoring in Medical Anthropology with a certificate in Global Health and Health Policy. On Campus, she is a Davis International Center Leader and the Vice President of Logistics of the Princeton Africa Summit. She is passionate about engaging with her local and international community through entrepreneurship, the arts and healthcare.
This project is incredibly important to Sydnae because it has allowed her to learn more about Jamaica’s colonial history and the experiences of her ancestors. When thinking about a future in healthcare, Sydnae is passionate about gaining and sharing knowledge about how our past impacts our future. This work has taught her, and hopefully the people who choose to engage, about the importance of amplifying the experiences of the voiceless as well as finding new ways to research and interact with our pasts. She hopes to continue to grow professionally and personally through powerful projects such as Art Hx.
Phoebe Warren, Undergraduate Research Assistant (Summer 2020 – Spring 2021)
Phoebe Warren is an undergraduate student in the Department of Art and Archaeology and is pursuing a certificate in Dance. Her undergraduate independent work has focused on intersections of art and medicine. Her senior thesis examines the production and transmission of images to communicate medical knowledge in the context of disease outbreaks in the nineteenth century within and beyond the U.S., and will assess the lasting influence of nineteenth century visual strategies on images circulating in the COVID-19 pandemic. After graduating from Princeton, Phoebe plans to attend medical school, and hopes to continue thinking about medicine’s visual histories as a medical student.
Phoebe is inspired by the Art Hx project’s role in facilitating new ways of seeing and caring. She hopes to continue learning about the historical contributions of colonialism, scientific racism, medical education, and reproductive health to current conditions of severe inequity in healthcare for Indigenous, Black, and Brown communities in order to think about ways in which new practices of care might chart a way forward.