Artistic Activist

Angela Washko, TYL ’09, creates videos, print installations and live performances that critique the divisive language that permeates online spaces.

Author: 
Anonymous
Story by: 
Hayley Chenoweth, SMC ’16
Angela Washko's performance pieces and video projects explore polarizing online communities. Photograph courtesy of Angela Washko, TYL ’09
 
 
Angela Washko, TYL ’09, came to Temple for its urban environment and the liberal arts education that would supplement her painting classes. She left with an understanding of feminism and activism that would shape her career for years to come.
 
Today, the New York–based new media artist strategizes to create more inclusive, more empathetic online environments.
 
 
Take a recent project, centered on the exclusionary language of the online game World of Warcraft. Game developers hadn’t intended to create a world that was misogynist, homophobic and racist, but sexism and bigotry thrived in the anonymous and repercussion- free virtual world.
 
Washko set out to bring players together to talk about how the divisive language came about. Those discussions evolved and culminated in videos, print installations and live performances, including a game show.
 
I am excited that individuals of all backgrounds are feeling safer, more empowered and self-aware in online spaces.
 
She further explored polarizing online communities with BANGED: A Feminist Interviews the World’s Most Infamous Misogynist, a project developed in response to a series of guidebooks about how to pick up and seduce women that were published by controversial blogger Roosh V. “He was writing these long stories about these women,” Washko says. “I wanted to give them a voice.”
 
For BANGED, Washko sought out the women described in the books, who had been referred to only by pseudonyms in accounts of sexual encounters, and created a parallel book and web platform.
 
Currently, she is developing The Game: The Game, a dating simulator video game that spotlights and critiques the tips found in The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, a New York Times best-selling pickup guide by Neil Strauss.
 
Washko credits her humanities classes with shaping her views on gender and identity. “One seminar highlighted how our self concepts can be affected by our surrounding environments; that was so important for me,” she says.
 
As a result of the organizing and activism from feminist artists, writers and cultural producers like Washko, the online environment is becoming more welcoming. “I am excited that individuals of all backgrounds are feeling safer, more empowered and self-aware in online spaces,” she says.

WINTER 2017 Issue

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  • Alumni Spotlight
    Jana Monaco turned a personal tragedy into a triumph for children born with...
  • Alumni Spotlight
    New York–based new media artist Angela Washko strategizes to create more...
  • Alumni Spotlight
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  • Cover Story
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  • Students
    Temple's information science and technology students program a legacy.
  • Alumni
    At 40, author Mary Elizabeth Williams, SMC '88, was diagnosed with cancer...
  • Community
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  • Research
    Visual artist and Associate Professor Elisabeth Subrin makes her feature film...