Maya Sayre Richman

a place to put artifacts

Dream, Dream, Reality. You're it!

Thursday February 14 2013

Something to Share Or You Snooze You Don't Lose?

I had a dream that my brother and I were on a metro or a bus going through Brazil, through Amazonia, and we were carrying big bags and buckets of ice with us. At one point we were in the thick of deep tropical forest, mossy and overgrown, and I remember feeling satisfied with our decision to take the scenic path to our destination. I recall that our bus was not disturbing the area, just moving past it, like clouds. Other times we would get off at a stop that looked like Fort Totten, a cement ledge on a hilltop over a savanna. Often we would forget to pick up many of the bags at the rest stop but I would notice and run out to get them. Then I'd yell to Max and tell him he needed to get the other items while I held the doors open against the will of the driver.

We were rather concerned with directions, often arguing about whether we were headed in the right direction or talking about two different routes we could take with different color coded transfer points. At some points the scenery looked like the LA river, giant flood zones with heavy grates spewed water while nearby bikers passed, ignoring the smell. I don't remember why we were so frantic or where we were heading, just that we were in a fervour to get there.

In some ways the lasting memory of my dream is similar to humans experience with the passage of time. It reflects our fixation with productivity, finality and results, which reminds me of that old saying, "it's not so much where you end up but how you get there". If I can't remember where I end up, I only get a chance to care about the process. The emphasis of the dream fell on the adventure not the accomplishment. In this way, my poor memory is helping remind me to enjoy the learning process, allowing me to veer wholeheartedly along with my mistakes and clumsiness.

There is some futility, when I entertain possible missions for my brother and I, in traveling through Brazil with bags of ice. Here lies the physical manifestation of ephemerality within my dream. If I take too long, the precious cargo will be memorialized by heavy, precarious bags of water, or if I am clumsy, soaking wet clothes. Why work feverishly to accomplish something that ends up dissolved? Maybe its the fever itself that liquefies it. If the cargo ends up changing physical form but remains constructed of the same basic elements, regardless of your speed, why not enjoy the transporting process?

The art shown above is a mashup I made this morning of two creative commons pieces found on Flickr.

Cloud Generation

Friday February 08 2013

Nature in Code

The following sketches are written in Processing, the second is based off of Daniel Shiffman’s code examples from “The Nature of Code” and converted into Javascript with Processing.js. Click on the blue cloud example and press the up/down arrows to change the step size.

Reality Bites

Saturday December 22 2012

Presents for Friends

Made a tripartite abstract art piece for my grandmother this holiday season. The white paper is thin Japanese calligraphy paper and the colored is from an Origami pack. Orange, pink and purple are underused colors for Christmas, which is such a shame. The aura of Los Angeles falls more closely with a vibrant, toxic, and sometimes artifical, sunset spectrum rather than a traditional red/green binary.

End of Days

Friday December 21 2012

Inkscapes on a Plane

My friend Cas asked me to make a poster for an upcoming show in Montreal, pictured below. He mentioned something fun cartooney punk inspired and I went to town with Inkscape. Much more to come...


Monday December 10 2012

The Cult of Cut-and-Paste

Recently I have endeavored to learn about remix culture for Gabriella Coleman's course, Hacker Culture and Politics. I couldn't think of a better way to accomplish this than by engaging with the culture directly, discovering for myself the joys and frustrations of making. I have compiled thoughts, quotes, video clips and digital art from this process at Feel free to peruse!

What a Poem

Wednesday November 28 2012

A bit here, a byte there

More To Say

Friday November 02 2012

Hey Adrienne:

I want to acknowledge that there is much more to say on the topics I have touched upon in the last few days. I will continue to add to my original posts and search for new perspectives. The topic is large and diverse and cannot be summed up by a paper, a blog post, or any one representation.

I am excited to add my two-cents on these topics and work off the findings of others in a non-academic setting. There is no due date for me, or completion of work. In many ways, this assignment was not work at all. I hope I have expressed that I have begun to ask myself these questions, though have a long way till "answering" them, as that is the position I find myself in. This position, however, is one I have arrived at through my own direct means, and hope I remain conscious of it's construction as I continue this process.

For those curious, the prompt for this project was:

What relevance does or might “Third World Solidarity” have for social and/or liberation movements today?

Now that I think about it, I am not sure if I have directly answered it. Perhaps it's relevance is already apparent to me due to my los angelian liberal upbringing where social justice issues were acknowledged and discussed frequently, so the answer seems obvious. I cannot let my particular frame of reference, one of privilege and thoughtful guidance on these topics, obscure the importance of articulating the relevance "Third World Solidarity" has in my life, and social/liberation movements today. It is this assertion of my relation to the ideals of the "Third World Solidarity" movement and all discourse with humanity in mind that helps breakdown these artificial boundaries, whether on maps or more embedded and invisible demarcations.

Thank you for allowing the class the flexibility to discover the topics on their own. I have found the process itself to be more illuminating as to my own position within the movement than the content I found, which in my experience feeds back into a deeper comprehension of the material itself.

Black, Brown, Yellow

Thursday November 01 2012


It is fitting that the process of searching for information regarding third world solidarity has led me along a similar path as those who find themselves realizing their own racial/ethnic positioning. When I began my search for third world solidarity movements, specifically those in LA, I found more articles regarding racial tension and conflict than solidarity movement. I was positioned by the sources that appeared first, those more accessible and popular, to believe that the solidarity movements were not as prolific in LA as I had hoped. It occurred to me that this process of wading through the external interpretations of race and racial/ethnic hierarchy, allowed me to understand the foundations upon which these positions are articulated. This immersion and reevaluation, and near constant confrontation with the expected race relations, is similar to the experiences of Laura Pulido who grew up in San Pedro in a tight-knit Mexican family when she began to realize how she was different from those around her.

In her book, Black, Brown, Yellow, and Left: Radical Activism in Los Angeles, Laura acknowledges the separation that she felt between ethnic group, with Asians somewhere in between Black and Mexicans but not quite “on the same level as white either”(17). Although she expresses a deeper understanding of Blacks as a similarly “devalued racial/ethnic group”, and that her racial position was somehow tied to theirs, she still expresses the initial fearfulness that she was in the same position as Blacks(17).
Her story is precisely the perspective I have searched for. She stands out in the literature as someone who was “convinced” to believe in the ethnic/racial ranking but through abounding curiosity and genuine sincerity was able to look past them to see the context of a “larger racial landscape”, one that brought about the creation of “political space for the development of a Third World Left.”(19).

This map shows the distribution of ethnic groups in Los Angeles County, 1970

Laura mentions the significance of California as site of white domination upon all people of color, although each group seemed to fair differently, suggesting the accepted bipolar racial approach, e.g. Mexican V. White, was not sufficent to explain the varying levels of influence between ethnic groups. Laura expresses her frustration with this strict ethnic duality: “I struggled with being rendered invisible by the Black/white binary--despite living in a city with deep Mexican roots.”(18). Like we have discussed in class, the term third world describes a position rather that a place or people. So, too, are ethnic/racial groups best understood in relation to one another, or through a positionality. In this binary, to be one thing implies to not be another. If Laura finds herself identifying with her Mexican roots, by society's interpretation of a static identity, she is unable to be in solidarity with another group, or relate to their position. However, as political scientist Claire Kim argues, the racial landscape is a field in which various groups have fluid but distinct positions, which goes to "explain the distinct forms of activism that develop among the Third World Left"(21).

In this context, how can one assert their aspired position without first understanding where they fall in relation to others? This question presupposes an acceptance of the hierarchy-driven world order, but deserves recognition regardless as it demonstrates the supposed intent of "development" and "progress" that drives much of the world today. Curiously, the word "aspired" is deriven from the French "aspirer" which translates to "to breathe". If one is given a distinct position, do they have the space "to breathe" [aspire] and imagine themselve in a different frame of reference? How can potential solidarity be recognized and thereby, built if positions are both static and fluid?

Quick Neighborhood Map

Thursday November 01 2012

Hard To Delinate

I had the intention of drawing a map that showed the diffusion of ethnicnicities throughout LA in constrast to clearcut county-delinated neighborhoods that official maps tend to show.

I became overwhelmed rather quickly by the sheer number of neighborhoods I had to draw. It is not surprising that the city's intricate composition of several little pieces reflects the dramatic diversity that the city contains.

First Try:


The map I based it off of:

Huey and The Newton

Wednesday October 31 2012

Contradiction Is A Ruling Principle. No, It's Not!

The following quotes come from Huey Newton during an interview with William Buckley. I found them incredibly thoughtful and eloquent. More to come...

Huey: "I agree with you the only revolution that is worth fighting is a humane revolution "

William: "Also, one that succeeds. I feel if King George had caught George Washington, he would have had the right to hang him.

Huey: "According to the law. But revolutions always, in some ways, contradict some laws, that's why it's called a revolution."


Huey: "I think we can judge revolution on the basis of how much in fact, or objectively, people are given a fair, are dealt with in a fair way, and are given more freedom. I think one of my principles is that contradicton is a ruling principle of the universe and everything in phenomena, whether it is the physical world or the biological world or the social world, has it's internal contradiction that gives motion to things that internal strain and most of the time that we homosapians don't realize that no matter what sort of conditions we establish, now matter what government we establish at this point, there also will be that internal contradiction that will have to be resolved and resolved ina rational and just way and of course that leads us somewhat very vauge on how to deal with it, and many times we claim actions are revolutionary when they are not, so I have to appreciate your answer and I would agree with that part of it."

Poets, Prisons and Prophets

Wednesday October 31 2012

You, Me, and Everyone

"I want people to watch Lyrics from Lockdown just on a really basic level, to be reminded of our common humanity I think that consciousness needs to be contagious, that consciousness need to be more addictive than crack"

On the hunt for inspiring third world solidarity videos, I found the film Lyrics from Lockdown. The intent for the film, which he describes as simple, is "to be reminded of our common humanity", although this goal seems more difficult to attain in practice. While respecting and giving voice to one community, specifically those affected by stop and frisk and racial profiling, Bryonn Bain maintains the universality of the message. One of respect for human dignity and difference. The story begins when Byronn was wrongfully imprisioned in NYC jails, meanwhile studying at Harvard. Highly suggest everyone check it out here!

Third-World Solidarity Part. 2

Monday October 29 2012

OR Not "For Us", But Porous!

“The most serious danger is that by following others we fail to disclose what we actually know and believe.“

"A well-functioning democracy…encourages independence of mind. It imparts a willingness to challenge prevailing opinion through both words and deeds. Equally important, it encourages a certain set of attitudes in listeners, one that gives a respectful hearing to those who do not embrace the conventional wisdom. In the culture of free speech, the attitude of the listeners is no less important that that of speakers.”
- Cass Sustein from Why Societies Need Dissent

Recently, I have been thinking about the premium society places on social cohesion and the pitfalls of removing dissenting or differing voices from the dialouge simply for the sake of preserving it. One such example of this social coheison might be the construction of delineated immigrant communities within urban environments. Collecting themselves in pockets of the city, they form a geographical cohesion that allows for the production of a social safety net, and, alongside this, a potential for insular community development.

We see this pattern in cities like Los Angeles, with the formation of neighborhoods like Koreatown, Little Osaka and Thai Town. While in some ways these ethnic communities are cocoons within Los Angeles, they are not enirely detached from the city. I am interested in discovering not only the places where these communities merge, but also where they build solidarity between each other’s social movements. Essentially, I am hope to learn how disparate ethnic groups can relate to each other within a diverse city, using Los Angeles as an example since it is closest to my knowledge (and heart).

Not all cases of inter-ethnic relations in Los Angeles produces solidarity, third world or otherwise. In Chong-suk Han’s piece, We Both Eat Rice, But That’s About It: Korean and Latino Relations in Multi-ethnic Los Angeles, resturants are examples of places where Koreans and Latinos have daily contact with each other, and are locations where "ethnic prejudices and misconceptions created within the confines of these specific interactions develop into widespread belief systems”(Han 237). He argues that split labor markets helped shape a system of oppression between the two groups, constraining daily interactions and leading to ethnic antagonism.

Chong-suk’s piece is the first example I have read of possible obstructions to third world solidarity. What I have gathered is that economic structures are capable of producing new relations of oppression that can outweigh potential commonalities, such as shared oppression due to racist American ideologies.Logically then, more exposure to different opinions/experiences that falls outside the oppressive environments constructed around them, and the more open-minded listening, the fewer misconceptions and thus, the greater potential for solidarity and change.

Now the question becomes, how do we remove ourselves from these externally imposed oppressive environments?

Third-World Solidarity Part. 1

Thursday October 25 2012

Today I experimented with writing class notes as a poem/manifesto. Starting this week I will be writing about third world solidarity movements for Adrienne Hurley's class. The notes below are my responses to southeast asian tourism and the sex industry from:

  • Flacke-Neudorfer, C. (2007). "Tourism, gender and development in the third world: a case study from Northern Laos." Tourism planning and development 4(2): 135- 147.
  • Hanh, D. B. (2008). "Contesting marginality: consumption, networks, and everyday practice among Hmong girls in SaPa, Northwestern Vietnam." Journal of Vietnamese Studies 3(3): 231-260.
  • Beyrer, C. (2001). "Shan women and girls and the sex industry in Southeast Asia; political causes and human rights implications." Social science and medicine 53: 543-550
  • Lyttleton, C. and S. Vorabouth (2011). "Trade circles: aspirations and ethnicity in commercial sex in Laos." Culture, Health & Sexuality: An International Journal for Research, Intervention and Care 13(Sup2): S263-S277.

Pdf is clearer here.

Skim-Society: Whole-Story

Sunday October 21 2012

We live in a skim-society. If you aren't skimming because you don't have time to read the entire piece, you are skimming because you don't want to waste time reading one interpretation or attempting to untangle the gritty translation to lay-speak in order to get at the core of the topic.

Whatever your reason, you skim, I skim, we all skim.

The next question might be:
Is this a problem?

Followed by:
How do we solve this?

Let's address the first question. Are we missing more than a few coherent sentences, lead ins, or paragraphs when we skim?

I'd like to think we aren't, however no studies I have read (fully) have addressed this issue. I have no formal or expert opinion on the topic, sinply my gut feeling. My gut feeling, regardless of where I now fall on the spectrum, tells me that we are all missing out on the process of completing and internalizing a honest argument. I think the process is more important than the content, at least for what I read, because I have become perennially perturbed by unfinished to-do's despite my young age. At the end of the day, I don't feel accomplished and can't recall what I read.

I am arbitrarily attributing this feeling, and increasing inability to retain information, to this skim-nesia—as Obama might put it—and the tendency to read quickly whilst thinking, listening and working on other projects. In some ways, I can see how my university education has contributed to this tendency. I am asked to read so many things in one week, reading each thoroughly is out of the question. At work, you are asked for the same style of quick but critical analysis, but to not get stuck in time drains, and this can contribute to the skim-nesia as well.

That is not to say our environments are wholly responsible for this skimming.

On a very personal, and lazy, level, I am too distracted to give a piece of writing the time it deserves—the time I hope people give my own pieces (this one for example)—and I actively choose to skim each piece.

A thought-experiment:


You are sitting at the kitchen table reading the newspaper. Now think of the motivation required if you were to leave the table in order to go do something else, such as read a book or find another newspaper to get a second opinion. I know, I get tired just thinking about it.


Within that scenario, one I have been in many times, I am much more likely to read articles on topics I wouldn't usually and read them completely, than with online sources.

We don't have this problem anymore with the internet. I can simply open if I am out of free articles. I can jump from foreign policy issues to the latest celebrity wedding with such ease, there seems no opportunity cost to do so.

Not only am I jumping from topic to topic, I am talking about these articles while I jump. The emergence of omnipresent social media has provided immediate access to n + 1 networks discussing an incalculable number of topics. I find I want to participate in the conversation before I have fully understood the matters at hand. Perhaps this is why critics warn the public from reading the tweets based on influential events, like the national presidential debates, as a first news source. What we say immediately is important, there's no doubt about that, but when these immediate opinions converge with a good long read of the facts it makes the afterthought that much more telling.

The follow up question, how we halt this tendency, is more difficult to answer. I am writing this as an experiment to see if I can sit down and dedicate time to something I am not obligated to do. This is my first step. But I am curious to hear other opinions about this skim-society, as I have now coined it. (Although all are free to use it.)

2/3 of my roommates say they skim often, but perhaps not as often as I do. Maybe I am alone in this. If that is the case, I apologize for broadening the scope by using "we".

If I am not alone, let me know if you agree @mayarichman and what ways we can change this inclination for shallow scanning.

Rasters and Pastors

Wednesday August 08 2012

Minus Pastors.

Today I had fun with rasters in QGIS and TileMill.

This shows post-fire vegetation condition but I have duplicated it several times so it is practically indistinguishable.

This is a blurred version of the raster. I find it very calming. Just a reminder for those who want to make sweet raster maps in TileMill, check out this blog post from Mapbox.


Wednesday August 08 2012


Last night I discovered I had far too many things to travel back with to Montreal. This was an unfortunate finding, that I seem to find often.

I will be drowning my superficial sorrows in a drink with friends at Church and State.

Not sure why, but my markers never show up when I create this map embeds.


Tuesday August 07 2012

Lianne La Havas

Can’t stop listening.

In other news, I have continued to vamp up the site. More to come…. #cop-out

You probably git too much

Monday August 06 2012


Found this little baby on Hacker News. Decided to try it out for myself.

Guess I got the git of gab? #nerdypuns

Want to try it yourself?

    # install the gem (sudo is optional)
    sudo gem install huffshell

    # need to be able to access this from the gem
    alias > ~/.aliases.cache

    # open up a new terminal to access new gem supplied binaries

    # Optional cleanup
    alias > ~/.aliases.cache

Put a Map On It

Friday August 03 2012


BOND is an extremely intense, adrenaline pumping, action packed, fright filled take on the classic kids game “hide n seek”. The objective is for the runners to get from Point A to Point B under the time limit, without being tagged.

Heres the twist... the chasers are driving cars.

It gets intense. As a runner, you've got to cover about a mile of ground. As you will see on the maps, were playing in mostly residential neighborhoods. Everything is fair game except backyards and hopping fences. Its only fun if the cars have a chance to spot you.

Space and Place

Friday August 03 2012

All Good Things.

I have lived in a few places in my life. One of those places is Los Angeles. This map will be my favorite spots within LA for those hoping to have a trip that leaves a good taste in the mouth, literally.

Having a Time

Thursday August 02 2012


Someday I will be famous and I'll look back at this ol' blog and laugh.

So You Quote Love Unquote Me

Thursday August 02 2012


Hey! How about celebrating this re-design with a song that's been stuck in my head since I first heard it years ago.