Sharon Daniel

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Sharon Daniel
EducationMFA University of Tennessee, Knoxville; MM University of Texas, Austin; BM Baylor University
Known forNew Media Art, Film, Digital Media
Notable workPublic Secrets, Need_X_Change, Narrative Contingencies, Palabras
Awards2008 Media Arts Fellowship from the Tribeca Film Institute[1] Honoree at the 11th Annual Webby Awards[2]

Sharon Daniel is a professor in the Film and Digital Media department and serves as chair for the Digital Arts and New Media MFA program at the University of California, Santa Cruz.[3] Along with teaching classes about digital media, Daniel does field research for new media projects.[4] Her essays have been published in analytical and research journals such as Sarai and Leonardo. Selected projects of Daniel's have been presented at festivals including the Lincoln Center Festival, the Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, Ars Electronica, and the Corcoran Biennial. She has also received grants and support from various institutes and foundations. She is interested in public and community collaborations that give voices to those who are unable or reluctant to tell their stories.[5]

Daniel is an activist involved with the organization Justice Now. Daniel's involvement with Justice Now allowed her to circumvent the media ban enacted on all of the California Department of Corrections' facilities in 1993. Daniel was able to gain media access due to her role as legal advocate for Justice Now, which allowed her the opportunity to speak with several inmates and document their stories.[6][7] Daniel's experiences with inmates in California's Department of Corrections led to the creation of Public Secrets.

Daniel's theory on databases has been published in Database Aesthetics.[8] Her article, "The Database: An Aesthetics of Dignity", illustrates how they can be used as an aesthetic that interacts with cultural or social aesthetics. Furthermore, Daniel's work is a functioning example of this "aesthetic of dignity" because her work coalesces aesthetics of the database and social world.


Public Secrets[edit]

Public Secrets is an interactive website with sound clips and textual narratives from female inmates in California State Prisons. It addresses the problem of secrecy among the growing number of prisons. Daniel narrates the opening sequence.[6] The site goes into the personal accounts of the women in the facility and it exposes ideas of "the existence of the Prison Industrial Complex, its pervasive network of monopolies, its human rights abuses, are all extremely well documented yet wholly submerged and repressed. The growth of the prison industrial complex and the unimpeded violation of human rights within it are irrefutable testimony to the power of the public secret."[9] Narrators express, first hand, the abuses they have experienced. Many of these stories have been kept under wraps because of an imposed media ban on all facilities within the California Department of Corrections.[10] One account includes a woman who was sentenced to five years in prison for the same crime committed by a male, who received a lesser sentence, with sentencing by the same judge. This hypertext site is an example of the growing bridge that links the new world of the digital media with the older world of politics and the call for social reform. Furthermore, this site breaks down the stigmas that exist between men and woman in the prison system. Female convicts do exist and their stories are presented here.


Need_X_Change is a collaboration between Sharon Daniel and the Casa Segura—an HIV clinic in Oakland, California—that aims to start a political discourse between Casa Segura, the local community, and the larger global community in order to help prevent the spread of HIV.

Narrative Contingencies[edit]

Narrative Contingencies is a hypertext non-linear narrative that relies upon an algorithm to juxtapose images and text from a large database. The website also allows users to donate their own images or texts, which broadens the database's amount of content that may be randomly generated. Daniel's project is a fundamental example of non-linear theory in New Media Art.


Palabras is an interactive archive that is composed of digital images and videos created by communities from San Francisco California, Buenos Aires Argentina, and Darfur, Sudan. The goal of the project is to foster relationships between the different communities through the sharing of digital images and video.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
  3. ^
  4. ^[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Sharon Daniel UCSC
  6. ^ a b Vector's Journal: Public Secrets
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^

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