Team Human


Ep. 136 Live from MAHA with Stephen Bartolomei and Brigitte McQueen Shew "Optimizing for Connection"

Ep. 136

Playing for Team Human today, musician, media scholar, and founding Team Human producer Stephen Bartolomei AND community advocate and founder of the Union for Contemporary Art Brigitte McQueen Shew.

Douglas opens the show with a monologue about the disorienting construction of the Democratic debates by television networks. He looks at how the television environment fights to assert its dominance in a digital age, how candidates are positioned against one another, and how the stage's aesthetic is optimized for spectacle and audience distraction.

Bartolomei explores the surveillance features of a recording studio and how their panoptic construction contrasts a do-it-yourself, basement experience of communal creation. He looks at how musical raw material can undergo a dehumanizing process to be converted into a surveillance commodity and how we should instead work to optimize for connection.

Shew explores how art allows us to bridge deeply sewn cultural divides in order to see ourselves in other people and forge solidarity, how we can justify artistic exploration during times of crisis, and how we experience art through our own expression everyday.

This special episode of Team Human was recorded live in front of a studio audience from MAHA's Opening Festival at Archetype Coffee in Omaha, Nebraska.

You can find out more about the Union for Contemporary Art at:

Check out Douglas’s regular column on Medium, featuring expanded versions of the monologues you hear each week opening the show.

Team Human happens each week thanks to the generous support of our listeners on Patreon. Your support makes the hours of labor that go into each show possible. You can also help by reviewing the show on iTunes.

On this episode you heard Fugazi’s “Foreman’s Dog” in the intro thanks to the kindness of the band and Dischord Records.

Team Human is a production of the Laboratory for Digital Humanism at Queens CUNY. This show was produced by Stephen Bartolomei.

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