Chandler Zausner

Chandler Zausner

Media Arts & Praxis // Anthropology '20


Watch Chandler's 'remix' pairing of anthropology and film!
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Why did you choose SCA? What are you studying?
In the 21st century, Saul Bellow’s concern that society is “in a state of radical
distraction” is truer now than it was forty years ago. I wanted to play a role in
harnessing the power of new media to answer Bellow’s call to “penetrate their
preoccupied mind and interest them in a story,” and there is no better place to learn
storytelling than USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. I had been a filmmaker at the High
School of Art and Design in New York City, but was looking for a way to address the
expanding possibilities of new platforms and presentation technologies. As a MA+P
student, I became aware of the power of media to affect mood, attitude and
perception. I was inspired, by media's power to impact individuals and societies. I
learned to appreciate the intent behind media creation and the emerging technology
that can be wisely used to reach and influence a wider audience, through a career in
contemporary culture and visual anthropology. At USC, I have learned to use immersive
experience design to promote tolerance for a local perspective and voice, even as global
media streams across geographic and cultural boundaries.

What has been your biggest challenge(s) so far in your time here?
The USC course catalog is a constant temptation of possibilities. Reigning in my
curiosity has been my biggest challenge when constructing my course plan. I found the
space for self-expression and intellectual exploration by constructing passion projects
within course requirements, collaborating with world class professors and passionate
teaching assistants. A double major can be tricky to complete on time and advisement is
key to fulfilling requirements while crafting a unique educational path.

Is there a project you are working (or have completed) that you're especially proud of?
For me, the pairing of film and anthropology has been a conversation between the
distant past and the looming future, local culture and global communication, the micro
and the macro. My work often features the commonality of human desire for validation.
Robotiquette: An Imitation of Life, my final remix video for Virginia Khun’s IML 340
Remixing the Archive, argues that humanity is not exclusively defined by physicality, but
can be demonstrated by acts of compassion and sacrifice for a higher purpose.
Sequences of post human evolution include ideals of the creator, electronic birth or
resurrection, childlike confusion, rejection by humans, growing understanding with
setbacks, and resolution in transformation or death. Researching, writing and editing this video embraced my evolving aesthetic and morality, of individual dignity in a
changing world. (link above)

Any advice for prospective students who would like to study in your division?
If you come to MA+P with a clear agenda, and a mission statement, you will discover the
tools needed to “be the change.” Be ready to hit the ground running with as many skills
as you can muster before Reality Starts Here. Don’t be afraid to challenge your
preconceptions as you evolve in your skill set and your thinking. Consider every
assignment as an opportunity to explore hidden talents and to create great portfolio
pieces that will be beneficial to your career. Embrace every classic and emerging
technology that is offered. MA+P is the one division in SCA where we can agree with rap
icon MC Hammer that “the sky is the beginning of the limit.”