Jasi Lampkin: The Harvard Bubble
Jasi (Jasi Elle) Lampkin, The Harvard Bubble, 2020, still, 00:25 minutes, color, sound, HD Video. Courtesy of the artist.
Jasi (Jasi Elle) Lampkin, The Harvard Bubble, 2020, still, 01:02 minutes, color, sound, HD video. Courtesy of the artist.
Jasi (Jasi Elle) Lampkin, The Harvard Bubble, 2020, still, 04:55 minutes, color, sound, HD video. Courtesy of the artist.
Join us for a semester-long screening of Jasi Lampkin’s film, The Harvard Bubble (2020). Lampkin, an Art, Film, and Visual Studies concentrator, created this film for her undergraduate thesis in the spring of 2020.
A Note from the Carpenter Center's Director
Jasi (Jasi Elle) Lampkin’s thesis film, The Harvard Bubble (2020), shares Lampkin’s experiences of identity formation. These experiences are conflicting, confounding, and constraining. She generously shares the internal and external forces that shaped her experience as a Black, queer woman at this university. In doing so, she demonstrates the impossible conditions for growth and self-knowledge set forth by institutional racism and a social sphere dictated by an elaborate set of power structures. Yet by deploying years’ worth of smart phone documentation, often in multichannel collages choreographed with sophisticated editing, Lampkin also shares joy, friendship, and a sometimes-self-deprecating sense of humor. All of those inward-facing jokes ultimately point outward, mapping a series of social complicities against which she shapes aspects of her identity. While she is wry and self-knowing, we understand the film’s humor is also at the expense of Lampkin’s sense of self and belonging. The candid video Lampkin shares of herself and her friends taken over years at Harvard maps a series of highly specific experiences, and because the artist narrates these experiences, we see and feel them as she did, and also see ourselves in relation.
When I watched The Harvard Bubble I was moved. It made me realize how little I knew about the undergraduate experience at Harvard. More specifically, how little I knew about Black undergraduate experiences at Harvard. I was moved not only by the education I received, but by the complexity, humor, frustration, sadness, and narrative and visual intelligence that animates Lampkin’s work. I watched The Harvard Bubble the week of George Floyd’s murder, when protests were spreading across the country. These protests brought renewed attention to longstanding abolition movements, and re-energized commitments to dismantle white supremacist culture in all facets of American society, most-urgently in policing and the criminal justice system. As activism has continued in healthcare, universities, museums, publishing, journalism, and throughout our culture, Lampkin’s film framed these conversations for me and focused my self-critique to orient me towards enacting change within my own institution.
—Dan Byers, John R. and Barbara Robinson Family Director
Jasi (Jasi Elle) Lampkin
Jasi Lampkin, AKA Jasi Elle, is a filmmaker and recent graduate of Harvard University's Visual and Environmental Studies department. She creates works for her audiences to gather around, whether they gather for the characters, the stories, the emotions, or the humor. Having worked on projects ranging from short animations to feature-length films, she has come to learn that art is a non-individual practice.
It is thanks to the parents who read her drafts, the friends who scrutinized her rough cuts, and the professors who offered critiques that she's been able to become an effective filmmaker. She believes that discussion is an integral part of any artmaking, as it allows for an idea that starts in someone’s head to become something that lives, breathes, and grows in the real world.
More of her work can be found at missjasielle.com
Generous support for Carpenter Center programing is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.