Digital Arts and New Media: MFA: Collaboration, Innovation, Social Impact

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Jonathan Menendez Benavides

Multimedia Producer
Community and Event Organizer
President, Evolutionary Productions LLC
Digital Art and New Media
MFA Class of 2014


"I come from a bloodline of wizards, astronomers, philosophers, warriors, prophets, peace makers, healers and scientists."



Jonathan Menendez-Benavides is new media producer that uses technology as a tool to daydream digitally and hone his creative visions. His background includes a bachelors degree in multimedia productions, six years of employment at an application & software development boutique, consulting for gay Latino organizations, research on cultural affairs, and business management of his own photography, video and graphic media company. He’s also dedicated five years of his life to the development of a very important documentary called Gay Latino Los Angeles: Coming Of Age that premiered in Mexico City that is making its way in film festivals world wide. Jonathan’s range of interests within digital media and film is vast – he has interest in both conceptual/experimental work as well as more narrative and mainstream work. He currently is in a Digital Arts and New Media graduate program a the University of California Santa Cruz where he is collaboratively developing a multi-device application called Qulture. A technology for queer people of color that will allow users to connect, interact and meet up with a focus on political activism, cultural education and entertainment. His sense of culture is equally expansive – as his projects blend the academic, immigrant and urban worlds in which queer people of color make connection and community.  He works directly with more established digital media professionals and consultants that assist his craft and provide a vibrant artistic home for his projects.



"All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything"


I am interested in continuing to develop my ongoing project, “Qulture,” an LGBTQ blog and multimedia site that focuses on issues of mobility, education, and entertainment in communities of color. “Qulture” will benefit from DANM’s expertise in digital media and workgroups on globalization, social change, and transformation of communities in order to ensure it meets its mission of social inclusivity. Specifically, I am looking to further develop the site by integrating chat rooms, discussion threads, photo sharing, video blogs, an online academic and historical archive, and a cultural art store.  Through the collaborative research in DANM, I will continue my passion in community building and also provide the aesthetic philosophical framework needed to plan and produce “Qulture” within an academic environment.  I plan to analyze the digital worlds that LGBTQ people of color navigate, how they perceive the hetero-social dominated constructs, such as Twitter and Facebook, and understand the community’s feelings on having access to new spaces that specifically cater to their culture and sexuality.  My interest expands into understanding the motivation behind new interactive spaces for expression, creativity, and relationship building. 


Research Interests: 

Documentary Film, New Queer Cinema, Digital Interfaces for Cultural Diversity, Queer Theory & Spaces, LGBTQ History and Documentation, New Media & Video, Digital Photography, Digital and Online Storytelling

Education and Training: 
B.A. Multimedia Productions, California State University Northridge
Teaching Interests: 

Documentary Film, Queer Spaces and Theory, LGBTQ History and Video Preservation, Interactive Experiences, Latino/Hispanic/Chicano Ethnography,

C 310 383 6117
Office Location: 
Digital Arts Research Center, Room 104
1156 High Street Santa Cruz, CA 95064
Office Hours: 
Thursdays 2-3:45 or by appointment.
Mailing Address: 

Digital Arts Research Center (DARC 203)

C/O Evolutionary Productions

1156 High Street

Santa Cruz, CA 95064