Ars Electronica has a blog post about our 2013 jurying weekend. Minds were blown, lives were changed. This was the nicest and smartest batch of people I’ve had the good fortune to work with in recent memory: Sirikit Amann, Norbert Artner, Tomek Bagiński, Ian Banerjee, Florian Bauböck, Robert Bauernhansl, Bernhard Böhm, Chris Bregler, Benjamin Brockhaus, Ludger Brümmer, Suzanne Buchan, Viktor Delev, Michael Doser, Marlene Eggenreich, Electric Indigo, Emre ErkaI, Maria Falkinger, Ingrid Fischer-Schreiber, Gerhard Funk, Gregor Göttfert, Andrea Grover, Jens Hauser, Sarah Hellwagner, Martin Honzik, Horst Hörtner, Ela Kagel, Jurij Krpan, Michael Kaczorowski, Conny Lee, Hannes Leopoldseder, Michael Lettner, Veronika Liebl, Karl Markovics, Johanna Mathauer, Tom Mesic, Arthur I. Miller, Jeff Mills, Leila Nachawati, Manuela Naveau, Marcus Neustetter, Emiko Ogawa, Karin Ohlenschläger, David O’Reilly, Gustav Pomberger, Johannes Ramsl, Remo Rauscher, Martina Rauschmayr, Genoveva Rückert, Mariano Sardón, Olga Shishko, Miriam Schmeikal, Karl Schmidinger,Christine Schöpf, Anezka Sebek, Christopher Sonnleitner, Bruce Sterling, Michael Sterrer-Ebenführer, Gerfried Stocker, Martin Sturm, Jer Thorp, Maholo Uchida, José Luis de Vicente, Florian Voggeneder, Susi Windischbauer, Lei Yang, Pamela Z.
“Intimate Science,” the exhibition that I curated as part of my Warhol Curatorial Fellowship, opened on Friday, January 20, 2012 at Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, the campus gallery expertly run by Astria Suparak. Several hundred people turned out (during a snow storm) to see the work of BCL, Center for PostNatural History, Markus Kayser, Allison Kudla, Machine Project, and Philip Ross. The crowd was a mix of artists, architects, technologists, and mycologists– the latter thanks to the abundant examples of reishi sculpture and architecture by Phil Ross and a reception sponsorship from the Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club. Both Phil and Allison gave talks the day before; Phil talked about the possibilities for mushrooms as building materials, batteries, and a substitute for petroleum based plastics. Allison talked about how her time living in Bangalore coincided with her research into algorithms embedded in living systems; one example of this is the “Eden Growth Pattern,” a surface fractal found in both urban sprawl and bacterial growth, and in Allison’s work on view, Capacity for (urban eden, human error).
The day after the exhibit, Mark Allen of Machine Project presented a three-part workshop titled, “Mind reading for the left and right brain.” In part 1, participants learned to solder in the process of building a personal galvanic skin response meter (aka a lie detector); in part 2, they developed their “intuitive” abilities with psychics Krystal Krunch, Asher Hartman and Haruko Tanaka; and in part 3, they learned to operate and perform with a simple audio looping device called an Earbee, designed by Sara Roberts. The video below gets at the mind-altering group experience of this full day workshop.
On Friday night, we got a sneak preview of the soon-to-open Center for PostNatural History storefront in the Garfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Rich Pell walked us through the darkened hallways of the center, which had the atmosphere of a Victorian sex parlour meets natural history museum.
Ultimately, “Intimate Science” looks at artist-initiated research in a scientific or technological area, and notes the dramatic shift from artists operating on the periphery of research to conducting research themselves. The artists in the exhibit have a sustained and intimate relationship to their studies (for example, in Phil Ross’ case, he has been working with ganoderma lucidum or reishi mushrooms both in the field and in his studio lab for 16 years), and contribute in a meaningful way to cross-disciplinary discourse. I first heard the term “Intimate Science” used by Roger Malina, astrophysicist and editor of MIT’s Leonardo (a 40 year-old peer-reviewed academic journal on the application of contemporary science and technology to the arts). Malina suggests that this type of practice parallels Mode 2 Science, which emerged in the latter part of the 20th Century: a type of scientific knowledge production that is interdisciplinary, problem-focused and context-driven, responsive to the social environment, and interactive (involves non-specialists). Social practice and artistic research operate under the same principals. And when artists become scientists, the lines of inquiry pursued become quite expansive.
Read the Intimate Science introductory text below.
The most recent manifestation of artists working at the intersection of art, science and technology demonstrates a distinctly autodidactic, heuristic approach to understanding the physical and natural world. Intimate Science features artists who are engaged in non-disciplinary inquiry; they aren’t allied to the customs of any single field, and therefore have license to reach beyond conventions. This kind of practice hinges on up-close observation, experiential learning, and inventing new ways for the public to participate in the process. And through their engagement with “intimate science,” a more knowledgeable public might well be able to influence what research is supported and adopted by the larger culture, and the walls of science can become more transparent.
For four months in the fall of 2010, I worked at a cozy desk in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon as a research fellow hosted jointly by the Miller Gallery and the STUDIO. On a daily basis, students, faculty and visiting artists would stop by my front row seat at this frenetic concourse of technoscience dispatches.
While my initial line of inquiry was artists embedded in scientific or industrial environments in the 1960s, I began to uncover a new narrative — a tactile shift in discourse and practice between that moment and this one. While artists two generations ago were dependent on access to technicians, labs, computer time or manufacturers to realize works of scientific or technological complexity, those I was presently meeting had far greater agency to conduct this kind of work themselves. Even ambitious endeavors such as independent biological experiments, materials research and micromanufacturing can be conducted by today’s working artist — and not at a naive or removed distance.
Roger Malina, physicist, astronomer and executive editor of Leonardo, a leading journal for readers interested in the application of contemporary science and technology to the arts, describes this direction as “intimate science.” He writes:
“In an interesting new development in the art world, a generation of artists [is] now collecting data about their world using technological instruments but for cultural purposes. Shared tool-using leads to overlapping epistemologies and ontologies. These artists both make powerful art and help make science intimate, sensual, intuitive.”
And unlike the rare “Leonardo” polymath of the Renaissance, contemporary artists who operate across disciplines employ the expertise of the network: the network, not the individual, is encyclopedic. The Internet has provided unprecedented access to shared knowledge assets, materials, fabrication processes, microfunding, and audiences. This exhibit examines how networked communication and open source culture have contributed to this shift from artists aiding science to doing science, and the impact this imparts on the way scientific knowledge is acquired, utilized and disseminated.
In Common Flowers/Flower Commons (2009), BCL (Georg Tremmel + Shiho Fukuhara) bio-hacks Suntory’s genetically-modified “Moondust™” cut flowers — carnations bio-engineered to have a blueish purple petal color — back into living plants with the intention of creating an “open source” population of these flowers.
Center for PostNatural History (Pittsburgh) is a project spearheaded in 2008 by Rich Pell with the objective to advance “knowledge relating to the complex interplay between culture, nature, and biotechnology.” It is a singular natural history museum that is concerned with “PostNatural” varieties of life normally excluded from scientific taxonomy, i.e., transgenic organisms that have been altered by humankind via selective breeding, genetic engineering, or other methods of biological tampering.
Markus Kayser (London) takes notions of sustainable micromanufacturing to the extreme through projects like his Solar Sinter (2011), which combines a custom-made 3D printer with solar power to transform sand, on site in the Sahara, into glass forms, and Sun Cutter (2010), a low tech ‘laser cutter’ that makes objects by focusing sunlight into a beam powerful enough to cut through plywood.
Allison Kudla (Seattle) combines computer fabrication technologies and plant tissue culturing to make living installations. InCapacity for (urban eden, human error) (2009) she uses a custom-built computer controlled four-axis positioning table to “print” seeds and algae into a delicate architectural pattern, which she describes as biological material in collaboration with an engineering mechanism.
Machine Project (Los Angeles) is a “not-for-profit arts organization and community event space dedicated to making specialized knowledge and technology accessible to artists and the general public.” Machine describes its terrain as encompassing “art, technology, natural history, science, music, literature, and food,” and more. Machine’s style of presenting promotes hands-on engagement and engineers atypical collisions between different branches of knowledge.
Philip Ross (San Francisco) works in the realm of “biotechniques.” He makes sculptural and architectural works from plants and fungi, and videos about micro-organisms. His “mycotecture” series is an experiment using reishi mushrooms as a sustainable construction material. He is also the facilitator of DIY biology events via CRITTER — a salon he founded for the natural sciences.
Andrea Grover was the 2010 Andy Warhol Foundation Curatorial Research Fellow at Carnegie Mellon’s Miller Gallery and STUDIO for Creative Inquiry.
A densely illustrated publication, New Art/Science Affinities (2011), accompanies the exhibition. Co-authored by Grover, Régine Debatty, Claire Evans and Pablo Garcia, and designed by Thumb, the book features more than 60 international artists and collaboratives.
I read this book. It’s pretty good even if they made it in a week. Worth the fifty bucks, easy. – Bruce Sterling
Our first full review is in Post-Luddite Institute (“promoting awareness of our awareness”). And it’s a thoughtful one, too.
NA/SA could and should be a model for how art writing can be thorough, engaging and relevant, while still contemporary to the subjects it discusses… I applaud the creators for this, NA/SA treats itself as an editorial primer, a barometer of a movement in art that has a multitude of sub-groups and communities but is largely disinterested in constructing a larger mythology. – Georges Negri
And Bust Magazine calls it “the ultimate cuddle buddy.”
Earlier this year I organized a “book sprint” (the collaborative authoring of a book in a condensed period of time) as part of my Warhol Curatorial Research Fellowship on art, science and technology at Carnegie Mellon’s STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and Miller Gallery. I had the good fortune to form a week-long hive mind with writers Claire Evans, Régine Debatty, and Pablo Garcia, and designers Luke Bulman and Jessica Young of Thumb. We tackled Maker Culture, Hacking, Artistic Research, Citizen Science, and Computational Art, wrote about over 60 artists, and created a gigantic timeline that includes everything from the establishment of Radio Shack to Creative Commons and Kickstarter. WE DID THIS IN SEVEN DAYS, with little sleep and lots of instant feedback from faculty and students at CMU, as well as artists who generously skyped into the conversation at a moment’s notice. As of this week, the product of the sprint is out in the world and available as a free download or you can purchase a hard copy.
Official New Art/Science Affinities site:
Official Press Release
NEW ART/SCIENCE AFFINITIES
Contributors: Andrea Grover, Régine Debatty, Claire Evans, Pablo Garcia, Thumb Projects
Published by: Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University + CMU STUDIO for Creative Inquiry
Publication date: October 2011
The Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University and the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry have co-published “New Art/Science Affinities,” a 190-page book on contemporary artists that was written and designed in one week by four authors (Andrea Grover, Régine Debatty, Claire Evans and Pablo Garcia) and two designers (Luke Bulman and Jessica Young of Thumb).
“New Art/Science Affinities,” which focuses on artists working at the intersection of art, science and technology, was produced by a collaborative authoring process known as a “book sprint.” Derived from “code sprinting,” a method in which software developers gather in a single room to work intensely on an open source project for a certain period of time, the term book sprint describes the quick, collective writing of a topical book.
The book includes meditations, interviews, diagrams, letters and manifestos on maker culture, hacking, artist research, distributed creativity, and technological and speculative design. Chapters include Program Art or Be Programmed, Subvert! Citizen Science, Artists in White Coats and Latex Gloves, The Maker Moment and The Overview Effect.
Sixty international artists and art collaboratives are featured, including Agnes Meyer-Brandis, Atelier Van Lieshout, Brandon Ballengée, Free Art and Technology (F.A.T.), Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, The Institute for Figuring, Aaron Koblin, Machine Project, Openframeworks, C.E.B. Reas, Philip Ross, Tomás Saraceno, SymbioticA, Jer Thorp, and Marius Watz.
The authors collectively wrote and designed the book during seven, 10-14 hour-days in February 2011 at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry. During their sessions they held conversations with CMU faculty, staff and students from the STUDIO, Miller Gallery, College of Fine Arts, Robotics Institute, Machine Learning Department and BXA Intercollege Degree Program.
“The book sprint method was adopted in order to understand this very moment in art, science and technology hybrid practices, and to mirror the ways Internet culture and networked communication have accelerated creative collaborations, expanded methodologies, and given artists greater agency to work fluidly across disciplines,” says lead author Andrea Grover.
The publication is part of Grover’s Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Curatorial Research Fellowship at CMU’s STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and Miller Gallery. “Intimate Science,” an exhibition that will be the product of Grover’s research, will take place in early 2012 at the Miller Gallery.
“New Art/Science Affinities” (2011, 8.5×11 inches, 190 pages, perfect-bound paperback, 232 full-color illustrations) is available for purchase ($45.75) through print-on-demand service Lulu, or for free download via the Miller Gallery website (http://www.cmu.edu/millergallery/nasabook).
EXCERPT FROM FOREWORD:
We launched our book sprint in order to produce a snapshot of this particular moment—and because we wanted to do it with immediacy, without distraction. The topic of this publication is the most recent manifestation of artists working in art, science, and technology, which we broadly define as work that adopts processes of the natural or physical sciences, “does strange things with electricity” (to borrow a phrase from Dorkbot), breaks from traditional models of art/science pairings, and was created within the last five years. We realize that art, science, and technology intersections have a tradition with much deeper roots than we have space to detail here (and that such histories have been given attention elsewhere), so we’ve provided in a timeline a brief subjective history of innovations, movements, and cultural events that have contributed to this tradition and led us to this moment. To be clear: this book is an effort to understand this very moment in art, science, and technology affinities, and the ways Internet culture and networked communication have shaped the practice.
Project Lead, Warhol Curatorial Fellow at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
11 Program Art or Be Programmed
C.E.B. Reas / Rafael Lozano-Hemmer / Jer Thorp / Marius Watz / Aaron Koblin
With comments from: Golan Levin
Robin Hewlett and Ben Kinsley / Sebastian Brajkovic / Julius von Bismarck / Paul Vanouse / Julian Oliver and Danja Vasiliev / Marco Donnarumma / Willy Sengewald (TheGreenEyl) / Boredomresearch
With comments from: Julian Oliver & Danja Vasiliev, Johannes Grenzfurthner
57 CITIZEN SCIENCE
Cesar Harada / HeHe / Critter / Machine Project / Center for PostNatural History / Institute for Figuring
With comments from: Cesar Harada, Fred Adams
73 ARTISTS IN WHITE COATS AND LATEX GLOVES
Brandon Ballengée / Gilberto Esparza / Philip Ross / BCL / Kathy High /
Fernando Orellana / SWAMP / Agnes Meyer-Brandis /
SymbioticA and Tissue Culture & Art Project
With comments from: Phil Ross, Adam Zaretsky
107 THE MAKER MOMENT
Machine Project / Thomas Thwaites / Jonah Brucker-Cohen and Katherine Moriwaki /
John Cohr / Free Art Technology (F.A.T.), Openframeworks,
The Graffiti Research Lab, and the Ebeling Group
With comments from: Geraldine Juarez, Mark Allen, Jonah Brucker-Cohen
131 THE OVERVIEW EFFECT
Tomàs Saraceno / Dunne & Raby / Sascha Pohflepp / Bruce Sterling /
Atelier van Lieshout / etoy
With comments from: Jeff Lieberman, Sascha Pohflepp, Wendy Fok
157 Intermediary: The Scientific Evangelist
A subjective chronology of art, science, and technology
185 Image Credits
188 The 200 most used words in this book
Régine Debatty is a blogger, curator and critic whose work focuses on the intersection between art, science and social issues.
Claire L. Evans is a writer, science journalist, science-fiction critic, and the author of Universe, a blog addressing the intersections between science and culture. She is also an artist and musician in the band YACHT.
Andrea Grover is a curator, artist and writer. She is the founder of Aurora Picture Show, Houston, and has curated exhibitions on art, technology, and collectivity for apexart, New York, and Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University. She is presently Associate Curator at Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York.
Pablo R. Garcia is the founder and principal of POiNT, a collaborative and multidisciplinary research studio based in Pittsburgh. POiNT is dedicated to experiments in the spatial arts—architecture, design, and the visual and performing arts, in a variety of scales from the portable to the urban.
Thumb is a Brooklyn and Baltimore-based graphic design office that was established as a partnership between Jessica Young and Luke Bulman in 2007. Thumb is fond of fluorescent inks, microscopic art, live and immediate processes, color, Ebay, shape, very glossy paper, discs, surprises, diagrams, rainbow paper, and awkward transitions.
The STUDIO for Creative Inquiry is a center for experimental and interdisciplinary arts in the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University. Founded in 1989, the STUDIO connects artistic enterprises to academic disciplines across the Carnegie Mellon campus, to the community of Pittsburgh and beyond. The STUDIO’s mission is to support creation and exploration in the arts, especially interdisciplinary projects that bring together the arts, sciences, technology, and the humanities, and impact local and global communities.
The Miller Gallery is Carnegie Mellon University’s contemporary art gallery. The Miller Gallery supports experimentation that expands the notions of art and culture, providing a forum for engaged conversations about creativity and innovation. The gallery produces exhibitions, projects, events and publications with a focus on social issues, and is free and open to the public
I’m going to be participating in the October 14, 2011 conference, Expanding the Documentary, at SUNY Purchase thanks to event co-organizers Michelle Stewart and Brooke Singer. Other participants include Steve Dietz, Skip Blumberg, Ryan Griffis (Temporary Travel Office) and a bunch of other rad folks. Hope to see you there!
From the conference website:
Artists, in recent years, have pioneered forms of interactive, environmental, and database art that document socio-political, cultural, and natural phenomena that were once the purview of the film and video documentary. While film and video had the ability to collect, record, narrate, and argue about the historical world, expanded documentarians utilize the full palette of digital media in order to engage audiences, participants, and users in the production, archiving, and mapping of the real. Interactive and multimedia works implicate spectators in the production of information and arguments about the world, foregrounding the public nature of the construction of knowledge. For these reasons, we believe this conversation about Expanded Documentary is timely and important, featuring workshops that highlight the newest practices in documentary work.
Before I left Pittsburgh in December 2010, I started this list of people I met who contributed to the “scenius” there. Some of these folks were just passing through the academic universe of CMU, others are full-time residents.
Artist, writer and musician Jennifer Baron is Pop Filter arts and culture editor for Pop City Media, and author of a column on historic signs for Western Pennsylvania History Magazine, a publication of the Senator John Heinz History Center. Baron runs Fresh Popcorn Productions, a locally made line of craft products, and is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade, Pittsburgh’s first and largest independent craft fair, which received the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council’s “People’s Choice Award” in 2007 and 2009. She is co-editor of the award-winning book, “Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania” (Carnegie Mellon Press, 2009). Baron also was a founding member of the Brooklyn band, the Ladybug Transistor (Merge Records), and has played in Saturnine and the New Alcindors. In 2009 she started the Pittsburgh-based girl band, the Garment District.
Kim Beck is an artist and educator. She grew up in Colorado and currently lives and works in Pittsburgh and New York. She has exhibited widely including at the Walker Art Center, the Carnegie Museum of Art, Smack Mellon, Socrates Sculpture Park, and Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center. A recent fellow at the MacDowell Colony, she has participated in other residencies at Yaddo, the Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Program, the International Studio & Curatorial Program, Cité Internationale des Arts, Vermont Studio Center, and VCCA. She has received awards from ARS Electronica, Pollock-Krasner, Thomas J. Watson and Heinz Foundations and her artist’s book, A Field Guide to Weeds, was published through the Printed Matter Emerging Artist Publishing Program and is in its second edition. She is currently developing a project for the High Line in New York City for Fall, 2010. She received her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and BA from Brandeis University.
Bob Bingham makes art that incorporates systems of growth, live plants and natural materials with mechanical and electronic devices. Through this combination of systems he addresses issues pertaining to a sustainable future where technology and nature exist in a symbiotic relationship.
Lowry Burgess is an internationally renowned conceptual and environmental artist and educator. He has been an educator for over forty five years and is a Professor at Carnegie Mellon University where he is a Distinguished Fellow in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry. As the former Dean of the College of Fine Arts he has founded and administered numerous departments and projects at the institutional level. Burgess served as coordinator of the Graduate Program at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Alisa is the founder of Third Termite Press, an independent, extraordinary letterpress studio. Dix is married to Greg Pierce, film collector, filmmaker, and Assistant Curator of Film & Video of the Warhol Museum.
Amisha Gadani is an artist interested in naturally occurring forms and systems; from sinuous curves to swarming patterns and super organisms. Her work, often drawing from curious creatures and their behaviors, attempts to instill in her viewers a portion of the wonder and awe she finds in these subjects. From her underwater video of seductively descending monsters to her flock of motorized slivers of fabric her fascination with each subject beckons viewers to share in her hand-picked wonders of the world. She is currently working on a series of “animal homunculus” drawings to visually compare differences in sensory and motor adaptations in the animal kingdom, and a fourth animal defense inspired costume to partner her blowfish, porcupine and skink dresses, this time inspired by ink-squirting cephalopods. Amisha lives in Pittsburgh where she has been working for an interdisciplinary arts research lab within Carnegie Mellon University called The STUDIO for Creative Inquiry. Previously she worked at the hands-on Exploratorium Museum of science, art, and human perception in San Francisco as an educator, exhibit support fabricator, and assistant on various projects toward the development of their “Geometry Playground” exhibition.
Pablo R. Garcia is the founder and principal of POiNT, a collaborative and multidisciplinary research studio based in Pittsburgh. POiNT is dedicated to experiments in the spatial arts–architecture, design, and the visual and performing arts, in a variety of scales from the portable to the urban. In addition to POiNT, Pablo is the Lucian and Rita Caste Chair in Architecture and Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to joining Carnegie Mellon, Pablo was the 2007-2008 Muschenheim Fellow at the University of Michigan College of Architecture + Urban Planning. From 2004-2007 he worked as an architect and designer for Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Pablo has taught at Parsons The New School for Design and Princeton University. He holds architecture degrees from Cornell and Princeton Universities.
HackPittsburgh is a non-profit, community-based workshop that allows members to come together and share skills & tools to pursue creative projects. Their membership is open to everyone but typically comprises inventors, engineers, scientists, programmers, hobbyists, artists, roboteers, families, entrepreneurs, and arts and crafts enthusiasts. Their focus is on collaboration, education, and community outreach. They are a benevolent group and do not promote or condone illegal activities. The term “hacking” is used in a benign sense, in the context of deconstructing and understanding objects and systems and re-purposing existing materials for new and innovative uses.
Riley Harmon is an artist currently pursuing an interdisciplinary MFA at Carnegie Mellon University. As an artist, he is particularly interested in the blurring of physical and virtual experiences, philosophical concepts of authenticity, and détournement. He has exhibited work and performed throughout Europe and the United States. At the STUDIO, Riley constructed and manages our website and provides server, technical, and software support as needed. Riley comes from from the University of Oklahoma where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Media Arts with Distinction.
Is a writer, artist, music critic, and journalist, and the creator of Public Record and Old Weird Albion, among many other projects.
Incite! is a journal of experimental media & radical aesthetics, edited by Brett Kashmere, filmmaker and educator.
Artist, roboticist, animator and Lamettrian Geppettoist.
Brett is a Canadian-born, Pittsburgh-based filmmaker, curator, and writer. Combining traditional research methods with materialist aesthetics and hybrid interfaces, Kashmere’s experimental documentaries explore the intersection of history and (counter-) memory, geographies of identity,and the politics of represenation. Supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the National Film Board of Canada, the Saskatchewan Art Board, and the Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative, his films and videos have screened internationally at the London Film Festival, Made in Video: International Video Art Festival in Copenhagen, Anthology Film Archives in New York, the Kassel Documentary Festival in Germany, Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center in Buffalo, the British Film Institute, and The Images Festival in Toronto.
Heather is currently conducting her doctoral research at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute and running Marilyn Monrobot Labs in NYC, which creates socially intelligent robot performances and sensor-based electronic art.
Golan Levin develops artifacts and events which explore supple new modes of reactive expression. His work focuses on the design of systems for the creation, manipulation and performance of simultaneous image and sound, as part of a more general inquiry into the formal language of interactivity, and of nonverbal communications protocols in cybernetic systems. Through performances, digital artifacts, and virtual environments, often created with a variety of collaborators, Levin applies creative twists to digital technologies that highlight our relationship with machines, make visible our ways of interacting with each other, and explore the intersection of abstract communication and interactivity. Levin has exhibited widely in Europe, America and Asia.
Patricia is a visual artist and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon University whose professional training is multidisciplinary and includes graduate studies in both molecular biology and visual arts. She often works collaboratively on projects that intersect the biological sciences and the visual arts. Integrating her interests in molecular genetics and psychology, Maurides probes issues of identity and origins in her art practice. She frequently uses her body as subject, screen, or conduit for memory play. Maurides teaches “Art and Biology”, a studio laboratory artmaking course that explores interactions between art and biology.
Marek Michalowski is a co-founder of BeatBots, a group of roboticists who design interactive characters and machines for entertainment, research, therapy, art and toys. Their popular robot Keepon was built to engage in nonverbal interaction with children, particularly those with autism. Michalowski holds a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University and B.A. and M.S. degrees in Computer Science and Psychology from Yale University. He has held visiting researcher positions at institutions in Japan (ATR, NICT), Korea (KAIST), and France (CNRS); he is collaborating with a group of robotic artists on the New Artist project; and he has recently worked with Syyn Labs to design Rube Goldberg machines.
Jill Miller received a BA from UC Berkeley in English Literature in 1999 and an MFA in Art from UCLA in 2004. At UCLA she worked with Paul McCarthy, John Baldessari, and Mary Kelly. Her work has been exhibited internationally; recent exhibitions include Collectors at 2nd Floor Projects in San Francisco and Playback at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in France. Miller has received grants and awards from Arts Council England and D’Arcy Hayman Foundation, among others. Her work has been collected around the world, including a recent acquisition by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. She currently teaches at the San Francisco Art Institute and the California College of Arts.
Jonathan is an artist and filmmaker who investigates human experience in extreme environments and the evolutionary dynamic between nature and culture. Recent documentaries have featured communities of extremophiles; the nomads of Mongolia, deep sea oceanographers, scientists searching for extraterrestrial civilizations and artists working in outer space. Communities of interest include the nomads of Mongolia, deep sea oceanographers and astrobiologists, the SETI program and the emerging culture of humans in outer space. At the STUDIO, Jonathan is specifically involved with the Moon Arts Project where he records certain events and meetings and directs and edits all associated documentaries. Jonathan has a joint degree in Fine Art and Anthropology from Carnegie Mellon and previously worked at his alma mater’s College of Fine Arts as an advisor to prospective joint degree students.
Margaret Myers is the Associate Director of the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry. She has over 25 years of experience in managing programs for artists and has a track record of success in creating environments for creativity and in assisting artists in finding funds for their work. She was previously the Executive Director of Pittsburgh Filmmakers and a grants program director in Media Arts and Theatre at the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She has been a grant panelist for numerous agencies and an Adjunct Professor for the Arts Management Program. She served as principal investigator for several projects including the Creativity in Collective Project funded by the NEA and for the Pittsburgh Creativity Project.
Eric Paulos is the Director of the Living Environments Lab and an Assistant Professor in theHuman-Computer Interaction Institute with courtesy faculty appointments in the Robotics Institute within the School of Computer Science and in the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. Previously Eric was Senior Research Scientist at Intel Research in Berkeley, California where he founded the Urban Atmospheres research group – challenged to employ innovative methods to explore urban life and the future fabric of emerging technologies across public urban landscapes. His areas of expertise span a deep body of research territory in urban computing, sustainability, green design, environmental awareness, social telepresence, robotics, physical computing, interaction design, persuasive technologies, and intimate media. Eric is a leading figure in the field of urban computing, coining the term in 2004, and a regular contributor, editorial board member, and reviewer for numerous professional journals and conferences. Eric received his PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley where he helped launch a new robotic industry by developing some of the first internet tele-operated robots including Space Browsing helium filled blimps and Personal Roving Presence devices (PRoPs).
Richard Pell is a founding member of the highly acclaimed art and engineering collective, the Institute for Applied Autonomy. His work with IAAincludes several robotic, web and biologically based projects that call into question the imperatives that drive technological development. IAA projects such as the robotic GraffitiWriter, iSee and TXTmob have been exhibited in art, activist and engineering contexts such as the ZKM in Karlsruhe, Mass MoCA, CAC in Cincinnati, Australian Center for the Moving Image, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Hackers On Planet Earth and the International Conference On Robotics And Automation. IAA projects have been chosen for an Award of Distinction and two Honorable Mentions at the Prix-Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria and were selected for RES Magazine’s 10 Best New Artists of 2005. His narrative and documentary videos explore the individual’s relationship to authority. His most recent video documentary entitled, Don’t Call Me Crazy On The 4th Of July, won the Best Michigan Director Award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in 2005, took 1st prize at the Iowa International Documentary Film Festival has screened in numerous festivals internationally. In 2007 he was awarded a prestigious Rockefeller New Media Fellowship for the establishment of a new museum entitled The Center for PostNatural History.
Assistant Film and Video Curator at Warhol Museum, film collector extraordinaire with a specific interest in home movies and camera originals.
Ragona teaches a range of courses in the College of Fine Arts at CMU including MFA Academic Seminar, sophomore required surveys in both Modern and Contemporary Visual Culture, as well as various intermediate and upper level seminars in art history, film, sound, aesthetics, and critical theory. Ragona’s critical and creative work focuses on sound design, film theory and new media practice and reception. By forging approaches from the disciplines of film studies, art history, and new media technologies, her work has sought to present a more complex aesthetic, theoretical, and historical foundation for the analysis of contemporary time-based arts. Her current book project, Readymade Sound: Andy Warhol’s Recording Aesthetics examines Warhol’s tape recording projects from the mid-sixties until the late 70s in light of audio experiments in modern art as well as contemporary practices of pattern matching and information visualization.
Rossum’s is a working group for robotic artists and engineers. The group is devoted to creating and showing new art work which combines the digital and mechanical in embodied forms. The Rossum’s group meets semi-regularly to discuss practical and conceptual issues in our work. We also often invite external speakers to present at our meetings in a relaxed seminar format. Most of the group is concentrated in Pittsburgh, but the wider Rossum’s network includes members in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Indiana.
Jon Rubin is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work explores the social dynamics of public places and the idiosyncrasies of individual and group behavior. His projects include starting a radio station in an abandoned steel town that only plays the sound of an extinct bird, developing a hypnotized human robot army, running an autonomous nomadic art school, and operating a working restaurant that produces a live talk show with its customers. He has exhibited at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico; The Rooseum, Sweden; Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Germany; Nemo Film Festival, Paris; as well as in backyards, living rooms, and street corners.
1. computer scientist specializing in machine learning and its applications in language, biology, and social computing. 2. singer-songwriterand musician, proficient at several instruments and known to perform live on occasion [see also delicious pastries]. 3. freelance graphic designer, web developer, and mixing/mastering engineer for audio-type stuff. 4. founder of the annual february album writing month challenge [see fawm.org]. 5. traveler, lover of languages, wordplay addict, and armadillo enthusiast.
Natalie is an artist who engages the often-parallel concerns of art and science. For over a decade her work has lead to collaborative projects with researchers in biochemistry, botany, physiology, and zoology. In 2007 she lived and worked in Cambridge, UK independently researching Victorian design and topics in biology for her work in the Natural Motif series of drawings on paper and wall. Settles is a 2008 Wisconsin Arts Board Fellow. She is currently based in Pittsburgh, PA where she teaches in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University and is the artist in residence at the Tonsor Lab for Plant Evolutionary Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh.
Suzie Silver is an artist working primarily in video and performance. Her works have screened at the New Museum and Whitney Museum in New York; the Worldwide Video Festival in The Hague; Documenta IX Video Festival, Kassel; the London Film Festival; The Moscow Film Festival, gay and lesbian film and video festivals in Austin, Chicago, Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Melbourne, New York, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Stockholm, and Tel Aviv; and dozens of other venues worldwide.
Eric Singer is a Brooklyn-based musician, artist, engineer and programmer with 20 years of arts and multimedia programming, engineering and performance experience. He holds a BS in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon; a Diploma in Music Synthesis (Magna Cum Laude) from Berklee College of Music; and an MS in Computer Science from New York University. He has performed and lectured throughout the world with electronic musical instruments, as well as touring and recording with many bands on tenor, alto, and baritone saxes. He is a founding member of the Brooklyn-based arts collaborative The Madagascar Institute, and he has contributed to many of the group’s spectacular projects in addition to reaching the semi-finals with the MI-originating team “The Brooklyn Benders” on The Learning Channel’s ‘Junkyard Wars’ television show. He is also the founder of LEMUR (League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots), a group of artists and technologists creating robotic musical instruments. In addition to directing LEMUR, he currently works as an independent Arts Engineer and Consultant.
Straschnoy is a visual artist born in Buenos Aires in 1978. He lives and works in Helsinki.
Astria Suparak, a curator known for her efforts to highlight emerging and international artists, was appointed director of Carnegie Mellon University’s Miller Gallery, effective March 1, 2008. Suparak’s cutting-edge exhibitions often employ a variety of media, from painting and photography, to craft and electronic arts.
Jer Thorp is an artist and educator from Vancouver, Canada, currently living in New York. A former geneticist, his digital art practice explores the many-folded boundaries between science and art. Recently, his work has been featured by The New York Times, The Guardian, BusinessWeek and the CBC.
Mary Tremonte is an artist, educator, activist and DJ. She is a member of Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative. Mary is a Youth Programs Coordinator at the Andy Warhol Museum and volunteers at Artists Image Resource and the Braddock Neighborhood Silkscreen Studio. She is consumed with printmaking, totally teens, collaboration, communication and the politics of social space, especially the dance-party.
Douglas Vakoch is the Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute, as well as the only social scientist employed by a SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) organization. Dr. Vakoch researches ways that different civilizations might create messages that could be transmitted across interstellar space, allowing communication between humans and extraterrestrials even without face-to-face contact. He is particularly interested in how we might compose messages that would begin to express what it’s like to be human.
Dawn is a multi-disciplinary artist and co-founder with Jon Rubin of Conflict Kitchen.
Dan is an artist, programmer, and performer also known as Robot Cowboy.
Garth is a roboticist, artist, and co-founder of Rossums. He is a researcher at the Robotics Institute, and specializes in “minimalist mechanisms, compliant manipulation, and legged locomotion.”
As part of my Warhol Curatorial Fellowship at STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, I have organized a book sprint which will take place next week! Details can be found on the STUDIO website. Participants include: Régine Debatty, Claire Evans, Pablo Garcia, Jessica Young (Designer), and Luke Bulman (Designer).
Earlier this year, I simultaneously read Jaron Lanier’s You Are Not A Gadget and Steven B. Johnson’s Everything Bad Is Good for You, and found it, as you can imagine, confounding. Lanier argues that digital technology is reductive of human intelligence and stunts innovation (because of short-sighted design which results in technological “lock-in” and subsequent “sedimentation,” described as “when digital representations of ideas become causal forces in the evolution of those ideas.” Meanwhile “blue skies” Johnson argues that our engagement with technology (e.g., video games) raises IQ scores and develops cognitive abilities that can’t be learned from books. I find myself firmly rooted in both camps, despite their contradictory arguments. My work as an artist and curator takes full advantage of the speed and efficiency provided by the internet’s “hive mind,” but I am also acutely aware of the limitations and lightweight quality of research and communication that takes place exclusively online. This topic has been poured over in books like The Shallows by Nicholas G. Carr and a tsunami of newspaper and magazine stories about how the internet is making us stupid, distracted, fragmented, smarter, more productive, and friendlier. Read the rest of this post on my Glasstire blog, We Have The Technology.
This open letter was written by Kevin Nelson in response to Thomas Kalil’s (Deputy Director for Policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology) introductory remarks at the National Science Foundation sponsored conference, “Innovation, Education and Makers” and the promotion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Coalition).
October 18th, 2010
Dear Mr. Kalil,
I cannot tell you how overjoyed I am that our Nation’s leaders have finally opened an intrigued eye to the blossoming Maker movement. Your speech following the Maker Faire in New York was encouraging, exciting, and promising. It put a well deserved spotlight on the achievements of garage tinkerers and hackers around the country (and let’s be honest, the world). That our leaders are paying attention to these atypical, underground activities and interested in turning them into mainstream, common American values is incredibly motivating to me as a maker.
There is, however, one facet of this movement that was overlooked in your speech, and as far as I can tell, is unfortunately overlooked everywhere STEM is championed. It is an undeniable aspect of humanity as valuable to Captain Picard as it was to Albert Einstein. It has been a driving force, technologically and economically, in the multi-billion dollar video game industry (and thus, the personal computer and home entertainment industries). It is introduced to Americans before Kindergarten, but somewhere along the path to high school, it is hopelessly abandoned as impractical and unproductive. But, it is also how we stop fragmenting ourselves into STEMs; it is how we come together to pick up STEAM for the renaissance (and yes, the ice cream was its idea).
Of course I am talking about art.
While art is a broad word that is dangerously all-encompasing (there is indeed an art to routing a circuit board, and a quite different art to designing a state machine), the art I am talking about here is fine art — that which Wikipedia defines as “developed primarily for aesthetics and/or concept rather than practical application.” Fine art is no longer just painting on a canvas, drawing musical notes on a stave, or spinning clay into a pot. Fine art, in addition to everything it used to be, is electrical, dynamic, and algorithmic now, and to borrow from Oscar Wilde, as “quite useless” as it ever was. Take as an example, Syyn Labs‘ recent contribution to GLOW.
I wasn’t at the Maker Faire in New York, but I have been to two in San Mateo, and many of the projects I saw there not practically useful, but were quite inspiring. Many of the useful projects I did see had one thing in common with the beloved MakerBots and DIYDrones: They were based on an Arduino, the open-source microcontroller and programming environment designed by artists for everyone.
Yes, the Arduino does fall under the blanket category of Technology, but it would be naive to think that its developers were trained only as technologists and engineers. Their training in art, sociology, and community is doubtlessly and inextricably linked to the platform’s success across its diverse applications. Their desire to create something useful for artists is what drove them to simplify the user interface and lower the barrier to entry.
As I mentioned above, art also has a crucial role in the video game industry. Visual arts in video games are the reason why many of my friends own HDTVs. They are also the reason that companies like nVidia and ATi have had a thriving market in which to sell graphics cards and innovate parallel processing. By and large, people want the latest GeForce and Radeon cards for artistic reasons: they want their games to look good. It wasn’t until very recently that using these massively parallel architectures for anything else was even reasonable.
I could go on about other examples of influences of fine arts on technology, like “Daisy” and the Altair 8800, but your time is valuable, and so is mine, so I’ll cut to the point. This letter is to ask you to take a step back, have a look at the immense discrepancy between grant opportunities from the NSF and those from the NEA, and think about what we can do to pick up STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Educating and encouraging our children to embrace artistic expression is just as important as teaching them calculus and the periodic table. Let’s encourage our engineers to design new Most Useless Machines. Let’s inspire our mathematicians to devise new mind-boggling N-dimensional fractal animations. Let’s teach our artists to write programs and draw schematics so that they might create an electronic Mona Lisa. And let’s show our children how fun and intertwined all of these fields are, so that they may form communities that flourish as they grow older and spread the joy to their children, and so on.
The train is headed in the right direction, we just need to invite everyone aboard.
Computer Engineer, Electronic Musician, Crasher
On November 11, 2010, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that some of the biggest names in technology, media and fine art are coming together to support Art.sy, a Pandora Radio-type aggregator which will recommend art to users based on their “tastes.” Among the supporters and advisors to Art.sy are art collector Wendy Murdoch (wife of Rupert), art dealer Larry Gagosian, and Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
In an interview with Motherboard.tv, Art.sy founder Carter Cleveland stated, “We want to get people… wean them off the teat of mass production and mass consumption, back to a point where we used to be, which is appreciating original real fine art. And if you’re buying this art, you’re actually supporting a real person, you know like, a starving artist, someone who’s struggling to have a successful career.”
Wean them off the teat of mass producton? I have an intense aversion to Art.sy before it even goes live, and to existing art aggregators like www.artfacts.net, a site which ranks artists on a point system by their exhibitions and sales. This post continues on my Glasstire blog, We Have The Technology.