News/Research

ATC 2018-2019 In Review

11 Jul, 2019

ATC 2018-2019 In Review

What a fantastic season for the Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium of 2018-2019! Check out below the highlights of this incredible program!

2018

09/10 Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay is an author and cultural critic whose writing is unmatched and widely revered. Her work garners international acclaim for its reflective, no-holds-barred exploration of feminism and social criticism. With a deft eye on modern culture, she brilliantly critiques its ebb and flow with both wit and ferocity.

Words like “courage,” “humor,” and “smart” are frequently deployed when describing Roxane. Her collection of essays, Bad Feminist, is universally considered the quintessential exploration of modern feminism. NPR named it one of the best books of the year and Salon declared the book “trailblazing.” Her powerful debut novel, An Untamed State, was long listed for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. In 2017, Roxane released her highly anticipated memoir, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, as well as a collection of short stories titled Difficult Women.

Roxane is a contributing op-ed writer for The New York Times, was the co-editor of PANK, and formerly was the non-fiction editor at The Rumpus. Her writing has also appeared in McSweeney’s, The Nation and many other publications. She recently became the first black woman to ever write for Marvel, writing a comic series in the Black Panther universe called World of Wakanda. Roxane fronts a small army of avid fans on social media and when she finds the time, she dominates the occasional Scrabble tournament.

From Graduate Liaison KC Forcier's recap:

After reading several excerpts from the memoir, Gay fielded questions from the audience on topics ranging from her process as a writer and editor, to intersectionality, overcoming trauma, and what feminism will look like in the 22nd century. The questions were a testament to just how deeply Gay’s work resonates with her readers, and how much there is a hunger are for voices like hers. Many times throughout the evening Gay spoke of the need to speak truth to power, while stressing just how exhausting this can be. “Don’t let them put you in the position of always having to be an advocate,” she said in response to a question about how to navigate a workplace as the only woman of color, and the only queer person in the office. She also emphasized the importance of personal support networks, a theme which recurred throughout the evening.

Read her whole post here.

10/08 Kelani Nichole

The networked culture that emerged at the end of the 20th century introduced a generation of artists who employ open, distributed, virtualized, and highly collaborative techniques. But the networked avante-garde face unique challenges – technology changes quickly and constantly; conservation and preservation practices are still being developed; critics and scholars have overlooked decades of pioneering work; collectors have been slow, so far, to acquire this type of work. Despite these challenges, this avant-garde stands to significantly change what making and distributing art means in the century ahead. Leading institutions, like The Whitney Museum of American Art and experimental museum models like The Current are developing new models of support for challenging variable media art.

Kelani Nichole is a design strategist and exhibition maker based in NYC. She consults for agile product teams and startups, and founded TRANSFER, an experimental exhibition space in Brooklyn, NY. Nichole specializes in challenging variable media artworks – she designs exhibitions in the home, gallery and art market contexts. In 2018 Nichole began serving as Director of The Current, a cooperative collection of contemporary media art that examines technology's impact on the human condition.

From Graduate Liaison KC Forcier's recap:

As process or performance-based art before it, the immateriality and iterability of the networked avant-garde constitute a powerful critique of the institutions of the art world. Their precarity, immateriality and iterability resist the commodification of art. Much of the digital art of this generation of artists uses the stuff of advanced capitalism - affect, knowledge, performance, the immaterial - to critique the power structures which sustain it. Nevertheless, the existence of this tension - between the institutions of commercial art and digital art’s critique of these institutions - is itself productive, and demonstrates the need for artists, curators, and scholars to together continually examine the role of digital technologies in the shifting terrain of art today.

Read her post about the event here!

Watch below!

10/15 Kerry Tribe

Kerry Tribe’s work in film, video, installation and other media raises questions about elusive and ephemeral aspects of human experience including memory, empathy and linguistic communication. Often working with multiple projections and timed loops, her projects are designed to structurally underscore their content. Tribe’s fascination with the literal mechanics of moving images suggests that the medium is capable of mirroring cognitive processes in profoundly generative ways. In this lecture, she considers some of the ways in which art, technology and the moving image can sensitize viewers to their own and others’ experiences.

Kerry Tribe was born in 1973 in Boston, MA and lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; 356 Mission, Los Angeles; the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; the Power Plant, Toronto; Modern Art, Oxford and Camden Arts Centre, London. It has been included in significant group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC. The recipient of a Herb Alpert Award, a Creative Capital Grant and a USA Artists Award, Tribe’s work is in the public collections of MoMA, the Whitney, the Hammer and the Generali Foundation among others.

From Graduate Liaison KC Forcier's recap:

“I’ve never thought of myself as a new media artist,” Tribe commented before her ATC lecture last Monday night, “but it’s true that film was new media once.” Tribe’s extensive body of film and video art is as preoccupied with questions about the medium of film as with the question of human memory and perception. Tribe uses the unique constraints and affordances of film to tackle the “hard problem of consciousness.” Multi-screen or looped projections interrogate the temporal dimensions of memory, while the documentary qualities of her works raise the issue of photography’s relationship to the real.

Read her full post here!

Watch below!

10/29 Kim Stanley Robinson

The Anthropocene is a name in a periodizing scheme, or in more than one periodizing scheme, so to understand it more fully we need first to discuss periodization itself. After that it may be possible to move on to considerations of what it would take to create a “good Anthropocene.”

Kim Stanley Robinson is an American science fiction writer. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the international bestselling Mars trilogy, and more recently New York 2140, Aurora, Shaman, Green Earth, and 2312, which was a New York Times bestseller nominated for all seven of the major science fiction awards—a first for any book. He was sent to the Antarctic by the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers’ Program in 1995, and returned in their Antarctic media program in 2016. In 2008 he was named a “Hero of the Environment” by Time magazine, and he works with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute, the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, and UC San Diego’s Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination. His work has been translated into 25 languages, and won a dozen awards in five countries, including the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy awards. In 2016 he was given the Heinlein Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction, and asteroid 72432 was named “Kimrobinson.” In 2017 he was given the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Imagination in Service to Society.

From Graduate Liaison KC Forcier's recap:

As a science fiction writer, Robinson is an apt advocate for using science to engineer a better future. In describing the political role of science fiction, Robinson asserts: “We are all science fiction writers of our own lives. Any story set in the future is science fiction.” We can either take a dystopian view, or, as Robinson urges, we can be utopian in our view of the future for ourselves and for the planet.

Read her full post here!

Watch below!

2019

02/11 Kevin Delaney

Quartz seeks to reimagine how journalism looks in the digital age. In co-founding the platform, Delaney "hacked the very notion of what an online magazine can do" (Digiday) with a native mobile interface, concise stories, and a focus on design. Delaney spearheaded the use of infinite scrolling in news sites, fundamentally changing the experience of news consumption. In building a new format for journalism, Delaney and his colleagues at Quartz have refused to simply port content onto yet another interface, but have asked vital questions over the future structure of news and the shape of a product able to respond to these demands.

Kevin J. Delaney is editor in chief and co-CEO of Quartz, the global business news site at qz.com. Kevin cofounded Quartz in 2012 and has led its pioneering approach to journalism, which has won many awards and attracted a readership around the world. Prior to Quartz, Kevin was a Wall Street Journal reporter for a decade, with postings in Paris and San Francisco. He was managing editor of WSJ.com, where he led efforts that greatly expanded the Journal’s readership, and championed prize-winning journalism projects. Earlier, Kevin was a reporter for SmartMoney Magazine and a TV producer in Montreal. He has a history degree from Yale University, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and was the Hearst digital media professional-in-residence at Columbia University. His Twitter handle is @delaney and you can find more information at qz.com.

From Graduate Liaison KC Forcier's recap:

In part, Delaney’s optimism stems from his determination that for democracies to thrive, they need a robust professional news media, one that is held accountable for a level of truth and thoroughness. “Journalism as an important public service event if there isn’t a great business model,” he argued, pointing to various sponsored or non-profit news organizations as alternative models for a sustainable news industry. “The future of news will likely be hard, but it’s not optional,” he concluded.

Read her full post here!

Video to come shortly!

02/25 Chico MacMurtrie

Chico MacMurtrie’s work pushes the boundaries between robotic sculpture, new media installation, and performance. Immersed in the Bay Area’s Art and Technology Counterculture of the 1990s, he became known for his anthropomorphic, computer-controlled sculptures which evolved over the years into a “Society of Machines”. Today, operating out of his studio in Brooklyn, New York, also known as the “Robotic Church”, MacMurtrie is internationally recognized for his “Inflatable Architectural Bodies” series which explores the underlying essence of movement and transformation in organic and non-organic bodies. Freestanding or suspended in mid-air, these more recent servo-pneumatic “soft-machines”, inflate and deflate through an articulated series of movements, depicting imaginary molecular and cellular formations on a magnified scale.

Chico MacMurtrie and Amorphic Robot Works, an interdisciplinary collective he founded in 1991, are recognized for their monumental robotic sculptures and performative installations. They have received numerous awards for their experimental new media artworks, including five grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andy Warhol Foundation Grant, the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, VIDA Life 11.0, and Prix Ars Electronica. Chico MacMurtrie was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2016.

From Graduate Liaison KC Forcier's recap:

From his earliest robotic sculpture, which grew out of his origins in metalworking in the Bay Area, MacMurtrie’s work has sought to understand the human more fully. His first such piece, the Tumbling Man, was an exercise in parsing and replicating human motion, which gave birth to a decades-long series of sculptures. MacMurtrie’s Society of Machines is a body of work comprising some 250 robotic sculptures that mimic or perform human gestures. The artist’s recent work has evolved from exploring the intersection of human motion and the machinic, to consider more fleshy forms. Border Crossers grows out of this series of inflatable, organic forms which, through their translucent skins and pliable limbs, suggest a more vulnerable existence.

Read her full post here!

Video to come shortly!

03/04 Nnedi Okorafor

"Nature is the greatest artist and scientist. If we human beings, with our rather brilliant, often flawed, sometimes evil, creativity joined forces with our creator (nature), as opposed to trying to control it and treat it like our slave, imagine the wonders we could create. If we worked with nature, we’d also avoid being the target of nature’s epic wrath. This is why when I write about technology, I naturally (pun intended) go in the direction things are already going, i.e. organic," Nnedi Okorafor, the international award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism for both children and adults, has written.

Technology and its potentials have long fascinated Okorafor, who began writing science fiction thanks to the glimpses of the future she would see in Nigeria, which were far different from those she'd been exposed to in the West.

Born in the United States to two Nigerian immigrant parents, Nnedi is known for weaving African culture into creative evocative settings and memorable characters. Her bestselling and popular works include the Binti and Akata Witch series, Lagoon, and Who Fears Death—currently in production as a new HBO series produced by George R.R. Martin. This World Fantasy, Hugo, and Nebula Award-winning author has also penned three issues of Marvel’s Black Panther comic book, Long Live the King. She is an associate professor of creative writing and literature at the University at Buffalo.

From Graduate Liaison KC Forcier's recap:

The blending of the ancient and the modern is a preoccupation of her novels on many levels, and comes through in the way she addresses gender. As Donna Jones, Professor of English at UC Berkeley pointed out in their conversation following the reading, many of Okorafor’s stories feature strong female protagonists who make deliberate choices about aspects of their heritage that are harmful to them, or that they feel ambiguous about. Okorafor acknowledged that as much inspiration as she took from traditional culture, she was also keenly interested in the ways in which traditions reproduce oppression. “The patriarchy is something I’ve been pushing back against for a long time,” she said.

Read her full post here!

Video to come shortly!

03/18 Morehshin Allahyari

For her talk Morehshin Allahyari discussed some of her previous projects focused on topics such as 3D fabrication, activism, digital colonialism, monstrosity and fabulation. She used this talk as a platform to show the possibilities of art-making beyond aesthetics or visualization. She posited and contextualized “a position outside” that asks difficult questions and suggests alternative methods.

Morehshin Allahyari (b. 1985 in Tehran, Iran) is a media artist, activist, educator, and curator who uses computer modeling, 3D scanning and digital fabrication techniques to explore the intersection of art and activism. Inspired by concepts of collective archiving, memory, and cultural contradiction, Allahyari’s 3D printed sculptures and videos challenge social and gender norms. “I want my work to respond to, resist and criticize the current political and cultural situation that we experience on a daily basis,” she explains.

From Graduate Liaison KC Forcier's recap:

With her series of 3D printed replicas of ancient artifacts, Allahyari has probed the question of who has the right to historical objects. After witnessing a video of Isis destroying irreplaceable artifacts at the Mosul Museum in 2014, Allahyari undertook intensive research to produce digital reconstructions of twelve of these artifacts. The original intention was to produce 3D-printed replicas out of plastic - a product of crude oil, and therefore an explicit reference to the fraught politics of petroleum - and also make the digital plans for these replicas available for free online. However, as her research into the politics of 3D scanning evolved, Allahyari began to reconsider the ethics of open source.

Read her full post here!

Video to come shortly!

04/01 Rhonda Holberton

Rhonda Holberton’s interdisciplinary art practice illuminates the politics of the corporeal body navigating through virtual space. In this presentation Holberton discussed her recent projects utilizing networked VR designed to trigger subtle interactions of electrons between biological and digital systems, a speculative cosmetic company whose mission is focused on the potential of products to create distributed performative action, and collaborative image making with Neural Networks.

Rhonda Holberton holds an MFA from Stanford University (2012) and a BFA from CCA (2007). Her multimedia installations make use of digital and interactive technologies integrated into traditional methods of art production. In 2014 Holberton was a CAMAC Artist in Residence at Marnay-sur-Seine, France, and she was awarded a Fondation Ténot Fellowship, Paris. Her work is included in the collection of SFMoMA and the McEvoy Foundation and has been exhibited at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; Contemporary Jewish Museum (SF); Transfer Gallery (NYC), CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions, FIFI Projects Mexico City; San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art; and the San Francisco Arts Commission. Holberton taught experimental media at Stanford University from 2015-2017 and is is currently Assistant Professor of Digital Media at San Jose State University . She lives and works in Oakland.

From Graduate Liaison KC Forcier's recap:

Holberton’s work considers how we reconcile our bodies to that which is operating on a completely different scale than the human. Her current project, Again for the First Time (2019) is a VR installation and custom built web server. Visitors don VR goggles and are walked through a meditative virtual reiki session. They are encouraged to send their psychical energy into the network, where it is healed and cleansed before being returned to the user. Although playful, the piece raises questions about the nature of our interactions and experiences in virtual spaces, as embodied human subjects. As Holberton argues, “the creators of virtual worlds must be accountable to the needs of the physical one.”

Read her full post here!

Video to come shortly!

04/29 Adam Savage

Adam Savage discussed the future of technology and habitation in space — on Mars, the moon, and even Earth — with Nicholas de Monchaux, author of Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo. Sharing examples from his unique collection of reproduction spacesuits from NASA and film history, Adam explored the history and design of human space travel.

Adam has spent his life gathering skills that allow him to take what's in his brain and make it real. He's built everything from ancient Buddhas and futuristic weapons to fine-art sculptures and dancing vegetables. In 1993, Adam began concentrating his career on the special-effects industry, honing his skills through more than 100 television commercials and a dozen feature films, including Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Galaxy Quest and the Matrix sequels. In 2002, Adam was chosen along with Jamie Hyneman to host MythBusters, which premiered on Discovery Channel in January 2003. Fourteen years, 1,015 myths, 2,950 experiments, eight Emmy nominations and 83 miles of duct tape later, the series ended in March 2016. Today, Adam stars in and produces content for Tested.com.

From Graduate Liaison KC Forcier's recap:

The spacesuit is an apt focal point for a discussion on fact and fiction. As Savage pointed out, costumes always have the ability to transform, whether a child’s halloween getup, or a superhero’s armor. A spacesuit is just one of the more dramatic examples of something humans have fashioned to make them more than they are. The spacesuit, and the space program itself, were made possible in part by the imaginative drive of science fiction. As de Monchaux observed, “The territory of speculation and the territory of action never as far removed as we might imagine.”

Read her full post here!

Video to come shortly!