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I am an artist and educator who often pursues collaborations as a means for interdisciplinary dialog and production that interrogates divisions of public/private space and exchange. My solo and collaborative work combines aspects of new media, sculpture, and design, alongside a critical interrogation of contemporary technology and has been shown nationally and internationally at venues such as the Soap Factory and Weisman Art Museum (Minneapolis), the Beijing Film Academy, and ZKM in Germany. I hold a BFA in Photography and an MFA in Experimental and Media Art from the University of Minnesota.
An abiding interest in power structures, media effects, and the ubiquity of network technologies pervades my creative work. One way this manifests is through the exploitation of corporate aesthetics and branding strategies as a means of critique that opens up possibilities for existential reflection. Whether through a highly produced video advertisement, a sculpture made of ‘borrowed’ consumer products, or a site-responsive public art commission, I translate the immateriality of media objects, devices, and capitalist systems into poetic materiality and ephemeral performances.
My research is best understood in relation to emerging discourses of digital and post-digital culture. At this time of ubiquitous, body-connected devices and pervasive computing, a shared, albeit skewed, sense of collective perception about networks and computational functions is affecting how we conceptualize spaces and meaning in the world. Programming concepts are infiltrating the ways we relate to the world (e.g. algorithms, nesting, loops) For example, the automation exemplified and implemented by classic Fordist production models to train and manage bodies and to produce economies of scale has been computationally adapted into algorithms. These algorithms extract patterns from accumulated data in order to extend opportunities for consumer spending. Networked interactions are increasingly mediated, archived and quantified, as algorithms attribute economic value to social interactions in the form of “likes” and “reposts.” As such, the pervasiveness of late capitalism and its propensity to commodify all forms of exchange, even information itself, drives these developments and provides a central context for my work.
For example, the ubiquity of Apple™ products and the consumer ideology perpetuated by the global brand is critiqued by Touchstone, a series of small, handheld sculptures that identically mimic the form of an iPhone 5S. Carved from various stones purported to have metaphysical properties, such as enhancing creativity or financial wealth, Touchstone exists as a conceptual surrogate to ubiquitous network tethering, allowing one to connect to a real world of matter, in the form of stone, at the same time becoming an exploration in the psychology and the poetics of faith. This work was announced as a product of the Center for Advanced Applications, an expanded platform for my research that also incubates collaborations. The Center researches and responds to the impact of emerging technologies on mass culture in arenas such as identity construction, erosion of privacy, and dependence on technological prostheses by creating critical art and design projects.
Collaboration across disciplines is essential to my creative process. This interdisciplinary approach intentionally mirrors the realities of production in our contemporary world and helps me contextualize my work. For example, I am a partner in Futures North, a small public art design firm with another artist and two architects. We pursue major public projects that employ data spatialization, a methodology that uses data to algorithmically design context-specific 3D models, which primarily manifest via digital fabrication technologies. I have collaborated on a half-dozen projects with fellow artist Ben Moren under the moniker Mobile Experiential Cinema (MEC). And, from 2007 to 2010, I was a core member of Floating Lab Collective, a group of artists working collaboratively on social research through public and media art projects in Washington DC, as well as nationally and internationally. I continue to collaborate with an excellent group of artists, coders, technologists, and academics on various projects.