The exhibition you are about to experience is the result of a collaboration between the New Media Caucus and the podcast Artist and Hackers. In it you will find the work of five diverse and revolutionary artists engaged in New Media Art. These works by artists KT Duffy, Sue Huang, Chelsea Thompto, Rashin Faharandej and Shawné Michaelain Holloway, span a broad spectrum of themes, love, memory, family, gender identity, social inequality, speculative biology and even meteorology, through the lenses of learning machine algorithms, VR, animation, poetry, html, video and more. Through technology, these artists create modes of expression that would have otherwise been hard or impossible to achieve as well as reach others much more effectively than before.
» Rene G. Cepeda, Curator
New Rules is made possible with funding from the National Endowment for Arts.
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Set against an upbeat pulsing background Oblivion a cell-like object that travels through a shifting psychedelic organic-like landscape of squiggly lines, curving shapes and bizarre textures that nevertheless seem to recall a close view of some microbiome/forest full of life and organisms. In this way, KT Duffy seeks to enthrall their audiences and bring them into hypothetical biologies of the human body. Playful and enthralling, Oblivion, and by extension its creator, have created a merging of art, speculative biology and technology. Oblivion was born from KT’s residency in Finland, this allowed them to take long walk in the forest, something that is reflected in the visuals of the piece, it also is a reconnect with nature for the artist as America’s relationship with nature is adversarial at worst and commodified at best. This, alongside a different approach to community and freedom of movement made KT recontextualize their practice. As such, Oblivion takes a meditative quality, with the soundtrack imitating the rhythms of life while we witness this “organism” leisurely wander the space involved in its own rhythms changing or taking nothing in the environment it exists in harmony with.
KT Duffy is a new media artist from Chicago’s southwest side and is currently an Assistant Professor in Art, Technology, and Culture at the University of Oklahoma. They received their MFA in Interdisciplinary Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art. They live between Chicago, IL, and Norman, OK, with their partners and dogs. Duffy conjures entities into existence via code-based processes and digital fabrication. As a Neurodivergent-NonBinary person, the normative modalities of learning and making were not designed for them. To move through these structures, they made their own systems, glitching and patching and breaking the entanglements of binary logic. Their work manifests infinite possibility, translating the immeasurable interconnection of transcendent sentience, and examining the impending demise of binary systems. In addition to their own creative practices, Duffy is a member of several ongoing collaborative endeavors, such as Langer Over Dickie Projects, CQDELab, and Mx. Studio. They also have a line of jewelry called Hyperlink.
Through her work, Rashin Fahandej aims at creating a more just, fair society where people of color, refugees and the “other” are not targeted by systemic inequalities and oppression. By Connecting with the public through art, her message can reach people in a more personal way, linking lived experiences and finding common ground between the other and society at large. In Rashin’s own words, “ I cultivate processes that democratize access to technology and storytelling, using community co-creation as a central methodology to shift the traditional power dynamics toward equity and justice.” In A Father’s Lullaby, highlights the nurturing role of men in raising children and makes visible the negative impacts of their long-term sentencing on children, women, and lower-income communities. It achieves this by collecting intimate interviews, songs, and lullabies and presenting them to the wider community as an attempt to make us reconsider the systems of oppression some are subjected to more often than others. By generating empathy, not sympathy or shame, her works, such as A Father's Lullaby, face the public with the tough reality of the unequal treatment of men, particularly POC, in the judicial system and the deleterious effects it causes in family structures. It also humanizes these individuals beyond the labels of “super predator”, or “bad hombres” that are popular in political speech and instead turns them into humans, who often face disproportionate punishment in comparison with their white peers, who still deserve humane treatment.
Rashin Fahandej is an Iranian-American futurist, immersive storyteller, and cultural activist. Fahandej’s artistic initiatives are multiyear experimental laboratories for collective radical reimaginations of social systems, using counter-narratives of care and community co-creation to design equitable futures. Her projects center on marginalized voices and the role of media, technology, and public collaboration in generating emotional connections to drive social change. A proponent of “Art as Ecosystem,” she defines her projects as “Poetic Cyber Movement for Social Justice,” where art mobilizes a plethora of voices by creating connections between public places and virtual spaces. As a 2020 lead artist at American Arts Incubator-Austria with ZERO1 and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Fahandej launched “Future of Inclusion Lab” in partnership with Ars Electronica; an experimental virtual laboratory to incubate ideas and project prototypes that aim for collective and radical imaginations of our social systems, centered on art, emerging technology, and community co-creation.
For thirty days, Holloway welcomes web users to transform their homepage to SPEEDRUNHOME.PAGE for deeper contemplation on how queerness is mobilized in the space of the day, for better and for worse, through a combination of poetry, images, and audio testimonials that take a new shape every day. The sprite who persistently climbs up and down a ladder in this ever-changing online environment not only confronts the trope of the girl in the tower but asks viewers to consider the embodied relationship that emerges from pursuing desire.
SHAWNÉ MICHAELAIN HOLLOWAY is a Chicago-based new media artist and poet. Known for her noisy experimental electronics and performance practice, HOLLOWAY shapes the rhetorics of computer programming and sadomasochism into tools for exposing structures of power. She has spoken and exhibited work internationally since 2012 in spaces like Performance Space New York, The New Museum, The Kitchen, The Time-Based Art Festival at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), The Knockdown Center, and the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf. SHAWNÉ is currently Assistant Professor of Video/New Media in the Kinetic Imaging department at Virginia Commonwealth University︎︎︎ and has served as the Digital Developer and Technology Manager with Black Lunch Table’s archives team from 2022-23. In addition to her work in the arts, she is an open source software advocate, 1/2 of electronics duo BONE LATTICE︎︎︎, and a bodybuilder.
What does a cloud taste like? How would we remember a cloud in a future where clouds may no longer exist? Sue Huang's In the Time of Clouds confronts us with the reality that due to rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, clouds could go “extinct” in the near future. By scraping language from social media about how people imagine clouds to taste, Huang crowdsources a fantastical cloud flavor. From the language data, she generates haikus and a cloud ice cream—the ice cream is served on bowls created from the shapes of clouds captured from observatory live streams.
In this way, Huang forms a collective memory of clouds that allows a future being unfamiliar with real clouds to wonder and daydream about them. This process in turn generates a rupture with our familiarity and knowledge of this vital part of nature. It highlights the importance of clouds in our lives and the risks to our environment.
Sue Huang is a new media artist whose work addresses collective experience. Her current projects explore ecological intimacies, human/nonhuman relations, and speculative futures. Huang has exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles; the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) in Cincinnati; Philadelphia Contemporary; VISUAL Carlow in Ireland; ISEA in Montreal; Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria; Kulturhuset in Stockholm; GBA in Brooklyn; and the Beall Center for Art + Technology in Irvine, among others. Huang has received grants and commissions from Rhizome, the A.R.T. (the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation), the James Irvine Foundation (MOCA, Los Angeles), Creative Scotland (NEoN), and the SCHARP Development Award (UCHI), among others. Huang has been a member of the Creative Science track at NEW INC and a LMCC artist-in-residence at The Arts Center at Governors Island. She received her MFA in Media Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and her BS in Science, Technology, and International Affairs from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Huang is currently an assistant professor of Digital Media Design at the University of Connecticut.
Chelsea invites us to witness a conversation between machine learning algorithms, where one algorithm is asked to generate transwomen and a second algorithm is asked to evaluate the resulting portraits. Immediately we can see the emerging biases of both algorithms and more importantly those of the society that created them. Despite what some people think, machine learning does not have the ability to create, rather what it does is find the average of what it is fed, the underlying patterns, the biases and uses that to generate its conclusions. For the image generation algorithm we see a bias for white individuals, it also favors certain features over others and more concerningly, the majority of personas generated by the algorithm fit within the harmful stereotype of "men in drag." There is no nuance in the appearances of these transwomen, it appears as though the algorithm can only make such subjects by taking what it deems to be an inherently male body and superficially applying what it deems to be feminine accoutrements on top. Meanwhile the evaluating algorithm perpetuates ideas that certain facial attitudes are inherently masculine and assigned a confidence percentage to them. This highlights the problematic nature of dataset bias in the use of machine learning and the potential harm not only in the trans community but to other communities by recreating bias that privileges a white, christian male average.
Chelsea Thompto (she/her) is a transdisciplinary artist and educator working at the intersections of art, trans studies, and technology. Her research based studio practice spans a variety of media which often include code, video, sound, writing, and sculpture and her work has been shown nationally and internationally. Born and raised in Iowa, she has spent most of her life between the Midwest and California and has recently started as an Assistant Professor of Creative Technologies at Virginia Tech. She serves as the Interim Executive Editor and on the editorial board of the Media-N: Journal of the New Media Caucus. She received an MFA in 4D Art and an MA in Gender and Women's Studies from the University of Wisconsin Madison.