ART+TECH Interview Series: CODAME

This year, I had the immense privilege to be part of the whip-smart volunteer team that made the CODAME ART+TECH Festival happen this year. June 4-7, 2018 brought four full days of workshops, performances, talks, screenings and installation art to the Midway in San Francisco.

The 2018 ART+TECH Festival, codenamed #ARTOBOTS, examined the sphere of robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence. Through art, discussion, play and performance, CODAME probes these potentials and examines the ways in which robots have infiltrated so many aspects of our daily lives.

As part of this project, I interviewed and wrote about just a few of the incredible artists bringing their work to the festival, all organized by curator Vanessa Chang. The goal of these articles was to promote the festival, while helping attendees get more out of the experience by engaging more deeply with the artworks, the themes, and the presenting artists.

Cairo Graffiti / غرافيتي القاهرة, Limited series of 9 metallic prints in aluminum, VJ Um Amel.

Data Bodies and Tech Activism, with VJ Um Amel

Professor Laila Shereen Sakr, also known as VJ Um Amel, is fascinated with culture. In conversation, she returns often to the subject of how ideas bubble up from the underground and coalesce, how individuals come together to create community online, and how to preserve and document that process.  [Read the article]

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Exploring the Unseen with CODAME artist Norma Jeane

In this installment of my ongoing series of feature articles about artists who will appear at the 2018 CODAME ART+TECH Festival in San Francisco, I had the opportunity to interview and study artist Norma Jeane.

ShyBot, by Norma Jeane
Norma Jeane, ShyBot, part of “Desert X.” Photo credit: Emily Berl for The New York Times. Source.

When considering multimedia artist Norma Jeane, the first impression that strikes is one of mystery and denial. Norma Jeane is the pseudonym of an Italian artist who does not wish to be identified. Where many discussions of an artist’s body of work might begin with personal biography in an attempt to understand the human experience that led to creating the work, that won’t do in the case of the elusive, cerebral, and multi-talented Norma Jeane.

This is entirely by design. Having chosen one of the most famous women in the world as a namesake (Norma Jeane Mortenson Baker, who you might know better as Marilyn Monroe), the artist Norma Jeane has built a 25-year-long career on the idea of making that which is typically invisible, visible, and vice versa.

This endeavor — to expose the unnoticed while erasing the expected — has been composed of a few different recurring elements. Multiple paths lead to this end, but the name is a helpful starting point. When I met with Norma Jeane this month via video chat, he explained, “What was really interesting and fascinating to me about Marilyn is not Marilyn but Norma Jeane. The fact that she actually split her life in two, had a terrible beginning, very tough and sad, and when she actually found success, she needed to split her personality to do it. [She was] such a complex person, who ultimately represents the most successful pop icon, which is something so simple. I’m also super interested in what’s normal, in everyday life, everyday objects.”

Read the full article on the CODAME blog, on Medium.

Interactive artist Yagiz Mungan on how VR can help us experience the impossible

As part of my series with artists and speakers to be featured at the 2018 CODAME ART+TECH Festival in San Francisco, I recently interviewed interdisciplinary artist Yagiz Mungan.

Views of Illy, a "semi-intelligent system" by Yagiz Mungan
Views of Illy, by Yagiz Mungan

Artist Yagiz Mungan creates work that blends VR/AR, sound/music, interaction, performance, virtual worlds and gaming. He is especially interested in generative strategies of creating visuals and sound, and ways to use technology to push the boundaries of human perception and emotional response. His work often aims to recontextualize familiar experiences, or addresses uncanny technological encounters in modern life.

Mungan holds an MSc in computer engineering and MFA in interactive arts, and has exhibited his work around the world. For the 2018 CODAME ART + TECH Festival, Mungan will be exhibiting a project called Illy, an AI that communicates via sound without language.

Read the interview on the CODAME blog, on Medium.

An interview with digital artist Mark Klink

As part of an interview series with artists and speakers featured at the CODAME ART+TECH Festival [2018], I recently chatted with 3D artist Mark Klink.

Work by Mark Klink
head 3.034 detail 1, by Mark Klink, 2017.

This year’s CODAME ART+TECH Festival, codenamed #ARTOBOTS, examines the increasingly tangible sphere of robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence in the modern world. Through 4 days of installations, workshops, and lectures, this conference will showcase developments from the vanguard of art and technology.

Mark and I discussed everything from his background as a multi-occupation self-taught technologist and longtime multimedia artist, to his reactions to the state of pop culture as it depicts and relates to robots and artificial intelligence, two enduring themes in his work.

Read the interview on the CODAME blog, over on Medium.