[-empyre-] Introduction to April, 2011: Re-emergence of the Augment

Renate Ferro rtf9 at cornell.edu
Thu Apr 7 13:52:51 EST 2011

This introductory post is being sent for Patrick Lichty.  Apologies to our
subscribers as this did not go out yesterday.  Patrick has been on the road
today and will pick up with the discussion below as well as his post

April 2011 on –empyre- soft-skinned space:  “Re-emergence of the Augment”

Moderated by Patrick Lichty (US) with special guests

Rodney Berry, Tamiko Thiel, Mark Skwarek, John Craig Freeman,

Will Pappenheimer,  Alan Sondheim, and Damon Loren Baker,


In Simulations and Simulacra, Jean Baudrillard wrote of the supercession of
the virtual over the physical.  The mediascape would override material
reality as the mediascape becomes supreme.  William Gibson, first in the
“Idoru” trilogy,  then “Spook Country” wrote of the bleeding of the virtual
into the physical.  This was done through the physicalization of the virtual
pop idol Rei Toei in “All Tomorrow’s Parties” through a mix of 3d Printer
and Star Trek-style molecular fabrication technology.  And, in “Spook
Country”, the milieu of the book features an artist who create Augmented
Reality sculptures of celebrities at their times of death.  The
Baudrillardian mediascape has morphed into an informatic overlay, a universe
of data overlaid upon the physical.

AR is no longer science fiction or solely the purview of researchers and
avant-garde New Media artists.  Augmented Reality has been building to
critical mass for the last few years, and with the ubiquity of
camera-equipped smartphones, AR applications are flooding the market.  In
addition, because of the technologies, the creation of Gibson’s virtual
sculptures is a reality.   What does the emergence of AR signify in the
development of the nature of the mediascape, what aesthetics does it
present, what critical issues can it engage?  For this panel, I have invited
a number of Augmented Reality artists and researchers, including Rodney
Berry and the members of the global AR collective Manifest.AR.  In an age in
which virtual and physical bleed together, what are the issues at hand?
 Engaging these issues is what we hope to accomplish during this month’s

Week 1: Patrick Lichty (US) & Rodney Berry (AU)

Week 2:  Mark Skwarek, John Craig Freeman (US), Alan Sondheim

John Craig Freeman (US)

Week 3: Tamiko Thiel,(US)Damon Loren Baker (US)

Week 4:  Will Pappenhwimer (US)


Patrick Lichty (US)(b.1962)  is a technologically-based conceptual artist,
writer, independent curator, animator for the activist group, The Yes Men,
and Executive Editor of Intelligent Agent Magazine. He began showing
technological media art in 1989, and deals with works and writing that
explore the social relations between us and media. Venues in which
Lichtyhas been involved with solo and collaborative works include the
Conference, Whitney & Turin Biennials, Maribor Triennial, Performa
Performance Biennial, Ars Electronica, and the International Symposium on
the Electronic Arts (ISEA).

He works extensively with virtual worlds, including Second Life, and his
work, both solo and with his performance art group, Second Front, has been
featured in Flash Art, Eikon Milan, and ArtNews.

He is also an Assistant Professor of Interactive Arts & Media at Columbia
College Chicago.

Rod Berry (AU) was born in Tasmania, Australia in 1963. Rodney Berry is
currently a graduate student at University of Technology, Sydney in the
Creativity and Cognition Studios. He was recently a research fellow at
National University of Singapore in the Faculty of arts and Social Sciences’
Communication and New Media Programme, He was also a member of NUS’s
Interactive digital Media Institute as a member of both the Mixed Reality
Lab and the arts and Creativity Lab following a year at Nanyang
Technological University’s Interaction and Entertainment Research Centre.
Previously, he spent six and a half years in Japan as a research scientist
at ATR Media Information Science Laboratories, Kyoto. Prior to this, he was
active as an artist and composer in Melbourne and in Sydney for more than
fourteen years. At University of Western Sydney, he taught a unit on
experimental music composition for two years. He also taught computer-based
sound design at KVB Business College in North Sydney.

His work has ranged from sculptural musical instruments and sound
installations to computer-based interactive artworks. His interest in
artificial life, technology and biology, virtual reality and augmented
reality, has placed him with one foot in both the artistic community and the
scientific community.

His work has featured in such international events as the International
Symposium on Electronic Art (in Sydney and Nagoya), SoundCulture (Tokyo,
Sydney), Virtual Worlds (Paris), and several times at SIGGRAPH (New Orleans,
San Antonio, San Diego and Los Angeles).

His recent work focused on application of augmented reality to the
composition and learning of music, and the creation of interactive art
works. His group’s Music Table system was voted ‘Best Interactive’ at
Interaction 2004 in Tokyo. He is currently developing tools to enable
non-programmers to author augmented reality in real-time without writing
code. This will open up the field to artists and designers who are currently
intimidated by the complexity of the authoring process.

Biographies of our other guests will be posted shortly.

Mark Skwarek (US) is a new media artist working to bridge the gap between
virtual reality and the real world by using augmented reality and multi-user
online environments to bring a virtual context into physical space. He
explores this intersection in both his private art practice as well as in
academic research projects. Mark primarily works with 3-D graphics and video
game technology to create new media works of art. Mark's current body of
work gives context to society's present condition in the United States by
drawing from related social and political issues in real time. Mark has been
written about in the New York Times, Art in America, WIRED, and Read Write
Web among others.  Mark has shown in ISEA, CyberArts, the Sunshine
International Art Museum in Beijing and the Krannert Art Museum at the
University of Illinois. Mark is an “Artist in Residence” and adjunct faculty
at NYU Polytech University and an adjunct faculty at the New York City
College of Technology’s Architecture Department

Alan Sondheim (US) is an independent writer / theorist / artist. He
co-founded the Cybermind andWryting email lists. He is editor ofBeing on
Line and author of .echo,Disorders of the Real and The Wayward. He is also
published widely online and his video/sound work is internationally

sondheim at panix.com



John Craig Freeman’s (US) work has been exhibited internationally including
at the Xi’an Academy of Art in China in conjunction with the Digital Art
Weeks 2010, at the Golden Tread Gallery as part of the International
Symposium of Electronic (ISEA) in 2009, at Fringe Exhibitions in Los Angeles
in 2008, The Broadway Gallery in NYC, The Museum of Contemporary Art,
Beijing, the Kunstraum Walcheturm in Zurich, Eyebeam in New York, City, the
Zacheta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki Warsaw, Kaliningrad Branch of the National
Center for Contemporary Arts in Russia, Art Basel Miami, Ciberart Bilbao and
the Girona Video and Digital Arts Festival in Spain, La Biblioteca National
in Havana, the Contemporary Art Center in Atlanta, the Nickle Arts Museum in
Calgary, the Center for Experimental and Perceptual Art (CEPA) in Buffalo,
Art interactive, Mobius and Studio Soto in Boston, the Centro de la Imagen
in Mexico City, Ambrosino Gallery in Miami, the Photographers Gallery in
London, and the Friends of Photography’s Ansel Adams Center in San
Francisco. His work has been commissioned by Turbulence.org and Rhizome.org.
In 1992 he was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship from the National
Endowment for the Arts. His writing has been published in Leonardo, the
Journal of Visual Culture, and Exposure, as well as a chapter in the book
Electronic Collaboration in the Humanities. Freeman received a BA degree
from the University of California, San Diego and an M FA from the University
of Colorado. He is currently an Associate Professor of New Media at Emerson
College in Boston.

Tamiko Thiel (US),currently living in San Francisco, studied Product Design
Engineering at Stanford University, human-machine interface design at MIT's
Media Lab and Biomechanics Lab, and fine art with an emphasis in
installation and video art at the Academy of Fine Art in Munich, Germany.
She utilizes this background to explore the sensuality of the machine and
technology as a vehicle for human fantasy. She has exhibited her video art
in the US, Japan and Europe. She was creative director and producer of
Starbright World, a virtual reality playspace for seriously ill children,
has taught design theory at Carnegie Mellon University and directed the
industrial and packaging design of a series of massively parallel
supercomputers, the Connection Machines CM-1 and CM-2, at Thinking Machines
Corporation. Currently she is working on art projects using virtual reality,
and has received a grant from Wired Magazine and the Asian American Arts
Foundation (AAAF) for research and creation of an initial prototype. A
description of the project is at: http://mission.base.com/tamiko.

Damon Loren Baker (US) is an Asst. Prof. of Interactive Entertainment at
CUNY. Making the world safe for immersive hypermedia and those who love it.

Will Pappenheimer (US) received his MFA from Museum School/Tufts University,
Boston (1997) and BA from Harvard (1978). He received an National Endowment
for the Arts Artists Fellowship in 1990.

His work in video, mixed media, installation and new media has been
exhibited in over 50 solo and group exhibitions. He has shown at the The ICA
(Boston), the Stedman Art Gallery (NJ), Exit Art, New York, “immedia: 1901,”
MI, “Free Biennial,” New York and Art Basel Miami Beach 2003, at which his
work received a half page photo and citation in the New York Times. Recent
work results from collaborations with New Media theorist Gregory Ulmer in
testing the potential of electronic documentary, webcam imaging and other
internet practices to consult situational conditions. These
collaborativeworks have been the subject of articles in Visual Culture,
ArtUS and will form a chapter of Gregory Ulmer’s 2005 book, “Electronic

The use of webcams in new media has been the subject of a series of his
presentations at venues such as the College Art Association and Center
forCommunications and Information Technologies, University of Toronto.
“Breathe On Me,” a new work creating a multi-webcam network
installationenvironment was presented at the, “Interactive Futures05:
Technology in the Life World,” in British Columbia and featured on the
April1st “The New New Media” episode of Canadian Broadcasting’s ZeD TV. “X
INDUSTRIA” 05 hosted by the Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener, Ontario,
Canada will exhibit his new network controlled domestic environment entitled
“Here For You.”

Will Pappenheimer is also assistant director of the Pace Digital Gallery.
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