Tag Archives: conversation

-empyre- soft_skinned_space #ArtTechFood discussion

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 4.06.38 PM-empyre- is a global community of new media artists, curators, theorists, producers, and others who participate in monthly thematic discussions via an e-mail listserv.

-empyre- facilitates online discussion encouraging critical perspectives on contemporary cross-disciplinary issues, practices and events in networked media. The list is currently co-managed by Renate Ferro (USA) and Tim Murray (USA) with the moderating team of Simon Biggs (UK), and Patrick Lichty (USA). Melinda Rackham (AU) initiated -empyre- as part of her doctoral research in 2002.

For the month of March 2016, Renate Ferro, has asked me to moderate a conversation on all things #ArtTechFood.

We were joined by a number of luminary artists and curators, as discussants. They are: Nicole Caruth, Shu Lea Cheang, Leila NadirJodi Newcombe, Marina Zurkow, Stefani Bardin, Shilpa Rangnekar, Hernani Dias, Amy LiptonNatalie Jeremijenko, and Mary Mattingly.

The discussion is here on the March 2016, -empyre archive, and for the final part of the discussion check the first few posts in the April 2016 -empyre archive.

ART/TECH/FOOD Moderated by Amanda McDonald Crowley and Renate Ferro with invited discussants:

March 3 – Week 1: Stefani Bardin, Marina Zurkow, Hernani Dias

March 11 – Week 2: Shu Lea Cheang, Amy Lipton, Mary Mattingly

March 17 – Week 3: Nicole Caruth, Leila Nadir, Jodi Newcombe

March 24 – Week 4: Natalie Jeremijenko, Shilpa Rangnekar

Welcome to the March discussion, ART/TECH/FOOD

For our discussion on Art/Tech/Food, our hope is to identify and discuss projects and research that to bring biologists, environmentalists, food activists, and molecular gastronomists, together with artists to deliver urban agricultural strategies, bio-generative art, and potentially even open source software and hardware solutions that address our food systems.

We are especially interested in a discussion of projects and programs that undertake a critique of the commercialization of food production, where contemporary consumption is more likely to be watching people prepare food on television than spending time in the kitchen. Our observation is that where discussion does happen it is often either inside the food justice movement, with little cultural context; or in an art context, where discussion of policy, food justice, or broader cultural context of food production is almost entirely absent. Food is either designer-sexy, or a social justice issue, but rarely both. And there has been little exploration of the historical and contemporary trade routes of food and how they affect our cultural landscape.

This month of March, 2016 we invite the –empyre subscriber list to discuss these issues in our soft-skinned space with our distinguished group of weekly guests. Looking forward to it.







Moderator Biography:

Amanda McDonald Crowley https://publicartaction.net

Amanda McDonald Crowley is a curator and cultural worker who specializes in creating contemporary art and new media events and programs that encourage cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and exchange. This kind of programming might best be described in terms of practice-based, creative research leading to a range of outcomes understood in terms of both traditional and non-traditional curatorial outputs – exhibitions, residencies, public programs, festivals, and participatory programs. Amanda’s work has largely been at the intersection of art + technology, and her experience and interests often revolve around working with artists and groups who have a research based practice. In her curatorial work, she is interested in developing platforms to generate dialogue, bringing together professionals and amateurs from varied disciplines, and creating space for social change and audience engagement.

Most recently, a key curatorial research focus has been around the topic of food + art, as evidenced by recent curatorial projects, including the exhibition food nostalgia, currently on view at Radiator Gallery in Long Island City, NYC; Circuit of the Senses, a celebratory meal and participatory event conceived by artist Emilie Baltz at the Bemis Center in Omaha, Nebraska in 2014; GastroLabs, a program series developed with New Media Scotland for the Edinburgh Science Festival 2014; and the exhibition CONSUME at Gallery gallery@calIT2 at the University of California, San Diego in 2012.

She has previously held positions as Executive Director of Eyebeam art + technology center in New York City – recognized internationally as a model for collaboration and innovation in art + technology; executive producer for ISEA2004 (International Symposium for Electronic Arts 2004) held in Tallinn, Estonia and Helsinki, Finland, and on a cruiser ferry in the Baltic sea; Associate Director of the Adelaide Festival 2002 in Australia, and in this position she was also co-chair of the working group that organized the exhibition and symposium ‘conVerge: where art and science meet’; and Director of the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) where she made significant links with science and industry by developing a range of residencies and masterclasses for artists in settings such as science organizations, contemporary art spaces and virtual residencies online.

Amanda has also been subscribed to the empyre list since it was founded by Melinda Rackam in 2002, though she mostly lurks.

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FERMENT YOURSELF, with Ferment Lab


As part of STWST48, I will be co-hosting a Sunday Brunch with artist Agnieszka Pokrywka of Ferment Lab, local farmers and food activists aboard the Eleonore in Linz Harbour.

During the Ferment lab’s august residency at Station Messschiff Eleonore, artist Agnieszka Pokrywka seeks local farm produces for fermentation and holds workshop with Linz locals to observe the process of fermentation.  She notes the information hidden in micro life of bacterias and further reapplies the fermentative process to consider the macro culture of our societies.

During her two weeks’ residency, 14 raw vegetables are jarred and matured over time.  The Sunday brunch serving the fermented vegetables brings together the artist with cultural worker/curator Amanda McDonald Crowley, local farmers, food activists and pubic members to engage in dialogues about food, tech, bacteria and cultures. In the program are also: fortunetelling based on study of personal bacterias, changing the taste of bread by the thoughts thought during kneading the dough, and possibly other oddities. All of these in the surrounding of balloons pumped up by yeast feed on sugar.

Agnieszka Pokrywka (PL/FI) is a multimedia explorer interested in participatory, collaborative and open source practices while digging into topics of fiction, unconventional storytelling and interactive, networked narratives. Her current activities are conducted mostly in connection with Pixelache, a transdisciplinary platform for experimental art, design, research and activism in Helsinki where she embodies different roles too.

STWST48 Curation: Shu Lea Cheang and Franz Xaver

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AD-BrainwavesSensory_4adda4The BBC Radio Scotland series, Brainwaves, explores the science behind our everyday experiences, and nowhere is this centrality of science to our lives more evident – or delicious! – than in the area of food and drink.

Mark Stephen presents a special edition of Brainwaves from the Edinburgh Science Festival with guests Professor Charles Spence of Oxford University, Amanda McDonald Crowley from New York and Andrew Barnett of the microbrewery, Barney’s Beer. The theme will be sensory dining, exploring the science behind eating.

Brainwaves will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland

This forum was part of GastroFest, at the Edinburgh Science Festival. My participation was part of my 2014 Alt-w Design Informatics curatorial residency with New Media Scotland.

The recording is available online as a podcast here.



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Rogue Troopers: ISEA2013 panel

ISEA2013Teresa Dillon invited me to be part of a panel she curated for ISEA2013 in Sydney Rogue Troopers: Designing functional and fictional disruptions. The panel was part of the conference program stream: Resistance is Fertile. (The title of the panel referred to the Rogue Trooper character in the 2000 AD comic, alluding to his underground resistance status!!)

The panel linked to a workshop she also ran during the conference on synthetic biology methods for general lay person when working with students, designers, citizens: Synthetic Scenarios and Stories.

It was a great discussion, and Teresa is also currently considering the possibility developing a publication further exploring the topic.

Teresa Dillon: Polar Produce / Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin, UK

Paul Granjon: Z Productions, Wales, UK
Peter Hall: Griffith University Queensland College of Art, Brisbane, Australia
Amanda McDonald Crowley: Public Art Action, New York, US


Rogue Troopers: Designing functional and fictional disruptions addresses the question: What role can artists, curators, writers and designers play in crafting subversive uses for existing technologies and imagining alternatives?

In bringing together practitioners who are working across the field of critical and contemporary media art, resistance will be discussed in relation to practices of hacking, civic change, mapping, activism and technological appropriation.

Presentation 1: Teresa Dillon   Rogue Troopers: Designing functional and fictional disruptions

According to Oliver Sacks (2012), in order to survive human beings need to transcend the everyday, we need to see the overall patterns of our lives and we need freedom, or at least, the illusion of freedom. But what enables this sense of freedom? It could be argued that resistance as a mode of action and expression enables us to rise above our immediate surroundings by providing a sense of autonomy and control. Resistance in this way operates as a release mechanism or a form of action, which enables individuals to address the tensions that reside within and between communities of power and governance.

Reflecting on my role as curator for HACK-THE-CITY, a three-month exhibition which took place at the Science Gallery, Dublin in 2012, I will provide examples of how the exhibition and its associated program could be read as a site for resistance. Drawing on specific events within the program and selected artists’ works, I will discuss how independent curators, artists and institutions can play a role in catalysing civic change. This analysis will be contextualised within contemporary discourses on hacking and critical media art practice.

Presentation 2: Peter Hall   Mapping the intangible

Writing in the 1990s, the critic Fredric Jameson argued that the postmodern condition, with its vast global networks in which we are “caught as individual subjects,” calls for “an aesthetic of cognitive mapping”. Over the subsequent two decades, Jameson’s hypothesis was effectively tested in the wave of cultural activity around mapping, partly enabled by the accessibility of two formerly military technologies: satellite navigation and the internet. Mapping and information visualisation were relinquished from the tight grip of professionals into the spheres of amateur, open source and experimental practice.

More recently, the geographer Jeremy Crampton has analysed contemporary mapping practices, arguing that it is a “field of knowledge and power relations” being pulled in several different directions.  Crampton describes a pull toward ‘securitization’ on one side, countered by ‘resistances’ on the other. ‘Securitization’ emerges from post-war efforts to rid cartography and GIS of any association with art and propaganda and render it ‘post-political’— a position that the resistance side generally finds untenable. The resistance side is characterised by critical cartography, map art and the open source movement; millions of amateurs and novices using hitherto inaccessible mapping technologies to construct a vast ‘geoweb’.

In co-opting former military technologies, the recent wave of locative media practitioners exemplifies an emergence of disruptive, resistant practices. With smart phones, space is annotated and re-stitched together and new networks are galvanised. Drawing from a range of writers and theorists, this presentation explores the functional and fictional possibilities of this activity.

Presentation 3: Paul Granjon   Collaborative Manufacturing Units Against the Black Box

The pervasiveness of contemporary technology goes hand in hand with opacity. Users generally have little or no knowledge of how the objects and networks they depend on work, becoming black box operators. As a visual artist working with technology, I am investigating ways of reducing this ignorance. I run durational collaborative manufacturing units where technological items are broken and recycled in creative ways. The participants engage in learning, making and sharing an experimental process that disrupts the disempowered consumerist attitude towards technological items. The talk explores some of my projects, as well as recent initiatives by other artists and activists.

Presentation 4: Amanda McDonald Crowley   Open Cultures: cultivating collaboration

“We are a cultural laboratory re-imagining possible futures at the interstices of art, science, nature, and everyday life.” [foam]

Artists are increasingly working in collaborative ways to develop work that moves beyond conventional gallery spaces and into the world, and our lived experience. Through the lens of recent curatorial research into ArtTechFood, Urban Research, and Open Culture, I will look at the history of artist labs as spaces to work creatively and build community. I am especially interested in how artists are currently making significant contributions to open source movements, mapping, sharing, collaboration, DIY, knowledge sharing, and skills transfer to explore open knowledge and build open utopias. What are the possibilities and pitfalls of curating this kind of research and process?

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WochenKlausur at Our Haus

Invited to participate in the Austrian Cultural Forum’s tenth anniversary exhibition Our Haus, WochenKlausur chose to present a documentation poster exploring their work of the past 19 years, for the opening week of the show, and then to look at contemporary positions and practices on the topic of “space” in New York. By handing over their exhibition space to local organizations focusing on this issue, it was possible to present a variety of agendas such as housing, public space and urban built environment on a central city spot.

WochenKlausur set up office at Our Haus

WochenKlausur set up office at Our Haus

From May 20 to May 27, 2012, WochenKlausur set up an office in the ACFNY Gallery’s Upper Mezzanine, where several meetings with New York-based associations, interest groups, and activists took place. Each of the organizations was invited to use the space for one or two weeks for their purposes. The aim was to support them with the infrastructure and facilities of the institution. Some looked for exhibition space, some for a room to hold a workshop, others launched a film festival or held a fundraising event. At the end, nine organisations have taken the opportunity and used the ACFNY as a platform to explore their work. Until 26th of August 2012 – when the exhibition shut down – a vivid summer program has taken place.

The “WochenKlausur Features” program at ACF, NY 2012 presented:

Picture the Homeless June 18 – 24
Change Administration June 25 – July 01
DSGN AGNC ft. #whOWNSpace July 02 – 08
chashama July 09 – 22
Center for Urban Pedagogy July 23 – 29
Green Guerillas Aug 06 – 12
CAAAV Aug 13 – 19
Not an Alternative Aug 20 – 26

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CONSUME: Artists’ Talks and Exhibition Reception

consume flyer


April 11th, 2013
Talks: 5pm
Reception: Reception


Calit2 Auditorium and gallery@calit2, Atkinson Hall, UC San Diego
Hosted by: gallery@calit2
Event details: California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology – calit2



I moderated artist presentations by: Brandon Ballengée, Justine Cooper, and Jamie O’Shea, with Oron Catts via teleconference at 5pm followed by an opening reception for the exhibition. Organized by gallery@calIT2

Video documentation of the talks:

CONSUME, is a group exhibition which has been informed by my current research at the intersection of art, technology and food systems. Projects in the gallery document interdisciplinary ideas pertaining to current discussions of health, eco-systems, and the environment. Works by: Brandon Ballengée, Oron Catts & Ionat Zurr, Justine Cooper, Beatriz da Costa, and Jamie O’Shea.

The public is welcome to attend the Artist Talk Thursday, April 11, 2013, which will be held in the Calit2 Auditorium at 5pm, and followed by a reception at 6pm. All gallery@calit2 events are FREE and open to the public.





View further details of the CONSUME exhibition and artworks.


Trish Stone, tstone@ucsd.edu

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SEFT-1 conversation

A Public Art Action Event at Dobbin Project Space

S.E.F.T.-1 Sonda de exploración ferroviaria tripulada. (Manned railway exploration probe). www.seft1.net

On Sunday January 20, at 16:00, I will be hosting a conversation with Ivan Puig and Andrés Padilla Domene of S.E.F.T.-1.

Please join the conversation.

Dobbin Project Space
Studio 1A, Dobbin Mews
50 – 52 Dobbin Street
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, 11222

About the project:

S.E.F.T.- 1 is more than just a beautiful multi-functional vehicle – is an interdisciplinary art project which proposes the exploration of disused railway lines as a starting point for reflection and research: its historical importance, its social implications, current circumstances and context. The project addresses two poles of the social experience of technology: use and disposal, and the way in which the ideology of progress marks its historic times.

On Wednesday Januar 23, Ivan and Andres open their New York exhibition “Not a Car” at Magnan Metz Gallery in Chelsea.

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ArtTechFood at GreenRush Paris

GreenRush – dispatch#8
Amanda McDonald Crowley presents ArtTechFood – a curatorial project
Intervention by Anne Roquigny
Netstreams by Radio Marais

GREEN RUSH is a project sharing food talking series._

18:00-20:00, December 27, 2012
Hosted by Shu Lea Cheang at
Le Chapon Rouge, 60 Rue Chapon, Paris 75003
Info: now

Food – stick-a stick
BYO – bring your own bottle

Amanda McDonald Crowley presents her research at the intersection of art, food and technology. As a curatorial project, ArtTechFood is a strategy to bring biologists, environmentalists, food activists, and molecular gastronomists, together with artists to deliver an interdisciplinary programme that critiques the commercialization of food production, provides a space to widen the discussion of our food systems to include environmental issues and labor (immigrant) exploitation, and the framework to share good food and meaningful conversation. The inclusion of artists and experts from diverse backgrounds is intended to broaden the discourse and move toward models of discussion and action in order to negotiate this often obfuscated and confusing landscape.

As the gastronome Brillat-Savarin noted three centuries ago, “the discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star.” Food is an essential product of our reciprocal, sustaining relationship with the environment. It is also one of the oldest cultural expressions, rooted in hospitality and sharing. As concerns for the planet and the quality of our life upon it intensify, there is no more immediate concern than that which we put into our mouths and the pressures these acts place on the larger systems that sustain us.

Amanda McDonald Crowley is a cultural worker, curator, facilitator, creative director in the fields of media and contemporary art, with a focus on cross-disciplinary practice and cultural exchange. She was the director of ANAT 1995-2000; associate director of the Adelaide Festival 2002; executive producer of ISEA2004 in Helsinki and Tallinn; executive director at EYEBEAM, NYC 2005-2011. Recent curatorial efforts include Our Haus, the 10th Anniversary exhibition for the Austrian Cultural Forum, NY. Her other current research interests are virtual performance, art & science, and urban research. She is currently doing a curatorial research residency at Fondazione Bogliasco.
http://scoop.it/t/arttechfood (research resources)

Presentation is online at here on Prezi.com.Art/Tech/Food Prezi for GreenRush Paris

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Leaders in Software and Art

LISA 2012 is the Leaders in Software and Art conference at the Guggenheim in New York City, Tuesday October 16th, 2012. I participated in the Software Art and the Art Establishment Panel.

The panel:

  • Ken Johnson, Art Critic, New York Times – Moderator
  • Amanda McDonald Crowley, Independent Media Art Curator
  • Barbara London, Associate Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art, MoMA
  • Christiane Paul, Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts, The Whitney Museum of American Art and digital art historian
  • Marius Watz, Software Artist and Independent Software and Electronic Art Curator
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Visual Studies Speaker Series, University at Buffalo

I was a guest speaker at the University at Buffalo in their Visual Studies Speaker Series on October 1, 2012.

This is the report from their blog:

New Media Curator Amanda McDonald Crowley at VS Speaker Series

October 6, 2012 by: Stephanie Rothenberg

New York City-based Australian curator and cultural producer Amanda McDonald Crowley gave a brilliant talk at the Visual Studies Speaker Series last Monday, Oct 1st. Crowley has created programs and events of new media art, contemporary art, and transdisciplinary work. Her recent curatorial venture “Our Haus” took place in the multi-level gallery of the extraordinary architectural landmark building of the Austrian Cultural Forum in NYC. Her contributions to the field of electronic art include Executive Director of Eyebeam Art and Technology Center in NYC and her work as Executive Producer of the 2004 edition of The International Symposia on Electronic Arts which was held in Tallinn, Estonia and Helsinki, Finland, and on a cruiser ferry in the Baltic Sea which several VS faculty highly remember!

One of the take aways from Crowley’s talk was the importance of collaboration and skill sharing. The projects she discussed in her presentation underscored the significance of interdisciplinary practice and the critical need for artists and designers to expand their knowledge base and work with practitioners/researchers from other disciplines such as physicists, economists, architects in order to effectively realize complex ideas.

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