Faculty Fellows 2014-2015

We are pleased to announce this year’s recipients of the Techne Faculty Fellowships. This funding is designed to support new and continuing faculty projects at the intersection of art and technologies across disciplines. We are excited by these upcoming projects and hope you will join us for upcoming presentations by past fellows.

Zach Blas
Asst. Professor – Art

FACE CAGES is a dramatization of the abstract violence of the biometric diagram. In this installation and performance based work, four queer artists, including Elle Mehrmand (Iranian-American artist based in Los Angeles), Micha Cárdenas (Latina transgender artist based in Toronto), Paul Mpagi Sepuya (African-American artist based in Brooklyn), and myself, generate biometric diagrams of our faces and then fabricate these diagrams as three-dimensional metal objects, evoking a material resonance with handcuffs, prison bars, and torture devices used during the Medieval period and slavery in the US. The metal face cages are then worn in endurance performances for video. Face Cages is presented as an installation that features the four performance videos and four metal face cages.

Jonathan Golove
Assoc. Professor – Music

MENTAL RADIO, an electronic chamber opera, version 2.0 is based on Upton Sinclair’s Mental Radio: Does it Work, and How? (1930).  It is the attempt to situate the revolutionary musical instruments of Leon Theremin both in the history of electronic music, by combining them with instruments and technologies representing the full range of developments in human musical expression through electronics, as well as in the futurist tradition. This project draws a parallel between the use of new technologies to reveal and enable the human potential for music making and Upton Sinclair’s account of his testing of his wife’s purported telepathic abilities, itself aimed at revealing a potent human potential. This iteration of Mental Radio features the collaboration of video/media artist Sergio Nieto and musical futurist Rochus Aust for a public performance at the Burchfield Penney Art Center on April 9, 2015.

Joan Linder
Assoc. Professor – Art

LOVE CANAL AND OTHER CRUEL IRONIES, is a series of pen and ink drawings that look closely at present day Superfund and radioactive waste sites in Niagara Falls. These room-sized works on paper are drawn from direct observation and incorporate scientific information gathered while working. They are created on-site in a vehicle outfitted as a mobile studio/lab/exhibition space. Open-air landscape drawing workshops will be offered at these sites to the local and university community, with the mobile studio acting as hub. Additionally, the project incorporates a series of pen and ink drawings of archival documents that discuss the content and history of the landscape sites being depicted. These drawings are trompe l’oeil; at first glance they appear to be cold reproductions of colder research documents; upon closer inspection, however, they are full of marvelous detail, annotations and marginalia that highlight and direct viewers to specific information. An edited series of these hand-drawn documents will hang near the larger landscape drawings as introduction and to offer history and context.

Mark Shepard
Assoc. Professor – Media Study and Architecture

FALSE POSITIVE is a mobile performance, installation and workshop that aim to catalyze public debate surrounding the infrastructural politics underlying mobile communications systems and the surreptitious network practices of contemporary informatics regimes. The project focuses on generating “data-portraits” of people based on social and spatial associations inferred from their personal data. It probes the gray area of statistical probability where a speculative association is established where there is in fact none. This request is for the initial research and development phase of the project (Phase I), culminating in a system prototype and preliminary data visualizations that can be accessed via a mobile phone.