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Panel Discussion of Artists and Scholars on Art and Technology

March 12, 2020


2 images side-by-side. The left image is a blurred photo of a waterfall by Catherine Opie. The 2nd is a closeup of a woman with long dark blonde hair smiling and looking directly at the camera with greenery in the background.

Sean Clute (artist, professor at Northern Vermont University-Johnson), Molly Davies (artist), Jeroen Nelemans (artist), and Brian Mernoff (MIT Museum Education Coordinator), share perspectives on art & technology during a discussion moderated by Rachel Moore.

Topics will include the history of technology pre and during the digital era, and its use in art - specifically film, video, photography, and sound. The panelists will also discuss the shift in art practices due to inventions in technology in their respective practices, and how that is interpreted in an educational setting. 

Discussion followed by Q&A. FREE and open to the public. Students encouraged to attend. 

This public program is part of the Vermont Curators Group 2020 Vision Initiative. Presented with support from the Vermont Humanities Council. 

Sean Clute is an interdisciplinary artist, composer, and performer. He experiments with technologies and methodologies to construct audiovisual instruments, sensor-based interfaces, and computer generative processes. Collaboration and partnerships are a key element in his work as he creates with choreographers, performers, scientists, and writers. His work has been presented both in the U.S. and internationally at venues such as The Kitchen, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, MuseumsQuartier Wien, in Austria, ISEA2014 – Dubai, and the Autonomous Mutant Festival. Currently, Sean lives in Vermont where he is Co-Artistic Director of intermedia performance dance company Double Vision. Sean has lectured at colleges and universities across the U.S. and globally in countries such as Switzerland, Prague, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Austria. Sean lives in Vermont and is the founder & director of the Media Arts Research Studio (MARS), and current Associate Professor of Digital Art at Johnson State College. 

Molly Davies is a film video artist who first became well known in the 1970’s for her innovative work with film and performance, collaborating with musicians and artists including John Cage, David Tudor, Takehisa Kosugi, Lou Harrison, Michael Nyman, Alvin Curran, Fred Frith, Suzushi Hanayagi, Sage Cowles, Polly Motley, Jackie Matisse, and Anne Carson. Her work in film, multimedia performance and video installation has been presented at such sites as the Venice Film Festival, Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, The Getty Research Institute, the Whitney Museum, The Kitchen, Baryshnikov Art Center, and many more. Molly has taught at universities around the world and served on boards within the United States and abroad.Her video installation work is in the collections of The Getty Research Institute,The Musee d’Art Contemporain Lyon, and The Walker Art Center. Molly brings a valuable historical perspective to the current world of filmmaking. Molly’s video, Driving Dreams 1 & 2, is part of the current Love Letters exhibition here at the Art Center. 

Brian Mernoff is the Education Coordinator at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, MA. Brian brings to the panel a strong public education perspective with a focus on translating research, MIT history, and art into relevant hands on experiences. For example, alongside one of the current exhibits at the Museum, The Polaroid Project: At the Intersection of Art & Technology, the MIT Museum offers a hands-on workshop that explores the interplay between the physics of light and photography. In another workshop, currently in development, the marriage of art and technology plays out beautifully through exploration using origami and knot tying. Skill development in areas such as mathematical reasoning, patterns, and robotics are explored by multi-age participants through a sequence of station-based activity. The simple folds used in beautiful origami design allow for deeper investigation into mathematical properties and research applications. For example, after students explore patterns in mountain and valley folds, they use this knowledge to explore what fold patterns could be used for a drug delivery device. They then test their predictions by modeling how the researchers would implant and use the devices. In addition to exploring drug delivery devices, students also explore how origami principles can be utilized in programing exoskeletons for robots. These exoskeletons are built so that they fold into a desired shape when heated. Like the original researchers, students must use their knowledge of the art of origami in order to address real world problems. Brian is excited to share many aspects of his work at the MIT Museum including current and future initiatives that explore the intersection of art and science for public programming enrichment. 

Jeroen Nelemans is traveling from Chicago to participate as a panelist. He is also one of the artists represented in the current Love Letters exhibition with three beautiful and large works of art: Unrequited Love-1, Unrequited Love-2, and Unrequited Love-3. These three works are a new photographic series of abstracted portraits that investigates the visual iconography of the artist’s past. The work abstracts the beginning of Jeroen’s youth, and manifests itself now in physical form. His new series contains portraits of men from his pre-digital past. Images gleaned from the internet have now been re-contextualized by means of digital and physical manipulation divorcing the final artwork from its sources and connecting the viewer with the visceral, emotional relationships we all have with unrequited love. Working with an LCD screen and high resolution scanner, Jeroen develops a technique that allows for visualization not seen by the human eye. Geometric patterns become organic shapes created by the artist himself. Overlapping sections of pixels turn into a digital camouflage that anonymizes the faces of his subjects. The digital space now becomes a language of value and color, bringing about new dialogue between the material relationships of the actual print and the digital image. Jeroen has shown at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, the de la Cruz Collection in Miami, the ICA in Philadelphia, the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art in Greece, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids, and many more locations around the world. Jeroen has collaborated with Anne Wilson in a video titled, Walking the Warp, which was part of a group show at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, U.K., the Knoxville Art Museum, the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston, and the Triennale di Milano. Jeroen received a Full Merit Scholarship from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and completed his MFA in 2007. He has also been a resident at the Vermont Studio Center, the Santa Fe Art Institute, the Fountainhead in Miami, and the Jentel Residency in Wyoming.


Vermont Humanities Council

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