UCSC grad students to showcase digital art with social impact

UCSC Digital Arts and New Media 2014 MFA exhibition poster
Digital composite from Lisa Banks' Suspended Motion Series
Digital composite from Lisa Banks' Suspended Motion Series I, 2013
  image from Oceanic Scales project by Gene A. Felice II

Gene A. Felice II worked with OpenLab and DANM’s Mechatronics Research Group to develop his Oceanic Scales project.

Eleven graduate students from UCSC's Digital Arts and New Media M.F.A. Program (DANM) will conclude two years of artistic study with "Undercurrents"--an exhibition running on campus April 26 through May 4 at the Digital Arts Research Center.

Curated by Shelby Graham, the featured works range from interactive ecological installations to site specific projections, all employing advanced technologies to explore the edges of contemporary new media art.

“This year's cohort is a particularly tight group that cares about a sustainable future and the role digital media plays in allowing us to engage with the world in new ways,” Graham noted.

"The DANM MFA exhibition offers a fresh blend of new media and social practice.”

Graham added that the students confront contemporary issues through interdisciplinary research and look for solutions through critical engagement with technology.

“These students express their concern about the environment through digital interactive histories, watershed studies, and community activism,” said Graham. 

DANM chair Noah Wardrip-­Fruin describes their projects as “re­imagining the forms of interactive experiences—from electronic books and maps to communal sports and social networks—in order to express new meanings and engage new publics.”

At the opening reception on May 1, the public is invited to interact with ecosystems, participate in digital storytelling, experience the latest digital technologies, and play unpredictable games from UCSC’s award­-winning gaming program.

All of the artists will be available to talk about their work and give tours of the exhibition in UCSC’s state-­of­-the­-art Digital Arts Research Center (DARC).

UCSC's Digital Arts and New Media M.F.A. program serves as a center for the development and study of digital media and the cultures it has helped create.

Faculty and students are drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds such as the arts, computer engineering, humanities, the sciences, and social sciences to pursue interdisciplinary artistic and scholarly research.

Here are the featured artists in the Undercurrents exhibition:

Lisa Banks’ conceptually based artworks encompass everything from music videos to electronic sculptures, and are united by her interests in associative imagery and alternative depictions of movement.

Gene A Felice II is currently working with OpenLab and DANM’s Mechatronics Research Group to develop his project Oceanic Scales. His hybrid practice is at the intersection of nature and technology where he explores symbiotically creative systems as arts/science research.

Holly Findlater has traversed much terrain both physically and mentally. As a multi­media installation artist she explores ecology, human­-animal relationships, agriculture, biopolitics, bioethics, industrialization, violence, ritual, permaculture, symbolism, religion, sovereignty and zen practices.

Harris David Harris is a media and performance artist whose work explores how emerging technologies affect political economies and social practices, particularly in the contexts of neoliberalism and gay assimilation. Harris has performed in venues ranging from gay bars to SFMOMA to the streets of OccupySF.

Matthew Jamieson is an artist­cartographer engaged in promoting ecological awareness and community action. He has a background in planning and geospatial technology, and has journeyed from Florida’s National Wildlife Refuges to New York City Parks.

Phil Ly has a background in Film and Visual Media Studies from UC Riverside along with practical experience in digital imaging gained from teaching inner city students in Los Angeles. He is an interactive digital media designer interested in studying mass media representation of marginalized groups, and in making playable media with empathically-driven design.

Stacey Mason’s work focuses on the intersection of games and literature, exploring what the two forms might learn from each other. She also writes about feminism and gaming culture, and advocates for women in gaming and tech industries.

John Mawhorter‘s games use natural and built environments and materials to create chaotic physical play. His research includes play, perceptual physiology, phenomenology, game studies, sports history, and systems theory. His game Throw Into Chaos was featured at Come Out & Play San Francisco.

Jonathan Menendez is an interdisciplinary digital media and event producer who uses technology to build online communities for social empowerment. Some of his projects include co­founding The Latino Queer Arts and Film Festival, xQsiMagazine.com, GayLatino.LA and Qulture.org.

David W. Moody is an artist and journalist whose current research explores the anthropogenic climate change debate. Through film, photography, writing and sound, David unpacks belief creation, scientific consensus and the ubiquitous power of contemporary media.

Danielle Williamson is a filmmaker whose work focuses on the relationships, both to one’s surroundings and to one another, while simultaneously engaging the communal experience of cinema that takes place between the projector and the projected.


UCSC's Digital Arts and New Media 2014 M.F.A. Exhibition runs from April 26-27 and May 1-4 at the Digital Arts Research Center (DARC) on the UCSC campus. The building is located off Meyer Drive near the Music Recital Hall and Theater Arts on West Campus. Gallery hours are from noon to 5 p.m. A reception will be held on Thursday, May 1 from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, go to the DANM website, or call (831) 459-1554.