2016 VIA Festival / Moderators: Madeleine Campbell, Danielle Maggio
Inspired by the legacy of musical icon & longtime Pittsburgh resident Betty Davis, this gathering honors women of color in our communities who are artists, musicians, and creators of change. A very special convergence of local and internationally acclaimed individuals whose work has defied convention and forged paths for creative and social revolution. Discussions spanned artistic identity, creative labor, industry biases, methods of resistance and self-empowerment, and how to make and protect social and physical space for femme expression.
Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, 2016
Initiated by artist and educator Angela Washko, I was an organizing team member for Pittsburgh's first free edit-a-thon featuring introductory tutorials for the beginner Wikipedian. Our specific focus was to add and enhance articles on women and female-identified artists working at the intersection of art + technology.
Art+Feminism is a rhizomatic campaign dedicated to introducing more women in the arts into Wikipedia, and to empower women to edit the internet’s largest encyclopedia. Wikipedia’s gender trouble is well-documented. Wikimedia’s 2013 study The Wikipedia Gender Gap Revisited revealed that 84% of Wikipedia’s editors were male. The Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon seeks to encourage more women to contribute and correct the bias inherent in the lack of female participation.
2015 VIA Festival
Female-identified journalists, musicians, organizers, and sound engineers from the Pittsburgh area discuss the current landscape of being a woman in sound. This daytime gathering was followed by performances from bands enrolled in the Girls Rock! summer camp program.
2015 VIA Festival / made possible with a grant from Frank-Ratchye Art @ the Frontier, hosted by CMU STUDIO for Creative Inquiry
Interested in exploring the radical potential of 3D printing, I invited two artists who are leading the charge in this field to be festival artists-in-residence: co-founders of the 3D Additivist Manifesto Morehshin Allahyari & Daniel Rourke. The artists came to Pittsburgh for a week (Sep 23-30) to work on the final sections to their forthcoming publication, the Additivist Cookbook (2016), as well as lecture on their practice and engage artists, engineers, designers and critical thinkers in a day-long workshop that aimed to disrupt binary thinking and dig deeper into the politics, materiality, and speculative future of this tool. Local companies ExOne, a global leader in additive manufacturing and Shapeways partner specializing in 3D printing metal, and startup Kerfcase joined the roundtable. #Additivism: a movement that aims to disrupt material, social, computational, and metaphysical realities through provocation, collaboration, and the ‘weird’.
NOWSEETHIS 2015 / made possible with support from CMU Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry
In preparation for NOWSEETHIS, an event VIA curated and produced for the Carnegie Museum of Art, I invited Polish duo Pussykrew to develop their work in the context of a 5 day residency (April 20-25) at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry. The prompt: create a sensual cgi environment for Kelela's headlining performance based on 3D scans of the Carnegie Museum of Art. Pussykrew generated a surreal representation of the museum: combining scans of existing classical, ancient and medieval sculptures from Hall of Architecture and Hall of Sculpture with liquid simulations and rich reflective textures, in order to create a neo-net-baroque landscapes. The resulting videos explored areas in-between classical beauty, tech aesthetics, and imitation of natural environment as the main components of our contemporary culture. While in residence, the artists also gave a public lecture at Carnegie Mellon University on their practice and demo on how to use the Fuel3D scanner
2014 VIA Festival / made possible with support from CMU Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry / Moderators: Jesse Stiles (Assistant Professor of Music & Computer Science), Rich Randall (Assistant Professor of Music / Music Theory), Ben Casey (Ableton)
This 1 day mini-conference surveyed methods of electronic music composition from the 1970s to present in the form of live interviews, demos, and performances by renowned and emerging artists performing at the 2014 VIA Festival and Demosplash Conference. From experimental noise to club-ready tracks, attendees got a look under the hood as to how these artists make their music using everything from outdated computer equipment and MS-DOS, to modular synthesis, or software like Reaktor and Ableton. Ableton provided a workshop in Max for LIVE for novice producers and artists, and an a/v performance from Richard Devine and new media artist Hector Llanquin closed the day.
2012 VIA Festival / in partnership with Assemble, pop-up space provided by DeepLocal / Facilitators: Timothy Sherman, Caitlin Boyle
I invited NYC indie games collective Babycastles to lead and contribute to the creation of a pop-up arcade in collaboration with local artists and the general public. The week-long residency and resulting two-day build-hack-play-a-thon saw the repurposing of vintage arcade cabinets, giant stuffed animals, toys, and more into fully-functioning games, which also featured original games curated and designed by Babycastles. Babycastles provided instruction on software hacking and hardware building, with additional all-ages activities provided by local maker/hacker educators from Assemble with crash courses in Scratch, Max MSP, Processing, MaKeyMaKey and Arduino.
2012 VIA Festival / in partnership with the Center for Post-Natural History, donations from Phipps Conservatory
This workshop was an opportunity to get closer to our green friends via technology, touch, and sound. Data Garden provided history about plant-based electronic sound art and demos on the basics of how to sonify plant data: building sensors, formatting data, and applying a sound palate. Attendees presence influenced new compositions from moment to moment by two plants fitted with specialized electronic sensors. Data Garden is a journal, record label and event-based collective that encourages the discovery of electronic music through the windows of history, science and community. Their projects research the heritage of primitive electronic art and explore the synthesis of biological and digital technologies as a channel of human expression.
2012 VIA Festival / made possible with support from CMU Activities Board, funded in part by the Center for Art in Society / Produced by: Trans-Q TV
As part of their involvement in the 2012 festival, I facilitated the match between subversive pop / rap outfits SSION and House of Ladosha to join the CMU project Trans-Q TV for a special live-taped talk show. This free event on campus was lead by student moderators and local queer celebrity Alaska Thvnderfvck (RuPaul's Drag Race). The artists offered insight into the motivations behind their music, incredible videos, and position in the ever evolving scene of LGBTQIA entertainment. Trans-Q is a interdisciplinary class and web series about Gender/Queer Theory, Sexuality, ecstatic acts of being, written and produced by artists / faculty Suzie Silver, Scott Andrew, and students at CMU.
2011 VIA Festival / made possible with support from CMU School of Architecture & Design / Lead artists: Deren Guler (ReWire/ReplayMyPlay) + visiting students from MIT's Media Lab
An all-ages introduction to playful hacking kits. DRAWDIO: All the fun without the soldering, an electronic pencil that lets you make music while you draw. TRIP VISOR: a Sound and Light Machine (SLM) that produces audio-visual pulses at brain wave frequencies, which help people sleep, wake up, meditate, or experience whatever state of consciousness the machine is programmed for. LED DRAGON KITE: Tradition dragon kites, with a twist, have a built in LED and battery that light up as it flies around. The great part about these kites is that they can be linked together in many ways to create a giant kite. Students can work alone or in small groups to create kites and learn how a simple LED circuit works. At the end of the day, the kites were chained together and taken out for a special lightshow.
2011 VIA Festival / made possible with support from Pittsburgh Filmmakers / Lead artists: Joe and Kendra Minadeo of Bellows
For all-ages, participants painted, drew and scratched into 16mm film to create moving art and animated images. The films were spliced together and edited into short loops by Kendra & Joe that they mixed live for their festival a/v performance with Tim Sweeney (Beats in Space).
2010 VIA Festival / made possible with support from CMU Activities Board / with Big Freedia, dance instructor Altercation, and Rusty Lazer - Freedia's DJ and creative manager.
A conversation with the New Orleans-based artists on the significance of Bounce Music relating to identity of all types (class, race, gender, sexuality) where attendees were asked to expound on these topics with personal theories of identity, inclusion, musical cultural development, cultural reciprocation, the inter-relatedness of movement and consciousness. The artists examined the history of this sacred dance and it's place in the New Orleans canon, and how exercising personal space can inform many aspects of our lives and identity. Followed by a Bounce workshop with Altercation where she explained the mechanics of movement and her, Freedia, and Rusty got all participants (t)werked up into a frenzy. Participants joined Freedia the following night on stage for her headlining performance at the festival.
2010 VIA Festival / hosted by the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry
This lecture was connected to Kyle's commission to develop visuals for his live performance with Tokimonsta at the inaugural VIA Festival. As a computational media artist Kyle works with sounds and codes, exploring translation, contextualization, and similarity. With a background in philosophy and computer science, he strives to integrate intricate processes and structures with accessible, playful realizations that often have a do-it-yourself, open-source aesthetic. Kyle has designed low-cost DIY 3D scanners, built a Skittle audio sequencer, recorded the first few months of a 10450 year-long year music composition, given 1¢ grants, and created high-performance multi-screen interactive projections for festivals around the world. He holds an MFA from RPI and recently worked as a Fellow in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at CMU.
2010 VIA Festival / hosted by CMU School of Art, "Noise" class with professor Melissa Ragona
This lecture was connected to the artists commission to develop an a/v performance for the inaugural VIA Festival. Collaborators Nate Boyce and Oneohtrix Point Never (Daniel Lopatin) audio/visual collaborations investigate the liminal regions of human perception through kinetically charged, visceral abstractions. Boyce's work exploits inherent plasticity of electronic sound and image through the use of customized analog and digital tools with which he has developed a formal language informed the history of structural and psychedelic filmmaking. Lopatin creates spectral sound-scapes performed primarily on vintage synthesizers. While almost everything relates directly or indirectly in ways no one who grew up in the seventies and eighties would find alien, there is a considerable strangeness in his retro-aesthetics, a positive kind of distancing from normal life as his sounds ecompass Terry Riley, noise, new age, chiptunes and ambient expressions.