researt & arsearcht
September 13, 2017 8:06 AM   Subscribe

Who are some individuals who are top-notch artist-researchers and researcher-artists today? And how did they develop their expertise?

I’m looking for examples of people who are recognized both as top researchers in their field and as top artists in their practice. Because of the nature of art/research these days, these researchers are often in computer science (in graphics, machine learning, visualization, or game design), math, and new media art, but any field is welcome. For example, these individuals might be professors publishing papers in top conferences in their fields as well as artists who exhibit or perform widely.

Some examples include Ken Goldberg (robotics), Erik Demaine (origami), folks at eleVR (VR), folks at Nervous System (fabrication), and perhaps some people at the Studio for Creative Inquiry, the MIT Media Lab, and the MIT Center for Art, Science, and Technology.

I’m less interested in people in the following categories: people who are primarily researchers who incidentally make art, people who are primarily artists who incidentally do research, and studios/collectives/groups/labs/organizations of people who are primarily one or the other, working together. (They’re great, just not what I’m looking for!)

Historical artist-researchers do count, e.g. da Vinci and other artists who studied perspective, color theory, anatomy, and cameras, but I'm more interested in people working today. I'm also more interested in artist-researchers (people pushing the boundaries of human knowledge) than artist-engineers (people building systems), though they may overlap.

I'm especially interested to hear about people who are members of underrepresented minority groups, e.g. women, people of color, queer folks, and differently abled folks.

Again, I’m looking for examples of specific people (not collectives or organizations) who are very strong in both art and research. I’m also very curious about how they developed the diverse and deep expertise to get where they are, how long it took them to find their niches, the feedback loop between their art and research, what their day-to-day lives look like, and how they move between the different communities they might be a part of. So if anyone has links to interviews or biographies, I would appreciate those.

(Even this AskMe question doesn't neatly fit in a category....)
posted by icosahedron to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Lev Manovich
posted by Jabberwocky at 8:21 AM on September 13, 2017

Also interested in hearing about folks who are emerging researtists and not already well-known.
posted by icosahedron at 8:22 AM on September 13, 2017

Nina Elder
Alison Pebworth
posted by tapir-whorf at 8:37 AM on September 13, 2017

Eduardo Kac
posted by TheGoodBlood at 8:38 AM on September 13, 2017

Leo Vroman. I posted this FPP about him when he died. You can clearly see his scientific work influence his writing and drawing, pretty much all the time.
posted by Too-Ticky at 9:05 AM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Joanna Zylinska, David Saltz
posted by ryegent at 9:07 AM on September 13, 2017

Natalie Jeremijenko seems like a good example.
posted by Dr. Wu at 10:03 AM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Places to look for more researchrtists: The Bridges Archives, The Exploratorium.
posted by azalea_chant at 10:26 AM on September 13, 2017

The Harrison Studio is pretty neat. They once published a peer-reviewed article on reproductive behaviors in a crab species they used in an art project.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 11:36 AM on September 13, 2017

You probably are already familiar with at least some of these people, but Golan Levin, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Casey Reas, Addie Wagenknecht, Steve Kurtz, Brandon Ballangée, and Stelarc might fit your bill.
posted by quatsch at 1:51 PM on September 13, 2017

The Institute of Figuring, founded by Margaret and Christine Wertheim.
posted by nanook at 4:35 PM on September 13, 2017

Chris Landreth
posted by Daily Alice at 5:57 PM on September 13, 2017

I would deep dive into the program at Transmediale-- it seems like every talk I went to would answer this question (e.g. Constant Dullaart, which somehow IS NOT A PEN NAME).

Also, artist James Bridle's latest work on self-driving cars is pretty smart and interesting, I think.

There is also a whole field of "performance-based-research" on thinking of theater rehearsal as a lab space for knowledge production but no tech involved so maybe not your scene. Check out Erin Manning's work though nonetheless.
posted by athirstforsalt at 5:29 PM on September 14, 2017

Susan Schuppli also comes to mind.
posted by athirstforsalt at 5:38 PM on September 14, 2017

Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Viégas at Google Brain
Christina Agapakis at Gingko Bioworks
You might dig into a place like Autodesk Research
David Glowacki
Robert Lang (origami) you probably already know
posted by waninggibbon at 11:12 PM on September 18, 2017

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