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Davis, California

Friday, March 1, 2024

Technology with an Edge

For the next two months the Technocultural Studies Department will be parading a series of speakers and artists through campus, showcasing the many ways one can practically and uniquely experiment with digital media.

Put together by Craig Baldwin, an avant-garde filmmaker and the department’s new guest faculty member, the series began on Oct. 1 and will continue until Nov. 19 on specified days of the week. All of the speakers can be seen in Wellman 1 from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m.

“We’re trying to give students an example of the broad spectrum of work being done in the digital arts,” said Jesse Drew, director of the Technocultural Studies department. “It’s purposely broad and practical in that we’re bringing up artists who are actually doing things; they’re people that think about their work, [and] they’re also people that make their work.”

There will be a total of twelve speakers in the series who will discuss topics that cover every imaginable facet of media, including video games, electronic music, machine art and experimental videos.

During the last week, the first two speakers took turns visiting campus. Visiting artist Kal Spelletich kicked off the series by talking about live robot sculpture and machine art, and John Davis followed with experimental film/video with live sound synthesis.

Steve Rhodes – a journalist and photographer whose work has appeared in publications such as Wired and San Francisco Magazine – will be speaking this afternoon about activism on the social networks.

“Social networks/Web 2.0 (or whatever term you want to use

for Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, blogs and other sites) are just new tools to communicate ideas and create work,” Rhodes said in an e-mail interview. “I will talk about how [social networks] were used in the 2008 elections as well as the Iran elections and the protests which followed. I’ll also talk about how artists and musicians are using these tools.”

Drew said that most of the speakers are based in the Bay Area, making it a great opportunity for students to meet and learn from local artists who are more than willing to share. Rhodes said that he doesn’t “have a specific goal in mind other than to encourage people to use these tools in creative ways.”

“I think [the artists are] all unique in that many of them are working in new areas, in non-traditional art,” Drew said.

Lisa Hodge, a senior technocultural studies major, explained that it is eye-opening and useful to discover new ways to turn technology into art.

“It’s cool to see all the different mediums someone can play with to create an artistic statement and how certain mediums can be melded together to create it,” Hodge said. “Since I’m majoring in the media arts I like to surround myself with many different artists that play with many different mediums for creative inspiration.”

ELENA BUCKLEY can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.



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