Natalie Jeremijenko

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Natalie Jeremijenko is a new media artist who works at the intersection of contemporary art, science, and engineering. Her work takes the form of large-scale public art works, tangible media installations, single channel tapes, and critical writing. It investigates the theme of the transformative potential of new technologies - particularly information technologies. Specific issues addressed in her work include information politics, the examination and development of new modes of particulation in the production of knowledge, tangible media, and distributed (or ubiquitous) computing elements. She has recently held positions of Lecturer Convertible in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Yale; Consultant to the Advanced Computer Graphics Center/Media Research Lab, Department of Computer Science, at NYU; and Distinguished Visiting Critic in the Department of Art, Virginia Commonwealth University. Jeremijenko began her studies with a B.S. in Neuroscience and Biochemistry at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia, and went on to receive a B.F.A. with Honors from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Her B.F.A. thesis was Explorations in Scientific Representation Exploiting Surround Sensory Input (Virtual Reality). After pursuing graduate course work in Mechanical Engineering (Design Division) at Stanford, she returned to Australia to work towards a Ph.D. in the School of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Over the past ten years, Jeremijenko has completed an impressive number of art works that can be understood as experiments in data visualization. (See her website at Her experiments began with an innovative tangible media project titled Live Wire that she produced while working as a Consultant Research Scientist at the Computer Science Lab, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (1994-96). Following this early and influential project, Jeremijenko has designed, programmed, and engineered additional projects that reframe information usually seen in charts and graphs. One example is Trigger, the Loma Prieto Pony, a child's mechanical pony ride that allows the viewer/participant to drop in a quarter and "ride" the Loma Prieta earthquake, rendering the information experientially and this changing one's relationship to the information. Bull Ride similarly allowed its "riders" to experience the 1987 stock market crash. The projects that she created as a researcher in the artists' collective, the Bureau of Inverse Technology Suicide Box, BitPlane, and Bang Bang Media Network - have created playful engineering designs and structures for the display and interpretation of often overlooked or even legally restricted information. An important part of Jeremijenko's artistic strategy is to enable public discourse through access to accurate information about scientific claims. While she has proposed and/or realized several projects that promote this type of populist access, her large-scale public artwork One Tree is probably the best example of how she achieves this goal. One Tree is not one tree, but 1,000 genetically identical microcultured paradox Vlach clones grown under identical conditions. This information environment has several components. Several arts and educational institutions in the San Francisco Bay Area have sponsored the planting of these trees in pairs in public places throughout the area. During this long-term project, the trees will render visible the assumptions embedded in public discourse about cloning technologies and provide a public platform for ongoing discussions around genetic engineering among Bay Area residents. In addition to this tree-planting program, a second project component comprises A-life tree programs that grow on users' desktops in relation to data collected by small C02 meters that measure the C02 in the immediate microenvironment. This aspect of the larger project enables individuals to have a more personal relationship with environmental impact. The third component, Stump, is a printer queue virus that counts the number of pages consumed by the printer; when the equivalent of one tree's worth of pulp has been consumed, it automatically prints out a slice of tree. Accumulating these pieces of paper "grows" a stump of the forest that the user and his or her printer have consumed - a tangible representation of a tree debt. The One Tree project, as well as numerous others, translates complex scientific and technical datasets into humorous, experientially-based machines for information analysis and exchange. Jeremijenko's history and commitment to this important area of inquiry and practice account for much of our interest in recruiting her to this campus. Her expertise and the exceptional recognition that her projects have received across multiple disciplines are perfect examples of the types of research being encouraged by Governor Davis in awarding Cal-IT(2) to UCSD. The increasing value of public interfaces to and critical engagement with dynamic scientific and technological ideas and language cannot be understated. Jeremijenko's work realizes the extraordinary potential of artistic method at this moment. Jeremijenko's work has been exhibited and screened internationally at prestigious venues that include Dokumenta, Kassel, Germany, and the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, two of the most important regularly scheduled exhibitions in the world; Art Space, Sydney; ZKM, Karlsruhe; P.S. 1, New York (perhaps the most cutting edge venue for media art in New York); the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; the Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, Rotterdam; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Her work has been discussed in both mainstream media such as The New York Times and in the art press. She has presented papers, spoken on panels and at symposia, and given lectures at dozens of international at venues that include the Museum of Modern Art, New York (New Technology Talk Series); Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria; the International Symposium on Electronic Art, Montreal; the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton; Artist Space, New York; the American Anthropological Association; the Center for Language and Speech Processing, Johns Hopkins; the MIT Conference on Research and Design Thinking; and many others. Several of her conference papers have been published. In recognition of her outstanding achievements, she has received prestigious awards and grants from agencies that include the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Academy of Science. In 2002, she received a Public Space Commission for a work Private Reveries from the Royal College of Art, London.