In her work, Andrea Wollensak combines new media technology and traditional design and fabrication to explore the convergence of place, identity, and history through site-based artwork. Specific themes in her work include community, environment, surveillance and memory, which she adapts to a range of artistic forms including audio/video and interactive installations, data visualization and 3-D printed forms.
Her creative and critical writings have appeared in numerous publications. Most recently, her work was mentioned in Walking and Mapping: Artists as Cartographers, by Karen O’Rourke [MIT press, 2013], and in Acting Bodies and Social Networks, A Bridge Between Technology and Working Memory, edited by B. Pirani and I. Varga, in chapter six "Social bodies and locative technologies" by Gianni Corino [UPA, 2010]. Her papers and collaborations with colleagues have been presented at national and international conferences. Her work has earned her international artist residencies and fellowships, as well grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, Banff Centre for the Arts, and a collaborative grant from the National Science Foundation.
Recently, Wollensak created a series of works inspired by the environment in Iceland and the Arctic, which was the focus of a solo exhibition in May 2014, titled "Between Solid and Liquid: Constructed Landscapes" at Konstepidemin Gallery in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Other awards and residencies include: Hafnarborg Contemporary Art Museum (Iceland) 2011; Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism (CCT) Grant in New Media, 2010 and 2006; IASPIS (International Artist Studio Program in Sweden) in 2007 where she completed Listening Sites: Tracking Stories, a locative media, site-specific work which was part of the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art.
At Connecticut College, Wollensak’s teaching focuses on design as an interdisciplinary practice-based study that introduces students to and prepares them for further study as creative problem solvers in social design, information design, environmental and object design. These courses are aimed to advance students' understanding of historic and contemporary cultural issues and how to use design, in its many forms, to create a positive impact in society.
Visit the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology website, www.conncoll.edu/CAT/.
"Delving deeper into the concept of point-of-view as a visioning process, Wollensak employs many perspectives -- from that of her own personal, experiential viewing process and analysis of what she has empirically observed, to that of amplified, ‘prosthetic vision’ via satellites that can hyper view the landscape from above the earth’s atmosphere and remotely sense that which is beyond human sensorial capacity. More often than not, Wollensak’s tools, as the hunter/gatherer, are hand held when digging into the physical earth to create castings of material and phenomenon. But her hand held GPS unit also communicates with the satellites above that mark place and position and tap into digital data streams and satellite beyond the visible.
Wollensak's second set of observational tools is the scientific data made available to her by others such as the Icelandic Meteorological Office, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), International Ice Patrol (IIP) Iceberg Sightings Database, and other multiple geological mapping agencies. Listings of data fields, however, will not empower the analytical information from a visual point-of-view so Wollensak has animated it through computer renderings and, in effect, made the data spatial and sculptural. Indeed, she makes it dance."
Peter Dykhuis Director/Curator, Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia. 2014.
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