2023-24 Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology Colloquia Series
Our relationships with art, culture, and everyday living have radically shifted in a digital age. Both in conversation with and defiance of technology as invisible or ineffable, this year’s theme seeks to reframe materiality, and ground us with stakes that art and technology pose—culturally, environmentally, politically, and representationally. What does it mean to be a creator, producer, or maker in the 21st century? What are the ways in which we should (re)consider art and technology’s impact?
The invited speakers and performers for this year’s colloquium all consider how we generate culture and the tools, structures, and resources required to maintain and challenge forms of arts and technology. See below for further details on each as well as the dates and times of their public talks.
Dan Charnas is a bestselling author, award-winning music and business journalist, producer of records and television, and professor. Recipient of both a PEN Literary Award and a Pulitzer Fellowship for Arts Journalism, he is the author of four books; was the co-creator and executive producer of the VH1 TV series The Breaks; and is an Associate Arts Professor at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University. Charnas’s latest book is Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, The Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm (2022). A New York Times Bestseller, Dilla Time is the winner of the 2023 Pen/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography, and was named a 2022 Notable Book by the Library of Michigan, and made 2022 “Best” lists for Pitchfork,Vulture, Rolling Stone, New York Times, Financial Times, Amsterdam News, Spin, HipHopDX, Esquire, and Variety.
Ari Melenciano is an artist and creative technologist who explores how various forms of design influence sentient experiences. A professor at NYU’s ITP, she teaches courses surrounding sound design, music production, counterculture, architecture, and Black radical imagination studies. She is also a creative technologist at Google's Creative Lab and the founder of Afrotectopia–a social institution that is imagining, researching, and building at the nexus of new media art, design, science, and technology through a Black and Afrocentric lens. Her award-winning work has been supported and exhibited by a variety of institutions including Sundance, The New Museum's New Inc, The New York Times, and The Studio Museum of Harlem.
Found most frequently at transfer stations, dollar stores, and internet forums for bootlegged films, Matt Wellins otherwise resides in New Haven, CT. His work is broadly occupied with the way objects resist control, the snafus of live performance, and how difficult it is to do very simple things. Insomuch as any of this can be heard, he generally works with analog circuitry, field recording, notated music and computer programming.
This work has been fueled by long-term research into the private loft theater of 1970s New York, cybernetic systems in the work of Gordon Mumma and Roland Kayn, and most recently, the ZBS Artist-in-Residency program. He has released music on What the…? Records and presented work at Anthology Film Archives (with Sarah Halpern) and the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center in Troy, NY.
Paula Gaetano-Adi is an Argentine-born artist working in robotics, sculpture and performance. Her practice calls for a new technical imagination that radically attends to the world-making capacity of both technology and the arts. Opening up an alternative poetics-politics and attending to the messy entanglements in which the human and nonhuman are inextricably linked, Gaetano Adi’s robotic work draws from diverse situated, relational and vernacular technological practices and stresses a praxis of living and being that considers intelligence and the human as irrevocably embodied, collective and affective. She currently lives between San Juan, Argentina, and Providence, RI, where she is Associate Professor of Experimental & Foundation Studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).