From A to Z: New Faculty Expand the Meaning of Interdisciplinary Art-School of Art - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, February 20, 2012

From A to Z: New Faculty Expand the Meaning of Interdisciplinary Art

Say hello to Ali Momeni and Adam Zaretsky: new faculty in the School of Art who are helping to expand what it means to be an interdisciplinary artist and teacher in the 21st century.

Ali is a builder, composer and performer who makes use all manners of technology to explore the social lives of objects and their embedded performative qualities: ranging from kinetic sculptures and sound installations to urban interventions and music theater performance. Adam is an artist, court jester, mad-scientist and misbehaving ethicist working in the world of bioart.

ALI MOMENI, Assistant Professor of Art

Born in Isfahan, Iran, Ali emigrated to the United States at the age of twelve, studied physics and music at Swarthmore College and completed his doctoral degree in music composition, improvisation and performance with computers from the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies in UC Berkeley. He spent three years in Paris collaborating with performers and researchers from La Kitchen, IRCAM, Sony CSL and CIRM. After four years as an assistant professorship in the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, where he directed the Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Art, and ran the urban projection colllective called MAW, Momeni begins a professorship teaching courses bridging sculpture and electronic arts Carnegie Mellon University.



What's Ali teaching?

Digital Fabricaiton for the Arts (Spring 2012)

This advanced undergrad sculpture and electronic media course is about the transformation of a digital design to a physical presence. Learning the tools, work-flow, aesthetics and communities surrounding computer-aided-design & manufacturing (CAD/CAM) and modeling software like Rhinoceros 3D and Adobe Illustrator, students get hands-on experience designing and fabricating artwork with laser cutters, 3D printers, and CNC routers.

Keywords: dfab, 3d printer, rhino3d, cnc router, scalable design, laser cutter, Arduino IDE, digital fabrication


Animated Theater (Spring 2012)

This mid-level undergrad course takes an interdisciplinary approach to working with live electronics, kinetics, light and imagery to create minuature, animated worlds. Combining research into the history of mechanical theater, miniatures, and narratives for performance with exploring the basics of electronics, micro-controllers and strategies for light and movement, students create/animate a miniature space of their design. The metaphor of a miniature world allows them to integrate their own creative practices (with 2 or 3-dimensional media) into mixed-media interactive installations.

Keywords: electronics, micro-controllers, electromechanics, dynamic lighting, programming, Arduino IDE, Cycling '74, Max/MSP/Jitter, installation, interactive, mixed-media


ADAM ZARETSKY, Kraus Visiting Assistant Professor of Art (Spring 2012)

Adam's work blends Ecology, Biotechnology, Non-human Relations, Body Performance and Gastronomy.  He considers life as a medium and a message as well as all life deserving consideration (as entityness) even when rerouted through technology. Politically, he focuses on legal, ethical, social and libidinal implications of biotechnological materials and methods. Banned from leading a workshop at the 2010 Ars Electronica Festival where members of the public would have used a gene gun to alter the evolutionary trajectory of otherwise normal zebrafish, his research and performances often includes innovative biolistic art using the raw DNA amplified from a stool sample of the author and poet William S. Burroughs applied to a variety of non-vertebrate oraganisms and cell lines.

Current projects include co-creating "Mutate or Die" with Tony Allard - a live cut-up, biolistically impinging on life through the creative misuse of a gene gun loaded with DNA from his Burroughs Microbiome Project (WSBMP); exhibiting in Antwerp at the Verbeke Gallery; participating in the Waag Society’s StudioLab; researching Solar Zebrafish; being a researcher in the Netherlands Based consortium BioSolar Cells; headmaster at VASTAL (The Vivoarts School for Transgenic Aesthetics Ltd.) and currently completing his Ph.D. in Art Practice, Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer (I/EAR), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

z_det1.jpg z_det3.jpg

What's Adam teaching?

DIY Germline IGM Art: Intentional Genetically Modified Human Genome Arts (Spring 2012)

This interdisciplinary undergrad class encourages students from various backgrounds (art, medicine, chemistry, biological sciences) to make art by utilizing living systems as a form of new media production. Students get down and dirty with various hands-on wet labs that range from prototyping games for animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo to extracting and modifying DNA with the infamous Helios Biolistic Gene Gun. While studying the ethics and aesthetics of transgenic alteration of our genepool, students develop protocols that could also make artistically engineered mutant kindred. Labs include: Bioinformatics as Literary Studies, Ethological Animal Enrichment, Body Art twinned with Developmental Biology and Transgenics, Stem Cell Tissue Culture Sculpting, DNA Isolation as Radical Gastronomic Art, as well as Ecological Intervention Arts. The class begins by redefining where and how people interface with life through these various labs, with their final projects being a hybridization of these explorations.