Thursday, May 04, 2017

May Unicorn Of The Month: Debra Swack

Animal Patterning Project Still

Debra Swack is digital artist with degrees in art and computer science, affiliated with MIT, and mentioned in Art and Innovation at Xerox Parc (MIT Press, 1999). Her interactive and immersive work explores the intersection between the arts, sciences, technology and culture, including their historical foundations and societal and ethical underpinnings.


Animal Patterning Project Still
Animal Patterning Project Still

She has received two Fulbright Specialist grants in Information Systems/Computer Arts and three co-production grants from Banff Centre that helped her realize ambitious projects, most recently 95 Chimes (relating music to string theory inspired by Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe, originally presented at the Museum of Natural History, as part of the ASCI-SCI-Art Symposium in 2002) at the Staller Center, adapted for 16 channel sound installation and Bessie nominated Animal Patterning Project dance performance, commissioned by the West Harlem Art Fund and Pratt Institute (Art Daily).

Animal 4, Animation Still.
Animal 6, Animation Still.


" I collaborate with scientists, software/hardware developers (wearable tech; Tobii eyetracking, Microsoft HoloLens), other creative disciplines such as dance and institutions /students. I work with 3D modeling, photometry, mixed VR, animation, video, photography, 3D printing and binaural sound."

Some of my current projects include The Emotions after Charles Darwin (universality of emotions on a biological level in collaboration with the Brain Mind Institute to help them with autism research, MIT Press) that has presented internationally.

Other projects include:
  • Cloud Mapping Project (all manifestations of the cloud from arts to technology including surveillance, MIT Press) that was presented at the Pera Museum in Istanbul while a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome.
  • 95 Chimes (relating string theory to music a.k.a Brain Greene's The Elegant Universe) that was adapted for 16 channel sound installation for Resonant Structures (continuation of MOMA Soundings Exhibit) at the Staller Center (SUNY Stony Brook) in 2016 and originally at the Museum of Natural History in 2002 (in conjunction with the ASCI SCI-art Symposium)
  • Bloom (bio-acoustic communication between plants in collaboration with evolutionary biologist Monica Gagliano, MIT Press)
  • Bessie nominated Animal Patterning Project (synthetic bio, software generated piece about displaced animals in the urban environment and their reintroduction by projecting their likeness onto the environment they once inhabited, Random House/Thames and Hudson) that I recently adapted for interactive dance in collaboration with the West Harlem Arts Fund and Pratt Institute.

More of Debras' work can be viewed on her Website, her Linkedin Profile, and be sure to click on the links below for more information.


Animal Patterning Project

Cloud Mapping