Jonah Brucker-Cohen
Since the beginning
Works in Brooklyn, New York United States of America

Jonah Brucker-Cohen, Ph.D., is an award winning artist, researcher, and writer. He received his Ph.D. in the Disruptive Design Team of the Networking and Telecommunications Research Group (NTRG), Trinity College Dublin. He is the Director of the Digital Humanities MA program and an Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Networked Culture in the department of Journalism, Communication, and Theatre at Lehman College (City University of New York – CUNY).

He has taught as adjunct assistant professor at Parsons MFA in Design & Technology and Parsons School of Art, Design, History, and Theory (ADHT) from 2010 to 2014. He has also taught in the Media, Culture, Communication dept of NYU Steinhardt School of Culture Education and Human Development (2009, 2010, 2011). He has also taught at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) (2007, 2008), and Trinity College’s MsC in Interactive Digital Media (2003, 2004). From 2001-2004 he was a Research Fellow in the Human Connectedness Group at Media Lab Europe and from 2006-2007 he was an R&D OpenLab Fellow at Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology in New York City. He received his Masters from ITP in 1999 and was an Interval Research Fellow from 1999-2001.

Jonah’s work and thesis focuses on the theme of “Deconstructing Networks” which includes over 80 projects that critically challenge and subvert accepted perceptions of network interaction and experience.

He is co-founder of the Dublin Art and Technology Association (DATA Group), recipient of the ARANEUM Prize sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Art, Science and Technology and Fundacion ARCO, and was a 2006 and 2008 Rockefeller Foundation New Media Fellow Nominee. His writing has appeared in numerous international publications including WIRED Magazine, Make Magazine, Neural,, Art Asia Pacific, Gizmodo and more, and his work has been presented at events and organizations such as DEAF (03,04), London Science Museum (2008), Future Sonic / Future Everything (2004, 2009), Art Futura (04), SIGGRAPH (00,05), UBICOMP (02,03,04), CHI (04,06) Transmediale (02,04,08), NIME (07), ISEA (02,04,06,09,12), Institute of Contemporary Art in London (04), Tate Modern (03), Whitney Museum of American Art’s ArtPort (03, 12), Ars Electronica (02,04,08), Chelsea Art Museum, ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art (04-5),Museum of Modern Art (MOMA – NYC)(2008),San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) (2008), and Palais Du Tokyo, Paris (2009). His work has been reported about in The Times, The New York Times, Wired News, Make, Boing Boing, El Pais, Gizmodo, Engadget, The Register, Slashdot, NY Post, The Wire, Rhizome, Crunch Gear, Beyond the Beyond, Neural, Liberation, Village Voice, IEEE Spectrum, The Age, Taschen Books, and more.

He has given lectures about his work at locations and venues such as Intel Corporation, School of Visual Arts, Ars Electronica, Canadian Consulate, NYU, UCLA, USC, San Jose State University, ISEA 2002, 2004, 2006, 2012, University of Buenos Aires, Institute of Contemporary Art London, Transmediale, Universität der Künste Berlin, Tate Modern, Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Urbis Manchester, CCCB Barcelona, Open Hardware Summit, Contemporary Art Museum Belo Horizonte, Brazil, The Banff Centre, Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, Rhode Island School of Design, Maker Faire, Royal College of Art, Royal Library, Copenhagen, Denmark, Eyebeam, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Pratt Institute, and more.

Art in Your Pocket 4: Net Art and Abstraction for the Small Screen

"The Facets of Obama" created by Jonah Brucker­-Cohen using the Fracture application by James Alliban, 2011

The devices we carry with us can do much more than simply act as communication tools and entertainment appendages. They can also bring us into a growing world of artistic projects that could have never been imagined without their existence.

The recent boom in creative software for the iPhone and iPad now enables artists to remake existing web projects as iOS apps or use the physical world as a canvas for augmented reality, reimagining our physical surroundings through painting and rendering. In this article, the fourth one in a series that I've written over the past six years of reviews surveying art for the iPhone and iPad, I cover projects that both revive net art pieces that were once only possible on traditional computer systems or in browsers, as well as those that use the iPhone and iPad's sound and camera capabilities to their fullest.



Thicket:Classic (Hairy Circles mode), 2011, Interval Studios (aka Joshue Ott and Morgan Packard)

Beginning with abstraction and sound, two works examine methods of sound production through algorithmic composition. Thicket (2011) by Interval Studios (programmer and artist Joshue Ott and composer Morgan Packard) is an amalgam of abstract shapes and patterns that engage with touch-based interaction, visual stimulation, generative pattern creation, and mesmerizing sound transference. The original version of Thicket, or Thicket:Classic, feels like a musical masterpiece on the edge of a high precipice. As a user changes the orientation of their phone in four directions (up, down, right, left) the onscreen graphics shift to new modes.

Thicket 3.11 Video, Joshue Ott and Morgan Packard, Interval Studios.

My favorite mode in Thicket:Classic is "Hairy Circles," which features menacing yellow-orangish circles of tangled lines that correspond to each finger's touch and shift when dragged around, creating a machine-like beat that evokes an industrial assembly line. Ott explains, "Thicket uses a bunch of different algorithms—for both audio and visuals. The aesthetic came from repeated experimentation and rapid prototyping of modes. Sometimes we would start with the visuals, sometimes with the audio, but there was often a back and forth process of each of us adjusting our part until we both liked the results."

Locative Media Revisited


Molly Dilworth, 547 West 27th Street (2009). From the series "Paintings for Satellites."

In the early 2000s, as location-aware devices first became commonplace, there was a lot of hype surrounding their potential creative use by artists. However, over time, this initial enthusiasm for "locative media"--projects that respond to data or communications technologies that refer to particular sites--leveled off, even dissipated. Regardless of this drought, geospatial technologies are widely used, and play an important and often unnoticed role in conditioning many aspects of our existence. Responding to this condition of ubiquity, artists have continued to use locative technologies critically, opening up closed systems, making their effects visible, and reconfiguring our relationship with such systems.  

Welcome to Your New NSA Partner Network: Report from Transmediale 2014

We're running our annual community campaign through March 19. Give today!

Photo: Andreas Nicolas Fischer.

A kind of cold weather antipode of summer's "Love Parade," the Transmediale 2014 media arts festival was a beacon of light in the long dusk of a Berlin winter. As a twist on the usual curated exhibition, this year's festival opted for an ad-hoc "Art Hack Day" (AHD) approach, where submitting artists were expected to create new and original artworks in the span of two days (and nights). Opening the exhibition with a more down-to-earth feel, AHD ultimately resembled a DIY, garage-style party instead of a highbrow exhibition space.

Art In Your Pocket 3: Sensor Driven iPad and iPhone Art Apps

 PXL, Rainer Kohlberger, 2012

As the iPhone just celebrated its fifth year on the market, artists have already made a substantial dent in the commercially lucrative world of Apple’s AppStore. Despite this success, artists are still pushing forward to build apps that further integrate with the device’s sensors and location-based capabilities. Rather than working solely within the context of software art as I have covered in two previous articles on the subject for Rhizome, there is a focus now on artists who are interacting with the physical world by using the device’s internal sensors, location capabilities, constant Internet connectivity, and built-in cameras.


“Konfetti”, Stephan Maximillian Huber, 2012


Using the camera as a sensor, “Konfetti” by German based designer Stephan Maximillian Huber visualizes the image of its subject into countless dots. In effect, the camera image is translated into virtual confetti that follows any movement and creates an ever changing images based on which camera is selected. The dot’s movement is correlated to the detected flow captured by the camera and by repelling other dots, which also move as you touch and drag them. Huber explains over email how the app works as a reflection based art tool. “The app started as an iPad-only app, and on an iPad the app acts like a mirror, showing an abstract reflection of yourself. You'll get a clear image of yourself only when you concentrate on the process of the app, and don't move too fast. It's like contemplating about yourself and the image of yourself. And as your thoughts and emotions aren't static the image the app generates is dynamic and adapts to minimal movements and new ...


Art in Your Pocket 2

In the summer of 2009, I wrote an article here at Rhizome about the burgeoning activities of media artists creating new works or updating versions of their older interactive screen-based projects for Apple's iPhone and iTouch mobile devices. As the article made its way throughout the blogosphere, comments surfaced ranging from criticism of the "closed world of Apple's App Store and iPhone devices" to a championing of the availability of inexpensive multi-touch technology now available to artists who had been waiting for a platform that could adequately display and allow for the type of interaction their projects demanded. A year after the article came out, the draw of these devices and their potentially expansive audience has become even more irresistible to artists enough so that several more "apps" have surfaced. The following article catalogs several new iPhone works which have emerged over the past year, works that are pioneering the next generation of portable media art.

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Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design - Call for Students!

This is a new interactive design institute starting up in Copenhagen
made up of some Ex-IVREA / RCA researchers and others. They are
looking for Masters students for their Pilot Year. Please forward
around to those who might be interested!


Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design
Call for Students - Pilot Year

Pilot Year
Building on the positive response that CIID has received from our
feasibility study and initial activities, we are now establishing our
own educational programme. CIID is looking for 15-20 students from
Scandinavia, Europe and around the world to join us in Copenhagen for
our first educational year, starting in January 2008. These students
will receive sponsorship for a full-time, intensive, but experimental
version of our Masters course. Working in a studio environment, they
will design and prototype new ideas for services, products and
software. Visiting faculty will lead investigations into a range of
topics related to their specific expertise in design, technology and
innovation, after which students will engage in a self-directed
research project. We will use the experiences of the pilot year to
shape the programme of the subsequent two-year CIID masters courses,
and expect some students to continue in the educational and research
activities of the institute. The funding for this programme has yet
to be secured and the launch of the pilot programme will depend on

When will the pilot year occur?
The pilot year will span the whole of 2008. From January to June,
students will participate in the investigations and workshops that
form the foundation of the programme. No instruction takes place in
July and August, as CIID encourages and helps students to find
internships. In September, they will return to CIID to conduct a
self-directed thesis project with a CIID or external advisor.
Tentatively, we plan for the pilot year to conclude at the end of
2008. If there is enough interest and support, however, it could be
extended. In fact, we hope that some students will remain part of
CIID after the pilot year concludes: as researchers, instructors, or
in some other capacity.

Where will the pilot year take place?
The pilot year will take place in Copenhagen. We are currently
investigating possible locations, but believe that for a studio-based
programme like ours it is critical for each student to have dedicated
space for their work and materials.

What will I learn and do?
At CIID, students learn to apply design and technology to people's
lives and needs. We believe in a studio environment - students and
faculty working intensely on a project brief. We focus on hands-on
learning, meaning that students are given the skills to build working
prototypes of their ideas. A user-centred design process provides
inspiration and grounding. A multi-disciplinary approach prepares
students for careers in companies where innovation crosses product
The education is divided into three tiers. The first tier is an
initial set of short, skills-based workshops. The second tier
consists of longer design investigations. Finally, for the third tier
students pursue a self-directed research project. In addition,
students will participate in projects done in collaboration with
companies and take seminars in the practical and theoretical aspects
of interaction design.
For more information, see the CIID curriculum.

What is the language of study?
The official language of the institute is English. While many of the
faculty and staff at the institute are fluent in other languages, we
request that all communications and materials pertaining to
applications and admissions be in English. We expect all students and
faculty to have a high level of both written and spoken English.

Why is CIID conducting a pilot year?
We would like our programme to be shaped by its students and faculty.
The pilot year is a means of prototyping CIID's education with the
people who will be part of it. By running our first year in a
resource-light but content-intensive way, we hope to learn how to
refine our programme before investing heavily in a long-term
structure. Also, we hope that it will attract an eclectic mix of
students and faculty who are excited about creating a new institute.

What's in it for me?
We are offering students an intense one-year interaction design
education lead by experts in the field. It is an opportunity to meet
like-minded people, acquire skills, create a body of design work, and
help establish a new educational programme. Finally, we expect the
course to prepare students for real-world jobs at innovative
companies and institutions.

What type of certificate/degree will I receive?
Because this is a pilot year, we're focusing on the content and
people involved in the programme rather than formal accreditation.
Students who successfully complete the course will receive a
certificate acknowledging their accomplishments, but the pilot year
will likely not be formally accredited.

What does it cost?
Because this is a pilot year, we expect to offer full scholarships to
all students. You will need to cover all other expenses: flights,
accommodation, food, etc.

How do I apply?
This is an experiment - we're diving in head-first and hope you will
too. There's a chance it might not happen, but we're willing to take
the risk and we're looking for those daring enough to join us. If
you're up for it, check out the admissions page for information about
how to apply. If you have specific questions please contact us by


SimpleTEXT: June 5th @ EYEBEAM NYC (Tomorrow Night!)


SimpleTEXT: June 5th, 2007 @ EYEBEAM, NYC

* Below is information about the next SimpleTEXT peformance on
Tuesday, June 5th, 2007 @ Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology

This event is in conjunction with the Upgrade NYC

Please forward to those who might be interested in attending the performance!

*a cell phone enabled interactive performance* by Family Filter

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007 (7:30 pm) - Beginning with a talk by Jonah
Brucker-Cohen, Performance at 8pm)

Bring your Cell phone and/or Wireless Laptop to contribute to the performance!

540 W. 21st Street, (between 10th and 11th Avenues)
New York, NY 10011
Web Site:
Map Link:



About SimpleTEXT:
SimpleTEXT is a collaborative audio/visual public performance that
relies on audience participation through input from mobile devices
such as phones, PDAs or laptops. SimpleTEXT focuses on dynamic input
from participants as essential to the overall output. The performance
creates a dialogue between participants who submit text messages
which control the audiovisual output of the installation. These
messages are first parsed according to a code that dictates how the
music is created, and then rhythmically drive a speech synthesizer
and a picture synthesizer in order to create a compelling,
collaborative audiovisual performance.

To date, SimpleTEXT has been shown 13 times in 9 countries across
Europe and North America.

SimpleTEXT focuses on mobile devices and the web as a bridge between
networked interfaces and public space. As mobile devices become more
prolific, they also become separated by increased emphasis on
individual use. The SimpleTEXT project looks beyond the screen and
isolated usage of mobile devices to encourage collaborative use of
input devices to both drive the visuals and audio output, inform each
participant of each other's interaction, and allows people to
actively participate in the performance while it happens.Our purpose
with the performance is to create the possibility of large-scale
interaction through anonymous collaboration, with immediate audio and
visual feedback. SimpleTEXT encourages users to respond to one
another's ideas and build upon the unexpected chains of ideas that
may develop from their input..

SimpleTEXT is an example of an interactive piece that works well in
crowded public spaces such as social and unruly atmospheres where
heckling, irony, criticism, and sarcasm are common modes of
communication. The project is a large-scale piece in terms of scale
of audience interaction, where the communication between audience
members is tangible and direct.

SimpleTEXT is created by Family Filter, a collaboration between Jonah
Brucker-Cohen, Tim Redfern, and Duncan Murphy. It was originally
funded by a commission from Low-Fi, an new media arts organization
based in London, UK. This event is sponsored and hosted by EYEBEAM
and The UpGrade.

The Upgrade:

About SimpleTEXT including video documentation:
SimpleTEXT video on YouTube:

Jonah Brucker-Cohen -
Tim Redfern -



Corrections to Report from Futuresonic 2007

Below are a couple corrections to the report that I wrote about
FutureSonic 2007 - for the record:

1) FutureSonic is in is its 11th year, not 12th as I reported.

2) Drew Hemment organized the conference and speakers, and invited
Anne Galloway to be its 'host', and brief the speakers. I reported
that Anne organized it alone.

Jonah Brucker-Cohen


Conference Report: Futuresonic 2007 Festival

+Commissioned by Rhizome+

Conference Report: Futuresonic 2007 Festival
Social Technologies Summit
May 10-12, Manchester, UK

by Jonah Brucker-Cohen

2007 marked the 12th year of Futuresonic, a festival that began as a
sound art/ music festival and has morphed into a media art/ mobile
communications-themed event with concerts, exhibitions, talks, and
screenings staged all over the city of Manchester, England. This
year's festival focused on topics ranging from "Free Media" to "Urban
Playgrounds" to "Network Infrastructures" and featured a wide array
of speakers, artists, musicians, and thinkers from around the globe
converging on this urban landscape.

Futuresonic featured a new addition to its exhibition this year,
called "Art For Shopping Centres," which included three
newly-commissioned art pieces staged inside the city's "Arndale
Shopping Centre," a large indoor mall in the center of Manchester's
bustling inner city. British artist Graham Harwood's "NetMonster" is
a net-scraper application that searches and compiles data on the
Internet for historical information related to the 1996 IRA bombing
that devastated the city centre near the Arndale, injuring over 200
people. Meanwhile, Dave Valentine of MediaShed (in which Harwood is
also involved) created "Methods of Movement: The Duellists" a
videography of two "le parkour acrobats" running through the empty
Arndale at night, in a continual "duel" that was filmed entirely
though the shopping arena's CCTV camera system. This project marked
the first use of MediaShed's "GEARBOX Free-Media Toolkit", an open
source software application co-developed with Eyebeam's Production
Lab, that allows for video editing on free platforms. New York-based
artist Katherine Moriwaki's piece, "Everything Really is Connected
After All," consisted of a flock of mobile devices that, when brought
within radio range of each other, produced emergent audio narratives
about the shopping and downtown areas of the city (as told by
Manchester locals). The intent of the piece was to focus on the
shopping mall as a "non-place" or location that is both unique but
still identical in any location around the world.

In the panel discussions and artist talks, lively debates ensued
about the state of mobility in public spaces and how, through
technological interjections into these spaces, new forms of dialogue
can occur. Ottawa-based Anthropologist and avid blogger Anne Galloway
organized the conference speakers this year which ranged from
sociologists to engineers, social scientists, and corporate
researchers, all examining urban space with a critical viewpoint on
topics ranging from wireless networks to urban gaming to mobile
systems that propagate across economic and social boundaries. The
conference itself examined how technology use has become a "social
practice" from open hardware and software platforms to collaborative
applications that allow multiple users to engage in the creative
process at once. This "Socialization" of technology was evident
through the various speakers that presented on how distributed
systems can enable new forms of urban interventions and
collaborative interventions into the city space as an organic
creature. This year's festival also held Manchester's first Dorkbot
event. Local artist Steve Symons spoke about his MUIO
( interface, a real-time, multi-platform, and
open source hardware system (similar to the popular Arduino but
without the need for any programming) that allows for sensing the
external world and inputting data into applications like PureData,
Max/MSP, SuperCollider, and Processing through a standard USB

Although FutureSonic is in its 12th year, the festival is still
struggling with defining itself amongst the now multifarious amounts
of events focused on how "media arts" meet mobile technologies and
platforms. This year's line up of impressive speakers and interesting
commissions added some interesting discussions into the mix. Through
the next few years, it will be interesting to see how the festival
grows and adapts to the current changes in media arts and how
successfully it retains its focus on mobile technologies in order to
steer away from the larger, all encompassing events that include
every form and category of media art practice.