nathaniel stern
Since the beginning
Works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin United States of America

Nathaniel Stern is an artist and writer, Fulbright grantee and professor, interventionist and public citizen. He has produced and collaborated on projects ranging from ecological, participatory and online interventions, interactive, immersive and mixed reality environments, to prints, sculptures, videos, performances and hybrid forms. His book, Interactive Art and Embodiment: The Implicit Body as Performance, is due for release in mid-2013, and his ongoing work in industry has helped launch dozens of new businesses, products and ideas. Stern has been featured in the likes of the Wall Street Journal, Guardian UK, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, Washington Post, Daily News, BBC’s Today show, Wired, Time, Forbes, Fast Company, Scientific American, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Leonardo Journal of Art, Science and Technology, Rhizome, Furtherfield, Turbulence, and more. According to Chicago’s widely popular Bad at Sports art podcast, Stern has “the most varied and strange bio of maybe anyone ever on the show,” and South Africa’s Live Out Loud magazine calls him a “prolific scholar” as well as artist, whose work is “quite possibly some of the most relevant around.” Dubbed one of the Milwaukee’s “avant-garde” (Journal Sentinel), Stern has been called ”an interesting and prolific fixture” ( behind many “multimedia experiments” (, “accessible and abstract simultaneously” (Art and Electronic Media web site), someone “with starry, starry eyes” ( who “makes an obscene amount of work in an obscene amount of ways” (Bad at Sports). According to Caleb A. Scharf at Scientific American, Stern’s art is “tremendous fun” but also “fascinating” in how it is “investigating the possibilities of human interaction and art.”

New Media, New Modes: On "Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media"

Humorous and surprising, smart and provocative, Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media (MIT Press, 2010) jumps from opposing viewpoints to opposing personalities, from one arts trajectory to another. The entire book is a dialectic exercise: none of its problems or theories are solved or concluded, but are rather complicated through revelations around their origins, arguments and appropriations. Overall, the book adopts the collaborative style and hyperlinked approach of the media and practice it purports to rethink. In other words, it is not just the content of the book that asks us to rethink curating, but the reading itself; by the end, we are forced to digest and internalize the consistently problematized behaviors of the “media formerly known as new.”

Screening Screens

Kate Mondloch’s first book, Screens: Viewing Media Installation Art (University of Minnesota Press), is a welcome study of the cathode ray tubes, liquid crystal and plasma displays, and film, video and data projections that “pervade contemporary life” (xi). The author reminds us that screens are not just “illusionist windows” into other spaces or worlds, but also “physical, material entities [that] beckon, provoke, separate, and seduce” (xii). Most importantly, however, Mondloch’s approach is that of an art historian. She does not merely use art as a case study for media theory, but rather makes the contributions of artists her central focus in this, the first in-depth study of the space between bodies and screens in contemporary art.

Action, Reaction, and Phenomenon

In his book, Parables for the Virtual, Brian Massumi calls for "movement, sensation, and qualities of experience" to be put back into our understandings of embodiment. He says that contemporary society comprehends bodies, and by extension the world, almost exclusively through linguistic and visual apprehension. They are defined by their images, their symbols, what they look like and how we write and talk about them. Massumi wants to instead "engage with continuity," to encourage a processual and active approach to embodied experience. In essence, Massumi proposes that our theories "feel" again. "Act/React", curator George Fifield's "dream exhibition" that opened at the Milwaukee Art Museum last week, picks up on these phenomenologist principles. He and his selected artists invite viewer-participants to physically explore their embodied and continuous relationships to each other, the screen, space, biology, art history and perhaps more.

Fifield is quick to point out that all the works on show are unhindered by traditional interface objects such as the mouse and keyboard. Most of them instead employ computer vision technologies, more commonly known as interactive video. Here, the combined use of digital video cameras and custom computer software allows each artwork to "see," and respond to, bodies, colors and/or motion in the space of the museum. The few works not using cameras in this fashion employ similar technologies towards the same end. While this homogeneity means that the works might at first seem too similar in their interactions, their one-to-one responsiveness, and their lack of other new media-specific explorations -- such as networked art or dynamic appropriation and re-mixing systems -- it also accomplishes something most museum-based "state of the digital art" shows don't. It uses just one avenue of interest by contemporary media artists in order to dig much deeper into what their practice means, and why it's important. "Act/React" encourages an extremely varied and nuanced investigation of our embodied experiences in our own surroundings. As the curator himself notes in the Museum's press release, "If in the last century the crisis of representation was resolved by new ways of seeing, then in the twenty-first century the challenge is for artists to suggest new ways of experiencing...This is contemporary art about contemporary existence." This exhibition, in other words, implores us to look at action and reaction, at our embodied relationships, as critical experience. It is a contemporary investigation of phenomenology.

Discussions (77) Opportunities (2) Events (10) Jobs (3)

Art and Technology MFA at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Sat Dec 21, 2013 00:00

United States of America

The Studio Arts MFA with an Art and Technology concentration at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is now accepting applications! Inquiries due in the next 2 weeks, full applications in January or February.

This is a research/creation studio arts program that centers on the study and use of new technologies in relation to traditional visual art, cultural studies and contemporary philosophy. Students conduct their own intensive research into, and production of, electronic, digital, new and/or hybridized art forms; they receive continuous guidance and feedback on their trajectories of study and art-making from graduate faculty; and they take courses along with all other MFA students across "older" media and materials, so as to practice speaking with and back to the various discourses of art, culture, and new domains. They receive intimate instruction through small classes, guided independent research and, eventually, a committee of three or more professors working with them on their thesis exhibition and writing.

Art and Technology is not a discipline, as it does not ask us to be disciplined. It is an approach, a set of strategies that frame and amplify who and how we are, and more importantly how we could be.

Given the collaborative and dialogical nature of digital communities, all graduate students are assigned either solo or shared studio spaces for their work in the same building, and they have access to multimedia, computer vision, electronics, and 3d printing and rapid prototyping labs and instructors to work with. They may also use other facilities in the department, including ceramics studios, darks rooms, a foundry, wood and metal shops, and printmaking and fibers labs, among others. Most of our MFA students receive some form of financial support, and many of the top applications are fully supported through Project Assistantships, Teaching Assistantships (often with individual studio lecturing in the digital arts major), or Fellowships at the school. The Art and Technology concentration is for students who work across concepts and materials, new and traditional media, and thinking and making, while understanding that all are integral to our larger cultural practices.

The application deadline for Fall 2014 admission is February 1, 2014. Fellowship applications are due January 7, 2014
(Please note that there are several sources of funding other than the fellowships. Apply even if you miss that deadline!)

There are two sites that you should visit for information on applying to the Graduate Program in the Department of Art and Design:

UWM Graduate School:

UWM Department of Art and Design:

The application is a two-part process that includes the following components:

  • Online application to the Graduate School plus supporting materials sent to them, by late November/early December, to allow time for processing.
  • CD or DVD portfolio and additional materials sent to the Department of Art and Design by either January 7 (for fellowship applications) or February 1, 2014.

Applications for Teaching Assistantships, Project Assistantships are also on the department website above. The university also offers the Distinguished Graduate Student Fellowship (DGSF) for students with exhibition or publication records, and the Advanced Opportunity Program (AOP) Fellowship for applicants who are a members of groups underrepresented in graduate study or are otherwise disadvantaged. For more information, go to:

Finally, for international students, I recommend you also visit the UW-Milwaukee Center for International Education website:

Center for International Education:

Here, you will find information about the international graduate student application process, including information on degree documentation, English proficiency exams, and tuition.

Do not hesitate to contact Nathaniel Stern at and/or the Art and Design graduate office at if you have any questions! Warmly,

Dr. Nathaniel Stern
Associate Professor of Art and Design
Head of Digital Studio Practice
Peck School of the Arts
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


Breaking the Ice

Someone buy Patrick Lichty a beer. Next time I'm in Chicago, brother :)


Breaking the Ice

I agree with the sentiments in Michael S's comment here. I too was an early member (99 or 2000), and used to feel very connected to Rhizome - both through the email list, and through the coverage - even though I left in New York in 2001. The coverage spanned much more than NYC and Internet finds in the mid-2000s, both in commissioned texts (I did a number myself in Johannesburg and Milwaukee, among other places), the commissions, and most importantly dialog. But the web site vs list, and the consolidation at the New Museum, seems to have limited rather than expanding Rhizome's engagement. While sites like Hyperallergic are courting writers in other cities throughout the US and abroad - and the same is true of Furtherfield - Rhizome is mostly sticking to home base. When the recent commissions announcement explained that NYC artists would be given priority, for example, rather than get angry, I just saw it as a disappointing, but natural, progression - further alienating non-New York natives. Rhizome still holds a place in my heart, and I like a lot of the content, but it's all at a distance. It feels less like a community, and more like a blog, closer to Art F City - though the latter is meant to be a review and news source, and Rhizome used to be something more.


Lecturer or Associate Lecturer in Digital Studio Practice - Physical Computing

Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:00

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
United States of America

Lecturer or Associate Lecturer (academic staff; non-tenure track) as part of the Digital Studio Practice area in the Department of Art and Design, Peck School of the Arts, at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Physical Computing instructor, 1 year appointment with possibility of renewal.

Starting Date:
August 19, 2013

Position Description:
The Digital Studio Practice area and Department of Art and Design at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee seeks a colleague with expertise in physical computing / creative microcontrolling. The Lecturer will teach Physical Computing courses with Arduino, sensors, and kinetic parts, and additional courses in the Digital Studio Practice program, and/or other area(s) of expertise, within the Department Art and Design. Involvement and advanced studio work with our Interdisciplinary Arts and Technology program – across Art and Design, Dance, Film, and Music – is also expected. Depending on scheduling and the candidate’s abilities and interests, other teaching may include but not be limited to fabrication, digital imaging, design and visual communication, interactive art, collaborations with engineering or information studies, and/or advanced, rotating topic courses. The new colleague will teach 8 units per academic year - 4, three-credit courses per semester - with the potential for departmental service in lieu of classes when appropriate. The latter might include curricular coordination, helping to manage and support studio facilities, or supporting the department’s programs. Academic Staff members are expected to continue productive engagement in their chosen studio research activities.

Program Description:
The Department of Art & Design has 24 full-time faculty members and 12 full-time academic staff members and offers BA, BFA, MA and MFA degrees in the areas of Ceramics, Cross- Disciplinary Studio, Digital Studio Practice, Fibers, Graphic Design, Jewelry/Metalsmithing, Painting/Drawing, Photography, Print/Narrative Forms, and Sculpture, as well as BFA and MS degrees in Art Education.
The Peck School of the Arts (PSOA), with more than 2000 majors, is one of the largest and most exciting programs in the arts in the state and region. PSOA is home to the newly established Design Research Institute and has a legacy of outstanding programs in Art & Design, Dance, Film, Music, Theatre, and a professional gallery, INOVA, the Institute of Visual Arts. PSOA is dynamic, creative and collaborative within the university and within the Milwaukee community.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is one of two public doctoral research universities in Wisconsin, offering more than 30,000 students a comprehensive liberal arts and professional education through 180 degree and certificate programs.

Experience with Physical Computing, and MFA or equivalent terminal degree in Art, Digital Media, Architecture or Design is required.

Preferred Qualifications include: 1) ability to teach beginning and advanced Physical Computing courses, and support Senior-level projects; 2) ability to teach other departmental courses, across theory or practice, related to Digital Studio Practice; 3) demonstrated expertise with a wide range of digital processes, materials and approaches; 4) strong design research or art exhibition record; 5) diverse knowledge of contemporary art or design, and how they relate to digital cultural practices; 6) capacity to work with faculty and administrators in organizing materials, labs and facilities; 7) prior teaching experience in higher education.
Salary is commensurate with experience.

Application Procedures:
Persons interested in being considered for this position must apply through the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Employment Site: The direct link to the posting is . Completed online applications must include a letter of application describing interest in and qualifications for the position; a curriculum vitae which includes applicant’s email address; a brief research plan; a teaching statement; and a separate document listing the names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of three references. Do not include letters of reference with application.
In addition, please email the Search Committee at a PDF document or ONE URL with a menu / list of links that will direct the committee to work samples. This should include:
• Appropriate evidence of professional activity: Art and Design research, up to 20 images (these may include installation shots and details) and/or up to 12 minutes of video excerpts (~2 minutes per video - you may include both excerpts and full-length pieces).
• If available, examples of student work from classes taught, clearly labeled with class level, representing the breadth of applicant’s teaching experience. Format should be the same as your professional work, above, a URL or PDF with up to 20 images and/or up to 12 minutes of video excerpts.
The search committee may request additional materials later.

Application Deadline:
Continuous recruitment. Screening begins February 1, 2013 and continues until position is filled. Applications received after January 31, 2013 may not receive consideration.
UWM is an affirmative action, equal employment opportunity employer.

All finalists for this position will require a criminal records review consistent with the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act.
The names of those nominees and applicants who have not requested that their identities be withheld and the names of all finalists will be released upon request.
For the UWM Campus Security Report, go to, or contact the Office of Student Life, Mellencamp Hall 118, at 414-229-4632 for a paper copy.


The Nonhuman Turn in 21st Century Studies

Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:25

United States of America

The Nonhuman Turn in 21st Century Studies

May 3-5, 2012 

This conference takes up the “nonhuman turn” that has been emerging in the arts, humanities, and social sciences over the past few decades. Intensifying in the 21st century, this nonhuman turn can be traced to a variety of different intellectual and theoretical developments from the last decades of the 20th century:

actor-network theory, particularly Bruno Latour’s career-long project to articulate technical mediation, nonhuman agency, and the politics of things;
affect theory, both in its philosophical and psychological manifestations and as it has been mobilized by queer theory;
animal studies, as developed in the work of Donna Haraway, projects for animal rights, and a more general critique of speciesism;
the assemblage theory of Gilles Deleuze, Manuel DeLanda, Latour, and others;
new brain sciences like neuroscience, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence;
new media theory, especially as it has paid close attention to technical networks, material interfaces, and computational analysis;
the new materialism in feminism, philosophy, and Marxism; 
varieties of speculative realism like object-oriented philosophy, vitalism, and panpsychism; and
systems theory in its social, technical, and ecological manifestations.

Such varied analytical and theoretical formations obviously diverge and disagree in many of their aims, objects, and methodologies. But they are all of a piece in taking up aspects of the nonhuman as critical to the future of 21st century studies in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. The conference is meant to address the future of 21st century studies by exploring how the nonhuman turn might provide a way forward for the arts, humanities, and social sciences in light of the difficult challenges of the 21st century.

Speakers include: Jane Bennett(Political Science, Johns Hopkins); Ian Bogost (Literature, Communication, Culture, Georgia Tech); Bill Brown (English, Chicago); Wendy Chun (Media and Modern Culture, Brown); Mark Hansen (Literature, Duke); Erin Manning (Philosophy/Dance, Concordia University, Montreal); Brian Massumi (Philosophy, University of Montreal); Tim Morton (English, UC-Davis).

Please send abstracts of up to 400 words by Monday, December 19, 2011, to Richard Grusin, Director, Center for 21st Century Studies  Acceptances will be sent by Monday, January 23, 2012.

Official Call for Papers: