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Meet CODAME ART+TECH curator: Vanessa Chang

Vanessa Chang, curator of CODAME ART+TECH Festival [2018]

Vanessa Chang is a writer, scholar, curator, and educator who builds communities and conversations about our virtual and physical encounters with media and technology.

As the choreographer William Forsythe has insisted:

Vanessa’s work brings that belief into our embodied encounters with emerging media.

She works with artists, dancers, scholars, technologists, coders and musicians to understand how we might live and move in a technologically mediated world with humor, grace, deliberation, responsibility, innovation and a sense of play.

Vanessa is a lecturer in Visual & Critical Studies at California College of the Arts, and a curator with CODAME ART+TECH. She holds a Ph.D. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University, where she researched electronic gesture across the arts. At Stanford, she was a Geballe Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center. She also coordinated the Graphic Narrative Project, a research workshop supported by the Stanford Humanities Center.

Working at the intersections of media, embodiment and technology, her interdisciplinary research ranges contemporary literature, music, and visual culture such as comics and animation. Her first book project, Tracing Electronic Gesture: A Poetics of Mediated Movement, focuses on the choreographic coupling of human bodies and new media art of the 21st century. Examining hybrid human-machine gestures in such digital art objects and practices as virtual dance, electronic poetry and musical controllerism, she maps the potential of these kinetic engagements to generate new forms of sensory experience and creative agency. Ultimately, she shows how our gestures invent our machines as well as ourselves. Her current research explores the emerging field of art and artificial intelligence. Bridging cultural representations of early automata and artificial intelligence in film, literature, and performance with the recent deployment of machine learning algorithms in art-making, this project considers how the erotic dimensions of this cultural past have shaped how we build our digital automata.

She also writes about new and old media, contemporary literature, comics, animation, street art, hip-hop, disability, circuses and more.

She has taught in India, China and Australia, backpacked through Asia and Latin America and performed in the occasional circus show as a hula-hooper.

We are thrilled to have Vanessa as part of the CODAME Team.

She joined us in 2017 curating the 3D Web Fest [2017] in San Francisco. In no time, she fit the CODAME culture and became one of the most critical team members to build such a successful ART+TECH event.

She also brought the CODAME 3D Web Fest to the international stage, curating a similar San Francisco experience, with a great respect for the local ART+TECH scene in Germany.

After her extraordinary job in 2017, Vanessa is continuing to curate our biggest event of the year CODAME ART+TECH Festival [2018] codenamed #ARTOBOTS

In Vanessa’s own words:

Automation has a long and curious history. For hundreds of years, inventors of clockwork automata and philosophers of artificial life have explored the horizons of human understanding through the lens of these mechanical others.

The industrial revolution saw the introduction of automated processes into our factories, our homes, our art, and our lives. Even as automation has entered the digital spheres of human activity, the cultural legacies of these early developments remain visible.

As automated processes permeate our existences, from shopping algorithms to self-driving cars, I see our cultural conversations about them often moving between celebratory and apocalyptic poles. In my doctoral research, I saw new media art as a space to examine the complexities of our relationships with technology.

Through this festival, I want to explore the imaginative possibilities of our collaborations with automata, whether algorithms, robots or AI. As curator, I want to showcase how automation might expand our repertoires of moving, seeing, and feeling, or challenge long-held perspectives about the parameters of human perception.

Join us for our Annual CODAME ART+TECH Festival, a four day conference with workshops, talks and nightlife events @ The Midway, San Francisco, June 4–7, 2018.

This year’s festival, codenamed #ARTOBOTS, examines the ever expanding and ever more tangible sphere of robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence.

CODAME ART+TECH Festival [2018]

Originally published at



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