Oct 17 - Tamiko Thiel







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Virtual and Augmented Reality Art, 1994 - 2018


Tamiko Thiel will speak on using new technologies as an expressive vehicle for the human imagination. This will include her packing design for the first AI supercomputer in 1986, her work since 1994 developing concepts of dramatic structure for interactive virtual reality installations, and her site specific works in augmented reality since 2010.


Tamiko Thiel was awarded the iX Immersive Media “Visionary Pioneer” prize by the Society for Art and Technology (Montreal) in recognition of her 30+ years creating poetic objects and spaces of memory exploring social and cultural issues. In her first career she was lead product designer for the Connection Machine CM1/CM2 artificial intelligence supercomputer, in 1989 the fastest on earth and now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art NY. She began working with virtual reality in 1994 as creative director/producer of “Starbright World,” an online virtual playspace for seriously ill children (with Steven Spielberg, Starbright Foundation chairman). Her VR large screen interactive projection "Beyond Manzanar" (2000, with Zara Houshmand) is in the permanent collection of the San Jose Museum of Art in Silicon Valley, and other VR projections were created with grants from the Japan Foundation, MIT, the City of Berlin and the IBM Innovation Award. In 2017 she was GoogleVR Tilt Brush Artist in Residence, creating her award winning “Land of Cloud” VR work for the Vive VR headset.

She is a founding member of artist group Manifest.AR, participating in their path-breaking AR intervention at MoMA NY in 2010, and main curator and organizer of their intervention into the 2011 Venice Biennial. As AR artistic advisor to the Caribbean Cultural Center and African Diaspora Institute she helped secure a Rockefeller Foundation Cultural Innovation Award for "Mi Querido Barrio" AR project on the history and culture of East (Spanish) Harlem/NY. In 2015 she collaborated with master calligrapher Midori Kono Thiel on “Brush the Sky,” writing their family history as Japanese Americans on the Seattle skies. In 2016 the Seattle Art Museum commissioned her dystopian climate change AR installation "Gardens of the Anthropocene" for their Olympic Sculpture Park, and in 2018 the Whitney Museum commissioned her plastic waste coral reef AR installation “Unexpected Growth” (with /p) for their 6th floor terrace.


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