Ed Shanken writes and teaches about the entwinement of art, science, and technology with a focus on interdisciplinary practices involving new media. His recent scholarship addresses art-science collaboration, surveillance culture, sound art and ecology, systems theory, and bridging the gap between new media and contemporary art.
Like Jack Burnham, who thought of art as a "psychic dress rehearsal for the future," I'm especially interested in how artists create working models that allow us to sample alternative futures in the present. Burnham also thought of artists as "deviation amplifiers" and I admire how artists are involved in "perverting technological correctness" to use Raphael Lozano-Hemmer’s words, hacking the utilitarian purposes of technologies and the commercial/military contexts of their production and consumption. By deploying technology in a metacritical way, artists offer profound insights into emerging technological modalities and related social practices. I'm fascinated by the role of digital media as a common ground for collaboration across disciplines, and by the potential of transdisciplinary research to generate breakthrough innovation - innovation both with respect to developing “the next big thing” in the creative economy and in terms of constituting potentially profound shifts in perception, identity and behavior, and the construction of knowledge. I believe that art, at its best, offers deep insight - a type of knowledge that Gregory Bateson likened to wisdom - that can help build a more compassionate and peaceful future.
Shanken edited Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology and Consciousness (California, 2003). His critically praised survey, Art and Electronic Media (Phaidon, 2009) has been expanded with an extensive, multimedia, multilingual Online Companion: www.artelectronicmedia.com. His Spanish-language book, Inventar el Futuro (2014) is forthcoming in Chinese. His most recent book is Systems (Whitechapel/MIT, 2015). Full publication information available via his website, below.