Digital Arts and New Media: MFA: Collaboration, Innovation, Social Impact

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2014 MFA Exhibition :: UNDERCURRENTS :: narrative | community | play | ecology

Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 7:00am to Sunday, May 4, 2014 - 7:00am
Digital Arts Research Center

Use the playlist below to view documentation.

Eleven emerging artists push back against prevailing ideas and definitions of digital art.  Undercurrents of information and meaning run through the exhibition, connecting themes of conservation, activism, and representation.


Lisa BanksGene A Felice IIHolly FindlaterHarris David HarrisMatthew JamiesonPhil LyStacey MasonJohn MawhorterJonathan MenendezDavid W. MoodyDanielle Williamson


In the Digital Arts and New Media MFA Program (DANM) at UC Santa Cruz two years of intensive study culminate in the development of individual projects, which premiere in an annual MFA exhibition. This year’s works range from interactive ecological installations to site specific projections and critical interventions. DANM Prof. Noah Wardrip-Fruin, describes these projects as “re-imagining the forms of interactive experiences—from electronic books and maps to communal sports and social networks—in order to express new meanings and engage new publics.”


Curated by Shelby Graham, Undercurrents challenges and explores notions of narrative, community, play and ecology. The artists confront contemporary issues through interdisciplinary research and seek solutions through critical engagement with technology. Graham notes, “These socially concerned students express their concern about the environment through digital interactive histories, watershed studies, and community activism.”


Don’t miss the opening reception where you’re invited to interact with ecosystems, drink tea and participate in digital storytelling. Experience and participate in the latest digital technologies and experimental performance. Play unpredictable games highlighting UCSC’s award-winning gaming program. All of the artists will be on hand to discuss their work and give tours of the exhibition in the state-of-the-art Digital Arts Research Center (DARC) throughout the exhibition.



Lisa Banks is a digital artist and current MFA candidate in the Digital Arts and New Media program at UC Santa Cruz. Her conceptually-based artworks encompass everything from music videos to electronic sculptures, and are united by Banks' interests in associative imagery and alternative depictions of movement. [image list (word doc) image 1 (high-res) (web) image 2 (high-res) (web) image 3 (high-res) (web)]

Gene A Felice II is currently working with OpenLab and DANM’s Mechatronics Research Group to develop his project Oceanic Scales. He divides his attention between interactive art, living systems, and the latest available technology for new media. His hybrid practice is at the intersection of nature and technology where he explores symbiotically creative systems as arts/science research. CLICK HERE to view his KZSC radio Interview [View Images]

Holly Findlater has traversed much terrain both physically and mentally. As a multi-media installation artist she inhabits many worlds exploring ecology, human-animal relationships, agriculture, biopolitics, bioethics, industrialization, violence, ritual, permaculture, symbolism, religion, sovereignty and zen practices. [View Images]

Harris David Harris is a media and performance artist whose work explores how emerging technologies affect political economies and social practices, particularly in the contexts of neoliberalism and gay assimilation. Harris has performed in venues ranging from gay bars to universities, SFMOMA to the streets of OccupySF. [View Images] 

Matthew Jamieson is an artist-cartographer engaged in promoting ecological awareness and community action. Matthew has a background in planning and geospatial technology, and has journeyed from Florida’s National Wildlife Refuges to New York City Parks. CLICK HERE to view his KZSC radio interview. [View Images]

Phil Ly has a background in Film and Visual Media Studies from the University of California, Riverside with practical experience in digital imaging gained instructing intercity students in Los Angeles. Phil is an interactive digital media designer who is interested in studying mass media representation of marginalized groups, and in making playable media with empathically-driven design. CLICK HERE to view his KZSC radio interview. [View Images] 

Stacey Mason is writer, critic, and researcher of interactive narrative. Her work focuses on the intersection of games and literature, exploring what the two forms might learn from each other. She also writes about feminism and gaming culture, and advocates for women in gaming and tech industries. CLICK HERE to view her KZSC radio interview. [View Images

John Mawhorter is a play designer who makes games, objects, and structures for play. His games use natural and built environments and materials to create chaotic physical play. Research includes play, perceptual physiology, phenomenology, game studies, sports history, and systems theory. His game Throw Into Chaos was featured at Come Out & Play San Francisco.

Jonathan Menendez is an interdisciplinary digital media and event producer who uses technology to build online communities for social empowerment. Some of his projects include co-founding The Latino Queer Arts and Film Festival,, GayLatino.LA and

David W. Moody is an artist and journalist whose current research explores the anthropogenic climate change debate. Through film, photography, writing and sound, David unpacks belief creation, scientific consensus and the ubiquitous power of contemporary media. [View Images]   

Danielle Williamson is a filmmaker whose work focuses on the relationships both to one’s surroundings and to one another while simultaneously engaging the communal experience of cinema that takes place between the projector and the projected. CLICK HERE to view her KZSC radio interview. [View Images]


April 26–27 and May 1–4, 2014


Reception: Thursday, May 1, 6:00–9:00pm

LINK to reception page

Regular Hours: 12pm–5pm


Overview of Activities  All free and open to the public


Apr 26–27 and May 1–4

Reception: Thursday, May 1, 6:00–9:00pm

Gallery Hours: 12:00–5:00pm

Digital Arts Research Center (DARC)

University of California, Santa Cruz

Located off Meyer Drive between the UCSC Music Center and Theater Arts Center

Parking in Performing Arts lot



April 26–27 (Sat–Sun)

12:00–5:00pm         Ongoing artists’ tours and informal dialogues in conjunction with UCSC Alumni Weekend 2014


May 1 (Thu)        Opening Reception Events 6-9pm

6:00–7:00pm       Watershed workshops, games in the forest

6:00–9:00pm       Opening reception at DARC, screenings and tours            

7:00pm                Welcome by Warren Sack, chair of DANM program and curator Shelby Graham

7:30pm                Digital Storytelling public reading           

8:30pm                Screening under the bridge


May 2 (Fri)

12:00–5:00pm     On-going artists’ tours in DARC

6:00–7:00pm       First Friday storefront pop-up gallery in the Rittenhouse Bldg., Santa Cruz


May 3–4 (Sat–Sun)

12:00–5:00pm      On-going artists’ tours in DARC




About the DANM Program at UCSC

The Digital Arts and New Media MFA Program (DANM) at UC Santa Cruz serves as a center for the development and study of digital media and the cultures they have helped create. Faculty and students are drawn from a variety of backgrounds such as the arts, computer science, the humanities, the sciences, and the social sciences to pursue interdisciplinary artistic and scholarly research and production, in the context of a broad examination of digital arts and cultures. Like us on Facebook!