Wilson, Stephen

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Art has many functions. I believe that one of the most important is its role as a cultural sentinel. I am drawn to those aspects of art that try to sense nascent trends, forecast future developments and expose unrecognized aspects of dominant paradigms. I am drawn to iconoclasm and heterodoxy. A non-stagnant culture desperately needs volunteers to patrol its frontiers, move against convention, and share what they discover in compelling ways. I am a refugee to the arts. Although I worked with experimental underground film as an undergraduate I went on to get a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary social sciences from the University of Chicago. I worked for 10 years as a professor, researcher and action anthropologist trying to improve public schools. At the end of that time I came to feel that ironically the most profound cultural change may come not from frontal political or academic assault but rather more subtly from changes in consciousness wrought by the arts and media. I went back to my first love and got an MFA from the School of the Art Institute. I gravitated to areas of the arts that searched out zones of cultural foment and that were willing to invent new forms and art contexts.


Recent Submissions

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  • Item
    2004 Rockefeller New Media Foundation Proposal
    Wilson, Stephen (2006-07-26T17:41:19Z)
    Guests, Parasites and Symbionts, is an interactive art and biology installation in which visitors will engage with live organisms derived from their own bodies and from those of other participants. Using the techniques of biology and medicine, the installation proposes to make visible these organisms and to create an engaging and provocative media environment for the interaction. It is based on what I already did in Protozoa Games. In this new version visitors will make physical contact with some device that will acquire their organisms. It then will provide for immersive sound, video, and animation events in which the flow of events are controlled by the interactions of the visitor's movements and gestures in the space (read by motion tracking technology) and the movements of the single cell organisms that are part of their body as made visible by a digital microscope. A projection screen will project their microorganisms situated as part of interactive digital animations and video created in Director. Another version of the installation will allow multiple visitors to engage with each other and each other's organisms and another version will let web visitors engage the protozoa.