Shawn Brixey

Dean: School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design

BFA - Sculpture and Experimental Media (Kansas City Art Institute)
MSVisS - Media Arts and Sciences (MIT)

Shawn Brixey is a creative artist, researcher and inventor working at the interface of art, science and technology. He is known for pioneering complex experimental media artworks that synthesize physics, astronomy, cosmology, biology and advanced computing.

Projects include Alchymeia, a nanotechnology and bioengineering public artwork for the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, featuring laboratory-engineered ‘snowflakes’ whose atomic architecture physically embodied human biological material; Chimera Obscura, a massive multi-user, data-driven organism mapping hybrid virtual and real spaces via a telerobot that leaves an electronic trail of virtual information genes, commissioned for the world premiere of the touring exhibition Genesis | Contemporary Art Explores Human Genomics; and the Rockefeller Foundation-funded telepresence project Eon, which uses text-to-speech synthesis to create voice-encoded sonoluminescence – “a star in a jar” – radiating voice as light, creating material poetry art from the interactions of matter and energy.

Upcoming is Radiant Arc, an interactive environmental art installation focusing on global climate change. Created in collaboration with researchers from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, USA, Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l’Environnement in Grenoble, France, and the University of Helsinki, Finland, the project will clone ice crystals from ancient ice-core samples taken from rapidly receding North American glaciers. When completed, the artwork will form a brilliantly coloured, constantly shifting, three-dimensional luminous arc – a poetic ‘time machine’ constructed of fragile moments from the earth’s prehistoric past, dynamically re/created in the present.

Professor Brixey has exhibited his art, design, performance and media technology internationally. He also publishes in these areas and lectures widely on emerging issues relating to contemporary arts, culture, media technology and higher education.

Shawn Brixey joined the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design as dean in July 2013. He is cross-appointed to the Digital Media Program, Department of Cinema & Media Arts, and Department of Visual Art & Art History in AMPD.

Profesor Brixey came to York from the University of Washington in Seattle, where he held the Floyd and Dolores Jones Endowed Chair in the Arts and headed UW’s Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS), encompassing the Center for Advanced Research Technology in the Arts and Humanities. Previous academic positions include founding director of the Berkeley Center for New Media and founding chair of the Digital Media Program at the University of California Berkeley, and teaching appointments at San Francisco State University, the University of Kentucky and the University of Michigan.

Professor Brixey is an executive member of the Sensorium Research Centre for Digital Arts and Technology based AMPD at York and creative director of the Seattle-based Center for New Cinema. He has served as chair of the New and Virtual Media Directorate for the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, and is currently a member of the International Scientific Advisory Board for GRAND (Graphics, Animation and New Media), a National Research Council of Canada Network Centre of Excellence.

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