Keynote Speakers and Plenary Sessions


Prof. Katja Kwastek

Prof. Katja Kwastek

Prof. Katja Kwastek is professor of modern and contemporary art history at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Prior to this, she has been teaching at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (Munich), the Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, RI) the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute Media.Art.Research (Linz, Austria), and at the Humboldt-University (Berlin). Her research focuses on processual, digital and post-digital art, media history, theory and aesthetics, and the digital and environmental humanities. In 2004, she curated the first international exhibition and conference project on “Art and Wireless Communication”. She has lectured internationally and published many books and essays, including her most recent “Aesthetics of Interaction in Digital Art” (MIT Press, 2013).

Prof. Dominic Lopes

Prof. Dominic McIver Lopes

The philosopher Dominic McIver Lopes writes on the nature and significance of art and the aesthetic. He has traced the aesthetic and epistemic value of images to how they extend the powers of human perception. In pioneering research on interactive computer art, he reveals how technology supports new kinds of aesthetic action. Urging caution about approaches to the aesthetic that centre on art, he is developing a theory of aesthetic values as guiding agents who are engaged in a huge range of aesthetic projects. The elements of his theory yield novel insights into the origins of aesthetic practices and the foundations of aesthetic education. Lopes, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, teaches at the University of British Columbia. He has held a Leverhulme Trust Visiting Research Professorship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Canada Council Killam Research Fellowship.

The title of his talk is "Aesthetic Value in the Network Era.”

Abstract: Traditional understandings of aesthetic value are inadequate: they fail to model how aesthetic values are embedded in social practices. In consequence, they also misunderstand the role of communication about aesthetic value. This talk argues that new information technologies open up new modes of communication that have a profound effect on our aesthetic practices.

Dr Ayanna Howard

Dr. Ayanna Howard

Ayanna Howard, Ph.D. is the Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Professor and Chair of the School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She also holds a faculty appointment in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Dr. Howard’s career focus is on intelligent technologies that must adapt to and function within a human-centered world. Her work, which encompasses advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), assistive technologies, and robotics, has resulted in over 200 peer-reviewed publications in a number of projects - from healthcare robots in the home to AI-powered STEM apps for children with diverse learning needs.  Dr. Howard received her B.S. in Engineering from Brown University, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California.

To date, her unique accomplishments have been highlighted through a number of awards and articles, including highlights in USA Today, Upscale, and TIME Magazine, as well as being recognized as one of the 23 most powerful women engineers in the world by Business Insider. In 2013, she also founded Zyrobotics, which is currently licensing technology derived from her research and has released their first suite of STEM educational products to engage children of all abilities. Prior to Georgia Tech, Dr. Howard was a senior robotics researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She has also served as the Associate Director of Research for the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, Chair of the Robotics Ph.D. program, and the Associate Chair for Faculty Development in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech.

Professor Ken Rinaldo

Prof. Ken Rinaldo

Ken Rinaldo is internationally recognized for interactive bio art and robotic installations blurring the boundaries between the organic and inorganic and engaging the co-evolution between living and evolving technological cultures. His work interrogates these fuzzy boundaries and posits that as a new machine and algorithmic species arise, that we need to understand better the complex intertwined ecologies that these machinic semi-living species create. His works are focused on trans-species communication and researching methods to empower and understand the animal, insect, bacterial and emergent machine intelligences as they interact, self-organize & co-inhabit the earth.

Rinaldo's works have shown and commissioned by museums, festivals and galleries internationally such as: Hermitage Museum Russia, Nuit Blanche Canada, World Ocean Museum Russia, Ars Electronica Austria, CAFA Museum China, Lille International Arts Festival France, la Maison d’Ailleurs Switzerland, Vancouver Olympics Canada, Platform 21 Holland, Transmediale Berlin, AV Festival England, Caldas Museum of Art Colombia, Arco Arts Festival Spain, Te Papa Museum, Wellington New Zealand, The National Museum of China, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo in Seville Spain, Kiasma Museum Finland, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Pan Palazzo Delle Arti Italy, V2 DEAF Holland, Siggraph Los Angeles, Exploratorium San Francisco, Itau Museum Brazil, Biennial for Electronic Art Australia and the National Center for Contemporary Arts Russia.

Rinaldo was the recipient of an Award of Distinction in 2004 at Ars Electronica Austria for Augmented Fish Reality and first prize for Vida 3.0 an Artificial Life Competition in Madrid for his work Autopoiesis, which also won an honorable mention in Ars Electronica in 2001. Augmented Fish Reality is a trans-species artwork in which Siamese fighting fish can move their tanks under their control. In 2008 Rinaldo and Youngs were awarded a Green Leaf Award from The United Nations Environment Fund, for their Farm Fountain, an aquaponics project in which fish and bacteria feed plants, which humans then consume. Rinaldo is the recipient of three Battelle Endowment grants as well as a cultural Olympian for the Vancouver Olympics in 2009, where they commissioned three Paparazzi Robots that autonomously photographed attendees.

Rinaldo is a member of the Senior Academic Board for Antennae Magazine, and author of Interactive Electronics for Artists and Inventors and his work has been featured on radio and TV internationally including CNET, BBC, ORF, CNN, CBC & the Discovery Channel. Select publications; Art and Electronic Media by Edward Shanken, Evolution Haute Couture Art and Science in the Post Biological Age edited by Dmitry Bulatov, Art and Science Steve Wilson, Inside Art E Sciencia edited by Leonel Moura, Politics of the Impure V2 Publishing, Digital Art by Christiane Paul, NY Times, Information Arts, Contemporary Italy, NY Arts Magazine, Art Press Paris, Tema Celeste Italy and Wired Magazine.

Rinaldo is artist and Professor teaching contemporary art practices & technology within the College of Arts & Sciences specializing in robotics, 3D modeling, rapid prototyping/fabrication and 3D animation at The Ohio State University.



Mr. Gene Kogan

Mr. Gene Kogan

Gene Kogan is an internationally renowned American artist and a programmer who is interested in generative systems, computer science, and software for creativity and self-expression. He is a collaborator within numerous open-source software projects, and gives workshops and lectures on topics at the intersection of code and art. Gene initiated ML4A, a free book about machine learning for artists, activists, and citizen scientists, and regularly publishes video lectures, writings, and tutorials to facilitate a greater public understanding of the subject. He has recently offered courses on the subject of machine learning for artists at NYU, Tisch School of the Arts, Interactive Telecommunications Program.

Mr. Memo Akten

Memo Akten is an artist working with computation as a medium, exploring the collisions between nature, science, technology, ethics, ritual, tradition and religion. Combining critical and conceptual approaches with investigations into form, movement and sound, he creates data dramatizations of natural and anthropogenic processes. Alongside his practice, he is currently working towards a PhD at Goldsmiths University of London in artificial intelligence and expressive human-machine interaction. His work has been shown and performed internationally, featured in books and academic papers; and in 2013 Akten received the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica for his collaboration with Quayola, ‘Forms’.