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Jonathan Chambers, Digital Media Practices, Tulane University School of Liberal Arts

Jon Chambers

Professor of Practice

Biography

Jon Chambers holds an MFA in New Media Art from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has shown work nationally and internationally, in screening venues, galleries and online including the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Athens Digital Arts Festival in Athens, Greece, Powrplnt in NYC, and #Programa La Plaza in Madrid, Spain. He has held residencies at the p5.js Contributors Conference, the International Museum of Surgical Science, and the Media Archeology Lab. He has taught courses on games, data visualization, creative coding for the internet, and physical computing.

Enmeshed in a complicated network of streamlined technological interfaces, Chambers is interested in how we negotiate our physical and virtual lives within overlapping themes of consumerism, surveillance, play, environmental impact and future histories. References to hardware and software infrastructure is common in his work, as well as abstract representations of the body using 3D scanning, animation and responsive data manipulation. These abstractions point to a mutable and evolving identity while navigating through fields of constantly updated personal data and devices.

Some of his projects exist solely online for a more intimate experience through 3D animations, video and interactive web applications. Another project called clumzy speculates on new forms of localized peer to peer communication by developing a working prototype of a simple squishy alien like communication device. Other projects exist as a hybrid of gallery installations and networked digital systems. Sometimes these installed works encourage the viewer to use their mobile device to connect to and interact with a mini internet through a local area network (LAN). Once connected to this LAN, the viewer is led through a playful, although sometimes absurd, data collecting app. Utilizing these spaces of immediacy and physical presence, his work generates moments where we can start to understand and consider the relationships formed within larger corporatized networks that employ a continuous data and labor feedback loop with the body. As these loops and interactions become increasingly remote, targeted, automated and controlled, experiences of saturation, uncanniness and contradictions start to emerge.

Recently he built and is maintaining a DIY solar powered web server. A main feature of this server is scarce availability, as it is only active depending on the weather and how much charge is in the battery that powers it. This scarcity suggests a future where instant and stable internet connections aren’t a guarantee and energy consumption will need to be rationed. The website installed on the server will range in projects, from an art gallery to an abstract and speculative WebXR game that examines digital property, data identity and machine learning interfaces. More about his work can be found at jonchambers.net