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Member Spotlight: Pamela L. Jennings, Ph.D.

http://www.PamelaJennings.org | http://www.CONSTRUKTS.com

As a creative scholar working at the crossroads of the arts, design, engineering, and critical theory, I have engaged in and supported discovery, innovation, learning, and economic development across institutions of higher education, and corporate and non-profit think-tanks. This includes advocating for and teaching integrative learning and research across a range of educational institutions from research universities to art colleges.

As an emerging new media artist in the late 80’s to mid-90’s, I participated in a wide variety of arts career building opportunities in New York City and beyond.  This ranged from a 1984 internship with the house photographer at the Brooklyn Academy of Music who introduced my burgeoning aesthetic consciousness to the post-modern performances of Meredith Monk and Phillip Glass; internship with Magnum Photo Agency; Development Officer for CreativeTime supporting programs that included “Art in the Anchorage” and the 42nd Street Project; board member for the New York Media Alliance; MacDowell Colony Fellow; internships and invited workshops at the Banff Centre, of which I returned in 2008 to direct the Banff New Media Institute Advanced Research Technology Lab (ARTLab); and three time recipient of  New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) grants.  My creative works have been exhibited internationally and discussed in Creating Their Own Image: The History of African American Women Artists, Oxford University Press, Struggles for Representation: African American Film/Video/New Media Makers, Indiana University Press, and Sisters in the Life, Duke University Press.  I was the curator for the first new media arts exhibition at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C., Speculative Data and the Creative Imaginary: share perspectives between Art and Technology.

As a hybrid creative who re-mixes computer science, engineering, and the arts, I have worked in: embedded computing, knowledge-based coaching systems, near-field wireless communication applications, and the design of online tools for research communities at IBM Almaden; education technologies and assessment tools to support contemporary pedagogical theories in K-12 STEM learning, software agent scenarios for smart-home and cultural applications, and voice recognition applications to teach children the English language at SRI International. I have been an integrator  of  the visual arts, design, and Human Computer Interaction as the first professor with a joint appointment in the School of Visual Arts and the Human Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.   And I have had the opportunity to influence the course of scientific breakthroughs from perspectives outside of STEM as a National Science Foundation Program Director for the CreativeIT and Cyber-Human Systems programs.

I am a lifelong learner.  Each degree I completed responded to questions I was asking myself at that time of my career. I received my Ph.D. from the Center for Advanced Inquiry in Integrative Arts (CAiiA) in the School of Computing, Electronics, and Mathematics at the University of Plymouth (U.K.); MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan; and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Oberlin College.  I have a Master of Fine Arts in Computer Art from the School of Visual Arts; and Master of Arts in Media Arts from the International Center of Photography/New York University program.

CONSTRUKTS Smart Bloks and real-time 3D model replication.

Tell us a little about your background and your trajectory as an artist/ scholar?

My visual arts practice is rooted in photography.  As a teenager, I was mesmerized by the technical magic of the camera, the darkroom that gave me a portal to observe and capture the nuances of the people in my life.  I was so attached to the camera and my love of the aesthetic of the “decisive moment” that my junior high school principle gave me an open account at the local photography store to buy film, and darkroom materials.  Photography, along with my work in video art, sound art, and performance found a perfect “marriage” in the growing new media art scene of the early to mid-1990’s.  My interests in the aesthetics of self-reflection and mechanics and science of photography found a natural transition to computational media, or what we then called multimedia.  My path from that point forward has been one of experimentation with an eagerness to explore the possibilities of integrating advanced technologies into creative projects in ways that challenge, extend, and re-invent the use of those technologies from their original intentions.

What are some of your main influences?

There have been so many influences on the way that I see and create.  I fear the list would fail in its incompleteness should I try to list them here.

New Media is .......

New Media is Hybridity.  It is a hodge-podge blend of methods, tools, techniques, visions, and disciplines that when combined, overlapped, blurred, and obscured serve as provocateurs of our experience of the world.

CONSTRUKTS - Calculating the shortest path between two points on a virtual model.

What is your typical day like?

These days my “typical day”  is filled with writing and listening to the drone of news media in hopes of a return to normalcy to our world.  Please note, I am not defining “normalcy” here as that is a question for new discourses for a new public/media sphere.

Do you have a collaborative idea that you want to get off the ground?

I’m always interested in engaging dialogue about unique approaches to creative technology that push the assumptions, boundaries, and intentions of how technologies are used, applied, and invented.

 What is the most recent thing you’ve learned?

Hum… I’m learning something new every day.  That perhaps is why I am a lifelong learner.  Most of my learning these days is focused on self-care and inventing platforms for mixed reality as developed in the CONSTRUKTS platform for connected learning.  I have developed a fascination with Unity3D coding for augmented reality headsets!  CONSTRUKTS has received funding from the NSF and technical support from Microsoft and Wolfram Research.  For more information about CONSTRUKTS check out this web site: http://www.CONSTRUKTS.com .

 

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