Tessa Bachi Haas is a Ph.D Candidate in the History of Art at Bryn Mawr College, where she earned her MA
in 2019. Her research engages screen-based media, net art, and digital identity, particularly through queer
studies and material culture methodologies. She has curated and co-curated exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), the Center for Creative Works, Bryn Mawr College Special Collections, and AUTOMAT. She has contributed to exhibition planning and publications at PAFA, including Rina Banerjee: Make Me A Summary of the World and Bill Viola: Ocean Without A Shore; Woodmere Art Museum, including Body Language: The Art of Larry Day; the Phillips Collection; Telfair Museums; Arcadia Exhibitions; the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art at Harvard University; and the American Philosophical Society. Haas is a curator at the co-operative gallery AUTOMAT in Philadelphia.
Tell us a little about your background and your trajectory as an artist and/or scholar.
I came to art history via the museum world. I grew up near D.C. and fell in love with the amazing collections and accessible museums near me at a young age. I began studying visual studies at Eugene Lang College at the New School, then art history at Bryn Mawr. My father manages data centers, and I feel as though I grew up in them, to some extent. Often the internet and digital media is thought of as immaterial, but they require a massive infrastructure and significant intellectual and manual labor to upkeep; much of my research involves tactile and embodied interactions with new media work. I hope to continue expanding this research into my dissertation.
What are some of your main influences?
Glenn Adamson, Hito Steryl, Ruth Fine, Homay King, Jonathan Katz, José Esteban Muñoz, Jacolby
Satterwhite, Zach Blas/Jemima Wyman, Cory Arcángel/Andy Warhol, Adrian Forty, Sylvia Houghteling,
Monique Scott; more currently: Nicolo Gentile and Roopa Vasudevan.
New Media is …….
Everywhere, constant, and all-encompassing.
What are you working on now?
I am working on a forthcoming exhibition “Hard Medium Software” (May 6-29) at AUTOMAT in Philadelphia, featuring new works by Nicolo Gentile and Roopa Vasudevan.
Do you have a collaborative idea that you want to get off the ground?
I’m tied up in exhibition planning at the moment (my show opens @ AUTOMAT in less than 2 weeks, and the catalog launch is in 3 weeks), but there are several ideas that I’d be interested in thinking more about when I have greater bandwidth.
What is the most recent thing you’ve learned?
I am allowed to include a lit-candle piece in the AUTOMAT show, something that was very much up in the air for several months. Yay!