We heard that alumnus Jeremy Hight (Critical Studies MFA 98) was recently named New Media Curator of MIT Press’s Leonardo Online. He’ll be providing content for their new iPad application and for M.I.T in new media art, developing exhibitions both online and physical and write curatorial texts and catalogs. We e-mailed him a few questions about what he studied at CalArts and what he’s up to next.
24700: What and when did you study at CalArts?
JH: I was in the Critical Studies’ Writing program from ’96 to ’98. I’d been looking at places like the University of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop MFA [program] and Brown University, but they could not provide the environment and classes CalArts had to offer. I was also ready to jump straight into a PhD in Semiotics, but I decided that Critical Studies was what I had been looking for. It was perfect for me.
24700: What is the current scope of your activities?
JH: I am an editor and new media curator for MIT. My text and image art has been in several group shows in museums and in numerous galleries so far. I publish fiction and poetry from time to time; I am also a theorist and information designer with about 30 published book chapters, essays and magazine articles. I write theory about immersive visualization, Augmented Reality, interface design, art, writing and the history of science and technology. And I am on a team developing a new method of multitasking online and open mapping.
I created “Locative Narrative” on the project 34 north 118 west with fellow CalArtians Naomi Spellman and Jeff Knowlton (Art and Critical Studies MFA 99). It hit me in 2001 that GPS could allow stories to be written of and in the physical world and that placing information in locations could allow them to tell their history. It is amazing that there are now Ph.D. programs and festivals about the topic.
24700: Did you have a mentor at CalArts?
JH: Oh yes! I am forever indebted to several. Mady Schutzman encouraged me to push my style of theoretical writing using metaphor as in creative fiction and concrete examples as opposed to multiple references. Matias Viegener showed me how to push my language in my work and filter in process. Peter Gadol pushed me to try harder and find my voice. Norman Klein showed me a model of how to be a polymath and to see history as a narrative. I even audited Norman’s class my last semester just to spend more time with him before graduation for guidance and encouragement. Also over the years I have been inspired by my friendship with Ed Fella, especially as I began working more and more in information design.
24700: Tell us about the upcoming exhibition you’re curating, (RE)Drawing Boundaries.
JH: Yes. I have developed it since early June and it now has 32 innovators in new media art, locative media art, mapping art and experimental cartography. It has the heads of Visualization labs in experimental mapping at Columbia and MIT as well as pioneers and leading figures in art. The idea of the show is to both show where we have come and where we are heading in terms of space, and measure creatively, especially in this age of GPS and Google Maps, etc. and how the borders between fields of art are problematic and can be limiting.
24700: You mentioned that there are a few CalArtians featured in the exhibit. Who are they and what works have they contributed?
JH: Yes! Very happy to see amazing work from people I went to school with. Laura Belloff (Critical Studies & Integrated Media MFA 98) is contributing her works with wearable sculptures with environmental awareness and semi-Dada commentary on social media. Lize Mogel (MFA 98) is contributing some of her amazing mapping work that raises key global issues. Douglas Repetto (Music MFA 97) has several pieces from his work running a lab at Columbia that show his range in building and in creating commentary in terms of place and measure.