Technology Institute at UC San Diego Names First Artist in Residence

Technology Institute at UC San Diego Names First Artist in Residence Visual
Artist Sheldon Brown to Merge Personal Aesthetic and Calit2’s High-Tech
Vision San Diego, CA, April 28, 2006

In a rare effort by technologists to give artists an important role in the
evolution of multidisciplinary research in science and engineering, one of
California’s highest-profile technology institutes has named its first
Artist in Residence at the University of California, San Diego.

The UCSD Division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and
Information Technology (Calit2) appointed Sheldon Brown to the new position
for an initial two-year term. He is a professor of in the UCSD department of
visual arts and director of the university’s Center for Research in
Computing and the Arts (CRCA), which is housed in Atkinson Hall, Calit2’s
headquarters at UCSD.

The 43-year-old artist has played an instrumental role as leader of the
institute’s new media arts efforts on the La Jolla campus since Calit2’s
creation in 2000.

“As someone who was involved from the early stages, I wondered how Calit2
would grow given that the arts, the hard sciences, engineering, and medicine
all represent very disparate cultures,” said Brown. “The appointment of an
artist-in-residence underscores Calit2’s belief that it can be a viable
mechanism for engaging an artist to address in
their art the kind of unique context that the institute is creating.”

“Sheldon Brown has been an influential contributor to Calit2 by bringing the
arts and hard-science faculty together to spur new ideas that lead to
research collaborations,” said Ramesh Rao, director of Calit2’s UCSD
Division and a professor of electrical and computer engineering in the
Jacobs School of Engineering. “I believe the role
of the Artist in Residence will bring a new, intellectual and cultural
dimension to the institute that I hope will inspire the organization.”

Continued Rao: “The technological advances made through research in computer
science and engineering are driving rapid social and cultural change, and
the artwork of Professor Brown explores and reflects this transformation.”

The UCSD professor’s work examines the relationships between mediated and
physical experiences, and crosses a wide variety of art forms, from
sculpture and painting on canvas, to virtual reality and video.

Acclaimed for his work in new media, Brown has consulted for organizations
including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Legoland, videogame maker
Electronic Arts, and Praja Inc. His largest current art installation is In
the Event , a public work in Seattle’s Key Arena with nine computers
choreographing multiple video streams across 28 monitors in a real-time
constructive engagement with the spectator’s act of envisioning the events
of the arena. Two of his largest museum shows in San Diego to date involved
interactive environments combining virtual reality and game technologies to
explore social issues. Smoke and Mirrors — funded in part by Calit2– was
staged at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park, and Mi Casa Es Tu Casa at
the San Diego Children’s Museum/Museo de los Ninos.

Brown’s largest current project is Scalable City. “It is a multi-user
virtual environment that is technologically very complicated, and a lot of
technology has to be developed to make it happen,” said Brown. “I hope to
complete the bulk of the work in winter 2007, and people will be able to
download a client version to experience it online.” Even before that
game-like virtual world is complete, Brown is delivering elements of
Scalable City in other art forms, including digitally produced prints, a
digital video installation, a sculptural piece, and a super-high-resolution
cinema version. He is also developing Istoria , a series of sculptures that
explore the intersection of virtual and physical worlds, created with a
variety of computer-controlled processes.