GirlGeek of the Week
I am an Interval
Research Fellow and adjunct professor at the Interactive Telecommunications
Program, New York University. As a researcher, I develop new methods
for organizing and rendering space on the computer screen. As an
educator, I teach the class "Introduction to Computational Media".
In addition to my work at NYU, I also freelance as a designer, programmer
and technical consultant.
Some of my clients include Tripod, StockObjects, and The American
Museum of Natural History. Games that I have designed and programmed
for Tripod were twice awarded Macromedia Shocked Site of the Day
(1996) and designated in NetGuide's "Best Free Things to do on the
Before focusing my attention on the digital world, I exhibited my
artwork extensively in the Boston area. While serving as Program
Director of the Artists Foundation Gallery and President and artist
member of the Cornwall Gallery, I installed many shows at the MIT
List Visual Arts Center, and was actively involved with Mobius,
an artist-run space for experimental work in all media.
I have a BA in Art from Williams College, and a Masters degree from
The Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU, where I was awarded
an Artist Pioneering Award in Interactive Media. I have also received
grants for my work from the Mellon Foundation (1991) and the Masachusetts
Cultural Council (1992).
did you first discover your love and/or obsession with computers
bought an Apple ][ when I was around 10. I was never good at computer
games so I liked to use it for other things and started teaching
myself to program. I remember writing programs in BASIC that would
do my math homework for me! Somehow in Junior High I completely
lost interest in anything computer related. I'm not sure exactly
why. I remember that the computer classes offered in my school were
really boring, and completely full of geeky guys. So maybe I was
worried about being perceived as a geek, or maybe I just thought
other subjects were more interesting. I took a lot of art classes
All through high school and college I only used computers as word
processors. It wasn't until I was out on my own, working in the
art world that I rediscovered how cool computers were, and then
it was sort of by accident! I was painting, and doing a lot of odd
jobs to make ends meet. One catering job I did was for a group of
guys who had just started their own multi-media company. We hit
it off, and they showed me some projects they were working on. I
was completely blown away! I guess I asked so many questions and
suggested so many ideas to them that one of them finally said "You
should get into this field. I think you'd be good at it!" It took
me a couple of months for the idea to sink in, but I started taking
classes, and eventually applied to graduate schools, one of which
do you earn a living?
I am an Interval
Research Fellow at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.
Basically, that means that Interval Research Corporation sponsors
me, but I get to work on my own projects. It's a really wonderful
opportunity to explore and experiment. So much goes unquestioned
about how we currently represent things visually on the computer
screen. I'm trying to develop ways to show multiple perspectives
simultaneously - something along the lines of digital cubism. Recently
I've been writing applications that use video tracking to respond
to people's movement. In my installations people use their bodies
to navigate through video, or control animations. I also teach an
introductory programming course in my department, and occasionally
do other freelance projects.
Do you consider yourself a Geek?
I was going
to say yes, but then I realized, I hear the word so much, but I'm
not 100 percent sure what it means. So, I looked it up, and based
on Webster's definition I have to say NO! I'd never bite the head
off a chicken, nor am I generally disapproved of! Maybe it's time
they rewrote that definition.
Webster's Dictionary Online:
Etymology: probably from English dialect geek, geck fool,
from Low German geck, from Middle Low German Date: 1914.
1 : a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose
act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake.
2 : a person, often of an intellectual bent, who is disapproved
is your favorite Web site?
a hard one. I spend a lot of time at www.itp.nyu.edu
(the Interactive Telecommunications Program) because this site is
where I sign out equipment, post examples for my class, and keep
up on what's happening around the department. I love Plumbdesign's
Visual Thesaurus, and John Maeda's Java
calendars for Shiseido have been inspirations to me.
do you do when you are not working?
I live in
New York City, so there's always tons to do here. I go out with
my friends a lot at night. I've recently been trying to get to galleries
and museums more. Even just people watching in the park near my
house can be interesting. I've lived here 3 years now, and I'm still
amazed by it. I also just started volunteering for MOUSE (www.mouseny.org)
which is an organization that provides technical support to the
New York City public schools. I went to public school, and I know
there's no way today's public school kids are getting a good education
if they don't have access to functioning computers, so I'm trying
to help out.