Assistant professor of art wins top prize at FILE festival

July 22, 2010

University Park, Pa. -- A project by Matt Kenyon, assistant professor of new media in Penn State's School of Visual Arts, has been selected as the digital language first prize winner in the FILE Prix Lux, a competition sponsored by FILE, the Festival Internacional de Linguagem Eletronica. He completed the project, "Tardigotchi," while in New Zealand last summer, working with Douglas Easterly, associate professor of architecture and design, and Tiago Rorke, teaching fellow, both at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

Tardigotchi is an artwork featuring two pets: a living organism and an artificial life (alife) avatar. These two disparate beings find themselves the unlikely inhabitants of a portable sphere that can be carried around by an owner. The brass sphere houses the alife avatar in an LED screen and the tardigrade within a prepared slide. A tardigrade is a common microorganism measuring half a millimeter in length. The alife avatar is a caricature of this tardigrade.

Kenyon, native of Baton Rouge, La., has a bachelor of arts degree in painting from Southeastern Louisiana University and a a master of fine arts degree in painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is interested in the convergence of art, emerging technologies and popular culture. Many of his recent works feature wearable computing technologies and robotics as a means for making cultural critiques. Kenyon currently teaches physical computing, video and 3D animation. He is also a co-founder, with Easterly, of SWAMP (Studies of Work Atmosphere and Mass Production), a collaborative effort since 1999 that focuses on critical themes addressing the effects of global corporate operations, mass media and communication, military-industrial complexes, and general meditations on life and artificial life.

The FILE Prix Lux competition was created to complement FILE's actions in the area of electronic and digital languages, with the intent of rewarding, motivating and stimulating the emergence of new talents. FILE is an international interdisciplinary platform for the development of innovative and creative projects in the areas of arts and technologies.

Last Updated January 09, 2015