Experiential Space Research Lab Artists

In partnership with the Knight Foundation, Gray Area is proud to announce the participating artists in the 2019 Experiential Space Research Lab.

Throughout this year, Gray Area will support the research, professional development, and production of environmental installations through the Experiential Space Research Lab. After a rigorous selection process out of a field of 200 applicants, we are thrilled to announce the 12 artists chosen to participate. They have been selected based on their vision into the exhibition theme, excellence in their disciplines, commitment to environmental thought, history of interdisciplinary collaboration, and exploration in storytelling through digital experiences.

The group will receive $30,000 in seed funding to execute rigorous research plans that stretch their skills and knowledge into new disciplines and content areas. Delving into the theme Reworlding: The Art of Living Systems, the artists will undergo a curriculum exploring new ways of perceiving symbiotic relationships across environmental ecosystems through immersive art.

As the artists commence their projects, they will build mentoring relationships with experts in the fields of experience design, and further their investigation and professional training through a curriculum rich with workshops and mentorship from fellow scholars. The six month Research Lab will cover Curatorial, Operations & Facilitation, and Business & Marketing Strategies to equip artists with the knowledge and experience to build the scaffolding for an immersive arts practice.

Through the program, artists will develop, prototype, and produce experiential installations, culminating in a public exhibition at Gray Area’s Grand Theater. Together with Gray Area, they will explore how an experience-based ticketing model can provide an additional revenue channel for artists, seeking a sustainable framework for practicing media artists. With this deeper understanding, Gray Area will produce a comprehensive playbook on supporting immersive artists and critically engaged, creative work.

We are proud to welcome these artists into our expanding network of multidisciplinary creators in art, technology, and immersive media. Through this initiative, we look forward to creating space for invention and dialogue to provoke new modes of understanding, experiencing and catalyzing change in our world.

Barry Threw, Executive Director of Gray Area said, “The Experiential Space Research Lab is extremely ambitious in its scope: leveraging artistic thinking to increase agency in the face of planetary collapse through immersive experience. We are extremely grateful to the Research Lab Artists for joining us on this journey, and feel we have just the right team of world-class architects, designers, theorists, philosophers, artists, and ecologists to be successful.”

Meet The Artists

Brenda (Bz) Zhang

Brenda is an artist, designer, fabricator, teacher, and organizer who co-founded the Oakland and Rio de Janeiro-based architectural collective SPACE INDUSTRIES. Seeing architecture as a social and cultural practice, her oeuvre seeks to leverage tools of the architectural discipline to produce work that challenges aesthetic, cultural, and socioeconomic assumptions.

Celeste Martore

Celeste (b. 1994, San Francisco, CA) is an artist based in Los Angeles. She was trained in architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Before that, she worked independently as a set designer in Los Angeles and San Francisco. She has taught set design and architecture at various universities in the US. Her eye is trained to the corners, the in-betweens, and the hidden-yet-very-visible patches of a city that authors tender moments of ritual, performance, and play. Her works take various forms, mostly photography, sculpture and architecture. Her works are indebted to the dispossessed and unhoused populations in the Bay Area, the original land stewards and indigenous peoples of the Pacific and the Americas, the revolutionary spirit of native South Africans, and the generations of families spread across the diaspora in search of home.

Image Credits: Brenda (BZ) Zhang

Jonathon Keats

Acclaimed as a “poet of ideas” by The New Yorker and a “multimedia philosopher-prophet” by The Atlantic, Jonathon Keats is an artist, writer and experimental philosopher based in the United States and Europe. His conceptually-driven transdisciplinary projects explore all aspects of society, adapting methods from the sciences and the humanities. He has exhibited and lectured at dozens of institutions worldwide, from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to Stanford University to the Triennale di Milano, and from SXSW to CERN to UNESCO. He is the author of six books on subjects ranging from science and technology to art and design – most recently You Belong to the Universe: Buckminster Fuller and the Future, published by Oxford University Press – and is the author of a weekly online art and design column for Forbes. He has been an artist-in residence at the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, UC Berkeley's Sagehen Creek Field Station, and the LACMA Art + Technology Lab, a Black Mountain College Legacy Fellow at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, an Imaginary Fellow at Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, and a Research Fellow at the Nevada Museum of Art's Center for Art + Environment. He is currently a visiting scholar at San Jose State University’s CADRE Laboratory for New Media, research associate at the University of Arizona’s Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill, research fellow at the Highland Institute, consulting philosopher at Earth Law Center and the Museum of Tomorrow, Polar Lab artist at the Anchorage Museum, Flux Exchange Artist at Flux Projects, and artist-in-residence at Hyundai, the SETI Institute, and UC San Francisco’s Memory and Aging Center.. He serves as co-director of the Alien Hybrid Garden at Arizona State University, and curatorial director of the Museum of Future History. A monograph about his art, Thought Experiments, was recently published by Hirmer Verlag. He is represented by Modernism Gallery in San Francisco.

Kelly Skye

Combining environmental science and digital art, Kelly is an artist-ecologist whose work centers on designing and visualizing regenerative landscapes with post-disciplinary systems thinking. Most recently, Kelly has been working on the Atlas of Distressed Geographies, a visual narrative and comprehensive research project that traces the edges of desertification around the world.

Kevin Bernard Moultrie Daye

As co-founder of of the architectural collective SPACE INDUSTRIES, Kevin brings his experience in design, curation, and project management. Seeing architecture as a social and cultural practice, he expands on his architectural training through through writing, teaching, and artistic practices to challenge aesthetic, cultural, and socioeconomic assumptions.

Orestis Herodotou

Orestis is a software engineer who builds geospatial and satellite imagery analysis tools to help uncover actionable insights about our changing planet. An avid sailor and an ambassador of 5Gyres Institute, he brings his passion for environmentalism in taking action against plastic pollution in oceans through citizen-science research and educational programs.

Rena Tom

With deep ties in a myriad of creative communities, Rena builds on her background in design, community-building, and curation to bring artistic visions to life. She creates participatory experiences that addresses ethics, diversity, and curiosity to cultivate social presence and collective growth.

Romie Littrell

Leveraging interactive art as a vehicle for scientific communication, Romie designs immersive experiences to engage new audiences. With a focus in bioengineering, he has spearheaded a multitude of science and health-centered initiatives to inspire new modes of understanding at institutions including The Tech and National Science Foundation.

Stephanie Andrews smiling at the camera with glasses, dark hair and a white shirt.

Stephanie Andrews

Stephanie Andrews is an experience designer and creative technologist interested in exploring economies of collectivity, care, and communication. Her work seeks to respond to emergent issues with levity and sentimentality, primarily taking the form of flux kits, software tools, art games, tactile spaces, and participatory installations. Stephanie brings to her art practice an interdisciplinary background spanning software engineering, interaction design, public policy, social work, and community organizing. She specializes in building interactive systems that use digital, physical, and interpersonal mediums to create communal space.

Stephen Standridge

Exploring interaction systems through digital art, Stephen utilizes techniques such as procedural generation, projection mapping,  and physical computing to create interactive installations exploring dimensionality and perception. In the Experiential Space Research Lab, he will further his artistic explorations into the subtle and fundamental dialogue between environment and mind.

Yulia Pinkusevich

Yulia is a visual artist and educator whose expansive set of tools includes charcoal, ink, salt, concrete, polypropylene, metal, wood, and even light and shadow. Having completed residencies at institutions such as Autodesk Pier 9, Facebook HQ, and Recology, she creates provocative works at large scales that explore the psychology of space.


Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. The foundation supports informed and engaged communities and strongly invests in journalism, the arts and cities. Knight Foundation also supports innovative experiments in the use of digital media and technology to inform. The foundation identifies, explores and invests in innovative technology approaches and applications with the greatest potential to advance the fields in which they work.

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