Five artists receive $50,000 each; third edition of Shift Space features essays on art and media
(MIAMI, FL –– May 10, 2023) The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced the recipients of the 2023 Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship, an initiative that supports artists working with innovative approaches to technology and new media. Administered by United States Artists, the fellowship awards five artists annually with unrestricted grants of $50,000 each.
Since 2021, the fellowship has been supporting artists who utilize new and emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, immersive installations, video game design, and software coding. These artists employ these technologies in thoughtful, creative, and evocative ways to advance the field.
Today also marks the release of the third edition of Shift Space, published in conjunction with the fellowship. Featuring essays, poetry, and prose, Shift Space 3.0 continues the dialogue with thoughtful written criticism as well as explorations of new forms, methodologies, and media.
This year’s fellows utilize digital tools as means of storytelling and knowledge production. Their approach emphasizes interdisciplinary collaboration, utilizing various mediums and creating platforms for education and community-building.
The five 2023 Knight Arts + Tech Fellows are:
- American Artist (New York, NY) – American Artist makes thought experiments that mine the history of technology, race, and knowledge production, beginning with their legal name change in 2013. They are a co-director of the School for Poetic Computation and a full-time faculty at Yale.
- Kara Güt (Cleveland, OH) – Kara Güt is a multidisciplinary artist whose image-based, digital media investigates the shape of human intimacy formed by internet lifestyle, constructed detachment from reality, and the power dynamics of the virtual.
- Leo Castañeda (Miami, FL) – Leo Castañeda is a multimedia artist and video game designer melding gaming, painting, virtual reality, drawing, sculptural furniture, and wearables to render surreal posthuman social structures and anatomies.
- Marlena Myles (Saint Paul, MN) – Marlena Myles is a self-taught Native American artist and enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Dakota tribe. Through site-specific augmented and virtual reality, animation, and other digital media, her work brings modernity to Indigenous history, language, and oral tradition.
- The Institute of Queer Ecology (Miami, FL and New York, NY) – Based in Miami, FL and New York, NY, IQECQ is a constantly evolving collaborative focused on highlighting alternative solutions to environmental degradation and raising public awareness. To date, IQECO has collaborated with over 125 artists, presenting interdisciplinary programming that alternates between curating events and directly producing artworks.
“The intersection of art and technology enables new possibilities for storytelling and collaboration,” said Koven Smith, Senior Director/Arts at Knight Foundation. “Across disciplines, this year’s fellows invite us to examine lesser-told histories, forge new ways of relating to one another, and envision alternative futures.”
The 2023 Fellows were selected by Knight Foundation, United States Artists, and a national panel of field leaders including Makayla Bailey, Co-Executive Director at Rhizome; Gean Moreno, Director of Art + Research Center at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami; and Skawennati, Artist and Co-Director of Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace.
At a time when technological advances are increasingly at the forefront of contemporary discourse, this year’s Knight Arts + Tech Fellows showcase approaches to mediums that transform our understanding of pedagogy and social structures, illuminating the ways in which technology can not only be a tool for surveillance and isolation, but also a means for liberation and self-authorship.
By providing unrestricted funding to artists as well as creating platforms for critical engagement, the Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship enriches the arts and technology space through investing in the larger ecosystems that underlie artistic innovation. With an impact far beyond a discrete window of support, the initiative forges networks between artists and cultural workers, laying the groundwork for continued expansion in the field at large.
Central to this outsized impact is Shift Space, an annual digital publication exploring these intersections and spotlighting the Knight Arts + Tech Fellows. Guest edited by writer Claudia La Rocco, and produced by United States Artists, Shift Space 3.0 features stories about each of this year’s Fellows, as well as prose, poetry, and essays from fellow artists, critics, and writers. Contributors to issue 3 include Lex Brown, Paul Chan, Heman Chong, Phillip Penix-Tadsen, Elizabeth Robinson, Zoé Samudzi, Julian Talamantez Brolaski, Yuri Tuma, Xiaowei R. Wang, and McKenzie Wark. Issue Three of Shift Space is now available online at shiftspace.pub.
“While ‘art and technology’ is often shorthand in the art world for particular genre encounters, in truth it’s difficult to envision one of these things without the other. And as we all know, intimate relationships are complicated,” said La Rocco. “That’s one reason we like writing about them.”
Previous Knight Arts + Tech Fellows have included Black Quantum Futurism, Mother Cyborg, Ryan Kuo, Rashaad Newsome, Sondra Perry, and Stephanie Dinkins, among other pioneering artists working at the intersection of art and technology.
For more information, please visit: kf.org/artstechfellows2023.
ABOUT THE JOHN S. and JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION
We are social investors who support a more effective democracy by funding free expression and journalism, arts and culture in community, research in areas of media and democracy, and in the success of American cities and towns where the Knight brothers once published newspapers. For more, visit kf.org.
ABOUT UNITED STATES ARTISTS
United States Artists is a national arts funding organization based in Chicago, IL that raises money and redistributes it in the form of unrestricted awards to the country’s most compelling artists and cultural practitioners. Since its founding in 2006, USA has awarded nearly 800 individuals with over $38 million of direct support.
ABOUT THE KNIGHT ARTS + TECH FELLOWSHIP
The Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship, managed by United States Artists, aims to provide artists with unrestricted funding to support their work, as well as fostering a network of practitioners and professionals in the field. This initiative facilitates new opportunities for collaboration both within Knight cities and beyond.