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Giverny of the Midwest: A Conversation with Artist Nathaniel Stern

with Bonnie North on Lake Effect
Artist Nathaniel Stern speaks with Lake Effect’s Bonnie North about his use of scanners to create beautiful images.

Nathaniel Stern’s intensity is palpable. The media artist always has multiple bodies of work going on simultaneously, he’s a Fulbright scholar, a professor of art, a parent.  Talking with him, you get the impression he never stops thinking about, or exploring, art and life.

Stern’s current exhibition at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend is called Giverny of the Midwest. The work has had previous exhibitions in Johannesburg, South Africa and London, but this is its first stop in the United States. The scans are a nod and homage to the Impressionist painter Claude Monet…if Monet were painting his lilies while immersed in the pond rather than sitting on its banks.


Nathaniel Stern, detail, Giverny of the Midwest, Digital print installation, 2011, Lent by the Tory Folliard GalleryCredit: Musem of Wisconsin Art.

The work is technological, thought-provoking and unexpected. And although his work has been compared to photography, Stern would disagree. “It’s probably closer to print making.” He continues that as opposed to the objective distancing you get in photography, “where you’re looking through [a] lens and seeing what you’re capturing, (with this work) it’s more that you’re on top of or a part of your medium,” says Stern.

When he isn’t scanning his environment, Stern is an Associate Professor of Art and Design in Peck School of the Arts at the UW – Milwaukee.

Related artworks: Giverny Remediated, The Giverny Series, Giverny of the Midwest, Weather Patterns, The Mist
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MKE Journal Sentinel, WORT fm, Die Beeld, WORT fm, Sunday Independent

TEDx talk

“Nathaniel Stern is an awkward artist, teacher and writer, who likes awkward art, students and writing. Stern’s talk, Ecological Aesthetics, discusses tweets in space, scans at the bottom of the sea, interactive installations, and art in virtual worlds – all work about the complex relationships between humans, nature, and politics.”

tedx uwmilwaukee

What is TEDx?

“Imagine a day filled with brilliant speakers, thought-provoking video and mind-blowing conversation. By organizing a TEDx event, you can create a unique gathering in your community that will unleash new ideas, inspire and inform…. A TEDx event is a local gathering where live TED-like talks and videos previously recorded at TED conferences are shared with the community.” – from the TED web site

 

 

WORT fm

Stern traverses the land- or seascape with a desktop scanner, computing device + custom-made battery pack, + performs prints into existence.The 8’oclock Buzz: Return of the Frankensteined Scanners

Last time we spoke with Milwaukee artist Nathaniel Stern, he was trying to jerry-rig dozens of flatbed scanners to take peculiarly framed, high resolution underwater photographs. Well since then, Nathaniel reports that nearly everything that could possibly go wrong with that project did. Nathaniel Stern joined the Monday Buzz once more by phone from Milwaukee with an update.

Download the mp3 (13mb), or listen to the entire interview about performative printmaking / Compressionism with host Brian Standing:

WORT fm

The 8’oclock Buzz: Frankensteined Scanners Under the Sea

Last time the Monday Buzz talked with Milwaukee artist, Nathaniel Stern, he was sending tweets into space and subverting Wikipedia for his own nefarious artistic ends. Now, he’s jerry-rigging flatbed scanners for high-resolution, time-shifting underwater duty. Listen as Nathaniel explains to host Brian Standing how to turn a flat imager into a self-contained scuba camera, the philosophical nature of an image, and more.

Download the mp3 (13mb), or listen to the entire interview about performative printmaking / Compressionism with host Brian Standing:

WORT fm

The 8’oclock Buzz: Nathaniel Stern: Back for More

Nathaniel Stern is an Associate Professor in Arts Tech at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. He joined the Buzz on Monday, July 1st to discuss his interactive art and give us an update on “Tweets in Space”.

In February 2013, Stern joined the 8 O’Clock Buzz to talk about his project Tweets in Space. The archive of that show can be found here. As the system is 22nd light years away, it will take 44 years for us to hear back from any of the Tweets. Still, Stern is excited and hopeful.

enterIn addition, Stern discussed his latest interactive art. He currently has an upcoming art show in South Africa called Meaning Motion. He has hopes that a gallery in Wisconsin will display a Meaning Motion exhibit at some point in the future, to bring some of his work closer to home. He also just finished a book on interactive art, titled Interactive Art and Embodiment: The Implicit Body As Performance. His theory of art is to invite people to interact with his work. All of his “paintings” are displayed on white boxes, digitally programmed, until someone walks in front of or into the box – at which point the art comes alive. Each art piece, therefore, is unique depending on who interacts with it.

According to Stern, body and language both require each other. Bodies make language, and language makes bodies. His work is intended to spark discussion about how we relate to and interact with ourselves.

Download the mp3 (20 mb), or listen to the entire interview with sub-host Tony Casteneda:

Wisconsin Public Radio

Wisconsin Public RadioAt Issue with Ben Merens on Monday, September 10, 2012 at 3:00 PM on the Ideas Network of Wisconsin Public Radio.

What would you say to an alien that lived on a planet 22 light years away? Could you say it in 140 characters or less? An upcoming performance at the International Symposium on Electronic Art will collect your tweets and then send them to a specific planet far, far away. This hour, we get the details of the project and hear what YOU would tweet into outer space. Keep it short.

Guests: Nathaniel Stern, Assistant Professor of Art & Design at the University of Wisconsin-­Milwaukee and Scott Kildall, Independent artist based in San Francisco.

Download 1-hour WPR interview (mp3)

BBC Radio 4 (Today)

BBC News – Today – Tweeting to a planet near you

“Why is an artist about to send tweets into space? Nathaniel Stern, associate professor at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and Anu Ojha, Director of the National Space Academy in Leicester, explain.”

Here I discussed Tweets in Space, my collaborative project with Scott Kildall, in an interview with Justin Webb of BBC Radio 4 on the BBC’s flagship news program, Today.

Nathaniel Stern on TODAY, BBC Radio 4

BBC News – Today – Tweeting to a planet near you

“Why is an artist about to send tweets into space? Nathaniel Stern, associate professor at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and Anu Ojha, Director of the National Space Academy in Leicester, explain.”

Here I discussed Tweets in Space, my collaborative project with Scott Kildall, in an interview with Justin Webb of BBC Radio 4 on the BBC’s flagship news program, Today.

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Bad At Sports

Bad at Sports Episode 244: Nathaniel Stern
by Duncan MacKenzie

“Bad at Sports is a weekly podcast produced in Chicago that features artists talking about art and the community that makes, reviews and critiques it. Shows are usually posted each weekend and can be listened to on any computer with an internet connection and speakers or headphones.”

This audio interview (available streaming from the site, or as a download to your computer or mp3 player) begins with Nathaniel Stern rapping a bit of Beastie Boys / Q-Tip, and quickly degrades to him lovingly poking fun at his dad. It’s actually a great interview, where you can hear some off the cuff chatting with Duncan MacKenzie about hektor.netDistill LifeCompressionismWikipedia Art,Given TimeDoin’ my part to lighten the load, and more. It’s good fun, with lots of tangential stories and jokes, and many mentions of good friends and colleagues. Enjoy!

listen to or download interview on B@S