Press Release

Bard Graduate Center Launches Digital Artist Residency

New York, NY
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New York Collective FOREIGN OBJECTS Named Inaugural Digital Artist in Residence

Residency to Culminate in Project Exploring the Social Implications of Smart Kitchen Technologies

Today, Bard Graduate Center (BGC) announces the launch of its Digital Artist in Residence program, offering support to digital artists who are working to advance critical thinking in the production and presentation of digital art. New York-based collective FOREIGN OBJECTS has been selected as BGC’s inaugural Digital Artist in Residence. Inspired by the BGC Gallery’s exhibition, Eileen Gray, the group is working to create an interactive project that explores how smart cooking technologies have reimagined the role of the kitchen in the contemporary home. Designed to place the BGC Gallery’s exhibitions in dialogue with contemporary artists, BGC’s artist-in-residence programs build upon the institution’s commitment to fostering creative and scholarly research across fields to advance the study of decorative arts, design history, and material culture. 

As BGC’s first-ever Digital Artists in Residence, FOREIGN OBJECTS will create an interactive presentation that considers the contemporary domestic kitchen as a site of care driven by machines, software, and corporations. The project will examine how smart kitchen technologies have changed our relationship with domestic spaces and what this means for societal expectations of care, comfort, and collectivity. The group will draw on the expertise held by BGC faculty, including Professor Deborah Krohn, whose research area focuses on early modern European cultural and culinary history, as well as the arts of the kitchen and table. FOREIGN OBJECTS will also connect their work with the BGC Gallery’s exhibition, Eileen Gray, with an examination of the architect and designer’s work in challenging social, technological, and spatial norms throughout her life. Further details on presentation format will be announced at a later date.  

“We are delighted to welcome FOREIGN OBJECTS as our first Digital Artist in Residence, who are among the first artists selected through an open call for our artist-in-residence programs,” said BGC Director of Public Engagement and Associate Gallery Director Emily Reilly. “Our artist-in-residence programs are critical to bridging the gap between creative practice and academic research in decorative arts, design history, and material culture. We are always striving to uncover new insights within these fields and one way we do so is by inviting contemporary makers to create in response to our Gallery exhibitions and scholarly resources.” 

About FOREIGN OBJECTS

FOREIGN OBJECTS is a design and research studio exploring the internet through the production of cultural artifacts, by building environments, tools, and discourses that imagine new ways of living with the web.

Formed by four foreigners at MIT, the interdisciplinary nature of the studio’s work draws on backgrounds in engineering, architecture, web design, and conceptual art. Meeting at the intersection of technology, culture, and the built environment, their collaboration interrogates the networked world with a curious and critical eye. They work with artists, institutions, and organizations to build projects that create more playful, experimental, and meaningful connections between the internet and society.

FOREIGN OBJECTS' work has been presented publicly at The Internet Archive's Decentralized Web Summit (2018), the New Museum's cultural incubator (NEW INC. 2019-20), and the Bauhaus100 Internationales Kolloquium (2019). In 2019, the studio received the Mozilla Creative Media Award for a project exploring the future of human-like chatbots and other autonomous agents in society. In 2020, FOREIGN OBJECTS was named the inaugural Digital Artist in Residence at Bard Graduate Center.

Individually, studio members work across a range of tactics and tools, from circuit design to art criticism. Their work has appeared in Postmasters Gallery, Schloss Solitude+ZKM, Delfina Foundation, Yve YANG Gallery, Frieze Magazine, Interface Critique, Journal of Design and Science, Sakiya, Science Gallery London, SFMOMA, MIT School of Architecture and Planning, AIGA Eye on Design, and Dutch Design Week. 

FOREIGN OBJECTS is based at NEW INC., at the New Museum in New York. 

About the Members of FOREIGN OBJECTS

Agnes Fury Cameron (b. Brighton, UK) is a co-director of FOREIGN OBJECTS, where she develops hardware and software, and leads technical research projects. Her interests include simulation and modelling, machine intelligence, and environmental sensing. She is a graduate of the MIT Media Lab and holds a Master of Information and Computer Engineering from the University of Cambridge.

Gary Zhexi Zhang (b. Suzhou, China) is a co-director of FOREIGN OBJECTS, where he focuses on cultural consultancy, curatorial research, and exhibition design projects. He is an artist and writer whose work navigates socio-technical systems such as ecology, finance, and the web. Gary received his Master of Science in Art, Culture, and Technology from MIT and teaches communication design at the New School in New York.

Kalli Retzepi (b. Thessaloniki, Greece) is a co-director of FOREIGN OBJECTS. She is a graduate of the MIT Media Lab and also holds advanced degrees in engineering and neuroscience. Her work uses technology, design, and images in order to explore the politics of digital interfaces, the narrative of the user, and to imagine new metaphors for the Web.

Sam Ghantous (b. Muscat, Oman) is a co-director of FOREIGN OBJECTS, where he focuses on design, architecture, and new media. His work examines the cultural impact of contemporary media technologies on form, collectivity, and communication. He has taught at Cornell University’s Department of Architecture, Art, and Planning and MIT’s School of Architecture, from where he received his Master of Architecture.

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