Yes, I’m a card-carrying “Media Artist.” But what does it mean?
It’s a concept that has evolved over the years. Once upon a time I called myself a Multimedia Specialist, and I spent my days building websites and CD-ROMs, learning various scripting languages and teaching people HTML. These days, it’s more about social media, apps, blogs and wikis.
I got started in media arts through independent television production, way back in the analog era. My career as a videographer began in the late 1980s with a documentary on the urinals of Indiana University. As difficult as it may be to credit, this 40-minute zero-budget movie won a Citation Award from the Indiana Film Society in 1990. It was featured on PBS, and is now in the permanent collections of several major universities, including Indiana University’s world-renowned Folklore Institute.
However, my main claim to fame in the world of video is that I am co-creator of ROX. This underground television series began as a lark, almost a joke, but quickly transformed my life. The controversies engendered by the show landed me on MTV and The Howard Stern Show, in The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice, and Time Magazine. Wired called it “the best TV show in America,” and it was the most popular show in the early days of Free Speech TV. In 1995, ROX became the first TV show on the internet, ten years before the launch of YouTube. And it’s still in production.
In light of my work with social media and my history with ROX, you are now fully prepared to enjoy the following prank:
I’ve released a couple albums of experimental mashups. Despite their controversial nature and ambiguous legal status, they have even gotten a little airplay (thanks, WFMU). You can download my albums from Bandcamp. (Note: All my albums are available free. Name your own price — zero is okay!) You can also listen to my old band on Musical Family Tree.
I’m also a photographer of sorts. I have published over 10,000 photos on Flickr. (Check out my photostream, or just a few of my favorites.) Lately I’ve been exhibiting in group shows hosted by Skewer Gallery at Kebab (New Orleans). Art critic Benjamin Morris calls my work “refreshing.”
I’m honored to have some of my work featured by the Spiritual Naturalist Society.
You may encounter my photos in various other places. For example, my photos have been featured in Forbes, American Folklife, Bill Moyers, Reason, Scholars Strategy Network, Next City, City Pages, Muslim Voices, Christianity Daily, Eco Friendly Pursuit, NaturaLista, Organic Authority, Spiral Nature, Matador Network, The Architect’s Newspaper, Legal Reader, Thrillist, Money Talks News, The Local, About Travel, Travel Pulse, Grind TV, NOLA Defender, The Lens, Good Magazine, Read the Spirit, Maryland Reporter, Plum Deluxe, PopAnth, Nooga.com, Iowa Public Radio, The Stoner’s Journal, Breitbart (ugh), The Motley Fool, Patheos, Mental Floss, Lonely Planet and Public News Service, as well as many others. One of my most popular photos, “New Classroom,” has been used to illustrate nearly a hundred different stories in various venues, such as for example The Atlantic and North Carolina Public Radio.
Here are some books that have featured my photography:
- Branley, E. J. (2014). New Orleans Jazz. Arcadia Publishing.
- Chen, E. H. B. L. B. J. (2006). Signs of Life. Lulu.com.
- Ferrante, J. (2010). Sociology: A Global Perspective, Enhanced. Cengage Learning.
- Head, T. (2010). It’s Your World, So Change It: Using the Power of the Internet to Create Social Change. Que Publishing.
Kundiger, M. S. (2016). Bam Boom!: Bamboo – The Giant Grass. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
- Kuo, M., & Methven, A. (2010). 100 Cool Mushrooms. University of Michigan Press.
You’ll even find my photos in apps such as the Bonide Product Finder.
Of course it’s all interconnected. I frequently address the use and abuse of technology as part of my work in faculty development, and I’m particularly interested in supporting the creative process. My writing addresses issues of technology and creativity, and I often publish via new media platforms. My art aims to give expression to my spiritual practice, which in turn helps me maintain a healthier relationship with technology — or so I hope. My art serves my activism as well.