Yes, I’m a media artist. But what does it mean?
It’s a concept that has evolved over the years. Once upon a time 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’m in a band! We’re Half Pagan and you should check us out. We play around New Orleans regularly (except during pandemics) and our first two albums are on Bandcamp. Progress has been slow on album number three, The Wheel, but you can’t rush perfection.
I’ve released a couple solo 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, The Submersibles, on Musical Family Tree.
I’ve produced a number of podcasts over the years. J&B’s Nightcap was fun while it lasted. Editor B’s Morning Ride to Work. was, for a time, the only podcast recorded from the seat of a moving bicycle. Teaching, Learning, and Everything Else began in 2008 and is still going strong.
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.) In 2016 and 2017 I exhibited regularly 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 on WWL-TV, WWNO, in Forbes, USA Today, Popular Mechanics (again), the USDA, Smithsonian, American Folklife, PBS.org (again), Bill Moyers, Boing Boing, National Geographic’s Education Blog, Slate (in a cool animation), Ars Technica, Technology.org, Sytec.News, Non Profit Quarterly, Global Vision International, Yale Climate Connections, Boston Public Library, Reason, ACLU (again), Grist, The Green Party US, Communist Party USA, CounterPunch (again), The Nation, World Socialist Web Site, Anarchamedia, Bust, ColorLines, Newsweek, Daily Kos, Scholars Strategy Network, Moodle News, Prospect Journal of International Affairs, Foreign Policy in Focus (again), Governing, National Lawyers Guild, Planetizen (again), Next City (again), City Pages, Cafe Mom, Muslim Voices, National Catholic Reporter (again and again), Catholic Teacher, The Catholic Universe, Baptist News, Christianity Daily, Religion Dispatches, McMansion Hell, BuzzFlash, Environmental Health News, Eco Friendly Pursuit, EcoWatch, Inhabitat, Crafting a Green World, Learned On, NaturaLista, Organic Authority, Spiral Nature, Matador Network, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, The Architect’s Newspaper, CMS Wire, Legal Reader, Thrillist, Money Talks News, Business Insider (again and again), Timeline.com, The Local, Medium, The Glen Echo, Expedia, About Travel, Insider, Only in Your State, IHG Travel Blog, Travel Pulse, The Pulse, Grind TV, Big Easy Magazine (again), FrenchQuarter.com, NOLA Defender, NOLA.com (again), Curbed New Orleans, Gambit (again), The Lens, ViaNolaVie (again), Hotel Monteleone, Good Magazine, Read the Spirit, Delta Patents, Maryland Reporter, Plum Deluxe, PopAnth, Nooga.com, Broad Street Review, Sputnik News, Fria Tider (ugh), Missouri State’s Diversity Blog, Oxford University Press (again), San Diego Free Press, Israel Book Review, NL Times, Evening Times (Glasgow), Wessex Scene, OC Weekly, The Melbourne Herald Sun, The Philadelphia Citizen, BirminghamWatch, Greater Greater Washington, Spokane Faves, East Bay Express, Amsterdam News, Statewatch, Volkswagen Foundation, Iowa Public Radio, Indiana Public Media, WNPR, PRI, CBS Austin, MJIN, The Stoner’s Journal, TruNews (ugh), Breitbart (ugh), Infowars (ugh ugh), Who What Why (featured image, also in a collage), The Motley Fool, Patheos, Little Things, ForceChange (again), BuzzFeed, Stacker, Vice (again), TipHero, RootsRated, LifeHacker, Fast Company, Mental Floss, Atlas Obscura, Amusing Planet, Lonely Planet and Public News Service (again), as well as many others, including numerous Wikipedia articles. 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 (twice).
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.
My photos have been used as cover art for The Journal of College Writing (Vol. 12) and the ebooks Thin Film by William Olson, Family Murders by Henry Carver, and Cultural Borrowings, a film studies anthology edited by Iain Robert Smith. I took the cover photo for Incognito by Biljana D. Obradović. I’ve also had a photo on the cover of the Louisiana Delta Yellow Pages.
Fun fact: Arthur D. Hittner wanted to use my photo of the notorious tenth panel of Thomas Hart Benton’s Indiana Murals on the cover of his book, Michelangelo of the Midway; I.U. nixed the idea, but you’ll find my photo on his website.
How about some more academic citations? One of my photos illustrates a paper by Collen Judge called “Survey of Bicycle Trail-Users in New Orleans: Characteristics, Attitudes and Implications for Planning.” Another shows up in an essay by Kirsten Bell with the wonderful title of “Silent But Deadly: Farting Across Cultures,” which is collected in Showcasing Popular Anthropology. Several of my photos (and some text) are featured in Collected Youth by Hadar Barak, a graduate project for Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. And if you scroll down far enough you’ll find my photo in Mary Ann Wilson’s article, “Forming Adults in Faith Through Fiction,” published in Notre Dame’s Church Life Journal.
Be sure to check out the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s report on The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States. You’ll find my photo on page nine of the executive summary.
You’ll even find my photos in apps such as the Bonide Product Finder.
If you’d like, you can sign up to my photo newsletter for occasional email blasts featuring photos I’ve taken.
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. And there’s that faculty development podcast: Teaching, Learning, and Everything Else. 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.