[Overview] [Presentations] [Workshops] [Art Events]


18th International Symposium on Electronic Art [ISEA2012]

Albuquerque, USA
September 19-24, 2012

Presented by 516 ARTS, in partnership with the University of New Mexico (UNM) and the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History.


The conference and a partly curated Art Exhibition were held at the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History. Other conference sessions took place at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the New Mexico Museum for Natural History and Science, Explora and other venues. The juried exhibition was staged at the 516 ARTS Gallery in down town Albuquerque, also the location of the ISEA2012 Block Party. Many other ISEA2012 exhibits were held all over town. Concerts, Performances and Screenings were organised at different locations, like the historic KiMo Theater, the UNM Campus, the International Balloon Museum, the Box Performance Space and other venues. An educational project involved local schools and a ‘Dessert Initiative’ involved the surrounding desert as a exhibition and workshop space. After the main part of ISEA2012 had taken place in Albuquerque, additional programs were organised in Santa Fe and Taos. The Santa Fe events included a session at the Institute of American Indian Art and at the Santa Fe University of Art & Design, presented by SARC. All through the Fall of 2012 there was an exceptionally extensive program of associated events all over Albuquerque, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Taos, and Southern New Mexico.


Machine Wilderness: Re-envisioning Art, Technology and Nature

The title for the overall ISEA2012 project is Machine Wilderness. As part of a region of rapid growth alongside wide expanses of open land, New Mexico presents a microcosm of this theme. ISEA2012: Machine Wilderness presents artists’ and technologists’ ideas for a more humane interaction between technology and environment, in which “machines” can take many forms to support and sustain life on Earth. The project focuses on creative solutions for how technology and the natural world can coexist. The term “Machine Wilderness” was originally coined by cultural geographer Ronald Horvath in the 1960s to describe the transformation of the landscape of the American Southwest caused by the automobile. For ISEA2012, the term
“Machine Wilderness” is being reclaimed to represent the potential for humans, animals and machines to coexist in a positive, sustainable future. ISEA2012 featured artists, presenters and organizations seek to define wilderness and our place in it in the 21st century.


• Power: Gridlocked

Flip a switch and the lights come on. Flush a toilet and waste disappears. Swipe a card and
money is transferred. Sophisticated yet often invisible grids of power sustain contemporary
life throughout the farthest reaches of our world, providing electricity, gas, water, sewage,
finances, materials, transportation, communication and more. Rolling blackouts, economic
fallout, climate change and natural disasters test the viability of this interconnected system of
dependence. The Gridlocked theme aims to provide a multi-layered exposé of the structures
and infrastructures of power, and make visible their origins, mechanisms, consequences
and alternatives. Featured programs explore power in its simplest manifestations as well as
its complex hold on global society.

• Creative Economies: Econotopias

From the local to the global, the Econotopias theme engages a critical dialogue around
the challenges and excessive demands of the global marketplace and its impact on
everyday life. It explores the future of creative economies as drivers of possibility in diverse
communities and environments and through new technologies. By bringing local and
international artists, engineers, economists, labor specialists and community organizers
together, Econotopias focuses on the need for more sustainable social and production
practices through programs on topics such as open-source ideologies, the gift economy,
micro-credit, the culture industry and global outsourcing.

• Transportation: Dynamobilities

The once-simple task of moving from point A to point B has become a minefield of choices
and consequences. The Dynamobilities theme features artworks and presentations that
ask questions about and offer possible solutions to the issue of 21st century mobility.
Featured projects include new devices for moving through space, mobile media that
depend on the user’s movement through space, projects examining the power needed for
mobility and question the need for speed, as well as theoretical presentations addressing
the mobility of people, goods and ideas.

• Wildlife: Trans-Species Habitats

Coyotes, bears, peregrine falcons, many charismatic mega-species are making cities their
homes. Bees, bats and other smaller animals are suffering disease and perhaps species
collapse. Plant and animal communities are failing due to the control of natural cycles
such as flood or fire to accommodate settled human development. However, humans are
copying animal adaptations and replicating complex natural systems in sustainable design
from Velcro to storm water infiltration. The Trans-Species Habitats theme showcases work
that re-imagines the city as a viable space for the integration of overlapping species flowing
in patterns and spatial organizations.

• The Cosmos: Radical Cosmologies

The Radical Cosmologies theme gazes at the universe and questions our place in it. It
explores a wide range of creative perspectives and practices around the cultural, scientific
and philosophical possibilities of contemporary astronomy. This theme incorporates
various forms of media, written word, performance and installation, as well as workshops,
community-based actions, lectures and online projects to offer viewers fresh interpretations
and experiences of cultural myths, indigenous histories and contemporary science.

Focus Areas

• Latin American Forum

The Rio Grande River creates a natural conduit between the U.S. and Mexico. The path it
follows has created a geographical, cultural and linguistic bridge between Latin America
and the United States both historically and in the present day, providing a unique context for
collaboration and the exchange of ideas with Latin America. The ISEA2012 Latin American
Forum showcases some of the recent and historical production of Latin American digital
culture, critical theory and media arts, highlighting fresh contributions from south of the

• STEMArts Education Program

The ISEA2012 Education Program, sponsored by Intel, focuses on STEM (Science,
Technology, Engineering & Math) education through Art. It centers around the Intel Education
Day of the conference, and includes outreach activities such as the STEMArts Competition
and the Downtown Block Party presented with Creative Abuquerque and highlighting the
Transportation theme, the Visiting Artists Teaching Program, a curriculum for teachers, and
an artist-scientist residency with Intel. The program demonstrates innovative ways for the
arts to improve STEM education, with a special focus on culturally diverse students.

Introductions and Welcoming Notes

Sponsors and Subsidising Organisations

ISEA2012 received support from, among many others, the Mc Cune Foundation, the Institute of Museum & Library Services, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Albuquerque Community Foundation and Intel.

Full list of ISEA2012 supporters


ISEA2012 Organising Committee

  • Andrea Polli, Artistic Director
  • Suzanne Sbarge, Executive Producer
  • Jenny McMath, Conference Co-ordinator

ISEA2012 Steering Committee

  • Sherri Brueggemann, Manager, City of Albuquerque Public Art & Urban Enhancement Program
  • Regina Chavez, Executive Director, Creative Albuquerque
  • Andrew Connors, Curator of Art, The Albuquerque Museum of Art & History
  • Andrea Polli, Associate Professor, UNM College of Fine Arts & School of Engineering
  • Shelle Sanchez, Director of Education, National Hispanic Cultural Center
  • Suzanne Sbarge, Executive Director, 516 ARTS

ISEA2012 International Programme Committee

  • Mariannah Amster, Craig Anderson, Suzanne Anker, Roy Ascott, Katie Avery, Brandon Ballengee, Giselle Beiguelman, Michael Berman, Kate Bonansinga, Jonah Brucker-Cohen, Sherri Brueggemann, Andres Burbano, Teresa Buscemi, Milly Castaneda, Paul Catanese, Thomas Cates, Edite Cates, Regina Chavez, Agnes Chavez, Nicholas Chiarella, Juergen Claus, Alex Clausen, Ian Clothier, Claire Cote, Nina Czegledy, Ricardo Dal Farra, Jill Dawsey, Greig de Peuter, Andrew Demirjian, Andrew Denton, Juan Diaz Infante, Steve Dietz, Margaret Dolinsky, Kerry Doyle, Stephen Duncombe, Rachel Beth Egenhoefer, Erin Elder, Nina Elder, Greg Esser, Eugenia Fratzeskou, Lisa Gill, Sue Gollifer, Tom Greenbaum, Tom Guralnick, Catherine Harris, Paul Hertz, Szu-Han Ho, Irene Hofmann, Tiffany Holmes, Nigel Jamieson, Sophie Jerram, Diane Karp, Stephen Kovats, Shaurya Kumar, Eve Andree Laramee, Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo, Tom Leeser, Orlando Leibovitz, Richard Levy, Ellen Levy, Malcolm Levy, Patrick Lichty, Felipe Londono, Richard Lowenberg, Antony Lyons, Tapio Makela, Roger Malina, Jane Marsching, Natasha Martell, Amanda McDonald Crowley, Anita McKeown, Jenee Misraje, Nancy Marie Mithlo, Lee Montgomery, Vashti Moss, Tim Mullane, Carson Murdach, Sandra Napua, Anne Nigten, Christian Nold, Jack Ox, Panaiotis, Ellen Pearlman, Lee Pembleton, Mike Phillips, Wim van der Plas, Andrea Polli, Tim Portlock, Michael Punt, Frank Ragano, Aviva Rahmani, Adriana Ramirez, Libby Reed, Lea Rekow, Stephanie Rothenberg, Cythia Beth Rubin, Teri Rueb, Brian Shields, Sabra Sowell, Chris Speed, Nathaniel Stern, Mary Tsiongas, Patricia Watts, Annette Weintraub, Jerry Wellman, Jon Whitfill, Joshua Willis, Caroline Woolard, Adrianne Wortzel, Nancy Zastudil


  1. Proceedings (PDF)
  2. Catalogue(PDF)
  3. Preliminary Program (PDF)
  4. Conference Program (PDF)
  5. Photos
  6. Artefacts