Simon Penny

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Born 1955 in Melbourne. Australian practitioner in the fields of Digital Cultural Practices, Embodied Interaction, Art and Technology and Interactive Art. This practice includes five main aspects: artistic practice, technical research, theoretical writing, pedagogy and institution building. He makes interactive and robotic installations utilising novel sensor arrays, particularly custom machine vision systems. In 1997, his machine vision/motion control/interactive digital video project Fugitive was exhibited at the opening of the ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany. In 1998, Traces (3D machine vision driven CAVE immersive interactive) was presented at Ars Electronica in 1998. Fugitive Two was commissioned by the Australian Center for the Moving Image (ACMI), Melbourne Australia, in 2000. Body Electric was commissioned by CalTech under an NSF grant and shown at Art Center Pasadena in 2003. Bedlam, a machine vision/telerobotic project, is a long-term collaboration with Bill Vorn (Montreal CA), funded by the Langlois Foundation for Science and Art. Penny curated Machine Culture (arguably the first international survey of interactive art) at SIGGRAPH 93 in Anaheim CA and edited the associated catalog and anthology. He edited the anthology Critical Issues in Electronic Media (SUNY Press 1995). He has spoken widely on Electronic Media Art around the world. His essays have been published in seven languages.

Penny is Professor of Arts and Engineering at University of California Irvine (an especially created joint appointment between the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and the Claire Trevor School of Arts) with an appointment also in Information and Computer Science. He is architect and founding director of a new interdisciplinary graduate program in Arts, Computation and Engineering (ACE, see www.ace.uci.edu). Over 2001-4 he was Layer Leader for the Arts in the California Institute for Telecommunications and information Technology, UCI division. He is director of the ACTION lab, an interdisciplinary research lab dedicated to spatialised and embodied interaction and performative technologies. He was Associate Professor of Art and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University (a joint appointment between the College of Fine Arts and the Robotics Institute); 1993-2001. During 2000-01 he was European Professor of Interactive Environments at the University of Portsmouth and the Merz Akademie, Stuttgart, and a member of the central committee of the EU ESPRIT project CIRCUS. He established the Electronic Intermedia Program at the University of Florida 1989-93. Prior to his arrival in the US, he held a range of academic positions in Australia.

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