My name is Stewart Skylar Copeland, I am an educator and artist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am a professor in the Experimental Art & Technology area at the University of New Mexico and I also work for RISD’s Nature Lab where I run Vis-a-thon, a science/art visualization program I co-created with my colleague, Georgia Rhodes. I would describe myself as a transdisciplinary artist with a passion for emergent media, new narrative genres, and artistic research. My work often incorporates technology as a means to explore, dissect, and interrogate technological systems themselves. Collaboration across disciplines plays a major role in my practice, particularly in the field of science where I often work with ecologists, biologists, and engineers.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I have spent more time than ever before online. As my daily experience becomes increasingly virtual, the impact is surprisingly physical – which is to say, I feel awful. Don Ihde’s “mediation theory” offers a postphenomenological framework for understanding embodiment relations. For Idhe, technologies are not passive extensions, but form a unity with a human being. It is through this unity that we come to the world. My digital experience is an embodied one with deeply complicated physical repercussions. However, the digital avatars I inhabit do a poor job embodying my physical state. Can a more dynamic, expressive, and encompassing digital representation of ourselves reveal deeper truths about the nature of digital embodiment? My proposed project is a multimedia art investigation into the corporeal repercussions of digital experiences. I will use LiDAR to create a virtual representation of myself to be augmented in real-time based on biometric readings from a wearable sensor. Luminous Bodies presents an opportunity for me to synthesize my recent research and scholarship into a new artwork. I am particularly excited to discuss embodiment as a digital phenomenon with other artists studying embodiment.
I was born and raised in a small town in rural Tennessee. I have worked as a film director, producer, graphic designer, touring musician, photographer, fabricator, and webmaster. Now I am primarily focused on teaching and making art, although I still find time to work on documentary films. I received my BA in Film Production at Webster University and my MFA in Digital + Media at the Rhode Island School of Design. I have taught at the University of Illinoisand the Rhode Island School of Design. I am currently an assistant professor in the Department of Art at the University of New Mexico. More of my work can be viewed here.