Andrea Ackerman   

March 2013

Brief Narrative Biography   


Andrea Ackerman is an artist, writer and theorist living and working in New York. At Yale she studied physics and biophysics; afterwards she graduated Harvard Medical School, with a concentration in Neuroscience, and trained and practiced as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. She gradually turned though, to a career as an artist. She has used digital technology since the mid 1990's. Ackerman does all the creative and technical work on her projects. Her work is created at the intersection of technology, nature, aesthetics and ethics. She imbues objects with qualities not ordinarily occurring in nature, creating a synthetic nature. Specific aspects of 2D and 3D still and animation software are applied in subtle ways like using effects meant for fluids on rose petals or skin. The images are visually genetically engineered and animated with cross species qualities. Ackerman believes finding meaningful ways to use these cross category effects is essential to the evocation of a seamless transformation - digital to human. Her first series, largely 2D, is Synthetic Landscapes, which are meant to function as portable gardens for use in the extreme denatured urban environments we inhabit. The current works are 3D computer animations, using Maya (3D animation software used in the film industry) and Pixar's Renderman. Rose Breathing, Yawn, and Woman Waking_Paper Dissolve, are three animations which bring a subtle slow, complex emotionality to 3D characters, creating an experience of intimacy. In Rose Breathing, a synthetic rose, whose petals are reminiscent of flesh, rhythmically opens and closes in human like respiration. In Yawn, and Woman Waking_Paper Dissolve, a virtual monochrome gray woman, mysteriously natural yet obviously artificial, undergoes a series of ambiguously but deeply emotionally expressive transformations.


Ackerman's work has been shown internationally including at the San Jose Museum of Art (Vital Signs: New Media Art from the Permanent Collection, curated by Jodi Throckmorton and Brides of Frankenstein curated by Marcia Tanner), the Streaming Museum ( Art and Pop Culture in a Modern Mix for the Electronic Superhighway curated by Nina Colosi), the Chelsea Art Museum, Wood Street Galleries (Allure Electronica curated by Murray Horne),  La Galleria Comunale d'Arte Contemporanea di Monfalcone (curated by Andrea Bruciati), Like the Spice gallery (curated by Marisa Sage), Jack the Pelican Presents (curated by Don Carroll), New Forms Festival (curated by Camille Baker) and at cinema_Scope (scope-art fairs) curated by Lee Wells among others. Rose Breathing is in the permanent collection of the San Jose Museum of Art.


Ackerman has been an invited speaker at the San Jose Museum of Art, Kingston University (London), Siggraph NYC and the College Art Association Conferences 2007 and 2008 -New Media Caucus Panels. She wrote the catalog essay for "Can We Fall in Love with a Machine ? " a show at Wood Street Galleries curated by Claudia Hart. She presented the paper Synthetic is More Sensuous: Advances in Neurology and the Aesthetics of New Media at ISEA 2008 in Singapore. Her scholarly paper entitled Some Thoughts Connecting Deterministic Chaos, Neuronal Dynamics and AestheticExperience, was published in the inaugural issue of the newly re-launched Leonardo Electronic Almanac (2011). In this paper, she proposes a new formal aesthetic theory, arguing that it is the properties of deterministic chaos and complexity, as the native dynamics of the brain/mind, which are fundamental to the creation of aesthetic experience.  Ackerman is currently working on a further elaboration of this aesthetic theory and will be giving a lecture entitled Aesthetics, Complexity, the Brain, New Media and Network Dynamics at Pratt Institute, School of Art and Design, Department of Digital Arts, for the Spring 2013 Lecture Series.


Ackerman has taught 3D computer modeling (Maya) at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, was a co- director of ISEA201, and is an editor of Leonardo Electronic Almanac, most recently, the associate editor of Uncontainable, the exhibition catalog of electronic art exhibited at ISEA2011, Istanbul. Ackerman lives in New York, New York with her husband and two children.



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