Tech, Now + Beyond

5 amazing artists who are using technology in their work

These artists are creating code, websites and apps to bring their artwork to a new level

Two challenging fields to make it in as a gender minority? Tech and the arts. Tech culture is infamously toxic towards women, as shown by the brave women who spoke up about their working conditions as #MeToo gained momentum. Womens’ artwork is also consistently undervalued in the art world and underrepresented in major institutions. Despite these barriers, there are many female artists incorporating technology to create interesting and innovative work.

Womens’ artwork is consistently undervalued in the art world and underrepresented in major institutions Click To Tweet

Here are five of them:

Cristina Molina

Photo from artist Cristina Molina's website [image description: mirrored crystalline orbs hang with small video screens hang from the ceiling of a gallery]
Photo from artist Cristina Molina’s website [image description: mirrored crystalline orbs hang with small video screens hang from the ceiling of a gallery]
Cristina Molina is a video artist whose work often centers around female protagonists. Per her description, “Crystal Video is an interactive audio-visual installation that transmits sounds directly into participants heads. The video is shown in crystalline shapes hanging from the ceiling. However, the audio can only be heard when audience members bite down on a lollipop. The sound travels from the crystal base on the lollipop to the jaw and into the ear. The effect makes the transmission private, as if the figure in the video, inspired by Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse, is telepathically communicating.

In Cristina Molina's Crystal Radio, the audio can only be heard when audience members bite down on a lollipop. Click To Tweet

More projects and information can be found on the artist’s website.  

Emily Hermant 

Image from artist Emily Hermant's website [image description: screenshot of website with the prompt "Please change a word or two of this lie: I am serious about veganism, really." and the input "I am seriously a vulture, really"]
Image from artist Emily Hermant’s website [image description: screenshot of the website with the prompt “Please change a word or two of this lie: I am serious about veganism, really.” and the input “I am seriously a vulture, really”]
Emily Hermant is a sculptor and fiber artist whose work often explores women’s labor. Her project Lies, lies, lies… “explored acts of deception in communication,” and featured embroidered lies mounted on the walls, a lie booth, and an interactive website. The website allowed people to input their own lies and edit other people’s lies, creating a “Virtual community of lies and liars.”

One of her other bodies of work Hesitations illustrated vocal pauses such as “um” from recordings of intimate conversations, thus going from human to data to human again.

You can check out more of her work here, or read an interview here.

Aarati Akkapeddi

GIF from artist Aarati Akkapeddi's website [image description: rapid animation of various search engine queries on colorful backgrounds]
GIF from artist Aarati Akkapeddi’s website [image description: rapid animation of various search engine queries on colorful backgrounds]
Aarati Akkapeddi is a “transdisciplinary artist and creative programmer,” who explores the relationship between data and identities and histories. Part of her work, You Are What You Search, is a  “poetic visualizer” tool that allows users to view and meditate on their search histories, which are usually difficult to decipher after downloading. Another aspect of YAWYS is chrome extension apps called Autosurfers that breaks filter bubbles by randomly searching, thus introducing users to new things and obscuring users’ search history.  

Aarati Akkapeddi's You Are What You Search is a “poetic visualizer” tool that allows users to view and meditate on their search histories Click To Tweet

You can download the apps and learn about more of Aarati’s work here.

AnnieLaurie Erickson

Image from artist AnnieLaurie Erickson's website [image description: 3 images- the first of a dark video screen in a dark room, the second a close up of a screen that is mostly black except for on circle of image showing cords from a server, the third of a squiggly trail of circles like in the last image.]
Image from artist AnnieLaurie Erickson’s website [image description: 3 images- the first of a dark video screen in a dark room, the second a close up of a screen that is mostly black except for one circle of image showing cords from a server, the third of a squiggly trail of circles like in the last image.]
AnnieLaurie Erickson is a lens-based artist whose work often centers on making the invisible visible. Her project Data Shadows examines “the physical apparatus of the Internet and digital surveillance,” through photographs and interactive media. The interactive component uses eye-tracking technology to illuminate small sections of a photograph visible on a screen as the viewer’s eye moves around. The path of their gaze is projected onto a wall behind the viewer for onlookers to see.

Documentation of this series and others are on AnnieLaurie’s website.

Ayoka Chenzira

Image from HERadventure website [image description: two women wearing all black and sunglasses staring directly at the camera.]
Image from HERadventure website [image description: two women wearing all black and sunglasses staring directly at the camera with text underneath identifying them as Ayoka Chenzire (Ayo) and HaJ]
Ayoka Chenzira is a filmmaker and pioneer in Black independent cinema. She created the interactive film HERadventure with her daughter HaJ, about an extraterrestrial superhero named Her. During the movie, viewers are able to join Her in her battle against Dark Forces, aiming to empower women and girls through gameplay.

You can check our HERadventure here or learn more about Ayoka and her numerous other projects here.

Though contemporary art is often mocked for its seemingly limitless definition (“How is that art?” “A five-year-old could do that!” etc) these women and many more are using that limitlessness to their advantage by forging into new territory. As Georgia O’Keeffe said, “To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.”