Thoughtworks Arts


“h0t club” and Dilate Ensemble Awarded Thoughtworks Arts / CounterPulse Residencies

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We are pleased to announce the Improvising the Net(Work) Residency has been jointly awarded to two creative collectives, h0t club and Dilate Ensemble.

Logos for h0t club and Dilate Ensemble

The two collectives will be in residence simultaneously at Thoughtworks Arts and CounterPulse, a leading performing arts incubator.

Both residencies are centered in downtown San Francisco. To comply with ongoing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, these residencies will occur online and in person at the dual residency sites as appropriate.

h0t club

h0t club is a psychedelic consumer-driven company of artist technologists and music makers performing the internet and beyond. The collective features Kate Bergstrom, Martim Galvão, Alex Dupuis, Todd Anderson, Miller Puckette and Bryan Jacobs.

Icons of Kate Bergstrom, Martim S. Galvão and Miller Puckette
Kate Bergstrom, Martim S. Galvão and Miller Puckette

Kate Bergstrom, Martim Galvão and Miller Puckette will work with developers at Thoughtworks and the creative community of CounterPulse in San Francisco to develop and extend their performance work exploring our entanglements with surveillance, systems infrastructures and the web.

Dilate Ensemble

Dilate Ensemble is an audio-visual collective featuring multimedia installation artist Carole Kim and musicians Gloria Damijan, Scott L. Miller, Luisa Muhr and Jon Raskin.

Icons of Gloria Damijan, Carole Kim, Scott L. Miller, Luisa Muhrand Jon Raskin
Gloria Damijan, Carole Kim, Scott L. Miller, Luisa Muhrand Jon Raskin

In April 2020, Carole compressed her work in video installation to fit beneath her kitchen table, creating an intimate live “venue,” and invited Gloria, Scott, Luisa and Jon to work with Kim’s live visuals in a form of interactive improvisation-based dialogue.

Dilate has embraced the latent nature of telematic performance, developing an artistic practice idiomatic to the venue of networked audio-visual art.

Public presentation at CounterPulse

Both collectives kicked off their respective 16-week residencies by participating at The CounterPulse Festival 2021, including a presentation of their upcoming projects. This was followed by a roundtable conversation focusing on the themes of artist network collaborations.

The event: Thoughtworks Arts Improvising The Net(Work) Kick-off Talk took place on September 15th at 3PM EDT Via Zoom.

You can learn more about h0t club and Dilate Ensemble in our announcement blog.

Thoughtworks Arts at Ars Electronica Festival ‘21: Co-Creation Containers

Ars Electronica’s A New Digital Deal 2021 Festival brought together Thoughtworks Arts director Ellen Pearlman, CounterPulse director Julie Phelps, and Zero1 director Shamsher Virk for Co-Creation Containers - a dynamic round-table discussion on building community by digital infrastructure.

A flyer for Ars Electronica

Ars Electronica is the largest and most time-honored new media arts festival in the world, going back more than thirty years. It was designed to take the Digital Revolution’s emergence as an opportunity to examine potential futures and to focus investigations at the intersection of art, technology, and society.

A screenshot of the Ars Electronica presentation

Co-creation Containers took place on Thursday, September 9th as part of the festival’s online programming focused on digital humanity. Pearlman, Phelps, and Virk discussed how the climate crisis, international pandemic, and political polarization have challenged the limits of place, mobility, and infrastructure. All three panelists presented projects that show ways in which we can continue to create when borders are closed.

The discussion progressed into sharing ideas on how we can build creative connections across distance and difference, via creative, collaborative, and innovative platforms. Questions and insights from the public via a live discussion and question link provided framing for what the next chapter in the digital community may look like, with deep diving questions about who all will have access.

Video of the Co-creation Containers panel event will be available soon.

Artists Present on How Climate Infuses Their Technology Art Practice

Mentors in our current Art-A-Hack / BeFantastic program series presented on how art and technology can intervene in the climate crisis.

Speakers include Thoughtworks Arts director Andrew McWilliams, and program mentors Meredith Thomas, Gene Kogan, Elly Cho, and Trishla Talera. The paneled event opened discussion between international creators on how to foster collaborative work geared towards the climate crisis.

Invited speakers presented their work or works they have created or curated that best address the topics of the fellowship. The presentations were positioned at the nexus of art, technology, activism, and society and were followed by a dialog between guest speakers and international fellows.

Art-A-Hack 2021 Special Edition has received generous support from the U.S. Embassy in Singapore, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia (New Delhi), Goethe-Institut / Max Muller Bhavan (Bangalore), and from us here at Thoughtworks Arts, and in partnership with Supernormal (Singapore), In The Wild (Singapore),, Jaaga (India) and BeFantastic (India). Art-A-Hack 2021 Special Edition is currently organizing across multiple hubs and will function as an ‘online makers festival’.


Ellen Pearlman delivered a Keynote speech on “Gaslight Narratives In Virtual Space” at The 6th International Conference of the European Narratology Network in Riga, Latvia (online) on September 16th. Ellen gave a presentation at The 3rd IEEE Workshop on Artificial Intelligence for Art Creation on September 10th. On September 5th, Ellen was a panelist at Dialogue 2: Creating TechArt, for the Art-A-Hack / BeFantastic program series. On June 22 and 23rd Ellen provided a demonstrational session on ‘AIBO: Building A Sicko AI’at The IMX/ACM International Conference On Interactive Media Experiences 2021. IMX is the leading international conference for the presentation and discussion of research into interactive media experiences. On Sunday June 20th, Ellen was a speaker at the workshop ‘Bridging the Gap Between Subjective and Computational Measurements of MachineCreativity’ for CVPR/IEEE 2021, the premier annual computer vision event. Ellen also presented ‘AIBO: Building A ‘Sicko’ AI at BCI Society’s Workshop & Meeting “Brain Computer Interfaces for Art, Entertainment, and Domestic Applications” on June 9th.

Ellen was a guest speaker at OLAP (Online Live Art Performance) on March 14th. Ellen shared breakthrough network collaborations and experiments in performance, biometrics, and machine learning. The event was hosted by Harvestworks and Experimental Intermedia.

On March 18th, Ellen presented online at the Neurotechnologies Freedom Conference in Moscow, Russia. The event was organized by the Centre for Cognition & Decision Making, HSE University, and supported by I-Brain Erasmus+ project. The conference focused on the social and economic consequences of the rapidly growing NeuroTech industry.

Andrew McWilliams will moderate Dialogue: Techart & Climate on September 23rd, at 7 am EDT - register via Zoom. This panel event is part of the Art-A-Hack / BeFantastic program series. Andrew also presented at BeFantastic Together Dialog #1 where he shared past community-based collaborations, how they drive innovation and social impact, and the ethos behind organizing the BeFantastic fellowship.

News from Past Thoughtworks Arts Residents

Nouf Aljowaysir exhibited her residency project Salaf 2020 at Computer Vision Art Gallery -CVPR 2021. Nouf was also the winner of the conference’s juried Computer Vision art competition.

Karen Palmer was a guest artist speaker at Ars Electronica’s A New Digital Deal Festival event Art Thinking Forum, on September 12th. Karen was featured in the article “I put the participant in the middle of the experience”: Karen Palmer on AI storytelling, by Goethe Institute DE. Karen was awarded an Honorary Mention for the Starts 2020 Prize of the European Commission honoring Innovation in Technology, Industry and Society stimulated by the Arts for Perception iO, an immersive, AI video installation developed at Thoughtworks Arts. Perception iO was also a part of the Expo Starts Prize exhibition at Bozar in Brussels, where art and science joined forces to think about the future.

Catie Cuan wrote the recent article Dances With Robots for TDR Cambridge Core, on her work with robotics and movement, “…revealing how dancing with robots may provoke a more interanimate everyday world.” Catie was highlighted in an article by The New York Times, Dances With Robots, and Other Tales From the Outer Limits, which spotlighted work developed at Thoughtworks Arts. Catie was also featured in the article, Why Robots Need Choreographers by Dance Magazine.

Rashin Fahandej exhibited A Father’s Lullaby at the virtual event Sounds Like Home hosted by SOMArts Cultural Center on July 16th. A Father’s Lullaby was featured in MIT News - Transformative truth-telling at the MIT Open Documentary Lab, on August 31st

Heather Dewey-Hagborg is the featured artist in the September edition of IMPAKT TV. The episode dives into the world of DNA surveillance, politics and biases involved in DNA analysis, and the artist’s biohacking work. Heather co-curated for the New York University Abu Dhabi Art gallery “not in, of, along, or relating to a line.” The exhibition, which was designed specifically to be viewed on mobile devices, investigates the mutability of identity through and with new technologies. Heather also has new artwork premiering at Fridman Gallery in NYC in the group show “A stranger’s soul is a deep well.” Her new piece is titled Watson’s Ghost. Heather also presented virtually on November 2nd as part of The Unconference Episodes at the Microwave International New Media Arts Festival 2020. Heather was a visiting assistant professor at New York University - Abu Dhabi.

James Coupe received an Honorary Mention from the prestigious Prix Ars Electronica 2020 Awards for his interactive, deepfake installation at the International Center for Photography (ICP), Warriors.

National Endowment for the Arts: 2021 Report

Tech as Art: Supporting Artists Who Use Technology as a Creative Medium is a field scan report commissioned in 2019 by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Ford Foundation and the Knight Foundation. The purpose of the report was to offer insight into how artists are incorporating digital technologies into creative practices, how to enhance support, identify challenges, and provide recommendations for policymakers and educators. The report is comprised of literature reviews, interviews, and group discussions with artists and practitioners across the United States.

Vanessa Chang, our partner for CripTech/Leonardo ISAST, was a member of the Technical Working Group (p.86). Vanessa also had a commissioned essay in the report. Roundtable artists who participated in the study were (p. 87) were James George (Scatter), Martha Hipley (AAH),  Kate Sicchio (AAH), and Lee Tusman (AAH).

Updates from Art-A-Hack™ Alumni

Rena Anakwe received the 2021 Canadian Women Artists’ Award from NYFA on August 24th. Most recently, Anakwe was awarded a 2021-2022 MacDowell Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Arts and a 2022 Jack Nusbaum Artist Residency at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).

Eva Lee recently received an Official Selection from Cannes Short Film Festival 2021 and NewFilmmakers NY Festival 2021 for her short animated film, Sojourner.

Espii Proctor had her immersive sound art featured at Drexciya Redux: An Afrofuturist Cabaret at NY Live Arts May 12-14th.

Hussein Smko performed in ‘Project Tag’ at the Brick Theater June 23 - July 7th. Hussein was instrumental in developing Project Tag which embarks on themes of heritage, hierarchy and inclusivity through dance.

Kat Sullivan and Gal Nissim have recently became cohort members at NEW INC - an incubator for people working at the intersection of art, design, and technology.


Ellen Pearlman: AI Comes of Age - Performance Arts Journal (PAJ), MIT Press, Dance for Transformation: “DANCEDEMIC” AlumniTies, Medium. Cyborg Arts Co-Lab: Interdisciplinary Collaboration Enriched Through Art-A-Hack™ Practices -Art Hack Practice: Critical Intersections of Art, Innovation and the Maker Movement, 1st Edition, Edited by Victoria Bradbury and Suzy O’Hara, Routledge Publication. The Resurgence of Russian Cosmism - Performance Arts Journal(PAJ), MIT Press.

Catie Cuan, Ellen Pearlman, and Andrew McWilliams: Output: Translating Robot and Human Movers Across Platforms in a Sequentially Improvised Performance - From the 2019 AISB (The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour) Machine Movement Lab at Falmouth University, UK.

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