Thoughtworks Arts


Olivia Ting and Andy Slater Awarded CripTech Residencies

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Artists Olivia Ting and Andy Slater have been jointly awarded residencies with Thoughtworks Arts, in partnership with Leonardo/ISAST’s CripTech Incubator program.

Olivia Ting, a smiling woman with long straight shoulder-length black hair and brown eyes, and Andy Slater, a white man with neglected sandy blond hair and a red and grey beard
Olivia Ting and Andy Slater

The residencies will take place during 2022 as part of the larger Leonardo CripTech Incubator. The program supports artists focusing on disability innovation with artist fellows presenting works-in-progress at Leonardo LASER salons and final works at the Arizona State University California Center in Los Angeles. Their artistic research will also be showcased in a special issue of Leonardo journal published by MIT Press.

Christopher Edwards, a Thoughtworks employee working on CripTech Incubator, says:

“As a deaf person and experience designer, I know how important it is to engage directly with diversity, with difference. What comes from this program is not just great work that expands the horizons of art and technology, but also that it fosters empathy through collaboration.”

The CripTech program received a $500K sponsorship from the California Arts Council’s Innovations + Intersections pilot program to advance groundbreaking strategies for community needs in the wellness and technology sectors. This project will allow disabled artists to engage and remake creative technologies through the lens of accessibility. Other partners include RadMad Disability Lab (UC Berkeley), Beall Center for Art and Technology (UC Irvine), Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science and Technology, Ground Works with A2rU, Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, and Arizona State University.

Olivia Ting

Olivia Ting’s fascination with moving images stems from her hearing impairment. She is deaf in one ear and has 22% hearing in the other. Without hearing aids, Olivia perceives almost no sound.

The center of the image shows reflected views of a woman’s ears with long dark hair cascading over them, one wearing a hearing aid and the other a cochlear implant processor. The string and soundboard of a grand piano flanks each side.
“Soundboard” (2020) by Olivia Ting

During her residency at Thoughtworks Arts, Olivia will develop “Song Without Words,” a spatial audiovisual investigation of parallels between gestural language, visual vocabulary of American Sign Language, and music conducting.

Andy Slater

Andy Slater is a sight-impaired Chicago-based media artist, sound designer, teaching artist, and disability advocate. During his residency Andy will develop “Unseen Sound,” an Augmented Reality design tool app to support blind and non-visual users in the creation of spatial audio design.

A photo of a computer screen that shows an open session in Max/MSP. Spread across the screen is a series of one line text. The text is repeated in 2 groups. Each text line is stacked atop each other. White text on a black background resembles a plastic strip from a label maker. The text of the top groups reads, “Max is not accessible” and is repeated over a dozen times. The lower group’s text read, “This shouldn’t be so hard.” This text is repeated over a dozen times. The text lines are staggered to look like a staircase.
“Roadblock” (2021) by Andy Slater

Andy is the founder of the Society of Visually Impaired Sound Artists and director of the Sound As Sight accessible field recording project. He holds a Masters in Sound Arts and Industries from Northwestern University, and is a teaching artist with the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology.

You can learn more about CripTech and new residents Olivia Ting and Andy Slater in our announcement blog.

Climate Action Showcase: Art-A-Hack and BeFantastic 2021

Throughout the summer and fall of 2021, a diverse international cohort of artists, designers, technologists and makers created innovative artworks responding to the global climate emergency. Participants from Singapore, Switzerland, India and South Asia, Germany, and the United States were incubated by technology and art mentors, including ThoughtWorks Arts directors Andy McWilliams and Ellen Pearlman in partnership with BeFantastic (India/Singapore), Art-A-Hack and Thoughtworks Arts.

A montage of BeFantastic projects
An AI-generated visual montage representing artworks and themes explored within the program

On November 18th, team members presented a virtual livestreamed showcase of collaborative artworks by program fellows, in a series of themed breakout rooms that examined: Climate Action, Cross Cultural Collaborations and Trans Disciplinary Practices. The projects can also be explored in Augmented Reality via an interactive AI-generated poster.

This ambitious program has produced a series of new works and prototypes across international borders, with the generous support of the U.S. Embassy in Singapore, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia (New Delhi), Goethe-Institut / Max Muller Bhavan (Bangalore), and incubation from ThoughtWorks Arts, and in partnership with Supernormal (Singapore), In The Wild (Singapore) and (USA) and Art-A-Hack™.

You can learn more about the Climate Action Projects Showcase: Art-A-Hack and BeFantastic 2021 blog.

Dilate Ensemble’s World Premiere “CATENA” at CounterPulse: January 13th & 14th

Join us for a special livestream and in-person live World Premiere from our current network residents Dilate Ensemble. This is a first look inside their multimedia-performance “CATENA: sound/image through a hybrid network”, in which they take on a physical and conceptual expansion of their telematic practice at CounterPulse.

Dilate Ensemble’s “CATENA” performance

The live performance occurs throughout the entire CounterPulse building at 80 Turk Street in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco, with audience members migrating from room to room, floor to floor and between hallways on January 13th and 14th at 8pm Pacific Time.

Read more about the project on CounterPulse website, and buy tickets for the events here.


Ellen Pearlman lectured at the Polish Japanese Academy of Computer Information in Warsaw Poland “Can An AI Be Fascist?”, and taught a Master Class at their XR Lab as part of her Fulbright Specialist posting to Poland. She then presented “Is There A Place In Human Consciousness Where Surveillance Cannot Go? “ at Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Łaźnia for New Horizons In New Media in Gdansk, on November 17th. Ellen explored themes of surveillance Artificial Intelligence and shared her interactive brainwave opera, AIBO. She also gave a lecture at Lalka Nova’s New Meanings of Puppet In Theatre & Performative Art Conference in Wroclaw on Nov. 6th. She also 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, and then taught Master Classes at the MPLab of RISEBA and Liepaja University, in Latvia in late November.

Andrew McWilliams moderated Dialogue: Techart & Climate on September 23rd. This panel event was 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

Rashin Fahandej was awarded the Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction in Digital Music and Sound Art for A Father’s Lullaby. The project was incubated as part of Rashin’s residency at Thoughtworks Arts.

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.

Updates from Art-A-Hack™ Alumni

Heidi Boisvert & Kat Mustatea’s immersive, mixed-reality performance “Lizardly” was a part of Max Media Art Exploration’s programming, and premiered at New York Live Arts.

Max Haarich (Deepfakes Masterclass ‘19) recently received the Prize for Interaction and the SAAI Factory Award for Participation for Smart Hans - The Mind-Reading A.I. Horse that can “guess” what number you’re thinking. This project was incubated at our Deepfakes MasterClass with Baltan Laboratories.

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.


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.

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