Renate Ferro

Renate Ferro has worked in the areas of emerging technology and culture for the past 15 years. By aligning artistic practice with critical approaches to cyber-configurations, her work takes on varying forms from web-based and time-based media, to sculpture and installation, performance, drawing, and text-based work. Most recently her work has been exhibited at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Hunter College Gallery in New York City, and the Freud Museum in London.

Ferro runs a lab for research and emerging technology, The Tinker Factory, and is managing moderator of the new media listserv titled -empyre-soft_skinned_space that was featured in the documenta 12 magazines project. She has lectured recently in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, Busan, Lima, and London. Her recent publications include those in Media N, Uncertain Practices/ Unsightly Aesthetics, and Erasure, the Spectre of Cultural Memory.

Ferro received a B.A. from Mercyhurst University, an M.S. from Elmira College, and an M.F.A. from Cornell University. She was a member of the art department faculty from 2004 to 2023 and previously served at the Director of Undergraduate Studies. 

Academic Research/Specialty Areas

  • Digital media
  • Film/video/sound
  • Performance art
  • Visual representation

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Classes (Selected)

  • ART 2701 Introduction to Digital MediaThis course explores the use of digital technology in contemporary art making. Students approach software programs by researching historical and contemporary art issues, with emphasis on how to differentiate between analog and digital forms. Through the investigation of the history of digital technology students will gain an understanding of digital culture and its correlation to social, aesthetic and theoretical issues. Topics explored include time-based art, network culture, image resolution, computational techniques, virtuality, and interactivity.
  • ART 3502 Drawing the BodyThis course investigates the human body as a pictorial subject. Emphasis is placed on the development of descriptive methodologies reinforced by a study of human surface anatomy and historic/contemporary applications. Relevance to a wide range of visual disciplines including sculpture, photography, digital media in addition to painting and drawing will be explored.
  • ART 3703 Projects in Time Based ArtThis course teaches advanced techniques for creating nonlinear moving images with digital sound. Projects include integrating key frame-based animation, layering animated text, still, and video images made with 3D software applications, field recording, and sound mixing. Emphasis will be placed on ways of integrating and manipulating time-based images and sound to make multimedia art projects and installations for public architectural environments.
  • ART 3708 Hybird Media and Global Arts PracticesThis studio investigates moving image and sound in contemporary global art. Converging practices in digital video, animation, performance, activism and theory are at the center of these new and blended forms. Global contemporary art has dislocated the moving image and sound from the theater to spaces of global biennials, international museums and galleries and in political arenas. All of these sources will be investigated and used as creative inspiration. Projects will be realized for a variety of exhibition possibilities including contemporary art spaces, public spaces and the internet. Students will conceptually and technically investigate hybrid media in relationship to global culture and technology. Students will use software including Final Cut Pro and others to create hybrid media forms.
  • ART 4001 Thesis lThis course continues the independent studio research and production of the Advanced Practice course to prepare students for ART 4002: Thesis II.  During Thesis I, students begin to research, develop, and clarify their thesis proposals through dialogues, readings, and critiques with members of the Core Thesis Faculty. Emphasis is on deepening awareness of the intention and reading of the work and situating individual interests within and against historical, theoretical, and conceptual contexts.
  • ART 4002 Thesis llThis course is the final B.F.A. studio semester in which students develop and present an independent body of work that may take the form of an exhibition or some other project. Students will work with members of the Core Thesis Faculty to define and refine the positions formulated within each work and to foster the ability to speak about one's own work as well as the work of others. Emphasis is placed on developing strategies of productive self-criticality to inform their work both during and beyond the thesis semester.

Awards, Grants, and Fellowships (Selected)

  • 2012 New York State Council for the Arts Finishing Funds for Electronic Media and Film, award
  • 2013 Cornell University Vice-Provost Humanities Research Grant coauthored with Maria Fernandez, The Incubator Project: Robotics Interaction Theory
  • 2011 Mellon DeBary Material Culture Writing Group, Cornell University, coauthored, research grant

Exhibitions and Presentations (Selected)

  • Saying It, with Mieke Bala and Michelle Williams Gamaeker, Freud Museum, London (2012)
  • Suspicious Packages, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (2012)
  • The Experimental Television Center: A History, Etc., Hunter College Gallery, New York City (2015)

Publications (Selected)

  • "Archival Accumulations as the Erasure of Memory," in Erasure: The Spectre of Cultural Memory, coauthored (Libri Publishing UK)
  • "On Collaboration: a conversation between Renate Ferro and Brooke Singer," in Uncertain Practices / Unsightly Aesthetics (Errant Bodies Press)
  • Saying It, exhibition catalog (Occasional Paper)
  • Uncertain Aesthetics: Networks in the Age of Emerging Technology (Uncertain Aesthetics, ed.)
  • Tinkering with the Archive: Pathways to Conceptual Thought and Digital Practice, coauthored with Tim Murray, "Proceedings of the Digital Arts and Culture Conference," UC–Irvine (2009)
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