SANCTUM readies for a May Opening


“In an era of status updates, tweets, and check-ins, the geography of public, shared spaces needs to be reconsidered, along with our expectations of privacy in them.”
James Coupe and Juan Pampin

Have you noticed all of the changes on the façade of the Henry? We are currently installing an interactive art piece, Sanctum, created by artists James Coupe and Juan Pampin. Coupe and Pampin were chosen in 2010 from 91 applications who answered an open international call, soliciting proposals for a site-specific project to transform the façade of the museum’s main entrance and to engage the UW population and the many visitors who pass by the Henry every day.

Sanctum, which officially opens May 4th, seeks to investigate the narrative potential of social media while raising important and provocative questions about the conflicting imperatives emerging in our culture as we promote and embrace ever-more-intrusive electronic media, while still cherishing traditional notions of privacy.

From those who choose to participate in the project, Sanctum will actively gather information via sophisticated surveillance and profiling technology and match it with data drawn from social media sites to shape original plausible and implausible fictional narratives.

To learn more about the project and to contribute with narrative content, please enter here. You can also opt in by scanning the QR codes are posted on signage outside the museum.

Who are the artists making your your emo / pensive / angry / cryptic Facebook statuses into an art?  Coupe and Pampin are both associate professors in UW’s DXARTS program, an interdisciplinary degree-granting center designed to support the emergence of a new generation of hybrid artists. James Coupe received his PhD in Digital Art and Experimental Media from the University of Washington and an MFA from the University of Edinburgh, UK. He works with systems, autonomy, and networks. His recent works (re)collector and The Lover use computer vision software to extract demographic and behavioral information recontextualized into narratives. In addition to Sanctum, he is currently working on a series of installation projects that explore surveillance, Surveillance Suite, which has received national funding and support from Creative Capital, and local support from 4Culture and the City of Seattle.

Juan Pampin is an Argentine composer and sound artist with a Master of Arts in Computer Music from the CNSM de Lyon, France and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in composition from Stanford University. He is also a founding faculty member of the DXARTS program, for which he currently serves as Director.His work explores the territory delineated by the concepts of site, memory, and materiality, considering listening as an active process of self reflection. As a researcher, Pampin has developed new techniques for sound processing and spatialization, including the ATS software for spectral modeling and the Ambisonics Toolkit library (ATK, developed in collaboration with Joseph Anderson). His recently patented Moving Ultra-Sound Technology (MUST) will be installed publicly for the first time as part of Sanctum.

Photo credit: Dan Bennett.

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