Visual Arts Visiting Speaker series presents

Joel Ong

Recorded NOVEMBER 22, 2023

Joel Ong is a media artist whose works connect scientific and artistic approaches to the environment, particularly with respect to sound and physical space. He is an Associate Professor in Computational Arts and Helen Carswell Chair in Community Engaged Research in the Arts at York University in Toronto.  From 2019-23, he was the Director of Sensorium:The Centre for Digital Arts and Technology, where he initiated interdisciplinary collaborations across the University across the Arts, Science and Engineering departments.  

Professor Ong’s work explores the way objects and spaces can function as repositories of ‘frozen sound’, and in elucidating these, he is interested in creating what systems theorist Jack Burnham (1968) refers to as “art (that) does not reside in material entities, but in relations between people and between people and the components of their environment”.  A serial collaborator, Professor Ong is invested in the broader scope of Art-Science collaborations and is engaged constantly in the discourses and processes that facilitate viewing these two polemical disciplines on similar ground.  His graduate interdisciplinary work in nanotechnology and sound was conducted at SymbioticA, the Center of Excellence for Biological Arts at the University of Western Australia and supervised by BioArt pioneers and TCA (The Tissue Culture and Art Project) artists Dr Ionat Zurr and Oron Catts.  His current practices build on his doctoral studies in data aesthetics and social activism (DXARTS, 2017) in the emerging environments of a post-pandemic future.  As an artist, he has presented work in places like the Gregg Museum of Art and Design (NC, USA), Ectopia Gallery (Lisboa,Portugal), Stamps Gallery (Michigan, USA), El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe (NM, USA), Times Square (NY, USA),  Centro de Cultura Digital, Mexico, the Substation Gallery, Singapore and an upcoming commission for UCLA in the Getty’s PST Art: Art&Science Collide project (2024).