Introducing Kathleen Mcdermott September's Work In Progress Resident At Tac
Kathleen McDermott is a media artist with a background in installation and sculpture. She uses a combination of textiles, sculptural materials and open-source electronics to craft absurd wearable technology pieces that aim to explore the relationship between human bodies and technology, in both real and imagined scenarios. In addition to her artistic practice, she is an advocate for accessible technology education, sharing tutorials for working with DIY electronics on urbanarmor.org.
During her time at the WIP Residency, McDermott will be completing a large skirt covered in speakers, titled Urban Armor #8: The Public Speaker. Production research for this project has included the creation of numerous custom speaker experiments using materials such as conductive thread and magnets. The current iteration of the project uses low-cost, pre-fabricated speakers, individually soldered to mini-amplifiers, and sewn into the garment. The Public Speaker will ultimately be linked to a microphone, and will playback sounds it picks up as the wearer moves through the city, as a kind of mockingbird/surveillance machine. The Public Speaker is part of Urban Armor, a larger series of experimental wearable electronics which respond to environmental and urban data in unique and ridiculous ways, in an effort to bridge the gap between speculative, virtual and physical spaces.
Kathleen holds a BFA in Sculpture from Cornell University, an MFA in Creative Media from City University of Hong Kong, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). She is currently a Visiting Industry Assistant Professor of Integrated Digital Media (IDM) at NYU.