SPARKS Postcard June 2023

The Phantasmagoric Dispositif: Collapsing Time and Space

SPARKS Postcard June 2023


Phantasmagorias have captivated imaginations, artistic inquiries, and critical discourse for well over two centuries. The phantasmagoric dispositif situates spectator and image in real-time assembly, collapsed within a single time and space, seemingly freed from material constraints. From eighteenth and nineteenth century theatrics; through contemporary stage illusions, themed entertainment, immersive and intermedia arts events, and real-time computational arts; what do historical and contemporary phantasmagorias indicate for the future of art and technology? This event considers diverse perspectives on phantasmagoria through critical and practical approaches in contemporary media arts, architecture, and theatrical production.


Blinn and Lambert is the collaborative name of Nicholas Steindorf and Kyle Williams. The two Brooklyn-based artists began working together in 2016 to expand their practice in optical media, special effects, video, and animation. Together, they have exhibited at Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn, NY; the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, NY; ArtSpace in New Haven, CT; and PIX Film in Toronto. Approaching light and time-based media from a practice in painting, their works question the use of light to transform pictures into phenomenological experiences. How can images made with light describe material, hold time, or elicit a sense of presence?

John Colette is a Media Artist, Academic and Curator who works at the intersection of media, production and public space. He currently works as a professor of Motion Media Design at The Savannah College of Art and Design, and is curator of the Annual Digital Graffiti Festival at Alys Beach, Florida, which has grown to be the largest projection festival in the United States.

Sarah Fornace is a founding co-Artistic Director of Manual Cinema. She has worked as a director, performer, choreographer, writer, and story artist on numerous theatre, immersive, museum, and film projects for Manual Cinema. Her puppetry with Manual Cinema has been featured in films including a production of Oedipus Rex with the L.A. Opera and the new Candyman remake directed by Nia DaCosta and produced by Jordan Peele. She won an Emmy with Manual Cinema for her work on the short video The Forger with The New York Times. Outside of Manual Cinema: Sarah has worked with Redmoon Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Court Theatre, and Blair Thomas and Co. Sarah wrote the story mode for the video game Rivals of Aether as well as directed their 2021 Direct Release in which she created a loving homage to the Muppet Show. In 2016, she directed and devised an “animotion” (live motion capture) production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet for HamletScen at Kromborg Castle in Elsinore, Denmark.

Juergen Hagler is an academic researcher and curator working at the interface of animation, game, and media art. He studied art education, experimental visual design, and cultural studies at the University for Art and Design Linz, Austria. Currently, he is a Professor of Computer Animation and Media Studies and the head of studies of the bachelor’s and master’s programme Digital Arts at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Hagenberg Campus. Since 2014 he has been the co-head of the research group Playful Interactive Environments, focusing on investigating new and natural forms of interaction and using playful mechanisms to encourage specific behavioral patterns. Juergen Hagler has been involved in the activities of Ars Electronica since 1997 in a series of different functions. Since 2017 he is the director of the Ars Electronica Animation Festival and initiator and organizer of the Expanded Animation Symposium.

Rasean Davonté Johnson is a video artist and designer of projections, scenery, and sound for theatre, film, and installations. Based in Chicago, his practice eightinfinitystudio specializes in design, video engineering, consultation, and content creation for the performing arts. Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, he is a graduate of The Ohio State University where he studied primarily as actor, director, and cinematographer in film. He received his MFA from the Yale School of Drama in Design as a student in the projection program, and has lectured at Yale University, Columbia College Chicago, and The Theatre School at Depaul. His theatre work includes collaborations with numerous institutions and has been seen across the world. In addition to design for theatre he has also worked on several video installations including The March to Liberation at the New York Philharmonic, and We Are All In This Together: Shutdown, Crisis, Restart as a part of WonderWall at Bay Street Theatre.

Miwa Matreyek is an animator, designer, and performer originally based in Los Angeles, now based on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, also known as Vancouver BC. She has been an internationally touring artist since 2010. Coming from a background in animation, Matreyek creates live, staged performances in which she interacts with her animations as a shadow silhouette at the intersection of cinematic and theatrical, illusionistic and physical, hand-made and digital. Her work exists in a dreamlike visual space that makes invisible worlds visible, often weaving surreal and poetic narratives of conflict between humans, nature and the climate crisis. She is an assistant professor at the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. Previous presentations include TED Global, Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontiers program, MoMA, SFMoMA, and many more.

Larry Shea is an artist and educator working with digital and analog media, creating visuals and interactivity for theatrical productions and fine artworks around the world. Recent production work and research has been focused on using smartphones for live events, connecting audiences and performers in meaningful new configurations. He led the team that created an augmented reality “app” used throughout “The Elements of Oz,” and developed a phone-based interactive site, where remote audiences competed with each other over menial micro-tasks, for the recent online performance “I Agree to the Terms,” both with the acclaimed media-theater company The Builders Association. He continues to work with the Builders on several new projects in development. Larry is an Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he founded and runs the Video & Media Design MFA & BFA programs, and is the Area Chair of Design for the School of Drama.

Dr. Joel Zika is an immersive media specialist whose research examines the themed entertainment industry and the ways it can influence creative practice in art and design. Dr Zika is currently and Assistant Professor at Kent State in UX and Animation. Joel’s PHD dissertation received an Australian Postgraduate Award and focused on how ride design can inform contemporary media production. Dr Zika has published extensively on virtual technology and contributed to popular articles on the topic for Vice, The Conversation and VR News. As a media designer Dr. Zika has led projects in virtual reality film, documentary, interactive animation and public installation for over 15 years. Recently his creative works have screened at the Moss Arts Center Virginia, Fed Square Melbourne and Dark Mofo Hobart. His work features in the books ‘Darkness and Light in Australia Art’ and ‘Digital Light’ from Fibreculture books.


Johannes DeYoung is an internationally recognized artist and filmmaker who works at the intersection of computational and material processes. His moving-image works have been exhibited internationally at venues such as: Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Alicante, Alicante, Spain; Festival ECRÃ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan; B3 Biennale of the Moving Image, Frankfurt en Main, Germany; Hesse Flatow (Crush Curatorial), Jeff Bailey Gallery, Robert Miller Gallery, Interstate Projects, Eyebeam, and MoMA PS1 Print Studio, New York, NY; as well as numerous festival screenings in countries such as Australia, Greece, Ireland, New Zealand, Turkey, and Vietnam. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The New York Post, The Huffington Post, and Dossier Journal. DeYoung is currently appointed Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University; from 2008-18 he taught at Yale University, where he served as the founding Director of the Center for Collaborative Arts and Media.

Dr. Gustavo Alfonso Rincon (Ph.D., M.Arch., M.F.A., B.S, B.A.) is a Senior Associate Postdoctoral Fellow for the AlloSphere Research Facility, affiliated with the Media Arts and Technology Program (MAT), California NanoSystems Institute at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) where he earned his doctorate titled “Shaping Space as Information: A Conceptual Framework for New Media Architectures.” Rincon is educated as an architect, artist, and media arts/science design researcher. His academic and creative works have been exhibited nationally and internationally along with serving clients globally. Rincon works as an educator, practitioner, and thought leader in the fields of Art, Architecture/Computational design, Media Arts/Science, and Speculative Design Engineering. He also serves in dual leadership roles as a Curator for ACM SIGGRAPH Digital Arts Community and Senior Organizing Member for DigitalFUTURES International. He is providing service as an Awards Juror for the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Awards for Excellence in Science Communications, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Awards Juror for an ACM SIGGRAPH Endowed Traveling Fund, and Peer Reviewer for the Leonardo/ISAST | MIT Press Journal.