Amy Alexander is an artist and professor who has been making computationally-based art projects since the mid-1990s. Over the years, Amy has worked in net art, software art, computationally-based installation, audiovisual performance, film, video, music and information technology. Her research and practice focuses on how contemporary media – from performative cinema to social media – changes along with cultural and technological shifts. She has a particular interest in the cultural impact algorithmic bias and subjectivity and the potential for individual responses. Amy has exhibited at museums, international festivals, in clubs and on the streets. She has written and lectured on software art, software as culture, and audiovisual performance, and she has served as a reviewer for festivals and commissions for new media art and computer music. She is an Associate Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. Amy has a Master of Fine Arts in Film/Video from California Institute of the Arts and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Rowan University of New Jersey.
Amy’s projects have been exhibited at venues including The Whitney Museum, Prix Ars Electronica, Transmediale, SIGGRAPH, ISEA, Zero1, the New Museum, NIME, International Conference on Live Coding, and International Conference on Live Interfaces as well club performances including Sonar (Barcelona), First Avenue (Minneapolis) and Melkweg (Amsterdam). She has performed on the streets of Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Zürich, and Aberdeen, Scotland. Her work has been discussed in publications including Wired, The New York Times, Slashdot, Ecrans, Leonardo, The Boston Globe and the Washington Post.
Amy – who has also worked under the names Cue P. Doll and VJ Übergeek – has been active since the early days of computationally-driven internet art, beginning in 1996 with the Multi-Cultural Recycler, a site that spoofed both net celebrity and faux multi-culturalism on the web. She first addressed online algorithms with CueJack, her 2001 alternate software for the :CueCat personal barcode scanner, and her VJ performance CyberSpaceLand (2003-2015), which sought to extract buried personal narratives from search results. In 2006, she created SVEN (Surveillance Video Entertainment Network), a team project which used computer vision to develop surveillance algorithms to critique the mystique of surveillance technologies by finding suspected “rock stars” instead of suspected criminals. She discussed the role of mystique in algorithmic control in a journal article, About… Software, Surveillance, Scariness, Subjectivity (and SVEN) (2006/2008)1 and book chapter “SVEN (Surveillance Video Entertainment Network): Looking Back and Forward (2014). 2
Amy’s recent audiovisual performance project PIGS (Percussive Image Gestural System) (2015-2018), uses custom algorithms to allow implementation of a silent percussion-based system to implement a structured approach to real-time animated visual performance. During PIGS’s 2018 performances, Amy debuted a software-based “utopian algorithm” curation system that highlights some of the Internet’s lost personal narratives from near real-time public YouTube uploads. Amy’s other major works include plagiarist.org (1998-2002), theBot (2001), Reamweaver (with The Yes Men, 2002), Scream (2005), and Discotrope (with Annina Rüst, 2012.)
In addition to her art projects, Amy was also a co-founder and moderator of Runme.org, a major international software art repository. She was also an early member of the TOPLAP live coding collective, and she has been active in algorithmic and media art curation — both as a festival juror and as a peer reviewer for academic conferences and journals.
Amy’s work has been influenced by her background in musical performance. Besides continuing her own performances, she’s published texts and book chapters on audiovisual performance history. Amy particularly enjoys researching early 20th century audiovisual performance artist and inventor Mary Hallock-Greenewalt, and she operates an online archive and a Facebook page highlighting lesser known materials by and about Hallock-Greenewalt.