Tega Brain is an Australian born artist and environmental engineer, making eccentric engineering. Her work intersects art, ecology, and engineering and takes the form of dysfunctional devices, eccentric infrastructures and experimental information systems.
She has recently exhibited at the Guangzhou Triennial, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, the New Museum, NYC and the Science Gallery in Dublin. Her work has been widely discussed in the press including in the New York Times, Art in America, The Atlantic, NPR, Al Jazeera and The Guardian and in art and technology blogs like the Creators Project and Creative Applications. She has given talks and workshops at museums and festivals like EYEO, TedxSydney and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt.
Tega is an Assistant Professor of Integrated Digital Media, New York University. She works with the Processing Foundation on the Learning to Teach conference series and p5js project. She has been awarded residencies and fellowships at Data & Society, Eyebeam, GASP Public Art Park, the Environmental Health Clinic and the Australia Council for the Arts.
Selected AI projects:
Glass tanks, wetland plant species, gravel, sand, acrylic pipes, shade balls, electronics, misters, lighting, pumps, custom software, 3 channel sound.
Deep Swamp is a triptych of semi-inundated environments that gather together wetland life forms and artificially intelligent software agents.
The 6th Guangzhou Triennial: As We May Think- Feedforward. December 21st - March 10 2019.
Guangdong Museum of Art.
The Environment is Not a System
Peer-Reviewed Paper Published on APRJA
How do computational technologies shape ecological thought? Brain’s paper highlights the risks of treating the natural world as a system, and the dangers of treating ecosystems as knowable quantified enough to be improved through AI, drawing on examples from both art and science.
Smell Dating Creates the World’s First “Mail Odor” Dating Service to Help Singles Sniff Out a Hot Date, Dating News, March 5, 2019
Artificial Intelligence, Like a Robot, Enhances Museum Experiences,Jane L. Levere, New York Times, October 15th, 2018.
Le projet New Organs veut terrasser le capitalisme de la surveillance, Thibault Prévost, Vice France, Sept 4th, 2018.
Digital ads are starting to feel psychic, Oscar Schwartz, The Outline, July 13th, 2018.
This is your brain on Wi-Fi, Straith Schreder, Internet Citizen, Mozilla, January 22, 2018.
An Exhaustive List Of Art Projects Threatened By The Proposed NEA Cuts,Katherine Brooks, Huffington Post, January 25, 2017.
As Trump Threatens the NEA, an Artist Compiles All the Projects It Funded Last Year,Claire Voon, Hyperallergic, January 27, 2017.
Experience Enron's Everyday Evil with a 500,000+ Email Experiment,Azura Wannmann, Creators Project, January 4, 2017.
Finding Inspiration for Art in the Betrayal of Privacy,Jenna Wortham, The New York Times, December 27, 2016.
A Tech Collective Sets Up a Sleek Boutique — to Help Visitors Elude Big Data., Jay Cassano, Hyperallergic, December 2016.
These Brooklyn artists are exploring the dark side of Big Data, April Joyner, Technical.ly Brooklyn, December 2016.\
Corporate Malfeasance as Service – The Enron Email Simulator, Greg J. Smith, Creative Applications, November 2016.
What Enron’s emails tell us about artificial intelligence, Tyler Woods, Technical.ly Brooklyn, November 2016.
I'd Swipe Right on Yr Metadata,Liat Berdugo, Transart Triennale, 2016.
Fit for the Future: The 2016 Eyeo Festival, Desi Gonzalez, Art in America, June 2016.
Eccentric Wi-Fi Routers Put the "Fun" in Functional Art, Beckett Mufson, Creators Project, June 2016.
The nose knows: Can you find love with smell dating?Jessica Martin, ABC Online, May 27, 2016.
Confessions of a Data Broker and other tales of a quantified society,Régine Debatty, We Make Money Not Art, April 28th, 2016.
Love in the Singles, Mandy Oaklander, Time Magazine, April, 2016.
Here’s What Happened When I Agreed To Try ‘Smell Dating’, Noah Michelson, Huffington Post, April 26th, 2016.
Smell dating: sniffing out potential lovers (and their sweaty T-shirts), Amber Jamieson, The Guardian USA. April 27, 2016.
Love is in the armpit at New York's Smell Dating,Barbara Goldberg and Angela Moore, Reuters, March 24, 2016.
This Dating Site Matches You Based On Your B.O., Katie Notopoulos, BuzzFeed News, February 16, 2016.
How to Fake Your Workout, Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, September 28, 2015.
Unfitbits: How To Trick Your Fitbit Into Thinking You're Working Out But You're Not,Kif Leswing, International Business Times, 2015.
Strange Weather: alien flowers in the Arctic, raindrop that floats in mid-air and jellyfish snacks for all, Regine DeBatty, We Make Money Not Art, 2014.
Art activism, Nathan Li, Green Lifestyle Magazine, 2014.
Meet Tega Brain, environmental engineer and artist, Xavier Mayes, Learning and Teaching Sustainability,Office for Learning and Teaching, 2013.
If a system fails in a forest, is anybody listening?, Urszula Dawkins, Realtime Arts, June 2013.
Le Temps, Interview on Talking Through Your Arts, Angela Stretch and Chris Virtue, 2SER Radio, March 2, 2013.
Engineering an Artistic Streak, Rashell Habib, The Telegraph, March 17.
Youngsters & The City Wilderness Trail, Andrew Frost, The ArtLife, Sept 6, 2012.
Slow Cycle, The Evolution of Coin Operated Wetland, Megan Garrett-Jones, Runway, Issue 21, January 2012.
A Stock Exchange, Amelia Stein, Runway, Issue 9, July, 2011.
The Ordinary Collective, Bridie Connell, Das SuperPaper, Issue 14, 2010.
Tooling the Art of Electronics, Somaya Langlay, Realtime Arts, Issue 95, 2010.
Stop and Smell the Roses,The Ellen DeGeneres Show, May 2016.
Finding Love at first Whiff, Reuters, 2016.
Dating by Smell, AJ+, Al Jazeera, April 2016.
The Fairest of Them All,Benjamin Walker's Theory of Everything, November 2016,
Witness the Fitness, Joel Werner, ABC Radio, Radio National Health Report, December 2016.
What Is Smell Dating, And Does It Work?Huffington Post, Love and Sex Podcast, 2016.
News and exhibitions:
System Failure. Unfit Bits. MAY 4–25, 2019. Minnesota Street Project.
Vienna Biennale for Change. Asunder. MAY 29 – JUNE 10, 2019. Museum of Applied Arts.
The New Organs. Is the internet listening in on you? Contribute your story at neworgans.net. Commissioned by Mozilla.
Device Art Triennale. Being Radiotropic. December 18th - February 15th 2019. Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art, Croatia.
The 6th Guangzhou Triennial: As We May Think- Feedforward. Deep Swamp. December 21st - March 10 2019. Guangdong Museum of Art.
6 – 11th Nov. Being Radiotropic in Neon Digital Arts Festival Dundee Botanic Garden
July 21 - Oct 21st. Deep Swamp in Machines are Not Alone, Device Art Triennale, Chronus Art Center, Shanghai.
Sept 8th - Oct 15th, 2018. Keeping Time, Systematic, Plimsoll Gallery, University of Tasmania, Hobart.
July 22nd: Talk at Field Remediations workshop with Karolina Sobecka, Chronus Art Center.
March 10 & 17: Algorithmic Disobedience Workshop, Hunter College, NYC.
April 11-13: MUTEK_IMG Conference, Montreal.
March 7: Art, Activism and Algorithms: Aesthetic Interventions in Machine Bias at Hunter College (postponed).
January 16 - March 4: Exhibition, Stream Capture, MCAD, Minnapolis.
2nd February: Participant in Research Values Workshop and Panel, Transmediale Festival, Berlin.
20th January: Organizing Learning to Teach, IDM NYU. Tickets on sale here.
15th December:Organizing Learning to Teach, Day for Night Festival, Houston. RSVP here.
2nd December:Speaker at Art and Science: The Two Cultures Converging conference, The Helix Center, NYC.
29th November: Talk, Design Research, Writing & Criticism, SVA, NYC.
26th October: The Quantified Self Davies Forum, University of San Fransisco.
23rd October –15th November: Exhibition - The Glass Room London, with Tactical Tech.
21st - 29th October: Smell Dating in Internet of Women Things (part of Manifestations Veemgebouw), Dutch Design Week.
6th October: Making Natural Language, A Evening with the Enron Email Archive, the New Museum.
September: The Good Life exhibited in First Look, New Art Online, the New Museum.
24th September: Speaker for Adweek Art Panel, Whitney Museum.
June 1st: Tega Brain in conversation with Alexander Scholz, Node Forum, Frankfurt.
June 26th – July 2nd: Being Radiotropic exhibited at Node Forum, Frankfurt.
April 28th: Friday Late, Victoria And Albert Museum, London.
April 28-29th: Interrupt 4, Brown University, Providence, RI.
March 9th - May 14th: Internet of Women Things, Tetem Gallery, Enschede, Netherlands.
March 25th - July 16th: No Secrets, Eres Foundation, Munich.
April 17th: Media and Thermodynamics, Media Studies Lecture Series, New School, NYC.
March 26th: Ten Days on the Island, Glenorchy Public Art Park, Hobart.
March 9th - April 9th: Working Promesse, Biennale Internationale Design, Saint-Etienne.
September - January 8th: Smell Dating in The Life Fair, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Museumpark 25, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
January 23rd: New project exploring art forms funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Made in its defense.
January 15th: Organizer of Learning to Teach Conference II, with Processing Foundation and School for Poetic Computation.
November 30th: Learning to Teach: A Panel on Learning, ICP, NY.
November 29th - December 16th: Unfit Bits and Smell Dating in the Glass Room, NYC.
November 16-27th: Smell Dating, Doclab, International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam.
November: The Good Life, launched on Rhizome front page.
October - April '17: Futurs Non Conformes, a virtual exhibition by Jeu de Paume.
October 28th: Speaker at ITP, NYU guest artist series.
October 6th: Speaker at Weird Reality Art and Code, Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh.
September 24th: Speaker, Better World by Design conference, Brown University.
September 17th-22nd: Unfit Bits exhibited at Sleep Center, NYC.
August 15th-27th: Workshop at Code Subversions, School for Poetic Computation.
July 25th - 29th: Workshop: Eccentric Interfaces, Environmental Interventions Workshop, Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. Course materials.
June 18th: Opening of Beasts of Alderley, a new public artwork commissioned by Brisbane City Council.
6-9th June: Speaker at the Eyeo Festival
May 4th: Speaker at Republica, Berlin.
April 19th– May 13th: Exhibition: Geek Girls, The Block, Brisbane.
April 15th: Speaker at Mistakes Were Made, NYU Department of Media, Culture, and Communication.
12-24th March: Research residency at GASP, Tasmania
March 11th - May 9th: Exhibition: Unfit Bits in Nervous Systems, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin.
Feb 29th: Lecture at Hacker School, NYC.
January 9th/10th: Co-organizing the Learning to Teach Conference at SFPC, with Taeyoon Choi.
December 13th: Eccentric Engineering Panel, South Street Seaport, Eyebeam.
December 5th: Speaker at Software for Artists, Pioneer Works, Brooklyn.
19 November - 20 December: Exhibition: Inside/Out, Eyebeam Artist Showcase, South Street Seaport. Open Tues-Sun 12-7pm.
October 24th: Speaker at Radical Networks, NYC.
September 12th – November 7th: Exhibition: Design Thinking: Experimental Practice, Griffith University Art Gallery, Brisbane.
September 29th: Speaker at Obfuscation Book Launch, NYU Department of Media, Culture, and Communication.
April-September: Residency: Spring/summer at Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology, NYC.
August 27th – October 10th: Exhibition: Future Nature, Object: Australian Design Centre, Sydney.
September 19th: Speaker at Open Hardware Summit, Philadelphia.
September 12th: Internet Yami-Ichi, NYC
May 21st: Speaker at TEDx, Sydney.
April 27th: Lecture at Magnet, NYU Poly / School of Engineering.
Writing by Tega Brain:
Brain, T. (2018). 'The Environment is not a System' published in APRJA, 2018.
Brain, T. and Lavigne S. (2016) Simulating Enron, Rhizome Blog.
Brain, T., Mattu, S., Abend, P. & Fuchs, M. (2016). 'I think it worked because Mercury was in the House of Jupiter!' published in Quantified Selves | Statistic Bodies, Digital Culture and Society.
Brain, T. (2015) At Home in the Universe, Tega Brain interviews Margaret Wertheim. Guernica Magazine.
Brain T. (2012). 'Making Architecture Public' in Expanded architecture : avant-garde film + expanded cinema + architecture. Broken Dimanche Press, Berlin, Germany. March 2012. Chapter can be found here.