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Claudia Hart: On Synchronics

A collaboration with the School of Art Institute of Chicago

On Synchronics is a media project created by artist Claudia Hart in collaboration with 24 of her former and current students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. It was made with a grant from the Shapiro Center for Research and Collaboration, and developed in dialog with Streaming Museum founder/director, Nina Colosi. It is now serving as both stage set and inspiration forAvatars Live, a fashion show cum opera with an original score by Edmund Campion.

In this technological fairy tale, a virtual character attempts to break out of the digital realm to connect with the real world. It was inspired by an historic work from the Italian Renaissance, Michelangelo’s Slaves – his unfinished sculptures in which a agonized figures struggle to escape the confines of the marble material. Like the Michelangelo figures, the avatars from On Synchronics struggle to preserve their autonomy and humanity in a contemporary world all too often alienating, media saturated and unnervingly technological.

On Synchronics brought together different ideas about individual identity —expressed by animation, video and finally by live performance — into a patchwork quilt created by 24 unique artistic voices. Each artist’s interpretation mutates fluidly, one to the next, across a continuous movement sequence. In this animation, many individual characters merges into a single global body, performing one unified, poetic choreography in which a digital avatar heroically wrestles to escape the confines of the artificial computer world an emerge into the unpredictable flow of reality.


ON SYNCHRONICS is a Collaborative Artwork by Claudia Hart with 24 former students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


Nadav Assor, Israel, MFA, ATS 2011 Sophie Barrett-Kahn, England/Australia,MFA, ATS 2013 Rhys Bevan, USA, BFA, 2011 Lauren Elder, USA, BFA 2012 André and Evan Lenox, BFA 2012 Miao Jiaxin , China, MFA, Photo 2011 Lantian Xie, Dubai/China, MFA, FVNMA 2012 Brook Jonquil, USA, MFA, ATS 2011/ Yara Travesio, USA/Cuba Brian Khek, USA, BFA 2012 Peter Kusek, USA, MA/MFA, VS/FVNMA 2013 Michael Mallis, USA, MFA, FVNMA 2011 Mikey McParlane, USA, MFA, FVNMA 2012 Shane Mecklenburger, USA, MFA, FVNMA 2010 Harold Moss, USA/Negin Sharifzadeh, IRAN, BFA 2008 Katie Torn, USA, MFA, FVNMA 2012 Diana Torres, Columbia, MFA, FVNMA 2012 Nancy Tien, USA/Taiwan, MFA, Performance 2011/Wesley Wilson, USA, MFA, ATS 2011 Yefeng Wang, China, MFA, ATS 2012 Jason Williams, USA, BFA, 2013 Wesley Wilson, USA, MFA, ATS 2011 Jihoon Yoo, Korea, MFA, ATS 2012 Vicky Yen, Taiwan, MFA, FVNMA 2012


After graduating from New York University with a BA cum laude in art history in 1978, Claudia Hart (b. 1955) studied architectural at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture and received a MS in 1984. She then practiced as an art and architecture critic. In 1985-86, she was Associate Editor of ID (then Industrial Design magazine) where, along with Senior Editor Steven Skov Holt, she redeveloped it as ID: the Magazine of International Design. She published her critical writings widely, and then went to Artforum magazine where she served as Reviews Editor until 1988. She continues to write critically but in the academic context, and continues to publish theoretical papers in academic journals such as Media-N, the New Media Caucus journal, Bad Papers and Byte Shark.

In 1988, Hart began to exhibit with the Pat Hearn Gallery, moving from critical to artistic practice. At that time, she exhibited paintings and installations inspired by the visionary architectural languages of Ledoux, Boullee and Leque. After receiving an NEA Fellowship in 1989, she shifted her practice to Europe where she spent ten years and received numerous fellowships, including the Kunstfond Bonn, Stiftung Kulturfonds, the Stiftung Luftbrueckendank Grant, the Arts International Foundation Grant, the Kunstlerhaus Bethanian grant and two fellowships from the American Center in Paris.

In Europe she exhibited widely with galleries and museums. Her work from this time has been collected by the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum, New York; M.I.T. List Center, Cambridge; Vera List Center for Art and Politics, New School, New York; San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Berlin; and the Sammlung Goetz Museum, Munich.

Hart returned to New York in 1998 to publish two illustrated books, originally catalogs for her exhibitions. She wrote, illustrated and designed A Child’s Machiavelli, published by Abbeville, Penguin and Nautilus, and Dr. Faustie’s Guide to Real Estate Development, published by Nautilus. Hart then studied animation at N.Y.U.’s Center for Advanced Digital Applications with the intention of animating her illustrated books. Instead she developed a body of work consisting of 3D-animated installations that she thinks of as temporal paintings.

Her contemporary art consists of designs for sublime landscape gardens often containing expressive and sensual female bodies meant to interject emotional subjectivity into what is typically the overly-determined Cartesian world of digital design. Her work has been seen at various public institutions including MoMA PS1, New York; PS122, New York; biennial Zero1, San Jose, and had the first one-woman show presented at the Wood Street Galleries in Pittsburgh. Her works are part of The Sandor Family Collection, Chicago; the Teutloff Photo + Video Collection, Cologne; and the Borusan Contemporary Art Collection, Istanbul, among others.

Hart is an Associate Professor in the department of Film, Video, New Media and Animation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


October 4, 2013 – Art Institute of Chicago

November 2 – 25, 2013 – Microwave International New Media Festival, Hong Kong

May/June 2014 – Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology, NYC

TBA - Transfer Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

TBA - International locations


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