Pat Badani (b. Argentina) draws from the fields of art, science, and technology to explore the intersectionality of environmental and social justice issues. She experiments across media to create artistic arguments that blend aesthetics and criticism, charting connections between theories related to art as object, as medium, and art as critique of political and technological networks.
Over the past 40 years she has exhibited broadly in museums and art centers, and in dedicated Art, Technology and Science platforms in North and South America, Europe, and Asia including ISEA, Transmediale, ELO, FILE, CURRENTS, and Balance-Unbalance, to name a few.
Projects have been distinguished with awards from the Canada Council for the Arts; Illinois Arts Council; DCASE; National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship @ MacDowell, The Robert Heinecken Trust; and recognized with nominations by Creative Capital, Art Matters, and AWAW.
Badani has participated with her essays and talks in over 15 countries during international academic events in institutions such as iDAT Plymouth University (U.K.); Università di Bologna (Italy); Institute of Cultural Studies ZHdK Zurich (Switzerland); NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, N.Y. (USA); Art/Sci Center + Lab, UCLA (USA); University of Toronto (Canada); University of Sydney (Australia); Universidad de Caldas (Colombia); and Universidade Anhembi Morumbi (Brazil). Critical essays analyzing Badani's works have been published in three languages in exhibition catalogues, journals, and in art theory anthologies (“The Performing Observer: Writings on Contemporary Art, Performance, and Photography”, Dr. Martin Patrick, Intellect Press, Bristol, UK - 2022; “Advances in Visual Methodology,” Ed: Dr. Sarah Pink, Sage - 2012; “Extranjeros en la Tecnología y en la Cultura,” Ed: Dr. Néstor García Canclini, Fundación Telefónica - 2009; "Of Borders & Bridges", Dr. Andrea Giunta, Jrp/Ringier - 2009.)
She received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (USA) and a BFA from the University of Alberta (Canada). Her academic trajectory includes the creation of an Integrated Media curriculum at the School of Art, Illinois State University; Acting Director of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Media Arts program at Columbia College Chicago (USA); lecturer at the IUFM (France) and the NBCCD (Canada); Editor-in-Chief of Media-N Journal, the New Media Caucus (USA); and Guest Editor of “Artelogie,” EHESS (France). Having served in the New Media Caucus Board of Directors between 2010 and 2016, since 2017 she serves on the Board of Directors of ISEA International overseeing the continuation of the annual symposia. Badani is scientific program committee member for several international organizations: ISEA; ACM Siggraph; LINK; NMC; ARTelogie; Balance-Unbalance; LEONARDO Journal; and CCA.
ABOUT THE PRACTICE
Born in Argentina, I've lived in Peru, Mexico, Canada, France and, eventually, Chicago, in the USA. Different places, cultures, and languages have not only shaped me as an individual, but also informed my creative practice spanning over 40 years. I consider my experimental projects as a laboratory, allowing me to filter everyday experiences and relate them to larger concepts: transculturality, migration, and sustainable living.
An attentive study of material worlds spanning decades, has led me to question how matter and meaning are entangled in the so-called subject, the so-called instrument, and the so-called object of research, and this has involved a repositioning on my part as the knowing subject. Aware of the complexities involved, the material form adopted in each project is indicative of the evolving relationship between art, technology, science, society, its objects, and its subjects.
Many multi-year research-based projects since 1995 incorporate food as subject and object and are driven by concerns over social disparity, food inequality, other-than-human welfare, and climate change. They involve material engagement in sculpture and installation to digital media (an arguably ‘dematerialized’ form) to Live bacteria: “Tower-Tour” involving bread, “AL GRANO” involving GM corn, “Comestible” involving the everyday meal, “Bichi” involving live bacteria in food. From creating worlds of bread to cultivating friendships with mold spores, these projects explore how cultures intersect with each other around notions of a ‘better-life’, using food to understand worldviews more fully through the lens of a ‘dietic utopia/dystopia’. By means of photography, sculpture, media installation, film, 3D computer animation, augmented reality, graphic and interactive design, culinary arts, creative writing, and book arts, food-associated projects examine subject positions and webs of intersections between humans and other-than-humans; exposing tensions between corporate dictations of the ‘good life’ contrasted with considerations that resist subjugation. (1)
My complex multi-year and multi-part projects involve research, creation, and exhibition, utilizing a method called 'chunking' – a term used in cognitive studies to describe grouping or the formation of clusters. I split research content into small units or 'chunks' linked together through meaning, and this facilitates inspection of multifaceted subjects, with each chunk addressing a specific facet, and all chunks relating to the same nodal concept: sustainable living. When several project chunks are assembled as a group during public exhibitions, different subjectivities are produced as viewers/participants are compelled to unravel meaning by engaging in a chunking process themselves. (2)
(1) An article in which I discuss food associated projects is published in DRAIN Journal: Social/Affects, Vol. 16:1, (December 2020), “Cru et Crédible (Raw and Credible): Art and Food”: http://drainmag.com/cru-et-credible/
(2) An article in which I discuss this system is published in Leonardo Journal, Vol. 50, #1 (February 2018) - MIT Press, “Chunking and Recoding in the Al GRANO Project”: https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/LEON_a_01336