Recent News

Prof. Pedram Baldari, Assistant Professor in Studio Art at the College of Visual Arts and Design (CVAD), UNT, is our newest iARTA member.

Pedram received his first degree in Architecture, from University of Tehran, in Tehran, Iran, where he also took classes in the School of Fine Arts, which nurtured his early interest in conceptual art. Through study of art theory and history, he developed a studio practice by exploring art as a form to express and address social issues. This is characterized by one of his earlier works, Irrexxxsible, which utilizes x-ray machines as a camera to inspect what is underneath Western branded fashion products. The photographs explore the contradiction between the Iranian state’s ban on the products (referred to as “Western cultural invasion”), and Iranian teenagers’ fascination with them.

(Photos above: Irrexxxsible, X-Ray photo installation, X-Ray films and Negatoscope, 19x15x5 inches, series of 12, 2010, Iran)

Prof. Baldari then moved to the United States and received his MFA in Studio Art from Texas Tech University (2015). His more recent works seek to explore intersectionality and marginalized narratives, to connect his experience as a Kurdish-Iranian minority in Iran, with underrepresented groups, in particular, Indigenous communities, in America. His practice also reflects on issues related to immigration and marginalization. His work, Immigration Laws and How to Use Them (2019), investigates how the U.S. Immigration Policy has historically excluded racial minorities.

(Photos above: Immigration Laws and How to Use Them, 2019, Walker Art Museum)

During his previous teaching post at the University of Minnesota, Prof. Baldari developed an ongoing interest in sound. Through collaboration with musicians on the work, Variations of Sounds, Traveling Between a Barrel and a Heart (2019– ), Prof. Baldari repurposed guns as wind instruments, utilizing clarinet mouthpieces attached to rifle barrels. This project generated a deeper understanding of the musical world. He recognizes two far-ends of the music world and the art world – one being classical operas and orchestras, another being highly curated and commodified art galleries – with little conversations between each other. In this process Pedram has realized there is a middle ground, where musicians and visual artists connect with interdisciplinary approaches. As he describes, “This is, for me, a new world to explore, and that’s why I became fascinated with that conversation – how my work can evolve by being exposed to musicians who live in between music performance and visual arts.”

(Video above: Variations of Sounds, Traveling Between a Barrel and a Heart (2019– ))

Most recently Prof. Baldari has begun work with another iARTA member, Dr. Marco Buongiorno Nardelli, whom he collaborated with on Requiem Between a Barrel and a Heart (2022), an installation piece that uses FM radio transmitters and transistor radios, yarn, bullets, along with fixed media created from instrumental samples and voice recordings. The radio transmitting soundscape and the data-driven musical system echo to the aesthetics of improvisation and chance elements developed by composer John Cage. The musical sound changes upon interaction with visitors. The work utilizes instruments from Variations of Sounds, Traveling Between a Barrel and a Heart, along with recorded voices that, according to the work description, “count series of numbers in correspondence to the number of victims of gun violence and war across the globe.”

(Video above: Requiem Between a Barrel and a Heart (2022), CURRENTS NEW MEDIA FESTIVAL: CIRCUITS, Santa Fe, NM)


Pedram Baldari is an Assistant Professor in Studio Art at University of North Texas. 

He is a Kurdish-Iranian born, sculptor, architect and interdisciplinary artist, working in installation, site specific, performance art, social practice and sculpture. Pedram is based between Minneapolis, MN and Denton, TX. He has been featured in numerous national and international solo and group art exhibitions since 2010 including Victoria and Albert museum London 2012, Documenta 13th Video Import-Export program, Video Nomad Tokyo 2015, Art Basel Basel Switzerland 2014 and shown work across the U.S in museums and galleries as recent as his work at Walker Art Museum. He has participated in international residencies and group exhibitions in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Turkey, and the U.S. Prof. Baldari is the recipient of 2012 Magic of Persia and Delfina Foundation Award, Jerome Fellowship Commission for Franconia Sculpture Park 2017, Vermont Studio Center Award 2015–2020, StarDust Fund for his fellowship and art residency at Weisman Art Museum, he is awarded for 2021 spring/summer MacDowell Art Fellowship for two months Artists Residency at MacDowell Art Colony.

To find out more about Prof. Baldari’s works, visit https://www.pedrambaldari.com/.

Diana Rojas and Zuyva Sevilla are intermedia artists who exemplify the collaborative and interdisciplinary spirit of iARTA. Both Diana, a current MFA student in New Media Art and Zuyva, an alumnus, have pulled from many different disciplines to creative innovative and sophisticated approaches to their praxis as artists. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictured above; Zuyva's Superlux 17 and Diana's Material Transformative

Diana’s art, which has been exhibited nationally and internationally, exists at a veritable crossroads of visual art, material science, philosophy, history, and music. This leads her to create deep and introspective pieces focused on perceptions of the liminal spaces between the sublime and the physical. The spiritual core of her work is informed by light, sound, and material science and how the interactions of these physical elements can create dramatic, sophisticated, and complex results. Some of her recent pieces explore the use of silica aerogel, an ethereal synthetic material made almost entirely of air, highlighting her keen interest in the boundaries between the physical and the otherworldly.

Pictured above; Diana Rojas 

Working with material sciences has also informed Diana’s approach to her artistic praxis as a whole; beyond the obvious terminological differences between the disciplines, Diana has found inspiration in the material scientists’ approach to process and failure. Since materials often fail due to some error in the fabrication process, failure is a routine and necessary part of their working process. This often means that starting over is a natural a part of the material scientists’ workflow, making it a natural and necessary aspect of the journey to the end goal of producing a new object or material. This has inspired Diana, who now sees challenges or failures in her own work to be natural parts of her artistic praxis as she explores these dynamic new directions for her art.  This exploration of silica as a material has also led to a deep and ongoing study of materials such as glass and sand, whose latent qualities make them ideal for explorations in light and sound. 

Pictured above; Diana's Quanta

In addition to her work with material sciences, Diana has a profound interest in the use of sound and music in her art, and she has often worked directly with musicians and composers to create musical performances and installations. This use of sound comes from her burgeoning interest in psychoacoustics and the ways that music can evoke a feeling of the ethereal and metaphysical. In an artistic context, this often means evoking a specific atmosphere that is dramatic and evocative of the existential enormity of the divine.  Diana, a musician herself, has created pieces ranging from interactive visual pieces with live performers to five-screen ambisonic fixed media video works to intimate and introspective installations with ambient sounds. 

Pictured above; Diana's Harbinger

More than anything, the most exciting thing about collaborative and interdisciplinary work for Diana is the community she’s built. As she said in our recent interview, 

"One thing that I really love about the interdisciplinary process is that it's not just about how different forms can be produced, but for me it's also connecting with people and building my own personal community. This, in turn, helps with building my communication skills, because there's a different way that I have to communicate with each department in each group of people. I don’t want to just commission the work, I really like to be able to go into unfamiliar spaces and learn about somebody else's field, life and process. Learning from and being inspired by their passions influence my work in a way that is very rewarding and gratifying.”

Like Diana, Zuyva finds fulfillment in building bridges between creative people in multiple disciplines “It’s been wonderful to work with people who dedicate their lives to skills that I don’t have so that we can work symbiotically toward a common project; some of the people I work with can do things beyond my comprehension, and I hope that I’m also bringing something meaningful to the table.” 

Pictured above; Zuyva Sevilla

Zuyva’s interests have taken him deep into collaboration with scientists, and his passion for science has led him to work with Ideum, an innovative company that uses cutting edge technology to design public installations and educational displays to create compelling and informative interactive experiences. As an A/V Design technician, Zuyva’s creative skills as an artist are called upon alongside his broad technical expertise to create aesthetic realizations of practical concepts in public museums and galleries across New Mexico.

By creating compelling artistic realizations of scientific concepts, Zuyva hopes to capture the attention of people in his community and help them to understand ideas that might otherwise fail to compel or inspire them. His work with Ideum has allowed him to merge his passion for science and his experience as an artist creating visually compelling works.

Zuyva’s own art reflects his interests in physics and material sciences with his series of studies on the physical properties of light through custom designed and realized resin lenses. These lenses illustrate characteristics and patterns within light waves to create deeply compelling explorations of the aesthetic implications of the natural properties of the fundamental building blocks of our universe.

Pictured above; Zuyva's Superlux 11 

This scientifically minded approach has led Zuyva to be extremely versatile, able to work well within the constraints that specific installations often demand when working with scientific principles.

“With all of these scientific installations that I’m doing, it’s great to be able to work with all of these different people of different backgrounds and take all of their perspectives into account; taking a set idea and figuring out how to turn it into something tangible has been extremely rewarding.”

This versatility doesn’t just stop at interactions with science, however. Zuyva’s collaborators have included other visual artists, composers and musicians, filmmakers, and creative coders as a part of multiple iterations of iARTA’s Intermedia Performance Art Class, where he helped to create virtual exhibitions and augmented reality experiences as a part of the total immersive experience. In 2020, he was one of the lead designers and the video streaming systems technician for Press <G> to Fly, a virtual exhibition and performance site created in Mozilla Hubs.  

Pictured above; Zuyva's Synistani

You can find more info about Diana here and Zuyva here.

 

December 05, 2021

Joseph Klein's dance film, Chain of Circumstances, was selected for the FilmFest by RogueDancer: Dance NOIR Edition, which is showing online from November 19 through December 5.

Chain of Circumstances, a modular work for solo pianist and solo dancer, explores aspects of recombinance, modularity, and non-linear musical structures. In this regard, the work is conceived as a series of disparate, distinctive, and relatively static musical states that provides an ever-changing sonic canvas, which the pianist(s) may alter at will. In performances that include solo dancer and/or electronics, the result is a kind of dynamic and unpredictable “feedback loop” between the various elements; this fixed video realization of the work was created specifically for the type of remote concert experience that has become common (and necessary) during the current pandemic. Chain of Circumstances was supported by a grant from Texas Woman’s University, and composed in February–March 2020 for pianist Richard Shuster and dancer/choreographer Jordan Fuchs.

Joseph Klein – Director, Composer, Audio/Video Editing & Producer; Richard Shuster – Pianist; Jordan Fuchs – Dancer & Choreographer; Dayna Ballenger – Lighting Designer (dance); Danielle Willis – Camera Operator (dance)

In the midst of the pandemic, Sonic Murals highlighted the strength and creativity of the greater Denton Arts community. A joint venture between iARTA and CEMI, Sonic Murals solicited music, sound art, new media, performance, and digital art for remote presentation, streamed simultaneously on Twitch and YouTube. The festival’s five concerts included 53 pieces of art, music, and media by Denton artists and musicians as well as UNT students, faculty, and alumni. The streams were simultaneously presented at three sites, in the UNT College of Music Courtyard, as an installation projected onto the side of the College of Music just outside the Merrill Ellis Intermedia Theatre, and in the College of Visual Art and Design. 

While social distancing and measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have disrupted the traditional paradigm for the presentation of concerts at the College of Music, endeavors like Sonic Murals strive to maintain and strengthen the connection between artists in the community, giving them a platform to share and promote their work. Streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube also allow users to comment on the pieces as they are being presented, allowing for participants to connect to one another as their art unfolds. This allows for a new kind of connection between creators in the community, giving them a sense of participation in the presentation and facilitating the free exchange of ideas. 

Though we have been faced with challenges in 2020, organizations such as iARTA and CEMI continue to strive to present new avenues for students, faculty, and community members to present their work and engage in the thriving community of artists and creative thinkers in Denton.