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Edward A. Shanken

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Title: Edward A. Shanken  
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Subject: Systems art, Information art, Cybernetic art, Jack Burnham, Electronic art
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Edward A. Shanken

Edward A. Shanken
Edward A. Shanken at Art Center College of Design, Media Design Practices
Born 1964
Education PhD in Art History
Occupation Professor
Employer University of Washington
Known for research at the intersection of art and technology

Edward A. Shanken (born 1964) is an American art historian, whose work focuses on the entwinement of art, science and technology, with a focus on experimental new media art and visual culture. His scholarship has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies and has been translated into six languages.


Edward A. Shanken graduated from Haverford College (1986) and then obtained an MA (1999) and Ph.D. (2001) in Art History from Duke University after receiving an MBA from Yale University in 1990. He was the Executive Director of the Information Science Information Studies program (ISIS) at Duke University from 2001 to 2004. From 2004 to 2007 Shanken was Professor of Art History and Media Theory at Savannah College of Art and Design and Senior Researcher at the UCLA Art | Science Center and Visiting Scholar at the California NanoSystems Institute from 2007 to 2008. He joined the Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam in 2008, where he served as Universitair Docent, New Media and Digital Culture, 2008-2010 and as a Researcher, 2010-2012. In 2010, he was the inaugural Louis D. Beaumont Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis. Since 2007 he has served on the faculty of the Media Art Histories MA program at Donau University, Krems, Austria. In 2013 he joined the faculty at the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) at University of Washington.[1]

Shanken has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Council of Learned Societies. He was formerly chair of the Leonardo Education Forum and a member of the College Art Association Education Committee and has served as an advisor to the Media Art Histories conference, ISEA, the journal Technoetic Arts, and the Leonardo Pioneers and Pathbreakers project. He has conducted extensive research on the theorist and art critic Jack Burnham and into cybernetics as applied to systems art in the 1960s.[2]

Research Activity

Recent and forthcoming publications include essays on art and technology in the 1960s, interactivity and agency, the historiography of art and technology, parallels between conceptual art and art and technology, and the cultural implications of cybernetics, telematics, robotics, and biotechnology. Shanken’s current research examines art-science Nicolas Bourriaud, Peter Weibel and Michael Joaquin Grey at Art Basel in June 2010 (see external link below) and organized and chaired a panel discussion at the College Art Association Annual Conference (CAA) in 2011, the papers of which were published in a special issue of ArtNodes (see links below). A further research area is the use of social media to expand and democratize the production and dissemination of art criticism. This is exemplified by the Art and Electronic Media Online Companion, a Web 2.0 site that allows users to generate their own content for publication (see link below).

Shanken is the author of Art and Electronic Media (Phaidon Press, 2009) and is the editor of Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology and Consciousness, the collected writings of Roy Ascott (University of California Press, 2003). His essay, "Art in the Information Age: Technology and Conceptual Art" received honorable mention in the Leonardo Award for Excellence in 2004.


  1. ^ [1] Edward Shanken Joins DXARTS Faculty
  2. ^ Charlie Gere, Art, Time and Technology: Histories of the Disappearing Body (2005) Berg, p. 137


  • Shanken, Edward A. Art and Electronic Media. London: Phaidon, 2009. ISBN 978-0-7148-4782-5
  • Ascott, Roy. Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology, and Consciousness. Edited and with an essay by Edward A. Shanken. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003. ISBN 0-520-21803-5

Key Essays

  • 2009 "Reprogramming Systems Aesthetics: A Strategic Historiography"
  • 2007 “Historicizing Art and Technology: Forging a Method and Firing a Canon”
  • 2005 "Artists in Industry and the Academy: Collaborative Research, Interdisciplinary Scholarship, and the Interpretation of Hybrid Forms"
  • 2003 "Cybernetics and Art: Cultural Convergence in the 1960s"
  • 2001 Art in the Information Age: Technology and Conceptual Art
  • 2000 "Tele-Agency: Telematics, Telerobotics, and the Art of Meaning"

External links

  • Official site of Edward A. Shanken
  • Art and Electronic Media
  • Art and Electronic Media Online Companion
  • Contemporary Art and New Media: Towards a Hybrid Discourse, Art Basel Conversation moderated by Shanken, with Nicolas Bourriaud, Peter Weibel, Michael Joaquin Grey
  • Current Research blog, including podcasts of CAA conference panel
  • ArtNodes No. 11 (2011) essays from CAA conference panel in English & Spanish.
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