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Ken Rinaldo

Ken  Rinaldo

Ken Rinaldo

Emeritus Faculty



  • MFA, San Francisco State University

Emeritus Professor Rinaldo headed the Art and Technology area in the Department of Art for 22 years in tandem with Professor Amy Youngs. Rinaldo is internationally recognized for interactive robotic art installations, bio-art, and 3D animations developing hybrid ecologies with animals, algorithms, plants, and bacterial cultures.

His art/science practice serves as a platform for hacking complex social, biological, and machine symbionts. Inventing and constructing techno interfaces allows illuminating and amplifying the underlying beauty, and intertwined symbiosis existent in natural living systems. Living systems as a model have always been THE tool to critically interrogate technology, itself now enacting evolutionary survival instincts and emergent self-aware software agents.

As biological species have emerged, so too an algorithmic species is arising. The availability of knowledge at the fingertips of most has changed the nature of how we imagine and create, and the individual now joins an emergent cognition of web knowledge. Digital visualization and fabrication technologies are increasingly supplanting the artist's hand, and the computer has further become an ideational amplifier. Epistemology has always been about lenses, and when lenses were analog and made of glass, they changed our world views profoundly. Our lenses are still made of glass, though now silicon and algorithms are supplanting optical lenses. Instead, data-based algorithmic ways of knowing are becoming predominant. In association with biological procedures, such as CRISPR Cas9, these technologies will undoubtedly mean a semi-living constructed species can and will appear.

Rinaldo is focused on theories of life, symbiogenesis, trans-species communication, and providing models for how technological systems can use structural and process lessons from nature to be more sensitive to all living species. Bio-art, interactive installation, non-violent action, animation, food systems, trans-species artworks, robotic sculpture and rapid prototyping are all areas I enjoy playing in. The critical use of technology influences, changes, and further mutates my ideas, while the algorithm increasingly becomes a selective pressure in our co-evolution with intelligent machines.

Rinaldo's works have been commissioned by museums, festivals, and galleries internationally such as the Biennale of Moving Image Frankfurt, Art laboratory, Berlin, McDonough Museum of Art, Innovation Media Research and Commercialization Center, US, ALIFE; Mexico, Centro National Arts Mexico, Nuit Blanche, Canada, Museum of Contemporary Art; Chicago, Kiasma Museum; Finland, World Ocean Museum; Russia, Ars Electronica; Austria, National Center for Contemporary Art; Russia, Lille International Arts Festival; France, la Maison d'Ailleurs; Switzerland, Vancouver Olympics; Canada, Platform 21; Holland, Transmediale; Berlin, AV Festival; England, Caldas Museum of Art; Colombia, Arco Arts Festival; Spain, Te Papa Museum; New Zealand, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo; Spain, Pan Palazzo Delle Arti; Italy, V2 DEAF; Holland, Siggraph; Los Angeles, Exploratorium; San Francisco, Itau Cultural Museum; Brazil, Biennial for Electronic Art; Australia and the Rinaldo was the recipient of an Award of Distinction in 2004 at Ars Electronica Austria for Augmented Fish Reality and first prize for Vida 3.0 Madrid for his work Autopoiesis, which also won an honorable mention in Ars Electronica in 2001. 

In 2008 Ken Rinaldo and Amy Youngs were awarded a Green Leaf Award from The United Nations Environment Fund for the Farm Fountain. He is the recipient of three Battelle Endowment grants as well as a cultural Olympian for the Vancouver Olympics in 2009.

Rinaldo is a member of the Senior Academic Board for Antennae, The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture and author of Interactive Electronics for Artists and Inventors. His work has been featured on the radio and TV internationally, including BBC, ORF, CNN, CNET, CBC & the Discovery Channel.

Select publications include Art and Electronic Media by Edward Shanken, Evolution Haute Couture Art and Science in the Post-Biological Age edited by Dmitry Bulatov, Art and Science Steve Wilson, Inside Art E Sciencia edited by Leonel Moura, Politics of the Impure V2 Publishing, Digital Art by Christiane Paul, Information Arts by Steve Wilson, Contemporary Italy, NY Arts Magazine, NY Times, Art Press Paris, Tema Celeste Italy, and Wired Magazine.

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