Ryan Kuo (SMACT ’14) has been awarded a 2022 Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship. Only in its second year, this initiative from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports artists working with innovative approaches to technology and new media. Administered by United States Artists, the fellowship awards five artists annually with unrestricted grants of $50,000 each. Artist, designer, and alumna, Jae Rhim Lee (SMVisS ’06), was one of the field-leading artists on the selection committee.

The fellowship supports artists who are using new and emerging technologies — such as artificial intelligence, digital media, augmented and virtual reality, digital fabrication, immersive installation, software and coding — in thoughtful, creative or poetic ways to expand the field.

This year’s fellows approach the intersection of arts and tech as a platform for organizing and community engagement, utilizing formats from chatbots to sensory poems to amateur science to quilting. The diversity of approaches in their practices reflects the constantly evolving nature of the field.

Shift Space 2.0, the second edition of the fellowship’s partner publication, features a collection of conversations, interviews, essays and more that explore the field of new media, forging additional connections between the fellowship class and the field at large.

Kuo makes process-based and diagrammatic works that often invoke a state of argument. He has utilized video game engines, web and UX design, chatbots, productivity software and writing to produce circuitous movements that resemble bureaucratic negotiations and unresolved conflicts.

You can find more information about the Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship here.

Kuo’s online project Hateful Little Thing consists of text boxes that replicate and cover the pages of whitney.org, unfolding in a new sequence each time the work is launched. Conceived by the artist as a separate persona that expresses its frustrations without inhibition, the Hateful Little Thing inserts itself in the form of text snippets that overwrite the web pages and reflect Kuo’s encounters in online platforms, workplaces, and institutional settings.

Darla Migan’s essay about Kuo, and Hateful Little Thing, can be read and/or listened to here.