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Artist Bio

Scott Kildall creates artwork that transforms hidden data from the natural environment, such as water quality, air quality and plant data into sculptural sound installations. He uses custom electronics to create generative, data-driven experiences with uncertain outcomes.

His artwork has been exhibited internationally at venues including the New York Hall of Science, Transmediale, the Venice Biennale, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the San Jose Museum of Art.

He has received fellowships, awards and residencies from the SETI Institute, The Bloedel Reserve, Impakt Works, Autodesk, Recology San Francisco, Joshua Tree National Park, Eyebeam Art + Technology Center and more.

Scott Kildall has been working with art + technology + education for over 15 years.  He currently resides in San Francisco, where he runs a residency program from his home called Xenoform Labs that hosts international new media artists.

Artist Statement

An invisible world of natural data surrounds us. We can’t see, hear, smell or taste it. But, we can measure it, in forms such as water flow inside trees, electrochemical activity on plant leaves, particulates in the air, heavy metals in the river water and more. I’m fascinated by this unseen macrocosm, and create artwork that lifts the veil of this otherworld, using sensors to track such live data and translate it into sculptural sound installations that viewers can experience viscerally.

I am delighted by nature and the interconnectedness of ecological systems, and hope to reframe what it is to be “intelligent”. I try to look at organisms in terms of their umwelt — the world as it is experienced by an organisms’ senses rather than anthropomorphizing them. As with most of us, I’m deeply concerned about climate change as it is now crashing ecological systems. My artwork simultaneously engages both novelty and emotion to open minds and change actions.

I create site-specific sound installations in natural settings, which bring “voices” to phenomena that we often overlook such as: electrochemical signaling in plants, mycelium activity and tree health. The installations invite the viewer to journey through a spatialized soundscape where at any single point, you can hear multiple sounds emanating from trees, plants, bodies of water or other natural elements. As you approach a sound source, you will see a sculpture, which includes a speaker, and a small sensing device. 

I build my own electronic sensors which monitor various ecosystem elements, capturing, for example, the raw data of ionic activity from plant leaves, or the transpiration rate of tree leaves. My small electronic devices capture this data and translate it to synthesized sounds, expressing symphonic melodies and arrangements. My installations consist of anywhere from four to twelve “nodes”, which communicate with one another to synchronize beats, exhibit emergent behavior and otherwise impart the interconnectedness between different species and the natural environment.

The formal sculptural elements often use found materials for their form. Remnants of railroad construction, home building debris, bundles of rope, and garbage found on a polluted river are just some of the physical elements I’ve used. The installations emphasize the physical human impact on ecosystems with the tension between aesthetic beauty that such detritus often entails with the human impact on our planet.

Curriculum Vitae

Residencies and Awards

Joshua Tree National Park Residency, 2024
Bloedel Reserve Residency, 2021
Bangkok 1899 Residency,
Bangkok 2019
Arts & Humanities Research Council, Reality Remix Project, Collaborator, London 2018
American Arts Incubator Program, ZERO1, Bangkok, Thailand 2017
Water Rights Residency, Santa Fe Art Institute 2017
SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Artist-in-Residency Mountain View, California 2016
Signal Culture, Owego, New York, 2015
Individual Artist Commission, San Francisco Arts Commission, 2015
Impakt Works Residency, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 2014
Creative Code Fellowship, Stamen Design and Gray Area, San Francisco, 2014
Autodesk Residency, San Francisco, 2014
ISEA Residency, New Mexico, 2012
Artist in Residence, Recology (formerly SF Recycling & Disposal), San Francisco, California, 2011
Nominee, Transmediale Award, Berlin, Germany, 2011
Puffin Foundation, Grant Recipient, 2011
Terminal Project Award, Terminal Space, Clarksville, Tennessee, 2010
Gift Horse, ZER01 Commission, San Jose, California, 2010
Green Prix Microgrant, San Jose, California, 2010
Nominee, SFMOMA Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art Award, San Francisco, California, 2010, 2012
Resident Artist, Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, New York, New York, 2009
Liminal Screen, The Banff New Media Institute, Alberta, Canada, 2009
Extending Creativity in Digital Media, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Colorado, 2008
Mixed Realities, Turbulence Commission, 2007
The Future of Idea Art, Residency at Banff Centre for the Arts, Alberta, Canada, 2006
Kala Fellowship Award, Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, California, 2006

Selected Exhibitions

2024
Infrared Reflections, Joshua Tree National Park, CA
Bombay Beach Biennale, Bombay Beach, CA

2023
UP Lift, Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, WA
Bombay Beach Biennale, Bombay Beach, CA
Net Zero Week, NYU Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi
Climate Series, Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland, CA

2022
Refraction Festival Season 0, Zero Space, Brooklyn, NY
Exotopia, Gray Area, San Francisco, CA
Nocturnal, Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland, CA

2021
Symphonic Forest, Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, WA (solo, site-specific installation)
Día de Los Muertos, SOMArts, San Francisco

2020

Psych Garden, Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria
Badeverbot : Exhibition in Flux, Schaumbad, Graz, Austria
No-Place Like the Future: Artists Evoke a World after Corona, Austrian Embassy, Virtual Vernissage
Unnatural Language, Bangkok 1899, Bangkok (solo show)
Right to Clean Air, Bangkok Arts and Cultural Centre, Bangkok
Joynt, Codame Art + Tech Festival 2020, San Francisco
Studio Visit, Thatcher Gallery, San Francisco

2019

Territorilogy, Black and White Projects, San Francisco (solo show)
Depth, Science Gallery Detroit, Detroit
Public Domain 2019: A Jeffersonian Ideal Revived, A Creative Year Set Free, Harrison-Small Special Collections Gallery, University of Virginia
New Terrains: Migrations and Mobility, San Jose Museum of Art

2018
Currents 2018, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Reality Remix Prototype Play, Ravensbourne, London
NextNewGames, Institute of Contemporary Art, Palo Alto, CA
L.A.S.T. Festival, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, CA
Arts+Tech,Var Gallery, Milwaukee, WI

2017
River Dreams, Bangkok Arts and Cultural Center, Bangkok, Thailand
NEoN Digital Arts Festival, Dundee, Scotland
Detritus, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, California
Replicas, Museum of Fine Arts, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
Mood Swings, MuseumsQuartier Vienna,Vienna, Austria

2016
Machine Data Dreams, Black and White Projects,  San Francisco (solo show)
Photography and Video Retrospective of the Recology Artist-in-Residency Program, SF Camerawork, San Francisco, CA
Point Zero: Re-Start, The Archaeological Society of Athens, Athens, Greece
Art in Space, Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland, CA

2015
Moneylab 2, Institute of Network Cultures,  Amsterdam
Mem Fest, Bilbao, Spain
IEEE Vis 2015, Chicago
Bay Area Digitalists, Root Division  San Francisco
Bad Data, ASC Projects,  San Francisco (solo show)
Disruption, ISEA 2015, Vancouver, Canada
Interventions, Fuse Factory, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Interface: Meetings of Art & Technology, Union Art Gallery, Milwaukee, WI

2014
The Soft Machines, Impakt, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Art in Progress/Re-culture, Risk, Patras, Greece
Creative Code Immersive, Gray Area, San Francisco

2013
Out of the Suitcase, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Milwaukee, WI
The Beyond Category, Subtle Technologies, Toronto
Physical Traces, ATA Window Gallery, San Francisco
Future Culture, Asterisk San Francisco, San Francisco
In Search Of…, TSA Gallery, New York

2012
ReGeneration, New York Hall of Science, New York
Tweets in Space, ISEA, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Determining Domain, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco
Recology Alumni, Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco
In Search Of…, Clough-Hanson Gallery at Rhodes College, Memphis
The Standard for Spring, Rouge Art and Video, New York
Time, Life, Mind, Stanford University, Palo Alto
I Am Crime, SOMArts, San Francisco

2011
Wikipedia Art Room, New Forms 11, Vancouver
Time, The Lab, San Francisco
Tempo, .NO Gallery, New York
Made Real, Futherfield Gallery, London
Keeping an Eye on Surveillance, Performance Art Institute, San Francisco
Transmediale.11, Transmediale, Berlin
Project Room, Electric Works, San Francisco
Stacked/Multiplied, Adobe Books Backroom Gallery, San Francisco

2010
AIOP Chance, 6th Annual Art in Odd Places Festival, New York, New York
Build Your Own World, SJ01 Biennial, ZER01, San Jose, California
The Seduction of Duchamp, Art Museum of Los Gatos, Los Gatos, California
Younger Than Moses, Idle Worship, Benrimon Contemporary, New York, New York
Retro-Tech, SJ01 Biennial, San Jose Museum of Art and ZER01, San Jose, California
The Science Fair, Flux Factory, Long Island, New York
Micaela Gallery, Scope Art Fair, Basel, Switzerland
Liminality, Antenna Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
The Higher Foolishness, Inkit Gallery, Los Angeles, California

2009
Wikipedia Art Embassy, The Internet Pavilion, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
Winter Salon, Micaela Gallery, San Francisco, California
Ephemeral Assets, Inkit Gallery, Los Angeles, California
Transmute, Subtle Technologies, Toronto, Canada
All Good Things, Mission 17, San Francisco, California
Contemporary Tools, de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California
re:con-figure, Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, California
oh Maybe…, OFF Space, Emeryville, California

2008
Eclectic Works: New Releases and Then Some, Electric Works, San Francisco, California
Innovation and Imagination, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington
Second Life, Videotage, Hong Kong, China
Winter Salon, Micaela Gallery, San Francisco, California
The Art of the Found Object, Gallery RFD, Swainsboro, Georgia
Stardusted, Ping Pong Space, Guangzhou, China
Close To You, curated by Sarah Quinton, Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto
I feel that I am free but I know that I am not, SF Camerawork, San Francisco, California
Open Ear in Cardiff, curated by Garrett Lynch, ATRiuM, Cardiff, Wales
Mediating Bodies, curated by Natalie Loveless, Western Front, Vancouver, Canada
Sonic Residues, SAC Art Gallery, Stony Brook University, New York, New York
Mixed Realities, curated by Jo-Anne Greene, Huret & Spector Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts

2007
Close to You, curated by Sarah Quinton, Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax
Crossing the Void, solo exhibition, Haydn Shaughnessy Gallery, Ireland
Wrath of Kong: Second Front Performance, Performa 07, New York, New York
Tools of Culture, Koscielak Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
Chain Reaction, Art Engine, San Francisco, California
Altered States, Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, California
Imaginary Souvenirs, solo exhibition, Mission 17, San Francisco, California
One Night Stand, San Jose Art Museum, San Jose, California
CrossMediale 2, Koscielak Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
Retinal Reverb, Audio Cinema, Portland, Oregon
Resurfacing, Haskett Gallery, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Zemos98, Official Selection, Sevilla, Spain
AGYU Curated Video, Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, Canada
A View With A Room, Myers Gallery, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Stranger Than Fiction, Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, Finland

Education

School of the Art Institute of Chicago, M.F.A., Art & Technology Studies
Brown University, Bachelor of Arts, Political Philosophy

 

Selected Press

Mundy, Owen, “Mundy, Owen, “Stereophotogrammetry and 3D printing: Critical Practices and Intellectual Property”, Display at Your Own Risk, May 2016. Web
Dilling, Audrey,  “What’s beneath those brick circles in San Francisco intersections?”, KALW Radio, Crosscurrents, January 13th, 2016. Radio + Web.
Doctorow, Cory, “Marcel Duchamp’s heirs nuke hobbyists’ hand-modelled 3D chess-set files”, Boing Boing, September 9 2015. Web.
Norton, Quinn, “The International Fight Over Marcel Duchamp’s Chess Set”,  The Atlantic, September 8, 2015. Web.
Valentine, Ben, “A Chess Set in Homage to Marcel Duchamp, with Mustaches”, Hyperallergic, September 2, 2015. Web.
Sydell, Laura, “Artists In Residence Give High-Tech Projects A Human Touch”, NPR,  All Tech Considered, April 6, 2015. Radio + Web.
Noe, Rain, Combining Detective Work, CAD, and 3D Printing to Recreate Duchamp’s Lost Chess Set from 1918, Core77, July 9, 2014
Cascone, Sarah , 3D-Print Your Own Readymade Copy of Marcel Duchamp’s Chess Set, Artnet, June 13, 2014
Quick, Genevieve, Augmented Reality: The Political Potential of Hybridized Space, Hyperallergic, May 14, 2014
Moore, Alida, Data Crystals, Socrata, Open Innovation Issue, Spring 2014
Wunderman, Ali, SF Facts Visualized as Crystals, The Bold Italic, March 24, 2014
The Art of 3D Printing (Video), Science in the City, The Exploratorium, February 12, 2014
Kehe, Jason, Romantic or Restless, Wired.com, September 21st, 2012
Katz, Leslie. Finally, a chance to tweet to aliens, CNET, May 15th, 2012
Chakelian, Anoosh. Tweets in Space: Contacting E.T., 140 Characters at a Time. Time.com. May 10, 2012
Browdie, Brian. ‘Tweets in Space’ plans to send Twitter messages to a  planet that may support life, New York Daily News, May 6, 2012
May, Meredith. S.F. dump’s Scott Kildall creates vision of 2049. San Francisco Chronicle. June 4, 2011
Squires, Paul. In conversation with…Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern. Imperica, London. May 31, 2011
CNET News. Ideas and innovation at Silicon Valley art and tech fest. California: CNET. September 18, 2010
Foremski, Tom. Silicon Valley’s techno-arts festival “The future is about what matters…not what’s next.” California: ZDNet. September 15, 2010
Ewart, Nancy. A Trojan Horse in San Jose?. California: SF Examiner. September 12, 2010
Stark, Clinton. How to build a Trojan Gift Horse @ 01SJ. California: Stark Silver Creek. September 3, 2010
Zimmerman, Heather. Past Present. California: Mercury News. August 23, 2010
Hamilton, Marianne. LG artists’ works deconstruct Duchamp. California: Los Gatos Weekly Times. August 23, 2010
Robinson, W. High Tech Biennial for San Jose. New York: Artnet. June 17, 2010
SSC News Desk. San Jose Museum of Art explores craft of technology with ‘Retro-Tech’. California: Stark Silver Creek. June 9, 2010
Simon, Stephanie (Reporter). Artists Draw Inspiration from Science in New Exhibit. New York: NY1. June 11, 2010
Goldberg, RoseLee, ed., Catherine Wood, and Jay Sanders. Everywhere and All at Once: An Anthology of Writings on Performa 07.  JRP Ringier, 2010
Drucker, Johanna, “Temporary Photography,” Philosophy of Photography, Intellect Books, Volume 1 Issue 1, April 10, 2010