Nathaniel Stern is an artist and writer, NEA, Fulbright and NSF grantee and professor, interventionist and public citizen. He has produced projects ranging from ecological, participatory, and online interventions, interactive, immersive, and mixed reality environments, to prints, sculptures, videos, performances, and hybrid forms. According to Chicago’s widely popular Bad at Sports art podcast, Stern has “the most varied and strange bio of maybe anyone ever on the show,” and South Africa’s Live Out Loud magazine calls him a “prolific scholar” as well as artist, whose work is “quite possibly some of the most relevant around.”
“Technological, thought-provoking and unexpected” (NPR) he’s been dubbed one of Milwaukee’s “avant-garde” (Journal Sentinel), called ”an interesting and prolific fixture” (Artthrob.co.za) behind many “multimedia experiments” (Time.com), “accessible and abstract simultaneously” (Art and Electronic Media web site), someone “with starry, starry eyes” (Wired.com) who “makes an obscene amount of work in an obscene amount of ways” (Bad at Sports) – both “bizarre and beautiful” (Gizmodo). According to Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing, Stern makes “beautiful, glitched out art-images,” and Caleb A. Scharf at Scientific American says Stern’s art is “tremendous fun,” and “fascinating” in how it is “investigating the possibilities of human interaction and art.”
Mediums: Electronic waste, code, plants, recovered metal, AI, video, images, and more
Favorite Artist Tool: Matter
Go-to Local Inspiration: Galleries you can spend time in like MARN and Saint Kate (including MoWA DTN)
Mentee Compliment: Andrew is that perfect combination of curiosity and experimentation, determination, and humility.
Fun Fact: I have five kids. Not a typo.
Serious Fact: I have five kids. Not a typo.
My current collaborative project, with poet Sasha Stiles, incorporates various AI and other code-based tools for writing and image production with non-human life (like moss and house plants) and into the more traditional practices of sculpture, installation, and video. The eventual exhibition – Mother Computer: Thinking with natural and artificial intelligences, which will premiere at Saint Kate in late 2024/early 2025 and travel thereafter – asks us to consider how intelligent systems, both cybernetic and ecological, might sense, think, and create along with us toward more fruitful futures. How do information and understanding, synthesis and inspiration, generativity and creativity differ? Where do they converge? Is it possible to collaborate with materials and software in order to pose better questions and solve our biggest problems? Just as Carl Sagan turned to poetry to probe scientific truths, we turn to computer art and poetry as a search for both meaning and utility beyond the human.