sawad brooks + beth stryker
Sawad Brooks and Beth Stryker co-founded Utensil Studio, an art and design studio dedicated to the development of integrated networked software applications and physical interfaces, focusing on virtual and physical public spaces. Their joint projects were exhibited at the Whitney Museum, the Wexner Center for the arts, the Walker Arts Center, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, and other venues. Their digital artworks are in the Walker Art Center’s Digital Studies Collection, Cornell University’s Computer Fine Arts Collection, the Wexner Center for the Arts collection The Fold and the Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts (Tokyo, Japan) “Art on the Net” collection.
Sawad Brooks was born in Bogota, Colombia, in 1964. He earned a B.A. in computer science (1989), a B.F.A. in studio art (1989), and an M.A. in art history (1993) from the University of Texas at Austin, and a S.M. in Media Arts and Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1997). He has also pursued doctoral studies in art history at the University of Chicago. His research at the M.I.T. Media Lab involved the cultural fascination with moving images, focusing specifically on the effect computers have had in this area through their use in giving life to materials usually regarded as inanimate. Brooks has lectured about art, technology, and their related philosophies at the University of Chicago, the Goethe Institute in Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and The Banff Centre for the Arts, Alberta. He currently teaches at Parsons School of Design in New York and recently founded Utensil, a software design company. In addition to his collaborations with Stryker, his recent works and exhibitions include Prosthesis to a Well, M.I.T.’s List Visual Arts Center and the Johannesburg Biennale, South Africa (1997); Mac Classics (The Immaculate Machine), a group show at Postmasters Gallery, New York (1997 – 98); and Aporia: Doubt in Forms, with Gong Szeto, New York Digital Salon (1995). He has also designed the web site for Postmasters Gallery.
Beth Stryker was born in Philadelphia in 1970 and received her B.A. from Columbia College, Columbia University (1992) and March from Princeton University (2004). She currently lives and works in New York. In addition to her collaborative projects with Brooks, she has developed Crossexxxaminations, a multi-author web space and installation with Virginia Barratt exhibited at Artspace Gallery, Sydney (1998), and Brandon, a web project for the Guggenheim Museum SoHo (1998) in collaboration with Shu Lea Cheang. Her work formulating collaborative, public participatory web spaces is informed by her experience as a curator of digital media and experimental film. She initiated digital media programs for the New Festival and Mix Festival, both in New York. Stryker is the Co-Founder of CLUSTER (Cairo Lab for Urban Studies, Training and Environmental Research) a platform for urban research, architecture, art, and design initiatives based in Downtown Cairo. CLUSTER has received critical recognition for its work, including a Curry Stone Design Prize (2017), and inclusion in the Egyptian National Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale (2016, 2018). Stryker has curated exhibitions and programs for the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival in Cairo, Beirut Art Center, Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, the AIA/Center for Architecture in New York (where she held the position of Director of Programs), and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, among other venues. She is the Executive Director of ArteEast in New York.