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photo of Kyle McDonald flying a drone

Kyle McDonald

Notes From the Pacific

May 13, 2024
6:00 - 7:20 p.m.
SME 149, Structural & Materials Engineering, UC San Diego

Free and open to the public!


Kyle McDonald works with code and instrument design, exploring glitch and systemic bias and extending these concepts to the reverse-engineering of objects and systems from cameras to canoes. Working in the traditions of critical craft and process art, he engages collaboratively in site-based projects focused on technical practice in coastal, island, and ocean communities negotiating precarity and resilience through intercultural design.

Since 2020, McDonald has focused on a series of projects in ocean and climate science. In this talk, he speaks about his recent work with anthropologist Mimi George on Taumako, the Solomon Island community engaged in a revival of traditional navigation and vessel design using new technologies and materials to compensate for climateand development driven resource depletion. In a project supported by LACMA, McDonald and George tracked te lapa, a mysterious light phenomenon used by Pacific navigators for centuries to predict and negotiate ocean swell patterns.

A contributor to open-source arts and engineering toolkits such as openFrameworks, McDonald approaches sites undergoing geo- and hydropolitical crises through projects that appropriate technoscientific systems to do the work of environmental and cultural conservation and to revive traditional engineering and design practices. A member of F.A.T. Lab and a community manager for openFrameworks, McDonald has taught at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program and has lectured and led workshops at institutions such as LACMA and the University of Helsinki. He has been an artist in residence at centers including the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon and the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media in Japan, with work commissioned and shown internationally at venues such as Ars Electronica, Sonar/OFFF, Eyebeam, the Anyang Public Art Project, KIKK festival, and the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone InterCommunication Center.

Co-sponsored by Getty Foundation PST ART “Art + Science Collide”