Associate Director Graduate Studies, Stratford | Associate Professor, Hybrid Media, Stratford/Fine Arts, University of waterloo
Jessica Thompson is a media artist whose practice investigates urban environments through interactive artworks situated at the intersection of sound, performance and mobile technologies. Her current research investigates the ways that sound reveals spatial and social conditions within cities and how these conditions may be articulated through networked performance, gestural interaction and data visualization. Before coming to Waterloo, Thompson taught courses in sound, media and urban practice in the Department of Visual Art at Brock University and the Department of Media Study at SUNY at Buffalo.
Notable artworks include ‘walking machine’ that articulates the relationship between body and site through a wearable device that enables users to move through urban areas hearing the amplified sound of their own footsteps, ‘SOUNDBIKE’, a mobile device that broadcasts laughter as it is pedaled through urban environments, creating a human counterpoint to the acoustic ecology of the city, ‘Freestyle SoundKit’ which facilitates social situations between performers and passersby by infusing footsteps with electronic bass beats, and ‘Swinging Suitcase’ a device that generates and broadcasts the sound of a flock of birds in response to movement.
Her work has shown in exhibitions and festivals such as the International Symposium of Electronic Art (San Jose, Dubai, Vancouver), the Conflux Festival (New York), Thinking Metropolis (Copenhagen), (in)visible Cities (Winnipeg), Beyond/In Western New York (Buffalo), New Interfaces in Musical Expression (Oslo), Audible Edifices (Hong Kong), Artists’ Walks (New York) and Locus Sonus (Aix-en-Provence), as well as publications such as Canadian Art, c Magazine, Acoustic Territories (Continuum Books), the Leonardo Music Journal, and numerous art, design and technology blogs.
For over 15 years, she held administrative and managerial positions in both the corporate and not-for-profits sectors, including academic administration, marketing and fundraising, and project management. She is a member of the Board of Directors at InterAccess, an art gallery, educational facility and production studio dedicated to the creative use of technology, electronic art and new media culture.