Adriene Jenik

March 4, 2016, 2:00 – 3:15 pm, Issues and Insights 2: Arts Teaching and Learning in a Digital Age – New Advances (Concurrent Session)

Adriene Jenik began at the ASU Herberger Institute School of Art on July 1, 2009 as its director. She is a telecommunications media artist who has been working for over 20 years as a teacher, curator, administrator, and engineer. Her works combine “high” technology and human desire to propose new forms of literature, cinema, and performance. She received her BA in English from Douglass College, Rutgers University and her MFA in Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She has taught a broad range of electronic media classes at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), UC Irvine, University of Southern California (USC), and UCLA’s New Media Lab and finally at UC San Diego where she was a full-time research faculty member in the Visual Arts Department for 11 years. Prior to joining the UCSD faculty, Jenik was employed as an engineer in the Blast Jr. development team for Disney Online’s Daily Blast.

From her early productions with Paper Tiger TV and Deep Dish TV (1985-1990), performances with the band Snakes & Ladders, and publications with the ‘zine collective SCREAMBOX (with Pam Gregg and Bryn Austin), Jenik’s artistic projects have continued to straddle and trouble the borders between art and popular culture. Her video productions include the internationally exhibited video short, “What’s the Difference Between a Yam & a Sweet Potato?” (with J. Evan Dunlap), and the award-winning live satellite TV broadcast, “EL NAFTAZTECA: Cyber-Aztec TV for 2000 A.D.” (with Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Roberto Sifuentes). Her work often serves as a catalyst of community and social movement and interpersonal understanding during its creation and reception. To this end, much of Jenik’s work has been collectively or collaboratively produced and distributed via television, clubs, bars, and city streets in addition to more traditional cultural and educational venues.

Throughout the years, Jenik has consistently moved among and between media. This insistence on expressing herself and her ideas on many levels (musical composition and performance, math/logic/programming, poetry, drawing/painting, videography) finds a well-suited home in her computer-based interactive projects. “MAUVE DESERT:A CD-ROM Translation” is Jenik’s internationally acclaimed interactive road movie based on the novel Le Désert mauve by French Canadian author Nicole Brossard. Jenik wrote, directed, produced, edited, designed, programmed and published the disc. “MAUVE DESERT” has been screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, Festival International Nouveau Cinéma Nouveaux Médias, the Virginia Film Festival, 2nd Annual Digital Storytelling Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, Centro Nacionál de las Artes and many other venues. The work is considered a landmark piece of interactive narrative and continues to be included in international writing, exhibitions and curricula addressing new media and literary forms.

Her creative research project, DESKTOP THEATER (1997-2002), is a series of live theatrical interventions and activities in public visual chat rooms developed with multi-media maven Lisa Brenneis. Inaugurated with “” at the Digital Storytelling Festival in Crested Butte, CO, DESKTOP THEATER combined weekly experiments and “doubly-live” presentations at venues including Digital Arts & Culture ’99 in Atlanta, FutureScreen ’99 in Sydney, Australia, and Urban Futures 2000 in Johannesburg, South Africa. In the interest of introducing a new model of immersive and invested play to the computer gaming field, and a new form of theatrical improvisation to the performing arts field, DESKTOP THEATER presented new work and a series of DESKTOP THEATER workshops throughout 2000-2002. A web-based archive of DESKTOP THEATER works can be found at

In the early 2000s, Jenik’s research included the development of large-scale community-based events using wireless networks. She served as Art Director on the CAL-IT2 and Hewlett Packard sponsored ActiveCampus project (, for which she initiated several campus-based experimental events including the ActiveCampus Explorientation. Jenik then developed a practice she calls Distributed Social Cinema resulting in a series of productions called SPECFLIC ( Set in 2030, each SPECFLIC iteration offers a live story-world composed of layers of multiple media forms (including live televisual performance, streaming audio and video, locative media and audience participation through cell phone photo and txt messaging). An elaborate and ongoing experiment in the future of cinema and storytelling, Jenik’s SPECFLIC collaborators include performers Allison Janney, Richard Jenik, Nao Bustamante, Ricardo Dominguez, Praba Pilar, Melissa Lozano, as well as science fiction authors Kim Stanley Robinson and Rudy Rucker and IT developers Andrew Collins, Luke Wylie, Robert Twomey, Ganz Chockalingam and Neil McCurdy.

In addition to developing new versions of SPECFLIC, Jenik has worked with Charley Ten to develop Open_Borders, a creative system that supports telematic experimentation.

In addition to her artistic practice, Jenik is the founder and facilitator of the Smokey Johnson Memorial Center for Research and Development. Since 1997, the Center has supported the creative efforts of artists, musicians, writers and performers through an informal program of residencies in the Mojave Desert. For more information see

Jenik’s work has been reviewed and discussed in The New York Times, Parachute, The Independent, Jumpcut, The Village Voice, Afterimage, Art Papers, Artlink, Modern Fiction, and Salon Magazine. In addition, her creative writing and essays have been published in The Drama Review, High Performance, Felix, The L.A. Weekly, Off Video, Heresies, and The Utne Reader. Her awards include a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in New Media, and commissions from Franklin Furnace Archives Future of the Present internet performance series, San Jose Zero One Festival, and UCLA Performance Studies.