Katherine Behar is a new media and performance artist, Assistant Professor of New Media at Baruch College. Her artwork spans interactive installation, performance art, public art, photography and video art to explore contemporary digital culture. Her projects mix low and high technologies, creating hybrid forms that are by turns humorous and sensuous. For full Bio, click here
How did you become a faculty fellow at the Rubin Museum of Art? What was the initial purpose of working along with the Rubin?
The Rubin Faculty Fellowship program was started by Dr. Stan Altman last year. Each year, they invite applications from interested faculty members. This year, I am one of five fellows; the others are Prof. Donna Gitter, Prof. Zoë Sheehan Saldaña, Prof. Amy Estes, and Prof. Don Waisanen.
I am interested in finding ways of bridging the old and the new with respect to our new Tier III Minor in New Media Arts. The RMA provides a unique opportunity to seek out intersections between centuries old, traditional forms and emerging art forms, for example by comparing the function of culturally specific works from the RMA collection with the global extent of new media, which often makes new media seems universal.
As a fellow, I am working on developing some assignments that use the museum, its exhibitions, and its resources to address issues that are pertinent to new media art.
More information about the program and its origins appears on Dr. Altman’s website for the project:
And on the blog:
What type of research have you been able to conduct since you became a fellow?
This semester, my digital photography class is working on the first assignment that I have developed in relation to the RMA. My students are now working on developing a portfolio of self-portraits based on a visit to the museum. The Rubin’s current exhibit, The Body Unbound, shows some wonderful examples of how conceptions of identity – and representations of identity in the form of portraiture – vary across cultures.
How are you applying such research to the programs within the Fine and performing Arts department at Baruch?
The digital photography self-portraiture assignment is one example. I hope to incorporate other assignments in my Introduction to New Media Arts class next fall.
How do you define NEW MEDIA?
New Media is an exciting interdisciplinary field in which artists explore new tools, methods, materials, and forms for cultural production. New Media is a moving target; definitions are difficult because the field is constantly redefining itself. A new “new” is always emerging, and as global culture evolves many old media are also being “renewed” through digital technology.
How relevant is NEW MEDIA from an international business perspective?
My feeling is that new media is relevant from just about every perspective! The digital turn is rapidly changing most areas of cultural production, as well as our experiences of everyday life. New media and digital technology have affected the circulation of our culture, both in terms of the design of new communication technologies (and here I mean both functional and aesthetic design), and in terms of the standards for sharing and exchange cultural products (and here I mean both technical protocols and social mores). New media’s impact on communication and sharing are two examples of how changes in cultural circulation affect international business.
View Professor Behar’s work