Gene A. Felice II bridges his creative practice across art, science, education and design, developing a sustainable network of innovation, living systems, and emerging technologies. His hybrid practice grows at the intersection of nature and technology, developing coactive systems as arts science research. His interactive work uses input sources from bio and eco sensors, cameras, touch screens and online data sources, feeding output from motors, LED’s, video projectors, speakers and more. These interdependent systems of hardware and software translate research into interactive, multi-sensory puzzles, exploring both passive and active modes of interaction, providing multiple ways for the audience to engage with the work. Video and animated imagery displayed via projection mapping / shared VR, transform two-dimensional surfaces into three-dimensional storytelling systems. Throughout his creative process, emerging technologies such as 3D printing, laser cutting & CNC milling hybridize with older methods such as wood fabrication, lost wax bronze casting, ceramics, glass casting and more. While keeping site specific histories in mind, he achieves confluence by merging these varied passions into a system of creative collaboration.
Gene A. Felice II is an assistant professor in Digital Art within the department of Art & Art History at the University of North Carolina Wilmington where he is developing the Coaction Lab for interdisciplinary collaboration. His work has been featured nationally at the Cameron Art Museum, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, internationally at Sussex University in the UK, at ISEA Hong Kong and as a 2018 American Arts Incubator / State Dept. funded exchange artist based in Alexandria Egypt.
lab website: www.coactionlab.org
My passion for teaching evolved within a family of educators; my father, sister, wife and her family all working in the field. My father was a music teacher and my uncle Bob a professional photographer / teacher. This collective of educators has been fundamental to my development as a lifelong learner, building a solid foundation of questioning, experimentation, and collaboration. My education and creative practice have developed under the generous mentorship of artists and educators including Ann Hamilton, Helen & Newton Harrison, Jennifer Parker, Ken Rinaldo, Owen Smith, Stelarc and Amy Youngs. I started as a photography major as an undergraduate at the Ohio State university, but soon found my passion pushing the boundaries of photography within the then emerging Art & Technology program run by Ken Rinaldo & Amy Youngs. This program introduced me to an array of conceptual frameworks supported by emerging technology and disciplines like Bio & Eco Art. I was chosen to be a studio assistant for Ann Hamilton in my senior year and after graduating from OSU providing me with an inspired perspective on site specific, team-based art production. At UCSC I worked closely with Jennifer Parker the chair of the Art dept. and leader of the mechatronics team in the DANM MFA program, learning iterative, team based prototyping processes for art & design. During my 2nd year I also joined Helen & Newton Harrison’s research group focused on ecological art making as well as becoming a Science & Justice fellow led by Donna Haraway and Jenny Reardon exploring new shifts in inter / transdisciplinary collaboration. These mentors have provided a range of influence and perspective on creativity, scale and complexity that continues to reverberate through all my creative efforts.
Currently, my teaching is focused on undergraduate courses in the Digital Arts and Studio Art programs at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. In the past, my full-time teaching responsibility included both undergraduate and graduate level courses within the New Media department and Intermedia MFA / PHD programs at the University of Maine under the mentorship of Dr. Owen Smith. I also served as adjunct faculty within the art dept. at UC Santa Cruz, the new media dept. at UNC Asheville and in the art dept. at the Ohio State University. In the classroom, I strive to find synergy between direct instruction and applied learning by carefully alternating classroom discussion with hands-on exploration, group projects, critique, and self-reflection. I explore the differences between teaching and learning through a constant reevaluation of my pedagogy, examining the ways in which we share and develop knowledge both as individuals and in groups. This has become particularly important during the challenges of the pandemic, switching quickly to fully online and now back to in person. As a positive side effect of these modal changes, it created new opportunities for learning hybrid blended flip classroom structures, but with a clear understanding that in person education can never be fully replaced by a digital alternative. Rather it taught me that in person learning can be augmented with digital / online technical lessons, providing more one on one time in the classroom. Through an ongoing dialog with each student individually and in small groups, I strive to create individualized learning experiences that span the spectrum of their abilities and needs, establishing clear lines of communication, expectations, and trust.
I make room for my students to understand complex subjects by teaching them to break it down into digestible portions with an attention to time and project management. Systems thinking serves as a way for them to explore large scale societal and environmental solutions by focusing on interaction between the components that form the whole. Group collaboration helps develop their capacity to adapt beyond current abilities, growing new vocabularies and fresh perspectives beyond the classroom, across the University and out into our surrounding communities. This includes opportunities for both interdisciplinary and community collaboration, by giving my students opportunities to work with faculty across campus and disciplines as well as out into our communities, working with local non-profits, clients, designers, and artists providing them with experiences that prepare them for life beyond academia. Detailed proposals and self-reflection push my students to re-evaluate their intentions, process, and results on a regular basis. Developing refined portfolios of their work with professional documentation techniques and open-source online web frameworks providing new modes for self-reflection as well as a professional gateway to future opportunities. Conceptually, I encourage my students to dig deeper into their research, to follow their own path and to connect to their local histories and communities. These approaches equip them with the tools they’ll need to innovate and adapt to whatever challenges arise in the future.