June 18, 2020, Mountain View, CA – As the SETI Institute celebrates the 10th anniversary of its Artists-in-Residence (SETI AIR) program, Bettina Forget is named Program Director, while Charles Lindsay's role will shift to Senior Advisor. Forget became Director of the SETI AIR program on June 1st, 2020.
“I am immensely honored and excited to step in as the SETI AIR Program Director,” said Forget. “I have been in the SETI's Institute’s orbit for a few years now and have seen the AIR program thrive. It is a constant delight to witness our phenomenal group of artists who create projects situated at the cutting edge of artistic and scientific practice.”
Forget continued, “I look forward to continuing to explore this shared ground, and I am thrilled that Charles is staying on Senior Advisor of the program. He has done an extraordinary job setting up and running SETI AIR; I look forward to our collaboration.”
Forget’s vision for the SETI AIR program builds on its existing mandate to fuse art, science, and technology, with a particular focus on SETI research.
“It is important to me that the research that takes place at the SETI Institute is meaningfully reflected in the artworks, performances and relationships that result from the residency. That means that I will place special emphasis on projects that consider artificial intelligence, ponder the beginnings of life, and critically reflect on our anthropocentric world view.”
Forget will maintain the program's emphasis on inclusion, ensuring that diverse voices and talents are represented as SETI AIR moves forward. She is also keen to create more visibility for SETI AIR artists during their residency, facilitating their research practice as much as promoting the final artworks. Look out for podcasts, interviews, and artist’s talks as part of the SETI AIR program.
After ten years of personal research, program development and the welcoming of 18 artists to SETI AIR, Lindsay will transition into the role of SETI AIR Senior Advisor. In this capacity, he will continue to build relationships with institutional partners and artists in the US and internationally while pursuing his research into information synthesis and states of consciousness at Kyoto University of the Arts in Japan.
“SETI AIR encourages new modes of artistic expression. Change is good,” said Lindsay. “These transitions at SETI AIR usher in our next promising chapter. There is nobody on Earth more knowledgeable or better suited to this challenge than Bettina Forget — we can anticipate fresh vision, laser focus, and superb developments. In my new role as SETI AIR Senior Advisor, I look forward to expanding the SETI Institute’s mission through relationship building in the arts and beyond. I'm also extremely excited to pursue my research into information synthesis and theories of consciousness at Kyoto University of the Arts in Japan.”
Forget joined the SETI AIR program in 2016 as Researcher in Residence, and has also been responsible for coordinating the program’s archive at the Nevada Museum of Art’s Center for Art + Environment. Bettina is a gallerist, art educator, researcher, and visual artist. Her creative work explores astronomy, science fiction, and feminism, and she has exhibited her projects in both artistic and scientific institutions. In her role as professor, Ph.D. candidate, and Public Scholar at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, she examines the re-contextualization of art and science, and how trans-disciplinary education may disrupt gender stereotypes. Dovetailing with her artistic and academic pursuits, Forget owns and runs Visual Voice Gallery, which presents exhibitions that create a dialogue between art and science.
Under the directorship of Lindsay, the SETI AIR program has grown into an international player in the movement to integrate art and science. Primary institutional partners now include Montalvo Arts Center, Nevada Museum of Art, Long Now Foundation, Stanford’s CCRMA Electronic Music School, New Museum Los Gatos and most recently, Ars Electronica. The list of supportive colleagues and institutional affiliations is long and illustrious, including Burning Man, Rauschenberg Foundation, Gray Area, CalArts, MIT Media Lab and many more.
"Meeting Jill Tarter and subsequently working at the SETI Institute changed my life in the most fundamental ways — as an artist, of course, but far beyond that,” states Lindsay. “I coined the phrase 'astro-altruism' to express the spirit of immense curiosity, camaraderie and enabling that SETI AIR provided me and which the SETI Institute now shares with a small number of exemplary creative individuals. Positive feedback from SETI Institute scientists about the AIR program was also enormously encouraging. Our possibilities are galactic in scale — and just getting going.”
SETI AIR Current Projects
In the last two years, the SETI AIR program has welcomed its first international artists. In 2018 Felipe Perez Santiago from Mexico and Zeinab Alhashemi from Dubai joined the program. Santiago is creating EARTHLING, a contemporary opera made in collaboration with Dr. Jill Tarter. Alhashemi is working with Dr. Mark Showalter and Matthew Tiscareno on several public art projects. SETI AIR’s most recent residents are Chinese artist Xin Liu, electronic musician and DJ Alfred Darlington aka Daedelus, and performer-activist Jordan Holmes aka Dxtr Spits.
New Projects on the Horizon
Lindsay and Forget are finalizing the logistics of two significant collaborations between the SETI AIR program and institutional partners in the US and Europe. Keep in touch with what's happening at SETI AIR, as we will soon be announcing the details of these exciting collaborations with the Montalvo Art Center and Ars Electronica.
Download full press release here.
Download Bettina Forget's portrait here.