Richard Pell is a founding member of the highly acclaimed art and engineering collective, the Institute for Applied Autonomy. His work with includes several robotic, web and biologically based projects that call into question the imperatives that drive technological development. projects such as the robotic GraffitiWriter, iSee and TXTmob have been exhibited in art, activist and engineering contexts such as the in Karlsruhe, Mass MoCA, in Cincinnati, Australian Center for the Moving Image, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Hackers On Planet Earth and the International Conference On Robotics And Automation. projects have been chosen for an Award of Distinction and two Honorable Mentions at the Prix-Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria and were selected for Magazine’s 10 Best New Artists of 2005. His narrative and documentary videos explore the individual’s relationship to authority. His most recent video documentary entitled, Don’t Call Me Crazy On The 4th Of July, won the Best Michigan Director Award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in 2005, took 1st prize at the Iowa International Documentary Film Festival has screened in numerous festivals internationally. In 2007 he was awarded a prestigious Rockefeller New Media Fellowship for the establishment of a new museum entitled The Center for PostNatural History.
For the past fifteen years I have been making research based artworks that place natural systems within a frame of social and historic contexts. While this often takes form as sculptural installations my recent work has included a trilogy of videos about microorganisms, founding and directing CRITTER- a salon for the natural sciences in San Francisco, and developing some LEED Transplutonic building materials. These diverse projects stem from my fascination with the interrelationships between human beings, technology and the greater living environment.
My personal drive for making work about the organic world is born from a lifetime interest in biology. While I was terrible in high-school science and math my education emerged through a more direct engagement with materials and practices; as a chef I began to understand biochemistry and laboratory methods, as a hospice caregiver I worked with life support technologies and environmental controls, and through my interest in wild mushrooms I learned about taxonomies, forest ecologies and husbandry. Engaging with the sciences through an every day practice is a route that is aesthetically, intellectually and symbolically rich. In my various projects I show what I find interesting about the natural world, and use the lens of human artifice to achieve a specific focus of that view.