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Wednesday, May 4 • 12:45pm - 1:00pm
Reversal of Fortune: Crowdsourcing your Philanthropy

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Stephanie Rothenberg will talk about her recent project "REVERSAL OF FORTUNE," a series of robotic gardens that examine the intersection of social media, finance and philanthropy. In these gardens plants represent recipients of charitable acts in economically challenged regions, creating a more physical, sensorial experience with data. Through this lens the complex relationship between human life and economic growth is made visible. "GARDEN OF VIRTUAL KINSHIP" is a large-scale 5' x 10' installation, somewhat of an aquaponic system merged with a bank. The centerpiece is a global map containing 650 pill size containers holding seeds. These seeds represent borrowers of micro loans. An overhead, automated watering system is connected to the Internet. The amount of water the plants receive is dependent on crowdfunded, online financial transactions collected from a social media charity website. Successful transactions trigger appropriate nourishment while failed ventures may lead to dying plants. The outcome is a continuous live mapping of the flow of micro finance capital as it travels from the Global North to South and back to the banks who ultimately profit. The piece was recently exhibited in "Global: Infosphere" at ZKM Center for Art & Media, Karlsruhe, Germany. "PLANTHROPY" is a garden of glowing, digital hanging plants that respond to actual Twitter messages posted by donors to various charities. Each plant represents a charity such as breast cancer or refugees. When the plant receives a Twitter post, its electronic system is activated. The plant is watered while the tweeted messages are played aloud through a computerized voice – “I donate because I'm a survivor," “I donate because it's a tax credit." The result is a global “heartbeat” of synthetic voices emoting the feelings of donors from around the world. The piece was recently exhibited in "Right Here, Right Now" at The Lowry Galleries, Manchester, UK.

avatar for Stephanie Rothenberg

Stephanie Rothenberg

Stephanie Rothenberg is an interdisciplinary artist using performance, installation and networked media to create provocative public interactions. Mixing real and virtual spaces, her work explores the power dynamics between contemporary visions of utopia and real world economic, political... Read More →

Wednesday May 4, 2016 12:45pm - 1:00pm EDT
Clemente Center
  Arts Hub, Talk