ParkBench is an online artist collective founded in 1994 by Emily
Hartzell and Nina Sobell. Since its inception, we have experimented
with the Web to discover its potential for creative, collaborative
expression, to explore and sculpt the boundaries between physical space
and cyberspace, and to create bridges for shared human experience. Our
work has inspired the development of new technologies, including the
first NYC-guide kiosk interface, the first Web-based barter network,
one of the first telerobotic Webcams, and a wireless telerobotic video
camera for streaming video to the Web from remote locations. Our most
recent work, Web Seance: Brainwave Drawing, commissioned by the Banff
Centre for the Arts, gathered participants in physical space and on the
Web for shared experience expressed and streamed through video,
brainwaves, heartbeats, and stories contributed by participants. Our
collaboration with Sonya Allin, who did the programming for Web Seance,
has introduced a new element to our performance repertoire, in the form
of interactive textual environments.
Nina Sobell is a pioneer of video and interactive art. She is the
recipient of numerous awards, including grants from the NEA and NYSCA. She
received a BFA in sculpture and printmaking from Tyler School of Art,
Temple University, and an MFA in sculpture from Cornell University. Her
sculptures, installations, and video art have been shown throughout the
Emily Hartzell graduated magna cum laude in Visual and Environmental
Studies from Harvard University and received an MFA in Digital Art from the
School of Visual Arts. Hartzell is a multimedia artist and independent
curator, whose work has been widely exhibited and reviewed. Her interests
revolve around the relation between information, meaning, and truth;
meaning, images, and communication.
Sonya Allin is a student of Computer Science at Columbia University.
Research and study have revolved around intelligent systems, specifically
natural language processing techniques. Study and ongoing play pertains to
animation, image processing, the brain. Allin has worked with ParkBench
Artists-in-residence at NYU's Center for Advanced Technology from 1994 to
97, and supported virtually since then, Hartzell and Sobell have presented
their work at conferences, universities, and galleries internationally.
Their innovative website ParkBench has received several awards, and has
been featured in numerous magazines, newspapers, and books.
Complete Artist Bios