Who is Jane Tingley?
Jane Tingley is an Assistant Professor in Hybrid Media at the Stratford Campus and in the Department of Fine Arts of the University of Waterloo. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours in sculpture. She later went to complete her Masters in 2006 at Concordia University where she specialized in sculpture and studio art. From the beginning, Tingley knew that she wanted to create environments and experiences and believed that working with technology was the most appropriate vehicle to do so.
In addition to being a professor, Jane Tingley is an exceptional artist who has combined art and technology in a compelling way. Her research combines traditional studio practice with new media tools, spanning responsive/interactive installation, performative robotics, and the creation of a gestural game .
- Mentoring artists for women’s art (MAWA) is a mentoring program that pairs up emerging female artists with senior female artists in a mentorship relationship. In this program Jane was selected to work with Diana Thorneycroft .
Hexagram is an interdisciplinary network for research in art and technology, which is considered the first of its kind in Canada.
- During her master’s, Tingley worked with Bill Vorn as a research assistant where she learned valuable skills in making robust technological systems.
- Tingley also worked in a number of labs including the Interstices Lab headed by Lynn Hughes and Jean Dubois, Possible Movements Lab headed by Marielle Nitoslawska, and the TML Topological Media Lab, headed by Sha Xin Wei.
- Tingley managed the matralab (musicmovementsmedia-art-theatretheory-research-agency), which is a research space of inter-x-art directed by Sandeep Bhagwati at Concordia University, Montréal.
- Tingley worked alongside classically trained musicians and actors whose work intersected the performing arts with new media technologies, and broadened her perspective of the scope of contemporary approached to artistic expression.
- The Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) research center is a group of researchers from different academic disciplines from sociology to game studies to philosophers who have studied, created and wrote books about games.
- Jane Tingley worked closely with both Lynn Hughes and Bart Simon, the co-founders of TAG, as she managed the lab during 2011-2013.
DareDroid is a cocktail making cocktail dress that will mix you a drink if you engage in a friendly game of truth or dare. It was a creation that started as a silly ‘what if’ (DareDroid 1.0 Roboexotica Festival 2010, pictured right) that became an award-winning piece (DareDroid 2.0 Elektra Festival 2011, pictured left). DareDroid was Tingley’s first collaborative piece in which she worked with Anouk Wipprecht, a fashiontech designer and Marius Kintel, a hacker, tinkerer and engineer who she met while doing a residency at the MuseumsQuartier Wien in Vienna.
Jane and her collaborates used Edward T Hall’s rules of proxemics in designing the interaction. The team incorporated sensors to the design so that if someone came in proximity of the human host, the dress reacted by pouring juice in a cup positioned in the front of the dress, followed by initiating a game of truth or dare. However, if someone came too close to the host’s personal space, the game would shut down. Additionally, the dress added alcohol to the juice if you completed the dare. This piece became the starting point for future collaborations between Tingley and fellow artists. Tingley believes collaboration offers new perspectives and ways of thinking, which ultimately pushes your boundaries.
After managing TAG, Tingley became interested in how game designers structured game creation. Primarily Lynn Hughes and Bart Simon authored propinquity but Tingley was the creator of the costumes and sensor interfaces, and also participated in the play testing and game design.
During this time, Tingley became more interested in creating interactive experiences and witnessing the responses that emerged through these interactions.
The one thing that struck me the most was that game designers did not have their hearts set on specific aesthetics of the final project, rather through playtesting, they observe what worked or what didn’t work, and redefined the game accordingly. This is something that doesn’t happen in art creation.
(In collaboration with sound artist Michal Seta)
Upon accepting her position as Assistant Professor here at the University of Waterloo, Tingley was finishing her first prize award winning interactive piece, Re-Collect:
- iNTERFACES - Interactive Art Competition – First Prize awarded to Re-Collect - 2015 Research Center for Science and Technology of the Arts (CITAR) School of the Arts of the Portuguese Catholic University, Porto, Portugal
Re-Collect is a genius sound and light interactive system that impressively resembles human memory processes and personality development.
In its totality, Re-Collect forms a luminescent and sonic mass attentive to its environment, which uses sound as a metaphor for the electrical impulses moving through the brain and points to the moment that two entities meet – when memories form – entangle with the present – and shape experience .
The purpose of the anyWare sculptures is to find ways to interact through non-screen based technology, without voice and through embodiment.
The inaugural exhibition of the anyWare sculptures was in June 2018 in three different locations (Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto). Each location had its own interaction colour in order to facilitate communication between the spaces; Ottawa was pink, Montreal was yellow and Toronto was blue. The sculptures are currently on display at the New Adventures of Sound Art (NAISA) space in South River Ontario. (until April 2019)
We felt it was important to find new ways of interacting with each other, beyond certain shared parameters such as a common language or cultural context
Advice to Students interested in Art and Technology
Just do it!
Working with technology is a physical practice. It is more than just building the tech – it also involves shaping the culture that emerges from the interaction between technology and bodies.
It is helpful to have a theoretical background in Art, Visual Culture, Philosophy etc…when creating critical artworks, as it helps ground your making into a larger context – so your work goes beyond being just entertainment
Tingley also recommends taking the following programs if you are interested in interdisciplinary studies:
- CS/Fine Arts minor (for Fine or CS students).
- Fine Arts and Engineering have a Tech Art Course.
- The Global Business and Digital Arts (GBDA) program
Jane Tingley’s next creations include:
- Foresta Inclusive, an outdoor art installation that remotely connects trees in a forest to an art installation within a gallery. This project proposes make perceptible to the human senses, the slow movements and subtle liveliness of trees, in order to find ways to create a context for human/forest interaction and collaboration.
- An exhibition at THEMUSEUM as part of the Digital Dynamics festival. This is a curatorial project with Nina Czegledy. It will be the central exhibition in Digital Dynamics, a multi-modal new media art festival scheduled from January 25 - April 26, 2020
The exhibition will bring together contemporary, thought provoking, and important national and international new media projects on the theme of environmental change. The artists selected for this exhibition will be all women, and include a mixture of established, mid-career and emerging Canadian artists from Nunavut, Québec, Ontario and Saskatchewan, presented alongside high caliber international artists from New Zealand, Germany, Russia, Latvia, and the United States. Together the presented works will explore the environmental realities of living in a world where human life has negatively impacted the environment. These works will critically and poetically investigate our present, interrogate the cultural associations linked to how we think about the land we live on, speculate about future realities, and also suggest solutions for how we might approach life in the Anthropocene.
 Jane Tingley | Fine Arts. Retrieved from https://uwaterloo.ca/fine-arts/about/people/faculty/jane-tingley
 Mentorship. Retrieved from https://mawa.ca/mentorship
 Tingley, J. (2016). Re-Collect - Jane Tingley. Retrieved from http://janetingley.com/re-collect/
 Tingley, J. (2019). Faculty Spotlight [In person]. ECH 1110.