Blair Bainbridge is a joint PhD student in Conceptual & Historical Studies of Science and Anthropology, with interests in U.S.-based astronomy and planetary science, imaging technologies, and future-oriented speculative scientific thought and practice. Her current research focuses on the concept of "habitability" and interrogates the ethics, politics, affects, and imaginaries that mobilize it. She is particularly interested in what resources are presently available to imagine and build antiracist and anticapitalist futures, and what role (if any) the natural sciences play in that project. Blair received her MA in Anthropology from the New School for Social Research and her BA in Fine Arts and Anthropology from George Washington University.
Marissa Fenley is a PhD student in both the English and Theater and Performance Studies departments. Fenley builds and plays around with puppets and thinks about their literary and visual representation in theater, literature, television, and film. Her dissertation project, “Puppet Theory: Aesthetics of Adjacent Intimacy,” takes account of both the mechanical and metaphorical modes that typically circumscribe the puppet as either a theatrical object or a metaphor of control. She is interested in the ways that puppets theatricalize dynamics, how they aesthetically represent what we might call affects of relation: feelings that resist embodied forms of display because they exist in between bodies. By moving across the practical and theoretical dimensions of puppetry, Fenley seeks to better understand the forms of relationality that uniquely recur when puppets appear on the scene.
Gary Kafer is a PhD student in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies. His research engages surveillance studies, media aesthetics, infrastructure, biopolitics, and theories of race, gender, and sexuality. He studies the material and aesthetic forms of contemporary surveillance media—including drones, predictive policing, border security, and the internet—in order to understand how social difference is organized and experienced within technological systems. He has published widely on contemporary art, social media, and big data. He earned his BA in Visual Studies and Cinema Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and his MA in the Humanities from the University of Chicago. In addition to graduate school, he has a professional background in museum and arts education.
Shi En Kim is a PhD student at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. She works in the Park Lab, which is fondly known as the paper group. She studies 2D atomically thin materials which bear strikingly similar characteristics to regular office paper in the way that they can be processed and understood. As much as she likes to use analogies to illustrate her own work, she is passionate about communicating all kinds of cutting-edge research to the general public in an accessible and accurate way. Her favorite stories lie at the intersection between the sciences, the arts, and society.
Cameron Mankin makes prints, artist’s books, and digital installations that explore how knowledge is transmitted and stored. Using tools ranging from copper engraving to machine learning, Cameron reconstitutes faulty archives like broken CDs and water-damaged prints into dialectic artifacts—objects that continue to provide their stored information, while simultaneously performing the process of damage and repair that they have experienced. Cameron is currently pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Chicago.
Ted Moore is a composer, improviser, intermedia artist, educator, and PhD candidate in Music Composition. His work focuses on fusing the sonic, visual, physical, and acoustic aspects of performance and sound, often through the integration of technology. Ted’s work has been described as “frankly unsafe” (icareifyoulisten.com), “an impressive achievement both artistically and technically” (VitaMN), and “epic” (Pioneer Press). Ted frequently performs solo on electronics using his laptop, modular synthesizer systems, resonant physical objects, lighting instruments, and video projection. As an improviser, Ted is one-half of Binary Canary, a woodwinds-laptop improvisation duo alongside saxophonist Kyle Hutchins. tedmooremusic.com.
Rossy Natale is PhD candidate in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy. Her scientific research focuses on understanding the evolutionary history and potential impacts of climate change on shorebirds by synthesizing morphological data from museum collections with spatial data. More broadly, she is interested 1) how various sectors of the public view conservation and conservation policies and 2) how art-based outreach and education may promote public support of conservation efforts by facilitating connections with nature.
Kaden Stevens is pursuing a PhD at the Pritzker School for Molecular Engineering. Kaden works with polyelectrolyte complexes, where he synthesizes “template” polymers that can be efficiently converted to analogous polyanions and polycations to make systems that are ideal for elucidating structure-property relationships. He is using this approach to better understand the self-assembly of these autonomous materials, to allow for better materials design in the areas of drug delivery and tissue engineering. Outside of research, Kaden enjoys reading, playing music, and spending time with his family. Kaden is interested in the distribution of scientific information and how public interpretation can influence policymaking at all levels of government. He received his BS in Polymer Science with minors in Chemistry and History from The University of Southern Mississippi.