|Nationality United States|
Notable work (x)Trees
Name Agnes Chavez
|Education California College of the Arts|
Known for STEM education, multilingual education, installation art
Agnes Chavez is an American artist, educator and entrepreneur.
Chavez was born and raised in New York. Her parents were both from Cuba.
In 1980, Chavez received an associate degree in Art from Miami Dade Community College. She went on to get her Bachelor of Fine Arts from California College of Arts and Crafts in 1984. After this, she went to the Holographic Laboratories in New York for a Holography Internship which she completed in 1986. In 1986, Chavez moved to Taos, New Mexico.
Chavez showed Light Forms: Jungle Rhythms in March 1993 at the Millicent Rogers Museum in El Prado. This piece combined technology and an appreciation for nature. Chavez was an artist-in-residence at Highlands University in 1995.
Chavez developed a new business in the mid 1990s. When her son was two years old, Chavez wanted to teach him to speak Spanish. She began to teach Spanish and at her son's preschool as a way to supplement income from her art. The process of teaching at the preschool gave Chavez an idea for a possible business. Chavez created the SUBE kit, which is designed to help teachers inspire children to learn English and Spanish interactively. SUBE allows teachers to use a multi-sensory approach to learning language and is divided into several different themes. The name, SUBE is a play on the Spanish verb, subir, meaning "to go up." Chavez created a business, Sube, Inc. out of the kit, which was noted to "fill an educational void." Chavez is the founder of STEMArts, which brings science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) projects to young people in schools and at workshops. STEMArts is part of Sube, inc.
In 2009, Chavez began to work with data visualization and created the installation piece, (x)Trees which was later shown at ISEA 2012. (x)Trees was a highlighted work at ISEA 2012. (x)Trees uses live data which is taken from the internet and projects this information as tree-like images which grow and change. The work was a collaboration between herself and computer programmers who developed the algorithms for the trees. Her team for ISEA 2012 was made up of herself, Jared Tarbell and Allesandro Saccoia. The data used to create the trees was taken from particular search words used in tweets from Twitter and text messages. Twilio was used to generate trees from SMS text messages so that anyone viewing x(Trees) could shape and interact with the art. Chavez's intent with using social media and text to generate the virtual trees is to show how individuals are digitally connected to one another. (x)Trees can also be installed almost anywhere, including outdoors.
Chavez does a large amount of research for her artwork. While working on the interactive installation, Projecting pARTicles, she talked with physicists at the ATLAS Experiment at CERN, learning more about particle physics. She studied there for two weeks in 2015 and she did a presentation at the CERN library.
In 2015, Chavez showed her work, Origination Point and presented Projecting pARTicles at the Bienal de la Habana (Havana Biennial) in Cuba. She was invited by a curator from the 12th Havana Biennial who saw (x)Trees at ISEA 2012. Origination Point is a multimedia installation that uses sounds and vibrations of the Earth as recorded by NASA along with visuals of objects that look like particles and cells. Projecting pARTicles allowed young people to create "physics-inspired projection art" that was collaborative and took place on the streets of Havana. Projecting pARTicles was made possible by a team of four, including Chavez as the creative lead. The others in the group were Markus Dorniger, a projection painter, Malu Tavares, a documentary filmmaker and Imanol Gomez, a "creative technologist."