Photo of Shannon McMullen

Shannon McMullen

Promoted to Associate Professor
Patti & Rusty Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts
School of Interdisciplinary Studies 

Shannon McMullen received a PhD in sociology from the University of California, San Diego in 2007. She is jointly appointed in the Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts in the Department of Art and Design and the School of Interdisciplinary Studies in American Studies. Combining social inquiry and artistic expression, Professor McMullen exposes tacit cultural assumptions in scientific and technological developments that might affirm, rather than challenge, persistent social disparities. She then shares these insights in tangible and multi-sensory ways.

Working collaboratively as McMullen_Winkler, she and her partner have developed art projects and research in a field they define as “critical gardening.” This body of work is based on an expanded idea of gardens as sites with expressive, conceptual, and ideological qualities—for example, by metaphorically addressing technological interventions in agriculture that have relationships to national security (National Security Garden); revealing new visual representations of landscape in advanced synthetic vision systems (Curiosity Machines, 20/X) and speculating on future nature/technology hybrids (Algorithmic Gardener, Soybots). Contemporary negotiations between formations of nature and technology are at the core of these unconventional gardens. They provide productive sites to creatively and imaginatively interrogate the social significance of cutting edge technologies before they materialize as consumer products.

Shannon’s work has been shown internationally and nationally at venues such as the China Science and Technology Museum; ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany; VISAP 2014 in Paris, France and VISAP 2015 at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago; Wade, Toronto, Canada; Art Center Nabi, Seoul, Korea; and the Spark Festival, Minneapolis, USA. She has also published articles in Leonardo, Plurale – Zeitschrift fuer Denkversionen (Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany), Media-N, Senses and Society and the Environmentalist. Funding for her research has been awarded by the National Science Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the College of Liberal Arts.

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