Shawn Van Every, BA Media Study ’98

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Full-time Faculty
New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, Interactive Telecommunications Program

Q: What vital experiences at UB / DMS helped shape who you are today?
A: While I was a Media Study student at UB the world wide web started becoming available.  The first Netscape beta was released and UB offered students the ability to access it through dialup modems.  Experimental media was my love but I didn’t see much of an opportunity to show my work outside of a few places such as Hallwalls that were sprinkled around the country.  The Internet with it’s tiny animated GIFs and QuickTime videos looked like a place that I could put my media and make it available to anyone!   Since that realization, I have spent of my time working on making that possible.

The experimental nature of the department instilled in me the willingness to take risks, to not be afraid of technology and to use whatever is available to create.  While a student I taught myself HTML and designed/developed the departments first website with Mary Flanagan.  I also took an internship at Hallwalls and did the same.  In many ways, being a student in DMS was what gave me the permission and opportunity to try new things with media.

Q: How would you define Media Study as a graduate of DMS?
A: I generally define it as an experimental media program.

Q: While at DMS what other programs, departments or regional events / activities did you engage and how did they inform your perspective as a maker?
A: I took quite a few classes in the computer art department and attended/participated in a lot of activities put on by organizations such as Hallwalls.  In particular, meeting the makers that came into town, through Hallwalls were very inspiring.  One in particular, Peer Bode was doing a lot of work with an early video conferencing technology called CU-SeeMe to do telematic music performances.  I would say that seeing and helping out on that was one the things that started me on the path I am still on.