Todd Margolis


Todd Margolis Avatars

Artist Statement

Best read aloud while listening to spinning hard drives.
Reconsidered in May 2011

Todd Margolis has a long history of experiencing the world through mixed realities. As an artist and researcher at prestigious media labs across the United States and the UK, Todd designs and employs virtual and augmented reality systems to create participatory artwork and artforms. Telepresence, immersion, interactivity and distributed social experiences are at the foundation of his extensive catalogue of transmedia works.

We live in an information culture in which everyday interactions are technologically mediated. As we become more reliant on virtual interfaces, media artists are tasked with critically reflecting on how knowledge, community and culture are impacted by dynamic technological changes. Todd’s transmedia art research, which layers a diverse range of integrated technological systems, is primarily concerned with generating innovative and engaging forms of immersive participation and social experience.

ATLAS in silico Varrier installation Immersion and interactivity are at the core of ATLAS in silico, a physically interactive virtual reality installation which fuses information visualization, media art and emerging technologies with metagenomic science. Todd was a leading member of a large interdisciplinary collaboration to develop a transdisciplinary platform which breaks with traditional hypothesis-driven scientific visualization. ATLAS in silico capitalizes on our innate pattern recognition ability, enabling discovery in massive multi-dimension biological datasets for domain experts as well as the lay public.

Telepresence and distributed social cinema have been research interests in Todd’s art for over a decade. In his work with CineGrid™, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering the advancement of next generation digital cinema, Todd has led several tele-immersive and collaborative events. Employing high-speed optical networks to connect inter-continental locations, these projects range from symposia and film premieres to networked music performances and remote collaboration. As Transmedia Producer for TeleMotions, Todd led the development of mixed-media collaboration spaces to enable a new form of musical telepresence performance.

Through mobile computing, Todd investigates novel forms of storytelling, connecting remote physical locations and virtual communities with Augmented Reality. Untethered from site-specific installations, these narratives embed virtual elements within the physical landscape, enabling new social experiences. Todd develops Alternate Reality Games like Local ARt which integrate art with playful explorations of public and private domains. Local ARt uses fictional characters and social networking platforms to reveal geo-located clues within Augmented Reality environments.

Todd’s current focus is to develop platforms enabling new social experiences by expanding the potential of telepresence, immersion and interactivity. Ongoing projects explore the use of augmented reality, tele-collaborative performance and distributed cinema to construct metanarratives which layer multiple media experiences.

- Todd Margolis, 2011