Stephanie Rothenberg

Stephanie Rothenberg

Buffalo, NY

Stephanie Rothenberg is an interdisciplinary artist using performance, installation and networked media to create provocative public interactions. Mixing real and virtual spaces, her work explores the power dynamics between contemporary visions of utopia and real world economic, political and environmental factors. She has exhibited throughout the US and internationally in venues including LABoral in Gijon, Spain, MASS MoCA, the Sundance Film Festival and Transmediale. She is a recipient of numerous awards, most recently from the Harpo Foundation and Creative Capital. Residencies include the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace and Eyebeam Art and Technology. Her work is in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art and has been widely reviewed including Artforum, Artnet, The Brooklyn Rail and Hyperallergic. She is Associate Professor in the Department of Art at SUNY Buffalo where she teaches courses in design and emerging technologies.

Reversal of Fortune

Stephanie Rothenberg

Artist Bio

Reversal of Fortune uses the poetic metaphor of a garden and its struggle to survive to explore the complex relationship of economic growth to human life—between the cultural and the organic. The artworks focus on how social media platforms, specifically online crowdfunding, are facilitating new forms of charity-based micro lending. The project includes an interactive garden installation, Garden of Virtual Kinship, and an immersive hanging garden of talking plants, Planthropy. Existing in both the physical and virtual worlds, the plants in Rothenberg’s gardens represent micro loan borrowers and major philanthropic causes whose lifelines are dependent on the charitable actions of social media users. Successful transactions trigger an automated watering system that provides nourishment to the plants, while failed ventures may lead to dying plants. Rothenberg writes, “In the gardens, I wanted to make these exchanges of financial transactions more visible through mapping and visualization. But it was also critical to underscore the human life that is at risk.”

Award Year