Amy Alexander
Since 2009
Works in United States of America

Amy Alexander is a new media, audiovisual and performance artist who has also worked in film, video, music and information technology. Her current and recent work approaches digital media art from a performing arts perspective, often sitting at the intersection of art and popular culture. Amy’s projects have been presented on the Internet, in clubs and on the street as well as in festivals and museums. She is an Associate Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. In summer and fall 2012, she'll be Artist-in-Residence at iotaCenter in Los Angeles.

Amy – who has also worked under the names Cue P. Doll and VJ Übergeek – was a dinos^H^H^H pioneer in the development of software-based net art, beginning in 1996 with the Webby-nominated Multi-Cultural Recycler, a project that spoofed both net celebrity and faux multi-culturalism on the web. In addition to her art projects, she was also a co-founder and moderator of the software art repository and has been active in software art curation.

Amy’s projects have been exhibited at venues ranging from The Whitney Museum, Prix Ars Electronica, Transmediale, SIGGRAPH, and the New Museum to club performances at Sonar (Barcelona), First Avenue (Minneapolis) and Melkweg (Amsterdam). She has performed on the streets of Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Zürich, and Aberdeen, Scotland. Her work has been discussed in publications including Wired, The New York Times, Slashdot, Ecrans, Leonardo, The Boston Globe and the Washingon Post.

Amy’s work has been influenced by her background in musical performance, and she’s recently expanded her performance endeavors by studying and performing standup comedy. Besides continuing her VJ performances, she’s recently published texts on audiovisual performance history. In collaboration with Annina Rüst she’s currently performing Discotrope, an audiovisual performance involving solar energy and various histories of dance in cinema. She’s also doing research toward combining her visual performance work with her background as a percussionist in the not-too-distant future.
Discussions (24) Opportunities (3) Events (9) Jobs (0)

Storysharing @ Videos by People: Please send your voting stories by 12/1.

Sat Dec 01, 2012 13:55

I just posted my final voting story. Would be great to have yours. Voting Stories will close to new postings on 12/1.

Voting Stories is the first project of Videos by People - a storysharing site. The idea is to create ad hoc channels where people can post stories on a given theme. After a certain amount of time, the project stops, and we go back to what we were doing until the next storysharing idea comes along.


Videos by People: Ad hoc social channels for individuals

Sat Oct 27, 2012 00:35 - Sat Dec 01, 2012

Hi! I've launched a new site called Videos by People - . It's motivated by a few ideas:

  • Sometimes you want to tell a story anonymously, or semi-anonymously.
  • You don't want it showing up next to your name in online searches forever, or maybe it just doesn't match the rest of the content on your YouTube channel.
  • Launching or participating in a social media site is like having a pet. It needs ongoing care and nurturing. Sometimes an ad-hoc social media site would be more efficient.

Sites like YouTube are all but unavoidable in getting your word out these days, but their structures favor getting people to perpetuate social media, not letting individuals get a message out when they have something to say.

Videos by People is a prototype for an alternative structure: The creation of ad-hoc channels to which individuals can post their stories on a given topic for a limited period of time. The theory is that by having multiple people posting to the same channel, the individuals could get some critical mass which would help them get their stories out in the "popularity contest" structured social media environment. It uses YouTube API to allow users to post to a communal YouTube channel, rather than to individual ones.

Since I'm starting the channel and I'm not terribly well-connected, considering this an experiment in building critical mass is a dodgy proposition - there's an inherent bootstrapping problem. So I'm thinking of it more as a prototype - so we can see where the ideas behind the structure might lead. But if you like it, please do share, contribute, etc. (That's how that whole "critical mass" thing works! :-))

Our first topic is Voting Stories. Please read/watch/post more about it, and Videos by People, at And please feel free to get in touch via the feedback form on the site (That's the most reliable way to reach me.)



Videos by People: Voting Stories (Submit or Just watch!)

Sat Dec 01, 2012 23:05

Will you share your Voting Story on Videos by People?

Videos by People is an experiment to see if not-so-well-connected individuals can band together get their video stories told. Will you help by submitting a short video (and sharing the link)? The first topic, which inspired the project, involves voting. A lot of us have had problems voting that you don't hear about in the media because we're outside of (Presidential) swing states. How to get those stories heard? But also - a lot of people have stories to tell about other aspects of voting (in the US and elsewhere). But nobody asks. So - the first topic is Voting Stories.

Videos can be short and simple, and it's (I hope) very easy to upload a video directly to the votingstories YouTube channel. Just go to for more info. It'd be awesome if you'd send a video, and if you'd also help by sharing that'd be überwonderful... Thanks!!!! -Amy


Discotrope performance at ISEA Block Party

Sun Sep 23, 2012 19:45 - Sun Sep 23, 2012

Albuquerque, New Mexico
United States of America

Here's where you can find us at ISEA. More info on our Facebook event page.

More info on Discotrope: The Secret Nightlife of Solar Cells at


Discotrope: The Secret Nightlife of Solar Cells at HM157

Sat Jun 16, 2012 20:00 - Sat Jun 16, 2012

Los Angeles, California
United States of America

Do solar cells have a nightlife? According to artist-professors Amy Alexander and Annina Rüst, solar cells aren’t just for making green energy anymore. Solar-powered nightlife comes to Los Angeles, where “Discotrope: The secret nightlife of solar cells” makes its road premiere this month at the Hollywood Fringe Festival and at underground eclectic venue HM157 in Lincoln Heights.


“Discotrope: The secret nightlife of solar cells” is an audiovisual performance that resembles a nightclub light show. At the heart of the show is the Discotrope, a disco ball where mirrors have been replaced with solar cells. (Discotrope’s low-tech gadgetry is reminiscent of early motion picture technologies like the zoetrope, after which it is named.) When Alexander and Rüst project videos of dancers onto the Discotrope, the cells produce electricity, causing the ball to rotate at varying speeds. But the cells do more than just power the ball - they also reflect the videos projected onto them. The reflections form a kaleidoscopic, rotating circular projection that encompasses walls and large screens around the space - as well as whatever people, trees, furniture or other objects lie in its path. The Lincoln Heights show will take place in the outdoor courtyard of HM157, a Victorian-era mansion that’s become a popular venue for alternative art and music events.

Discotrope’s projected visuals depict the history of “people dancing at cameras.” As Amy Alexander explains: “Early cinema took its cues from theatre and vaudeville attractions. If you look at movies from a hundred years ago, people danced very overtly for the camera - as they would dance for a live audience. There was a direct connection between performer and viewer, which often walked the line between voyeurism and exhibitionism. This perspective gradually disappeared as narrative film structure developed; the camera and audience became more like a fly on the wall. It’s come back now with YouTube: people set up webcams and dance directly ‘at’ the camera again. But where early cinema dancers were at the mercy of producers and directors, YouTube performers are largely self-directed. What interests us is how they represent themselves - what has and hasn’t changed now that the dancers are literally calling their own shots.”

Alexander and Rüst’s projected visual journey through dance cinema history is mixed live and isn’t chronological: a clip of a nineteenth century skirt dance filmed to show off Thomas Edison’s early motion picture technology might be juxtaposed with a YouTube video of man in a leotard dancing in his living room. Accompanying this visual amalgamation is an algorithmic sound design by composer Cristyn Magnus, which creates a real time, danceable remix using samples of music from the projected clips.