Defne Ayas
Since 2003
Works in United States of America

Defne Ayas (b.1976) is the Director of the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam as of 2012.

During her directorship, Witte de With commissioned Dai Hanzhi: 5000 Artists (with UCCA, Beijing, 2014); Moderation(s) by artist Heman Chong (with Spring, Hong Kong, 2012-2014); The Humans - a theatrical play by writer and artist Alexandre Singh – and its monthly summits Causeries (2012-2013); the open archive and collection Tulkus 1880 to 2018 by artist Paola Pivi (with Castello di Rivoli, 2013-2018) as well as the award-winning exhibition The Temptation of AA Bronson (2013). In addition, Ayas launched Witte de With’s new online platform WdW Review (

While in Shanghai (2005-2012), Ayas co-founded Arthub Asia in 2007 – an Asia-wide active research and production initiative.

Ayas remains a Curator-at-Large of New York-based PERFORMA, where she has organized projects with an international roster of acclaimed artists, architects, curators, and writers, and where she directed biennial’s architecture, writing and print programs since the biennial's first edition in 2005.

In September 2012, Ayas co-curated the 11th Baltic Triennale (with Benjamin Cook, LUX, in collaboration with artists Ieva Misevičiūtė and Michael Portnoy) to great acclaim, as well as the Istanbul and Bandung city pavilions as part of the Intercity Project of the 9th Shanghai Biennale.

She is a Board member of the Rijksakademie (Amsterdam); an advisory board member of PAC (Milan), Jan Van Eyck Academy (Maastricht), Collectorspace (Istanbul), SAHA (Istanbul), Protocinema (Istanbul) and Art Review Asia (Beijing); and a curator at large of Spring Workshop (Hong Kong). Ayas has taught at New York University between 2006-2012 and has lectured at Columbia University, New York, the Tate Modern, London, the Museum for Chinese Art, New York, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong, de Balie, Amsterdam, and Art Basel among other institutions. A patron of ArtInternational, Istanbul, she served on the jury of various fairs including Art Rotterdam, Art Brussels, and Artissima, Turin.

Ayas occasionally contributes to publications such as Yishu Journal, A Prior, Mousse and Creative Time Reports, and was nominated for ICI¹s Independent Curatorial Vision Award in 2012.
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Not for Sale: New Media and Sound- a panel discussion at NYU

Contemporary Artists and Curators To Discuss Use of New Media and Sound
for New Directions in Performance

Not for Sale: New Media and Sound
A Panel Discussion Moderated by Art Historian and Critic RoseLee Goldberg

With panelists:
Christoph Cox, Philosopher and Critic
Ron Kuivila, Artist and Composer
Elizabeth LeCompte, Theater Director of the Wooster Group
Christian Marclay, Artist

Respondent: David Ross, President of Artist Pension Trust and independent curator

April 21, 2005 6:30 - 8 PM. Reception to follow
Einstein Auditorium, New York University
34 Stuyvesant Street, NYC
Between 3rd and 2nd Avenue at 9th Street

Not for Sale: New Media and Sound will discuss how artists today use new media and sound to inform their works. What kind of a role does
integration of media and technology play in creating new forms of artistic production? How does innovation in technological tools impact the landscape of performance and visual arts history? A distinguished panel of artists, critics and curators will discuss the history of new media as it relates to research, development and presentation of visual arts performance.

As the third installment in the PERFORMA’s NOT FOR SALE series, NOT FOR
SALE: New Media and Sound will offer an in depth view into contemporary
developments in performance. In conjunction with New York University’s
Department of Art and Art Professions and Humanities Council, PERFORMA
presents NOT FOR SALE: New Media and Sound as a dynamic continuation of
the discussion on performance and its relationship to the museum, gallery, and collector, which has begun last April with “Not for Sale: Conserving and Collecting Ephemeral Artwork in the 21st Century.” Panelists Chrissie Iles, Robert Storr and Joan Jonas elaborated on the paradox of capturing radical and ephemeral ideas for historical record as well as a broader debate regarding how museums and galleries conserve this work. In November, “Not For Sale: Artists’ View” featured panelist Marina Abramovic, Tania Bruguera, Klaus Ottmann, and Debra Singer, who actively discussed the changing role of the modern museum as lively cultural center shaping artists’ ideas about performance.

PERFORMA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the research,
development and presentation of performance by visual artists from around the world. PERFORMA is committed to generating an exciting new
performance environment by establishing a dedicated biennial, building an exciting community of artists and audiences, and providing a basis for educational initiatives. PERFORMA is a sponsored project of the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).

RoseLee Goldberg, Founding Director and Curator, is an art historian,
critic and curator who pioneered the study of performance art with her
seminal book Performance Art from Futurism to the Present. A former
curator at the Kitchen in New York, Ms. Goldberg, Associate Adjunct
Professor of Contemporary Art, has taught at New York University since

Department of Art and Art Professions, New York University, Steinhardt
School of Education, The Department of Art and Art Professions is
committed to the construction of new knowledge through the creation of art
and innovative academic research. The Department brings students,
practicing artists, educators, and art professionals together in a richly
interactive, multidisciplinary community that fosters imaginative
art-making and intellectual exchange.


Christoph Cox
Through his ongoing engagement with contemporary music, the visual arts, and philosophy, Christoph Cox has become a leading contributor to the development of a platform from which the relationship between sound and the visual arts can be assessed. Cox currently teaches philosophy and contemporary music at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA and frequently
contributes to several magazines and journals, including “Artforum,” and
“The Wire.” Cox is an editor at “Cabinet ” magazine and co-curator of
“Cabinet's sound art CD series. He is the author of “Nietzsche: Naturalism
and Interpretation ” (University of California, 1999) and co-editor of the
newly published “Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music ” (Continuum,

Christian Marclay
A New York based visual artist and composer, Marclay’s work explores the
juxtaposition between sound recording, photography, video and film. Born
in California and raised in Geneva (Switzerland), he studied sculpture at
the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston and at Cooper Union in New
York. As performer and sound artist Christian Marclay has been
experimenting, composing and performing with phonograph records and
turntables since 1979 to create his unique "theater of found sound." A
dadaist DJ and filmmaker his installations and video / film collages
display provocative musical and visual landscapes and have been included
in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art New York, Venice
Biennale, Centre Pompidou Paris, Kunsthaus Zurich, San Francisco Museum of
Modern Art.

Ron Kuivila
Ron Kuivila is an artist and composer who pioneered the use of ultrasound
and sound sampling in live performance. More of his recent pieces have
explored compositional algorithms, speech synthesis and high voltage
phenomena. Kuivila has collaborated with composers, artists, and
choreographers including Anthony Braxton, Rudy Burckhardt, Nikolas
Collins, Merce Cunningham, Hugh Davies, Douglas Dunn, Susan Foster, and
Larry Johnson. He has performed and exhibited installations throughout the
U.S., Canada, and Europe. Kuivila is a Professor of Musicology at Wesleyan
University and has curated Rock's Role (After Ryoanji) at Art in General
in 2004- a group exhibition of sound works by artists responding to John
Cage's musical transliterations of the famed Japanese Zen rock garden,

Elizabeth LeCompte
As a founding member and acting theater director of the New York City
performance company The Wooster Group, Elizabeth LeCompte has been
identified as an important force in the development of the new theater for
the 21st Century. Through her careful use of audio, video, dialogue, and
set design, LeCompte has offered audiences deconstructed views of several
popular plays. For her work in directing, LeCompte has been the recipient
of several prestigious awards, including the Performing Arts Journal’s
MacArthur Award, the National Endowment for the Arts Distinguished Artists
Fellowship for Lifetime Achievement, and the Village Voice’s OBIE Award
for 15 years of sustained excellence.

David Ross
President of Artist Pension Trust, David A. Ross has more than 30 years
experience as an art museum professional and has served as director of the
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art,
and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Noted for his work with
emerging artists and new media, Mr. Ross has been involved in the
organization and jurying process of major international exhibitions
including the Venice Biennale, Documenta and The Carnegie International.

For further information, please contact or 212.
533. 5720.


Airborne opens: April 9- June 4 2005

Sat Apr 09, 2005 00:00 - Fri Feb 25, 2005

Transmission II: Airborne
April 9 - June 4, 2005
New Museum of Contemporary Art / Chelsea
556 West 22nd Street

As part of the museum's on-going Transmission series, a platform for artists and scholars working with transmission in the areas of new media, sound, generative audio, and broadcast media, Airborne profiles exciting new projects by New York-based artists.

Artists in the exhibition were selected from an open call for submissions and include 31 Down, Mendi+Keith Obadike, LoVid (Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus), Melissa Dubbin and Aaron Davidson, neuroTransmitter, Paul Davies, and Tarikh Korula.

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 6:30-8PM

Airborne Live: Damian Catera, Joshua Fried and Gregory Whitehead present performances that mix, manipulate, and respond to conventional content broadcast on the radio. The performances will simultaneously be broadcast live on radio.

Transmission II: Airborne is organized by Anne Barlow and Defne Ayas in collaboration with free103point9, a non-profit media arts organization focused on establishing and cultivating the genre Transmission Arts.

Media Lounge exhibitions and public programs are supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Jerome Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts.

About the New Museum of Contemporary Art

The New Museum of Contemporary Art, founded in 1977, is the only museum in New York City dedicated exclusively to contemporary art from around the world. Over the last five years, the Museum has exhibited artists from Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, China, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Germany, Poland, Spain, South Africa, Turkey, and the United Kingdom among others. The Museum has also mounted ambitious surveys of important but under-recognized artists such as Ana Mendieta, William Kentridge, David Wojnorowicz, and Paul McCarthy. The Museum’s Media Lounge, launched in November 2000, is the only museum space in New York City devoted to presenting new media art. The New Museum formed an affiliation with, a leading online platform for the global new media art community, in 2003.

In 2005, the New Museum will break ground on a new home at 235 Bowery at Prince Street. This 60,000 square foot facility, designed by the Tokyo-based firm Sejima + Nishizawa/SANAA, will greatly expand the Museum’s exhibitions and programs, and will be the first art museum constructed in Downtown New York in the city’s modern history. For the most up to date information, visit


AIRBORNE LIVE: Radio performances featuring Damian Catera, Joshua Fried and Gregory Whitehead

Wed May 04, 2005 00:00 - Fri Feb 25, 2005

TRANSMISSION II: AIRBORNE LIVE in conjunction with the New Museum exhibition Airborne

May 4, 2005 6.30-8PM


Damian Catera, deComposition NYC v.3
deComposition NYC v.3 is an improvised performance for three radios and a laptop computer.

Joshua Fried, Radio Wonderland
Fried writes, "Old shoes, a steering wheel, and sheer moxie turn live commercial FM into recombinant beats and grooves."

Gregory Whitehead, Over and Over and Over and Out: the utopian aspirations of radio art in time of war
Navigating through excerpts taken from two decades of his broadcast plays, essays, and performances, Gregory Whitehead proposes that radio is a wounded yet essential space for creative friction, recuperation, and resistance.

Airborne is organized by Anne Barlow and Defne Ayas in collaboration with free103point9: transmission arts. The New Museum’s Transmission series profiles artists and scholars working with the concept of "transmission" in the areas of new media, radio, sound, generative audio, and a vast array of broadcast media.

TUE-SUN 12 — 6 PM
THURS: 12— 8 PM


Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music

Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music

Editors Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner

"Over the past half-century, a new audio culture has emerged, a culture
of musicians, composers, sound artists, scholars, and listeners
attentive to sonic substance, the act of listening, and the creative
possibilities of sound recording, playback and transmission." In Audio
Culture, editors Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner bring to readers an
educated, timely and much needed critical perspective of our
contemporary musical experience through the writings of some of the
most important musical thinkers, including Jacques Attali, John Cage,
Umberto Eco, Brian Eno, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Edgar Varese, just to
name a few.

Audio Culture offers a collection of essays that filter a range of
experimental musical practices in an unusually refreshing way. Maybe
not since Gregory Whitehead's reader "Wireless Imagination" (1994),
which recorded the "silent" history of audio, has literature on this
subject sufficiently captured the attention of both the sound
enthusiasts and academics at the same time. Having brought together an
intriguing selection of articles from a range of significant radio-
sonic heroes as well as important thinkers and philosophers, the
editors decided that this time a book should not conform to the highly
traditional and historical categories and definitions of music but
investigate new paradigms for music criticism and history, even for

The book explores a number of connections between musical forms and
practices, while highlighting the conceptual cues they share. The
underlining suggestion is that there are numerous links at play between
movements and time periods, and it is perfectly ok to imagine
minimalism--considered to be rather an academic form--and Techno
juxtaposed together, or to find the "hyperlinks" branching out from
experimental noise music to HipHop.

The result is an elegant anthology that compiles the manifestos of "old
masters" such as Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo and statements by
Edgard Varese and John Cage while also spotlighting an interview on
integration of technology into artistic production by Christian Marclay
as well as an almost architectural analysis of DJ culture as put forth
by omnipresent DJ Spooky.

A topic such as "noise as music" that has reached beyond its academic
boundaries and become a widely accepted norm within popular music
(revealing the shifting definition of "music" as opposed to "noise" or
arbitrary sounds) gets its fair share of analysis for instance. Aldous
Huxley wrote in 1994: "The twentieth century is, among other things,
the Age of Noise [S<caron>]; for all the resources of our almost miraculous
technology have been thrown into the current assault against silence."
A few years before, however, John Cage had already proclaimed that
"whereas, in the past the point of disagreement has been between
dissonance and consonance, it will be, in the immediate future, between
noise and so-called musical sounds." The essay as such guides readers
on a journey from the nineteenth century pioneering challengers of
tonality, through various debates on the classification of "silence"
and "noise", towards the eventually widely accepted greater sonorous
possibilities within our definition of music.

Another topic analyzed at length is the role of technology in shaping
the reception, modes of listening and production of music in last few
decades. With regards to musical perception and reception, Glenn Gould
writes that through technology and recordings, "today's listeners have
come to associate musical performance with sounds possessed of
characteristics which two
generations ago were neither available to the profession nor wanted by
the public - characteristics such as analytic clarity, immediacy, and
indeed tactile proximity." Gould thought that the live concert had been
eclipsed by the audio recording, which could produce a superior
interpretation the pure composition, while remaining untainted from any
performance bias.

A number of essays look at the composer's perspective on how
technological advancements in recording and mixing suddenly enabled
non-instrumental sounds to compete on a common level with traditional
sounds, opening whole new possibilities of sonorous combinations. An
interesting essay to read within this context would be the one by Brian
Eno for instance, who explains at length how he came to redefine
environmental music and tcoined he term Ambient Music as an emerging
musical style.

It is impossible to underestimate the complex task of re-analyzing a
quite large section of culture that has undergone globalization and
been therefore affected by cross-pollination of media, technology and
culture (All of which brought a certain degree of democratization to
music production.) It is to the credit of the book that it keeps up
with the most interesting key texts and ideas in the field and does not
make a huge demand on our Windows-culture-inflicted patience.

The book is ambitious enough to cater to a broader audience and manages
to respond to the numerous demands made upon it. As many know,
listening to works of experimental music can make at times both the
unsympathetic and sympathetic ears nervous and uncomfortable, and
reading the long literature about it may often seem a daunting chore.
The reader--educated in the field or not--finds a surprisingly large
selection devoted to exploring the critical role of sound in the
history of twentieth century art and its implications on the most
recent developments in the emerging fields such as Electronica, ambient
music, and Techno.

The book is divided into smaller topics such as "Experimental Music" or
"Minimalism", each consisting of a handful of essays drawn from a
heterogeneous collection of sources. The editors provide context to
each small topic and respective essay in an introductory paragraph,
which makes the writings very accessible to readers who are not
familiar with the author or topic under discussion. Texts and ideas
come from a variety of sources including magazines, journals and on-

With its focus on different musical strategies for composition,
improvisation and interpretation that are continually being adjusted
and reshaped, Audio Culture succinctly captures the last fifty years
that has been the most fascinating times for avant-garde
experimentation, performances and sonic landscapes. By treating the
existing rhizomic dots and lines between myriads of practices in a
progressive fashion, it gives the last decade, which confused us all
for definitions in its vibrancy, its attention and maybe its future

Audio Culture guides the readers an intellectual journey from the year
1877 when the first recording fundamentally transformed sound, towards
almost better understanding our present culture of omnipresent ipod-
users, polyphonic cell-phone ringers and Bjork's Medula, helping both
the experts and enthusiasts to new ways of thinking, tracing,
developing and presenting audio culture.


Call for Works from New Museum

Fri Nov 19, 2004 15:01

Submission deadline: December 17, 2004
Exhibition dates: April 21-June 4, 2005
Location: Media Lounge at the New Museum of Contemporary Art

Fresh- is a special showcase opportunity for emerging New York-based artists working in all aspects of the digital medium. This exhibition evolved from the successful Digital Culture Evening Fresh of Fall 2003, which acted as a critical development workshop for selected graduates of interdisciplinary design programs with a focus on new media. Fresh was organized in collaboration with independent curator Michele Thursz and Mark Tribe, Founder of

We invite submissions from artists producing the most engaging digital work and welcome a wide range of projects from spatial/architectural installations and networked objects to playful games and websites. Cross-disciplinary approaches are encouraged. The exhibition aims to provoke critical discussion about innovation and current movements in the field that blur boundaries, for example, between art/architecture/ new media, or that result in new forms of artistic production.

Please consider these following factors for your installations. The projects should:

 Take the factor of exhibition into account, as the work should be designed for the Media Lounge. (Please email for floor plan or visit the New Museum (Chelsea 556 West 22nd Street) for a closer look.

 Provide detailed instructions regarding the installation and operation of the work.

 Depending on the nature of the submissions, the exhibition will either take the form of a group show or two to three separate installations between April-June.

What the New Museum will provide:

 Necessary PC based systems, audio and video equipment and the cabling for the installation

Please refer to the current technical capabilities (please contact for up to date information)

 Various computers
Pentium III 750Mhz, 256MB Ram, 32 MB screen card, sound card, dvd player, windows 98 or 2000
Pentium 4 1.2 GHz, 256MB Ram, 32 MB screen card, sound card, dvd player, windows 98, 2000 or XP
 1000lumens AND 2300lumens projectors that are all 800x600 native resolution
 5 42” plasma screens 16x9 ratio, 2 60" plasma screen 16x9 ratio, and 6-7 15”
plasma monitors
 Sound systems: JBL shelf speakers, Bose shelf speakers, 1 dolby surround amp, and many stereo amps.
 Internet connection of Business DSL 1,5Mbps


Please read the requirements above before you complete this form. If you have any questions about the application process, then please email us at Once completed, please send your form along with materials to: or
Fresh/ Education and New Media Programs/ New Museum
210 11th Avenue 2nd Floor
NYC 10001

Name of artist(s)

Contact email / cell phone #

Biographical information

Artist Statement

Samples of most current and related work
(This can include: images + media samples on-line)

Proposed project
(This should include: Concept/Context/Use of Technology)-

Requirements/ Instructions on the Installation and Operation of the Work

New Museum of Contemporary Art will exhibit the projects both physically and on-line.

Deadline for submissions: December 17, 2004
Review of projects: January 7, 2005
Announcement of successful proposals by: January 12, 2005
Launch: April 21, 2005

About the New Museum of Contemporary Art
The New Museum of Contemporary Art, founded in 1977 and located in the heart of Soho, is the premier destination for contemporary art in New York City. With an annual schedule of dynamic exhibitions, the Museum presents the most innovative and experimental work from around the world. Debate and discussion about contemporary culture are encouraged through a broad range of educational programs, publications, performances, and new media initiatives. The New Museum will begin construction on a new 60,000 square foot facility at 235 Bowery in 2005. Visit for more about the New Museum.