Cacophony (24Hr News Cycle)

Stefani Byrd

Stereo Audio Installation

2014-2015

The soundscape for this piece was created by editing the audio from network news coverage of mass shootings in schools and public spaces that took place in the United States over a 15 year period, starting from the 1999 Columbine shooting in Columbine, Colorado and ending with the 2014 shooting at the UC Santa Barbara campus in California. All of the words from the reportage were removed, leaving only the in-between moments when the reporters, commentators, or interviewees pause to catch their breath. In the removal of the speculative and sensationalized language common in contemporary American tv news coverage, the spaces in between that are the pauses and the breath become more revealing and representative of the emotional gravity of the aftermath of unfathomable acts of violence. In this installation, years of reportage on tragedy and violence are edited into one concise abstraction.

Special Thanks: Fernanda Navarro

Stefani Byrd’s art practice includes video, new media, and interactive technologies. Byrd’s early work addressed social justice issues in the form of interactive temporary public art installations that created role reversal, or "empathy training,” experiences for the audience. Their current work focuses on creating psychologically charged immersive media environments addressing topics such as how technology impacts empathy in digitally mediated spaces. Her practice aims to shed light on the complicated nature of communication and emotional fluency in a networked culture where imbalanced power structures continue to shape our interactions. Often their work confronts or undermines these systems by turning the tables on traditional power relationships.

She has received grants and support from groups such as: Creative Capital of New York, Flux Projects, the InLight Richmond Festival, and Idea Capital. Her work has been reviewed and featured in such places as the Public Art Review Magazine, the Huffington Post, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and Art Papers Magazine. In 2015, they trained in The Abramovic Method of Performance with Marina Abramovic. She is certified in Pauline Oliveros’ method of Deep Listening through Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Byrd’s work has been exhibited at places such as the CICA Museum (South Korea), the Museum of Contemporary Art of San Diego (San Diego), the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (Atlanta), A.I.R. Gallery (Brooklyn), San Luis Obispo Museum of Art (San Luis Obispo), and Woman Made Gallery (Chicago). Their work is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia and the Columbus Museum of American Art.

She received her BFA degree in Photography from Georgia State University. They hold a Masters Degree in Visual Art from the University of California San Diego. Byrd is currently an Assistant Professor in Experimental Media Art at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.