Meet Interdisciplinary Arts Faculty: (Almost) Dr. Funk!

Meet Interdisciplinary Arts Faculty: (Almost) Dr. Funk!

Tiffany A. Funk

What is your favorite thing about teaching?

My favorite thing about teaching is the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals who are driven in the same ways I am. There’s something really amazing about introducing someone to something you greatly value and realizing that she digs it just as much as you do. So many of Columbia‘s students are like this—absolutely driven to explore contemporary practice and theory to get a more complete picture of where they fit into the world, both inside and outside the world of art. Who wouldn’t love to have regular conversations with people who are jazzed about the exact same things you are?

What made you choose Columbia?

Actually, it was a confluence of happy circumstances that brought me to Columbia. In fact, I didn’t really choose Columbia, but it chose me. A good friend and colleague of mine, a fellow PhD candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago, recommended me for the Art as Discourse adjunct position at Columbia. She had nothing but wonderful things to say about the experience of teaching graduate students in the department, and I was overjoyed to get the same opportunity.

What project are you working on right now that you are excited about?

Right now, I’m experimenting with generative writing and attempting to pair it with my research interests in how technology serves as an extension, or prosthetic, to human functioning. So much of the technology we use automates not only our actions but also our cognitive processes, so it seems a natural step to also automate our creative processes, as well. Eventually, these explorations will take the form of prints and books…although, there is a performance with a cherished colleague that I’m planning for the near future which should be a riot.

As a current PhD candidate, tell me a bit about the topic of your dissertation.

The PhD research I’m engaged in is very close to my artistic practice. I’m focused on a history of digital art, specifically the ways in which computing has influenced art-making in the present. I refer to all technological extensions as prosthetics, and these prosthetics have dictated our futures since the dawn of man. I suppose that my general outlook on this research is to set it against all those dystopian ideas of how technology takes over and eradicates the “human” elements. That simply can’t happen, because our method of technology production is simply a continual remaking of ourselves. Technology is merely an extension and a tool regardless of how complex it is, but it still has the power to divine our futures.

Tiffany Funk is an adjunct professor in the Interdisciplinary Arts department at Columbia. She teaches Art as Discourse, 21st Century Aesthetics, and Art + Science CollaborationFor more Dr. Funk, see her website.