Samuel Adam Swope

1984 · United States

Artist biography

Samuel Swope is most recognized for his aerial art. Swope turns to flight and air as a medium to show an experimental exploration concerning the entangled relationship between control and freedom.

Aerial art is the construction and control of aesthetic objects/environments/systems that work with air or are themselves airborne. It is artwork that engages the artistic, dynamic, and technical issues of air as an aesthetic dimension. Aerial arts may merge flight, air, gas, or gravity as a medium and often require some form of apparatus. There are many ways in appointing aerial art; sculptural drones, levitating objects, micro-atmospheres and gas/fog artworks name just a few examples. Aerial art frames air, giving it a perceptible and systematic volume. With our new techniques and an increasing accessibility to knowledge and contemporary technologies, the possibility for more innovative and spectacular aerial art is possible.

Samuel Swope combines the natural and the technological in unique ways. Recognized for his research and development of aerial art, he constructs and controls aesthetic systems that work with air, and are often themselves airborne. Throughout his practice he concerns the behavioral dimensions of control processes. Equally concerned with the aesthetic and social aspects of autonomy and agency, in his work Swope examines control systems, aerodynamic logic, hybridity, and the hyperphysical. Swope’s work explores and proposes alternative perspectives in understanding and appreciating the importance of technology and the role air plays in articulating and conditioning forms of life.

Merging air with multiple media and artistic-engineering practices, he often crafts objects or environments that facilitate novel situations that oscillate between playful and poetic, introducing an uncanny apparatus to challenge cultural constructs, manipulate norms and produce ephemeral spectacles, which are then complemented by skillful documenting and storytelling. These works play with the intersection of technology and the non-human, framing these encounters through an anthropomorphic lens to explore our place within these complex hybrid systems and confront issues concerning atmosphere, agency, autonomy, and the very possibility of freedom.

Samuel is currently a Full-Time Visiting Artist faculty member of Art and Technology Studies department at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

BFA, 2007, Missouri State University; MFA, 2014, School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Exhibitions: Chronus Art Center, Shanghai; K11 Art Foundation Chi Art Space, Hong Kong; Design Society, Shenzhen; Guan Shan Yue Museum, Shenzhen; Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre, Hong Kong; Krupic Kersting Gallery, Cologne; Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong; Gallery Exit, Hong Kong; FILE, Sao Paulo; LOOP, Barcelona; Lotsremark, Basel; 100ft. Park, Hong Kong; Redtory, Guangzhou. Bibliography: International Association of Art Critics Hong Kong;The Art Newspaper China; Blouin ArtInfo; Pipeline; Ocula; South China Morning Post. Collections: private collections. Artist Talks: Chronus Art Center, Shanghai; 22nd International Symposium on Electronic Art, Hong Kong; Centro Colombo Americano, Bucaramanga. Awards: Chronus Art Center Research and Creation Fellowship; New Artist Society Full Merit Scholarship; Vermont Studio Center Full Residency Fellowship; Freeman-ASIA Award

Samuel Adam Swope

  • Exhibitions 1

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