Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Assoc Prof Randall Martin Packer

Associate Professor

School of Art, Design and Media
College of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences

Phone: (+65)6513 8237
Office: ART 4-13

  • PhD (Music Composition) University of California, Berkeley 1988
  • MFA (Music Composition) California Institute of the Arts 1981
  • BS (Sociology) University of Oregon 1975
Since the 1980s, multimedia artist, composer, writer and educator Randall Packer has worked at the intersection of interactive media and live performance. He has received international acclaim for his socially and politically infused critique of media culture, and has performed and exhibited at museums, theaters, and festivals throughout the world. Packer is also a writer and scholar in new media, most notably the co-editor of Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality and the author of his long running blog: Reportage from the Aesthetic Edge. He holds an MFA and PhD in music composition and has taught multimedia at the University of California, Berkeley, Maryland Institute College of Art, American University, CalArts, and Johns Hopkins University. He is currently a Visiting Associate Professor at the School of Art, Design & Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, where he teaches the art of the networked practice. Most recently, he developed Open Source Studio (OSS), an international project exploring collaborative online research and teaching in the media arts. Packer is also an artist educator at the Museum of Modern Art: his online course received an award from Museums and the Web as the best educational site of 2014. Packer works and teaches remotely from his underground studio bunker in Washington, DC.
Research Interests
Catalysts of Multimedia

Catalysts of Multimedia is a historical investigation of the artists, engineers, philosophers and their visions that have catalyzed and shaped the media-saturated environment we live in today. Weaving the various branches of art, science, technology, philosophy, and sociology – as well as the multiplicity of media, inventions, forms, and artistic genres – the histories are unearthed for their rich interplay of aspirations, research, and artistic/technological accomplishment.

Composing with Media

In contemporary multimedia art, musical and visual composition have blurred with the advent of new digital technologies, such that sound and visual media can easily be transposed, controlled and integrated through their reduction to data. Sound can be visualized, and images can be heard, either can be the control source of the other. Where does this sensibility derive from? This research underscores the fundamental changes in aesthetic thinking resulting from the integration of the arts: music, visual art, dance, architecture, literature, and theater. For not only has a new medium been born, but a new artist as well, one who practices a form of artistic activity that is here referred to as composing With media.

Art of the Networked Practice

This research explores the resulting impact of emerging peer-to-peer forms. Within the arts and sciences, we are seeing an explosion of Do it Yourself (DIY ), or Do it With Others (DIWO) manifestations in various cultural, scientific, and educational arenas. Socially-designed DIY events such as Hackathons and Maker Faires are emblematic of the surging interest in collective forms of creativity in large part catalyzed by the Internet and the World Wide Web. A growing number of artists who refer to their medium as “net art” or “art of the social practice” are engaged in forms of relational art that emphasize collaboration, collective narrative, and audience participation.

The Artist as Mediator

Historically, the term “avant-garde” carries the implication of the artist as social warrior, fighting and defending ideological and philosophical terrain. The artist’s exploration of inner meaning through aesthetic investigation has potency when externalized in the outer world through the expression of art, with the potential of transforming the social sphere. Ideologies are symbolic forms through which social action can take place, leading to proposals or models (sometimes in the form of manifestos) that call for change. The work of the artist thus becomes a critical lens on the changing landscape of cultural and political conditions in an increasingly technological and globalized world.

The Post Reality

With the rapid-fire ingestion of media, overtaking our experience of the physical world, we are clearly losing the distinction between that which is real and that which is not, between the real and imaginary, between the physical and the virtual. The digital natives coming of age in a hyper-connected, mediated society have no other concept of reality: they are the indigenous inhabitants of the post reality.

The Third Space

The third space fundamentally represents the fusion of the physical (first space) and the virtual (second space) into a third space that can be inhabited by remote users simultaneously or asynchronously. This research explores the creative potential of the third space for artistic creation, performance, education, collaboration, and play. Despite the pervasiveness of broadband technology and the free tools available for real-time connectivity (ie. Skype, Facetime, etc.), we have barely tapped the potential for the exploration of live, networked experience. This exploration of the creative dimensions of the third space ha
Current Projects
  • Open Source Studio
  • The Third Space Network: An Internet streaming channel for broadcasting live performance and audiovisual art to global audiences
Selected Publications
  • Randall Packer. (2017). Disruption of the Broadcast. Media-N, Journal of the New Media Caucus, .
  • Randall Packer. (2015). Open Source Studio. IEEE Potentials, 34(6), 31-38.
  • Randall Packer, Ken Jordan. (2001). Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality. WW Norton.

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