Rachel Mayeri is a Los Angeles-based artist working at the intersection of science and art. Her videos, installations, and writing projects explore topics ranging from the history of special effects to the human animal.
For the past several years, she has been working on a series of experimental videos exploring the primate continuum entitled Primate Cinema. In 2011, she received a major arts grant from the UK-based Wellcome Trust to make original videos to entertain captive chimpanzees. The resulting project, commissioned by the Arts Catalyst, is called Primate Cinema: Apes as Family. There are two versions: one is a 12 minute single channel video and the other is a 22 minute two channel video installation. The single channel video was selected in 2013 for Sundance, Berlinale, True/False Film Festival, and Transitio Mexico Festival of Electronic Art. The two channel version premiered at Abandon Normal Devices and was featured at the Edinburgh Festival of Art, and won a prize for hybrid art at Ars Electronica.
Primate Cinema: Baboons as Friends (2007), is a reenactment of a baboon social drama with human actors, produced in collaboration with primatologist Deborah Forster. Primate Cinema received a Semifinalist honor for the International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge (sponsored by NSF and The Journal Science) and showed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denmark. Stories from the Genome: An Animated History of Reproduction was supported by Creative Capital Foundation and won an “International Media Art Prize,” sponsored by ZKM. She programmed a DVD of videos by artists and scientists entitled Soft Science <http://www.soft-science.org>, which is distributed by Video Data Bank. As Guest Curator at the Museum of Jurassic Technology, she contributed to an exhibit on the history of special effects, Miracles and Disasters in Renaissance and Baroque Theater Mechanics. Her chapter on artists’ experiments with science documentary was published in Tactical Biopolitics: Art, Activism, and Technoscience, edited by Beatriz da Costa and Kavita Philip (MIT Press. 2008). Shown at Los Angeles Filmforum, The Center for Art and Media in Germany, and P.S.1/MoMA in New York, she is Associate Professor of Media Studies at Harvey Mudd College.