John Crawford is an intermedia artist, interaction designer, performance director and technology developer. He uses computers and video to create rich immersive environments for live performance with dance, theatre and music, as well as gallery exhibitions and public art installations. His research and creative activity centers on providing diverse communities with engaging and meaningful opportunities for embodied interaction through advanced media technologies integrated with artistic practice.
Recent work includes Your Ocean, My Ocean, an ongoing art and technology project concerned with oceans and coastlines, speaking to environmentalism, climate justice and community engagement. He originated the Active Space concept for his intermedia software framework upon which these projects are built, and which he has continued to evolve and develop for over twenty-five years.
He is Professor of Intermedia Arts at University of California, Irvine, where he initiated and directs the UCI Emergent Media + Design Institute, a transdisciplinary program for arts-based research and teaching, focusing on emergent media forms. He also serves as Executive Director of the UCI’s Beall Center for Art + Technology, a leading presenter of emerging and established artists using technology and expanded media. Previously at UCI he founded the eMedia Studio, a distributed arts collaboratory in the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), and directed the campus-wide Digital Arts Minor program for nine years.
Active as an intermedia artist since 1992, his work has been shown across North America and in Asia, Europe and South America, and he has been a visiting artist and researcher at numerous universities and other venues in the United States, Europe, China, Japan and India. He is a frequent participant in transdisciplinary research projects connecting performing arts and emergent media with computer science, engineering, and medicine.
Prior to working as a professor, he led a dual life, alternating between parallel vocations: theatre artist and software developer. As a theatre director and actor in the 1970s, he studied with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, worked with theatre companies including Factory Theatre Lab and Theatre Passe Muraille, and directed an experimental performance group in Vancouver, Canada. As a software designer and research manager in the 1980s and 1990s, his credits included projects for Adobe, Microsoft and many other companies.