John Crawford

EMD Lab Faculty/Director

John Crawford

John Crawford is an intermedia artist, interaction designer, performance director and technology developer. He uses computers and video to create rich immersive environments for embodied interaction with dance, theatre and music. His projects are performed in theatres, exhibited in galleries and presented as public art installations. His research and creative activity centers on making artworks that provide compelling interactive experiences for diverse communities, building upon the emerging technologies of the 21st century.

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 Emergent Media Design Lab, featuring a range of projects, courses and collaboratories that integrate socially engaged artmaking with emergent media and connected design. At UCI he has served in various leadership roles. He is a strong advocate for UCI's initiatives to support transdisciplinary arts-based research and teaching, including the campus-wide Digital Arts Minor program which he directed 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.