Kadallah Burrowes: An Artist of Many Mediums

Sep 29 2017
Written by NYU Shanghai

Drafted by Aleksandra Lekowska ‘18

Technology and art aficionado Kadallah Burrowes ‘18 has managed to not only co-found Feast, NYU Shanghai’s premier art publication, but have his own work shown at a leading museum in Shanghai. As his magazine continues to gain momentum, Burrowes talks to the Gazette about his dedication to creating a platform for all types of artists, as well as how his creative endeavors and future plans are informed by his passion for Interactive Media Arts.  

 

Why did you start Feast and how has it changed since its founding?

Coming to NYU Shanghai, I originally thought I would pursue a career in photojournalism. I was interested in the art of writing and photography at the same time. I started contributing to NYU Shanghai’s magazine On Century Avenue, but there was a need for a platform dedicated to art, so we started from scratch and built Feast. We decided to keep it online instead of on paper to ensure that more people could contribute their art.

We wanted Feast to be a place for all kinds of artists to showcase their work, whether it be photographers, painters, musicians or creative writers. At the beginning, it was Isabella Baranyk ‘18 and me  working with five editors. Now, we have a WeChat group of over a hundred people interested in contributing content, organizing or attending events. The NYU Shanghai staff always do whatever they can to help out. As we organize events out in the city, we’ve attracted an audience of not only members of our university but  also the broader Shanghai art community.

 

 

What made you gravitate from photojournalism to Interactive Media Arts?

I definitely have to credit  Prof. Clay Shirky for that. I took a class with him every semester and eventually realized that IMA had so much to offer beyond photography; I could apply all of these new technologies available at the department to create whatever I wanted without being restricted to one medium of expression.

 

What are some of your projects that combine art and IMA technology?

In a class called Design Expo, we used IMA skills to create a prosthetic limb that would respond to mild electric signals from the brain to flex muscles and improve people’s experience with prosthetics. I’ve become more interested in 3D modeling and recently developed a detailed model of the prosthetic. It looks like a piece of art itself, but if you contribute the technology behind it, it becomes a piece of medical equipment to  improve lives.

Throughout college, my focus has shifted towards VR and reality-capturing technology, such as 360 degree cameras. I’m currently working on a VR music video project that takes place in space. It will be exhibited at the Grand Opening of the Modern Art Museum Shanghai in March. Students will also be able to participate in a VR hackathon that we are hosting at the opening with the support of Professor Christian Grewell.

 

How has your study abroad experience expanded your IMA skills?

While spending two semesters in New York, I took 18 credits at ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program), which is a graduate program and IMA’s older sibling. One of the graduate level classes I took was Biodesign and the Future Food which talked about the sustainable technology for agriculture. Together with 3 classmates, we created a project which focused on creating a hive out of a particular kind of mushroom which helps bees fight off disease. The project was selected in MoMA’s Biodesign Summit for the Top Food Prize in June 2016 and it is now being continued by my group partners.

 

What are your future plans?

I am determined to stay in Shanghai after graduation, so I’m going to look for jobs, internships and graduate schools here - even if it means enrolling in a Master’s program in Chinese! My ultimate goal is to become a professor so that I can teach others, but also have access to the newest technology like I do at NYU Shanghai.