Digital Art And/As Performance: A Conversation with Dr. Leonie Bradbury and Dr. EL Putnam


Contemporary art curator Leonie Bradbury and performance artist  EL Putnam discuss their collaborative work on the recent exhibition PseudoRandom at Emerson Contemporary, considering the challenges and possibilities of creating and presenting digital art. The exhibition explores aesthetic encounters through digital performance by implicating the artist, technology, and the viewer. Putnam examines performance art beyond lens based media, while questioning the ways time and space collapsed during the pandemic.

Leonie Bradbury

A respected authority on the creative and scholarly aspects of contemporary art, Dr. Leonie Bradbury has 20+ years of experience creating compelling and innovative exhibitions, developing new artistic works, and promoting artists as thought leaders. She serves as the Henry and Lois Foster Chair in Contemporary Art Theory and Practice and Distinguished Curator-in-Residence at Emerson College, Boston. 

At Emerson, she directs their platform for visual art “Emerson Contemporary” focused on presenting and commissioning new media art, performance art, and art engaged with emergent technologies. Recent exhibitions include Kerry Tribe: Onomatopoeia (Spring 2022), Sky Hopinka: Present Joys (Fall 2021), and SpaceTime (Spring 2020).

Writings include “The Networked Artwork: The Grid As Dynamic Relational Form?” in The Arts of the Grid: Interdisciplinary Insights on Gridded Modalities in Conversation with the Arts. De Gruyter (2022). Artwork as Network: A Reconceptualization of the Work of Art and its Exhibition (Dissertation 2018). “Infinite Reflection,” in Kelsey Brookes: Psychedelic Space, Ginko Press, 2015. “Sarah Sze’s Random Walk-Drawing: An Encounter with The Hyperreal,” Artcore Journal, Summer, 2013.

Dr. Bradbury holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Art Theory from the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts in Portland, Maine; a M.A. in the History of Art: 20th Century Art, Theory, and Criticism from Boston University; and a B.A. in the History of Art from the University of Minnesota.

EL Putnam

EL Putnam, who has short curly violet hair, large glasses, and is wearing lipstick

Dr. EL Putnam is an artist-philosopher working in performance art and digital technologies. She is a member of the Mobius Artist Group (Boston) and member of the International Association of Art Critics. Exhbitions of note include the solo exhibition PseudoRandom at Emerson Contemporary in Boston, MA, USA (2023); the Research Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale; “Art Action” with Le Lieu in Quebec City, Canada (2018); “Digital Art in Ireland Exhibition” with Sample Studios at the Lord Mayor’s Pavilion in Cork (2022); and Living Canvas in Dublin (2022). Recent publications include the monograph The Maternal, Digital Subjectivity, and Aesthetics of Interruption (2022). She has received funding from Culture Ireland and the Arts Council of Ireland. She is Assistant Professor in Digital Media at Maynooth University.

Ghostwork, 2023. Photo: Jim Manning