.::..Nicholas Sagan..::. …:.::..artworks and experiments…::.:…nicholassagan@gmail.com

Academia + Artist Statement + CV + Contact

..:::..::..::.:.:… TEACHING :::..:::..::…:.:…

I am currently a lecturer at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Film, Video, New Media and Animation Department.  I teach theory/seminar and practice courses that concentrate on art historical methodology and geneologies, New Media, science and technology practices, and current trends in artmaking focusing on interdisciplinary principles.

I am also teaching at Columbia College Chicago in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Media Department. This semester my course load consists of Sound as Art Material, which looks at experimental methodology and technology in regards to the treatment of sound as a medium of artistic expression.


School of the Art Institute of Chicago

  • Systems, Codes and Spaces
  • Media Practices: The Moving Image
  • Installation
    Terrorism: A Media History
  • Form and Meaning
  • Sophomore Seminar: Post-Human Practicum

Columbia College Chicago

..:::..::..::.:.:… PUBLICATIONS :::..:::..::…:.:…

..:::..::..::.:.:… WRITING :::..:::..::…:.:…

MFA Thesis Paper
How Time Became Posthuman
Response to Photography and Performance by Mark Alice Durant
The Unattainable in Science and the Art That Tries
Three Significant Qualifiers in the Work of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
How Art Killed Sci-Fi

..:::..::..::.:.:… Other [art] links and resources :::..:::..::…:.:…

Short Form

Through Interdisciplinary, New Media and traditional art-making processes, Nicholas’s work explores the connections, parallels and paradoxes that exist between art, science, technology and culture. His more recent inquiries and experiments deal specifically with the installation format as medium through which scientific imagery and data archives can be aesthetically and kineaesthetically accessed and interpreted. He has exhibited extensively in Chicago as well as Minneapolis/St Paul, MN and currently teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago.

Long Form

A paradox is a strange thing. Since it is defined as a “contradictory set of premises” it seems that there are different ways of interpreting the construction of the premises. It must be kept in mind that contradictory and complementary are not mutually exclusive qualities.It also so happens that the two pursuits of art and science thrive on the paradox.  The former is sometimes concerned with the creation of situations that may lead to or are the direct result of conflicts both internal (emotional) and external (political, etc). The latter is primarily concerned with uncovering and then deciphering paradoxes, ranging from quantum non-locality to the measurement problem. Regardless of how either of these methods deals with any potential or damning paradox, the end goal is one in the same: to gain insight into the workings of reality and the many shapes it takes.

Of course, the artist and the scientist both approach the study of reality by their various methods and ultimately either add new ideas and forms to infuse each with a newfound sense of purpose…or take a position that may perhaps stagnate a field, leaving it wanting of something better. To engage in either of these disciplines full-heartedly with regards to the pursuit and dissemination of true knowledge, however miniscule the meme or monstrous the moment, is to actively participate in the construction of reality. But there is a trick. Everyone who comes into contact with these additions must trust them to be true, at least so far as to want to verify them against their own experiences. So how does the artist or scientist go about constructing (or sharing discovered!) trustworthy elements of reality? How do we define what is real in light of this constantly fluctuating in-and-out flow of knowledge and information (two very separate things) and how do we engage a healthy skepticism about our world and the things we are told and learn?

It is the intention of my work to explore these questions using parallels found in both art and science. Artistic processes can borrow some of the visual and theoretical languages found in observational astronomy and quantum physics to construct new interpretations of old data. Those commonalities also lead to the development of new forms and ideas, some of which can be replicated whereas others are completely unique to a time and place. The process is similar to that of the developing posthuman. While a growing number technological advances take on the form of something “useful” and may be surgically placed into the human body, they remain as separate tracks until the elements are integrated on a fundamental level. This, too, is the path of art and science and the focusing principle of my work. As theory and practice continue to cross-pollinate we, as a culture and as a species, are becoming increasingly aware of just how important this process is in understanding the universe.



MFA, 2011, Interdisciplinary Arts and Media, Columbia College Chicago

BFA, 2006, Studio Arts in Painting with Art History and Philosophy Minors, Hamline University, St Paul, MN


NO MEDIA, Chicago, March 2016 (Curators: Jeff KolarNick Briz/ Jason Solliday)

Satellites, The Franklin, Chicago, May 2015 (Curator: Steven Bridges)

Sound as Bar Material (class show), K’s Dugout, Chicago, May 2015; instructor/curator/MC

Cosmosis, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, April 2015 (Curator: Steven Bridges)

Old Flame, with Kate McQuillen, Comfort Station, Chicago, January 2015; video installation

NO MEDIA (w/ Peter Speer), Chicago, November 2014 (Curators: Jeff KolarNick Briz/ Jason Solliday)

RECONSTellation, MANA Contemporary, Chicago, 2014 (Curator: Snow Yunxue Fu)

Cloud MQ-9, Fountains Foundation 916, Chicago, 2014 (Solo) (Curator: Leo Salvaggio)

TITLETITLETITLETITLE, Tritriangle, Chicago, 2014 (Instructor/Curator)

Proj*ect Pro*ject, Sullivan Galleries, Chicago 2014

Theory of Another MatterComfort Station, Chicago, 2013 (Solo) (Curator: MK Meador)

Out There, Arcade Gallery, Columbia College Chicago, 2013 (Curator: Kaitlin Oliveros)

Hatch Projects: The Terrestrial, the Celestial and the Imagined In Between, Chicago Artist’s Coalition, 2013 (Curator: MK Meador)

HATCH Projects: Natural Fallacy, Chicago Artist’s Coalition, 2013 (Curator: MK Meador)

Chicago Loop Alliance Pop-Up, Blick Art Materials, Chicago, 2013 (Curator: MK Meador)

Starving Artist: Dark Nature, Chicago Artist’s Coalition, 2013 (Curator: MK Meador)

FORM+Art&Floral, Chicago Artist’s Coalition, 2013 (Curator: Jessica Cochrane)

Video Trail Mix, Tritriangle, Chicago, 2013 (Instructor/Curator)

Center for Book and Paper Arts, Columbia College Chicago, 2011; MFA Thesis Exhibition (Curator: Jessica Cochrane)

Orange Skin Gallery, Neocon 2010, Chicago; video installation (Curator: David Jude Greene)

Gallery 207, Chicago, 2010; sound installation (Solo)*

Gallery 207, Chicago, 2009; interactive installation (Solo)

Gallery 207, Chicago, 2009; sound and video installation (Solo)

Gallery 207, Chicago, 2009; sound and video installation (Solo)

Altered Esthetics, Minneapolis, 2009

Cornerstone Academy, Chicago, 2009; sound piece for Core Project Chicago

Franklin Bank Gallery, Minneapolis, 2009 (Solo)

Capstone Gallery, Minneapolis, 2008 (Solo)

Red Hot Art Festival, Minneapolis, 2007

Capstone Gallery, Minneapolis, 2007

Art Speakeasy Series at Keegan’s Pub, Minneapolis, 2006 (Solo)

Capstone Gallery, Minneapolis, 2006

Gingko Coffeehouse, St Paul, 2006 (Solo)

Evoke Gallery, St Paul, 2006

Senior Exhibition, Hamline University, St Paul, 2006

The Art Major, 2404 Nicollet, Minneapolis 2005

The Fulcrum Exhibition, St. Paul, 2005

The Fulcrum Exhibition, St. Paul, 2004

Senior Exhibition, Holmes Landing Cafe, Fountain City, 2002

Student Exhibition, Red Horse Gallery, Fountain City, 2000

* Result of Space Heaters Grant


Instructor/curator for 10-artist group show of video installation, exhibited at Tritriangle, Chicago; Spring 2014

Instructor/curator for 12-artist group show of video installation, exhibited at Tritriangle, Chicago; Spring 2013

Co-curator for Post-Human//Future Tense, exhibited at the Arcade Gallery, Columbia College Chicago; Fall 2010

Co-editor and contributor for Post-Human//Future Tense Exhibition Catalog, published in conjunction with the exhibition.


Visiting Artist; Experimental 3D taught by Marlena Novak, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2014

Surveillance Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, 2014; roundtable discussion

New Media Caucus Showcase, Columbia College Chicago, 2014; artist talk (showcase review by Tiffany Funk)

Media Archeologies Institute, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2013; introduction

Faculty Pecha Kucha Night, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, fall 2013; artist talk

Faculty Pecha Kucha Night, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, spring 2013; artist talk

Visiting Artist Lecture, Dominican University, 2012

Curatorial Panel/Workshop, Portfolio Center, Columbia College Chicago, 2011

Gallery Talk, MFA Thesis Exhibition, Columbia College Chicago, 2011

More Equipment Than God: Experiments in Artificial Space, The Raw Space, Chicago, 2010; media performance

MFA Crawl, Columbia College Chicago, 2010; Artist Talk

New Media Caucus Artist Colloquium and Meet and Greet, Illinois State Museum, 2010; Artist Talk

Capstone Gallery, Minneapolis, 2007, jazz performance

Capstone Gallery, Minneapolis, 2006, jazz performance

The Artist’s Quarter, St Paul, 2006; jazz performance

The Artist’s Quarter, St Paul, November 2005; jazz performance

The Artist’s Quarter, St Paul, August 2005; jazz performance

Lula’s Coffee and Jaz, Minneapolis, 2005, jazz performance

Brilliant Corners, St Paul, 2002, jazz performance


Co-curator for Post-Human//Future Tense, exhibited at the Arcade Gallery, Columbia College Chicago; Fall 2010

Worked with 3 other colleagues to organize, curate and install exhibition which showcases work from International Graduate students working in New Media or Interdisciplinary Studies.  Subject matter of the show is relevant to the current trends in emergent technologies and the positioning of graduate students to those technologies.  Exhibited work not only shows how current graduate students interpret the idea of Posthumanism through the development of new technologies, but how those fit into a larger cultural and theoretical context.

In addition, a catalog featuring exhibited works with supplemental writings relevant to Posthumanism was compiled, edited and published.


1st Place, Iron Modeler Competition, Wonderfest 2014

Chicago Artists Coalition HATCH Projects Residency 2012-2013

Graduate Opportunity Award for 2010-2011

Campus Environments Space Heaters Grant, 2009

Graduate Assistantship, Columbia College Chicago, 2008-current

2nd Place, Jazz Combo Performance, UW Eau Claire Jazz Competition, 2006

2nd Place, 2nd Annual MamaDada Art Contest, 2005

3rd Place, 1st Annual MamaDada Art Contest, 2004

Louis Armstrong Jazz Award, 2002


Techmages IMPS, 2010-current

New Media Caucus, 2009-current

College Artists Association, 2009-current

IMAGe Unit (Interdisciplinary Media Arts Group); President 2009-10; 2008-current

International Association of Jazz Educators, 2002-2006


Cosmosis Review, New City: Art, July 8, 2015

V1B3: Art2Drone, Catalog Exhibition, 2015

Empty-Full, Bad at Sports, 2014

The Seen, October 17, 2013

Post-Human//Future Tense: Exhibition Catalog, ed. & contributor, PH//FT Press, 2010

Picturing Recent Futures: Architecture of Fantastical Dormancy, Epicenter Press, Chicago, 2009

Position//Abstraction. 2009; artist book

Constructing the Night Sky, 2009; artist book

The Fulcrum Arts Journal 2005

The Fulcrum Arts Journal 2004


Hamline University Permanent Collection, St. Paul, MN
Capstone Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

Private Collections of Lasanksy, St. Paul, MN; McNally, St Paul, MN;  Prussing, Fountain City, WI; Weber, Buffalo City, WI; Peterson, Waukesha, WI; Buchbinder, Chicago, IL; Harris, Chicago, IL; Greene, Chicago, IL; Estarr, Columbus, OH; Nichols, Chicago, IL.


– Instructor, Columbia College Chicago ; 2015-present.  Teaching Sound as Art Material in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Media Department.

– Instructor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; 2012-present.  Teaching courses Systems, Codes and Spaces, Video Installation and Media Practices in the Film, Video and New Media Department.

– Digital Media Specialist, Spertus Institute; 2011-present. Duties include but are not limited to website media content management, photo, audio and video production, and other content management.

– Videographer for the Adler Planetarium’s Skydome Theater renovation; 2010

– Printmaking assistant to Dr. Angela Geary of Northumbria University, UK and Paul Catanese of Columbia College Chicago; studios of Anchor Graphics and Center for Book and Paper Arts, Chicago, IL; Summer 2010

– Teaching Assistant to Jenny Magnus and Sherry Antonini, Columbia College Chicago; Summer 2010

– Media Coordinator and Technical Producer for “Carnival of Voices” by Shalaka Kulkarni, MFA performance, Columbia College Chicago, 2010

– New Media Caucus; Event Technical Coordinator during 2010 CAA Conference;

Acted as technical and volunteer coordinator, under the advisement of New Media Caucus (NMC) President Paul Catanese, for multiple events hosted by the NMC throughout the course of the 2010 College Art Association Conference.  Was responsible for managing equipment/technical needs for presentations, panels and performances; assembled and managed a team of sixstudent volunteers to assist with NMC event technical coordination and documentation; responsible for documentation gathering, editing and dissemination.

– IMAGe Unit President (Interdisciplinary Media Arts Group), 2009-2010

– Contributing Member of College Artist Association 2010 Live Blogging Team; 2010

– Assistant Technical Coordinator for Interdisciplinary Arts and Media Department, Columbia  College Chicago; 2009-current

– Teaching Assistant to Jenny Magnus and Sherry Antonini, Columbia College Chicago; Summer 2009

– Teaching Assistant to Jeanine Mellinger, Columbia College Chicago; Fall 2008

– Gallery Assistant and Framing Technician, Capstone Gallery/ Frame Ups; 2006-2008

– Television Studio Manager/Producer, Hamline University; 2004-2006

– Television Studio Producer, Hamline University; 2002-2004

Experience pertaining to listed employment includes but is not limited to: video production and editing, physical construction (drywall, studs, etc), painting, media installation (A/V systems), installing of the myriad equipment used for interactive and installation works, discussion leading, classroom management and logistics, special project assistance and mentoring, fundraising, public speaking, digital archive management, rapid prototype development, 3D printing, physical model building, computing, electronics assembly, circuit design, print making, and other specialty printing.

Additionally, I have extensive experience with software such as Adobe CS5 Master Collection; Avid DV, Final Cut Pro Studio 4 Suite, Max/MSP/Jitter, Isadora, Reason 5, Google Sketchup, Meshlab, Blender 3D, NetFabb, Crossover, Parallels, Android programming, Omnigraffle, Partiview/Digital Universe, Drupal 7, WordPress, HTML, network and in general Mac and Windows operating systems and the various programs native to each.

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