Student Internship Opportunities with Senior Fellow Oscar Santillán

The Lunder Institute for American Art and Buck Lab are seeking 2 research interns to work closely with Lunder Institute Senior Fellow Oscar Santillán via zoom/email for the 2023 spring semester.

His practice emerges from the notion of “Antimundo,” which he understands as “a way of identifying and generating realities that do not fit in the world.” For this purpose, he has resorted to forms of knowledge production and imaginaries overlooked by mainstream Western thinking, such as cybernetics, science fiction, ancient cosmologies, a more inclusive history of science and plant intelligence.

Interns will support Oscar Santillán, who will be working remotely, with his research and support him to develop and pilot a project that conjures Little Fort Island, in Downeast Maine as a sentient entity and imagines the possibilities of communication and expression among biological, technological, human and animal realms. Interns will be paid on an hourly basis.

There are 2 internships available:

The ideal candidates for these internships will have a programming foundation, at least to use this project as a learning experience by expanding current programming knowledge and understanding of the connection between ecology and emerging technologies. The ability to work independently and meet deadlines is critical.

Research Intern Position 1: ES Qualifications

  • Find ways to map out and organize the available real-time environmental data
  • Write a short report on the ecology around the region where Little Fort Island is located
  • Get in touch with initiatives in the US and Canada advocating for the Rights of Nature in search for a potential collaboration conducive to explore if Little Fort Island could be, eventually, granted personhood
  • Collaborate with CS intern in some additional tasks such as integrating the environmental data with the neural networks
  • Post/upload research and progress on an IVM website (which will be launched soon)

Research Intern Position 2: CS Qualifications

  • Create a coherent dataset mixing texts by artists Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson
  • Find interesting ways of activating this dataset by means of GPT3 or other language models.
  • Find the way in which the voices of both artists can be integrated (i.e. by means of VALL-E and/or other software)
  • Put together the whole pipeline (real-time environmental data > AI > real-time audio)

General Skills: Basic programming, research, database entry, proofing, and copy editing, Adobe Premiere, etc; expected to meet with the Institute fellows via Zoom; to participate in one or two scheduled events related to their April visit to the Colby campus; and to check in with their LIAA and Buck Lab supervisor and Oscar Santillán on a weekly basis via email and through monthly in-person meetings. 

Students can apply through Workday, where more information about the responsibilities of these roles can be found, and/or contact [email protected] with questions. Applicants are encouraged to apply by Friday, February 24th. Please include a cover letter, resume and names of 1 to 2 references. Decision will be made by March 1st.

Suggested Prerequisite: Jan Plan Course with Oscar Santillán. 

Image: Oscar Santillán with students in his 2023 Jan Plan course “Antimundo.”