Or Zubalsky is an artist and educator based in Lenapehoking (Brooklyn). They explore how coding participates in practices of political resistance.
Or’s projects originate in software and are encountered as digital platforms, physical objects, installations, gatherings, and performances. Their work is compelled by curiosity regarding the ways in which the composition and execution of code manifest as political action, capable of both healing and shifting power relations. With a commitment to unlearn and resist settler-colonialism, they engage the complexity that software-based systems afford in order to reflect on, criticize, and intervene in existing systems of power.
Their work and collaborations have been supported by The New Museum, The Museum of Art and Design, Queens Museum of Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Rhizome, Eyebeam, ILAND, Brooklyn Arts Council, NARS, Smack Mellon, among other institutions and groups. They are currently a NEW INC member in the Art and Code track and teach at Parsons School of Design.
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Staged as a series of video tutorials, Merge Conflicts engages a process of unlearning settler colonial pedagogy through using Git, a software tool for managing multiple versions of digital documents.
- Branding Conflict, Space 204 Gallery, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Song Itself Acts As a First Line of Territorial Defense is a digital listening experience, highlighting the physicality of the internet.
The website traces the physical route data packets traveled from the server, through various routers along the network, and to the client. It then plays recent recordings of birds from key places along the route.
Project: Request Deferred
Request Deferred is an intervention in the digitization process of the Israel State Archive.
In 2019, the majority of records have not been digitized. In this piece, the process of requesting unavailable records is automated.
For the duration of the installation, the script repeated filling out the online form hundreds of times to request records related to the displacement and dispossession of Palestinians in 1948 and 1949. All records were officially added to the archivists’ queue to be made public.
- The Body Responds by Lying Down, NARS Foundations, Brooklyn, NY.
Project: Time Travels: Building a State in the Middle East
A function draws rectangles in different sizes with different offsets on a canvas.
The rectangles are used to cut into Israeli history textbooks in order to identify patterns in settler colonial pedagogy.
All textbooks contain a single image from 1948, of Al Nakba, the ongoing Palestinian catastrophe.
Through cutting into the textbooks, the image is made visible to provide opportunities for self study.
- Branding Conflict, Space 204 Gallery, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Project: Mold For Marching Drum
A code poem generates vector files.
The files are read by a laser cutter.
The shapes are assembled to make cylindrical molds.
The molds are used to make light, affordable, and loud marching drums.
The marching drums are used in street actions, whenever needed.
An installation of marching drums at rest and a poetic reflection on political organizing work.
- Intimate Zoo, Red Hook, NY.
Project: How Will You Write it in a Sentence? How Will You Sing it?
Mother and child separated by distance come together in virtual space with the goal of writing a protest chant.
- The Nakba of His Inauguration, The Overlook Place, Chicago, IL.
Project: Suppose We Rave a Bit
As a way to protest Benyamin Netanyahu’s visit to Congress in 2015, participants are invited to imagine the speech that they would like the Israeli Prime Minister to give and perform it themselves.
The project was as a response to Ralph Ellisson’s book “Invisible Man” being banned in the Randolph County Board of Education in Central North Carolina in 2013.
As an installation, participants call in and record individual pages of "Invisible Man." A collective act of solidarity with those who are still invisible in our society.
- RESPOND, Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY.
- Media Futures, School of the Art Institute, Chicago, IL.
- What We Make, Ross Art Museum, Delaware, OH.
Project: The Silent Period
Employing strategic uses of silence in the reading of appropriated texts, the installation renders a “lack” of spoken language production into a call for acts of critical listening.
- Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA.
Project: Fantastic Futures
Fantastic Futures was a collective formed during the Iraq War. With participants from Baghdad and NYC, we shared stories and envisioned the future.
We created an interactive sound collection through which we made and exchanged sounds.
We interviewed each other, made field recordings and listened together. We collaged sounds from different locations to form compositions.
- Dissident Futures, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.
- Earlids, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, New York, NY.
- The Shortest Distance, Syndicat Potential, Strasbourg, France.
Project: Through Body, Through Earth, Through Speech
Performative installation made with collective recording excercises and interviews conducted by Fantastic Futures in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, addressing questions and discussions around diversity, visions of the future, and entitlement of space.
- Eyebeam, New York, NY.
- Queens Museum, Queens, NY.
Project: The Future Is Fantastic (If You Want It)
With support from Rhizome, Fantastic Futures created a movement based performance to experiment with modes of attentive listening.
In this event, audience members are blindfolded as performers move around the space playing sounds from the collective's online platform using minimal, low-tech megaphones.
The compositions performed consist of collaged field recordings and interviews conducted among members of the group in Baghdad and NYC in 2011.
Project: Trade School
For a decade, Trade School operated in fifty chapters worldwide. Teachers proposed classes and asked for barter items from students. Students signed up for classes by agreeing to bring a barter item for the teacher.
The project included open source software used to manage the project internally as well as the public facing system for establishing exchanges.
- Interactive Space, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY.
- Art, Environment, Action!, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, New York, NY.
- Arts Education 2.0: Exploring Alternative Education Models, ArtsTech, New York, NY.
- Meet the Organizers, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY.
- Brown Bag Session, College Art Association, New York, NY.
- Disrupting Higher Ed: Barter and Mentor Based Education, Maker Faire, New York, NY.
- TEDxYouth, Brooklyn Free School, Brooklyn, NY.
Project: Meeting Table
A responsive drum amplifies the participants’ heartbeats, becoming a collective resonant body.
Through a series of performances that juxtapose speech, singing, and heartbeat sounds, audiences are invited to consider how individuals share airtime and listen to each other.
- NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial, Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY.
- Refest: Art+Tech, Culturehub, New York, NY.
Circuit for Listening to the Heart is designed to amplify the frequencies of five heartbeats and attenuate others significantly. Five amplified and filtered heartbeat signals are mixed into one output. Combined with modified stethoscopes, this circuit facilitates a listening experience where five people listen to the group’s collective heartbeat.
Spoken Synth is a cusom made synthesizer. A Speakjet chip turned into a five oscillator additive synthesizer, controlled by an Arduino and custom software. Sounds generated by this synthesizer have been used for multiple projects.
Circuit for Voice and Wind incorporates five AC dimmers that are controled by an external input. This circuit facilitates the translation of voice and wind.