Dan Bustillo
Dan Bustillo Art and Technology MFA 14

When I first looked into the Art & Technology program at CalArts, I was especially excited to see that not all of the work students in the program were making could be thought of as explicitly having to do with technology. From pneumatic sculptures, to operatic performances, to videos about technology, I was thrilled at how broad the concerns of the program were. 

The experience I had of the program certainly fit the malleability I was initially drawn to. I was supported by my mentors to take classes in other programs, which allowed my practice to become increasingly interdisciplinary. A similar diversity was also present within the program itself, where my peers came from very different fields, spanning engineering, performance, poetry, e-textiles, architecture. Such a sprawl of backgrounds proved incredibly helpful during critiques as well as when we would collectively workshop projects and ideas. Because my cohort was small, we were all familiar with each other’s research and interests, which ultimately prompted us to be far more thorough with our work. I felt a sense of deep care from my peers and faculty.

My mentors, Tom Leeser and Tom Jennings, each brought very different concerns and perspectives to my work, challenging it at each moment of its development, equally in terms of the research itself as well as its multiple outputs and formats, which included a written thesis, a presentation, and an exhibition. Tom Jennings’ fierce commitment to material explorations coupled well with Tom Leeser’s challenges to the work at a theoretical level, gifting me with sufficient support and room to form a multivalent and rigorous practice.