Acclaimed as one of the most important media artists in the world, Chicago-based Miroslaw Rogala is most famous for his interactive installations and video theater pieces. His work has been praised by the Chicago Tribune as “an exhilarating interweaving of video, performance, and numerous other media.”
The Polish-born artist has exhibited work all over the world, and was the subject of a full career retrospective at the Warsaw and Krakow Museums of Contemporary Art in 2001. Writing in the catalogue for the show, art critic Elaine King called Rogala “a techno-poet of time, place, self.”
Born in 1954, Rogala studied music in Krakow before getting an MFA in painting at Krakow’s Academy of Fine Arts. He came to the United States in 1979, where he earned an MFA from the Chicago Art Institute. He was later to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Wales, with a dissertation on interactive public art.
At Chicago’s Goodman Theater, Rogala presented Nature Is Leaving Us (1989), a music theater piece that featured a video wall of 48 television monitors. Among his installations is Lovers Leap (1995), a two-screen project in which the viewer, placed between the screens, can change through physical movements and gestures the images on the screens. Electronic Garden/NatuRealization, a free speech project was installed in 1996 in Chicago’s Washington Square Park, and Divided We Stand, described as an “interactive media symphony” followed as a solo exhibition in 1997 at the Chicago Museum for Contemporary Art.
Rogala’s most recent work has involved an ongoing engagement with landscape and still life images transformed through the use of Ford Oxaal computer software MEV/
Minds-Eye-View. Transformed Garden puts into book format images and artworks that will be incorporated into an interactive website transformedgarden.com.
He is currently preparing, in association with the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, a proposal and libretto for a multimedia interactive opera, DEL+ALT+CTRL.
A frequent collaborator with other artists, Rogala has worked with dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham, filmmaker and installation artist Carolee Schneemann, Chicago figurative artist Ed Paschke, and theater director Byrne Piven. Rogala’s collaboration with Piven, a video version of the witches’ scenes used in a 1989 production of Macbeth, has circulated widely in video form and is shown in schools all over the United States and worldwide.
Recent surveys of multimedia art have featured Rogala prominently. He appears in Edward A. Shanken’s Art and Electronic Media (London and New York: Phaidon Press, 2009) and Robert Russett’s Hyperanimation: Digital Images and Virtual Worlds (New Barnet, UK: John Libbey, 2009).
Rogala has been chair of the Department of CGIM/ Computer Graphics and Interactive Media at Pratt Institute; director of the PIMA/ Performance and Integrated Media Arts at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, and has taught at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College and was the founding father of the first MFA Electronic Arts Degree at iEAR Studio, Integrated Electronic Arts at Renssellaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy New York. He is currently directs the Graduate Program and Digital Arts Center for Knowledge Systems Institute in Chicago.