Cat Mazza (MFA '05) and Rich Pell (MFA '03/Faculty) Honored

Cat Mazza (MFA '05) and Rich Pell (MFA '03/Faculty) Honored

Date posted: 2008-11-13 14:44:00

Department of Media Relations
Carnegie Mellon University
Alumni House
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Fax: 412-268-6929

For immediate release:
November 13, 2008
Abby Houck                                                                      

University of Massachusetts Faculty Member
Receives Carnegie Mellon Recent Alumni Award

PITTSBURGH—Catherine Mazza of Troy, N.Y., was recently honored with a 2008 Recent Alumni Award from Carnegie Mellon University's Alumni Association.

Mazza is an assistant professor of new media at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She also is widely recognized as a "social craftivist" for combining crafts and computer technology with labor history.

"Cat Mazza is a leader and a world changer," said Susanne Slavick, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon. "Her impact manifests itself in a variety of ways — through her exhibitions, screenings, lectures, workshops and teaching."

Following graduation from Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts in 1999, Mazza earned a master's degree in electronic arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She co-founded Eyebeam Atelier, a New York City art center, and microRevolt, a project combining knitting and computer social networks to initiate discussion about sweatshop labor.  In 2005, Ars Electronica honored Mazza with a Digital Communities Award for her work with microRevolt. She also developed two software programs: Knitpro to make craft patterns from images and Knitoscope to translate digital photos into knitted animation.

Mazza has exhibited work at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City and at international venues in England, Scotland, Brazil, Italy, Turkey and Sweden. She received a Rockefeller New Media Fellowship in 2007, a prestigious grant given to six new media artists annually. In 2008, Mazza completed an artist-in-residence at the MacDowell Colony, the oldest artists' colony in the nation.

Electronic Artist Receives
Carnegie Mellon Recent Alumni Award

PITTSBURGH— Richard Pell, formerly of Wilmington, Del., and son of Richard and Maureen Pell, has received a 2008 Recent Alumni Award from Carnegie Mellon University's Alumni Association.

Pell returned to Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts as an assistant professor this fall after teaching electronic art at the University of Michigan and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he earned a master's degree in fine arts in 2003.

"Rich folds, art, science, engineering and activism into a variety of engaging, often collaborative, projects," said Susanne Slavick, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon.

Since graduating from Carnegie Mellon in 1999, Pell has received numerous awards for his work.  He received three awards at the Ars Electronica Festival for Art, Technology and Society in Austria, including one for GraffitiWriter, a robotic device Pell invented to educate underserved communities about self-determination. As a founding member of the Institute for Applied Autonomy, he developed interactive Web projects and a text message tool that has been exhibited worldwide.  Pell was also named Best Michigan Filmmaker at the Ann Arbor Film Festival and won first prize at the Iowa International Film Festival for his human rights documentary "Don't Call Me Crazy on the 4th of July."

Pell is currently developing the world's first comprehensive, interactive map of genetically modified flora and fauna with a Rockefeller New Media Fellowship. These competitive fellowships are provided to six new media artists across the United States each year.


About Carnegie Mellon: Carnegie Mellon is a private research university with a distinctive mix of programs in engineering, computer science, robotics, business, public policy, science and social science, fine arts and the humanities. More than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students receive an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration, and innovation. A small student-to-faculty ratio provides an opportunity for close interaction between students and professors. While technology is pervasive on its 144-acre Pittsburgh campus, Carnegie Mellon is also distinctive among leading research universities for the world-renowned programs in its College of Fine Arts. A global university, Carnegie Mellon has campuses in Silicon Valley, Calif., and Qatar, and programs in Asia, Australia and Europe. For more, see <> .

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Coming at a moment of profound political and social crisis, What is Democracy reflects on a word we often take for granted.  Join Filmmaker Astra Taylor for a media and activism workshop from 4:00 to 5:30 PM on Studio Beta at EMPAC, and screen the film later that evening at the Sanctuary for Indepndent Media in Troy.