Lori Landay


Lori Landay is an interdisciplinary teacher, scholar, and new media artist. She combines creative and theoretical work to explore subjectivity, commodification, and mixed realities in audiovisual culture, from silent movies to XR experiences. Her collaborations with composers, musicians, and dancers have inspired her to explore the expressive potential of movement and sound in XR environments.


Lori’s fascination with making digital images, which began when she was a graduate student at Indiana University in the 1990s, has led her to fuse theory and practice. Lori’s creative work includes virtual art, games, VR and AR, interactive installation, animation, creative documentary, digital video made with machinima, and music video. Her works have been selected for the Boston Science Fiction Film Festival, Cyberfest (St. Petersburg, Russia), On the Wall Dance Film Series (Berlin, Germany), and Utopics Swiss Sculpture Exhibition (Biel/Bienne, Switzerland), and won awards such as Best of Show and People’s Choice Awards, New Media Consortium (NMC) Summer Conference Art Show; Best Machinimatography Award, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference SIGVE Group; First Prize, University of Western Australia 3D Art Challenge; and the Mejor Obra De Investigación/Open This End Award of Excellence for Investigative Film. ShadowLoop, her interactive new media art installation included in the AVATARS Exhibit at the Nave Gallery in Somerville, MA, casts actual and virtual shadows on embodiment, presence, performance, and interactivity, combines 2D and 3D puppetry, and frames the avatar as a puppet in both gameplay and virtual worlds.


Lori is the author of two books, Madcaps, Screwballs, and Con Women: The Female Trickster in American Culture, and I Love Lucy (TV Milestones Series), as well as numerous publications on topics including Minecraft, LEGO, virtual worlds, virtual subjectivity, digital narrative, silent film, and gender and comedy. Her expertise in the cultural history of gender, comedy, and media has resulted in her appearance in documentaries including Finding Lucy (American Masters, PBS) and The Girl in the Show, premiering at the New York Independent Film Festival in 2018. Grants and fellowships include the National Endowment for the Humanities Enduring Questions Grant for “What Is Being?”, Newbury Comics Faculty Fellowship, Oculus NextGen Program, numerous Berklee Faculty Development grants, and with Rhoda Bernard, Director of the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs, generous support for The Immersive Tools Project for Autism from the Marianne JH Witherby Foundation.


Recently, Lori has been collaborating on large projects that align with her interests in subjectivity, mixing realities, performance, and access. Dream Machine is an ambitious leap forward into the future of entertainment, art, and experience. It combines multiple art forms, media, and disciplines to offer a world conceived by rock legend and music technology pioneer Nona Hendryx, in which experiences, including performances, games, and stories, happen. As Creative Director, Lori is involved in many aspects of Dream Machine, from narrative and level design to Unity development and visual asset creation.


Lori holds a Ph.D. from Indiana University, M.A. degrees from Indiana University and Boston College, and a B.A. from Colby College. After three years as Assistant Professor at Western Illinois University, Lori sought out ways to combine creative production with research in Cultural Studies and Digital Humanities, first as a Visiting Scholar at Emerson College and, since 2001, at Berklee College of Music, Boston, where she is Professor of Cultural Studies, Visual Culture and New Media. She teaches courses including Digital Narrative Theory and Practice, Art and Technology, The Language of Film, Approaches to Visual Culture, Art and Virtual Reality, and co-teaches Dance and Technology Lab in the Dance Division of Boston Conservatory at Berklee.


While at OpenDocLab, she is working on Moving Realities, an experimental project exploring using movement for expression in interactive and immersive media.