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Sandy Stone - Biography

Sandy Stone (Allucquére Rosanne), Ph.D., is an internationally renowned artist, media theorist and science-fiction writer. She is the Wolfgang Köhler Professor of New Media and Performance Studies at EGS. She holds a professorship of Digital Arts and New Media Production at the ACTLab (Advanced Communication Technologies Laboratory). Stone is an active member of the Radio-TV-Film department at University of Texas at Austin as well as the Senior Artist at the Banff Centre for the arts in Alberta. Formerly, she has held the post of lecturer within the Departments of Communication, Sociology, and English at the University of California, San Diego.

Stone prizes her autodidacticism although she has also made use of formal academics and theories to create her pivotal work that has become the foundation for Transgender studies. She is an inveterate iconoclast who resists labels reductionist philosophies. Her main approach of presenting theory and research is through performance. Her secondary means of engaging theory is through gallery installations. In the early eighties, she became a programmer after she built a personal computer and taught herself basic coding.

Around 1936 in Jersey City, New Jersey, Sandy Stone was born Zelig Ben-Nausaan. In the 1960s, Stone held a staggeringly diverse number of careers and positions. Among them: a research assistant at Bell Telephone Laboratories; an artist and filmmaker in the big apple throughout a time when she created Feral Art by building domed structures on roofs, projecting films on the walls, and creating surround sound. At Fordel Films, she became a protean mechanic, innovator and tradesperson in film and media. She constructed unique projection, shot B-roll film, ran optical printers. She also edited scripts and acted as an extra in pornographic films. At Record Plant, she was a recording engineer for musicians including the Velvet Underground and Jimi Hendrix. At the Attention Analysis Foundation in Bethesday Maryland, she studied the visual and auditory systems in felines. Although she had long been hostile to formal education of any kind, she audited courses at prestigious New England Universities. She finished her undergraduate degree at St. John's, Annapolis. She moved from the east coast of the United States to the west coast.

Throughout the seventies in California, Stone continued to record a number of the most important rock musicians of the time. However, her interests changed pushing her towards the sphere of study that we currently recognize as identity politics, which however was a burgeoning movement outlined by the work of loosely associated teams of activists (whether queer, straight, or transgender, or otherwise), students, feminists, and leftists. Subsequently her arrival at Technical director at the Los-Angeles primarily based Olivia Records, a radical feminist collective, created a significant controversy. This turmoil reverberated through Stone's politics and philosophies of identity. She continues the discourse and ethics of identity within the underground and mainstream establishment.

In 1979, Janice Raymond attacked Sandy Stone in the book The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male. Raymond accused Stone of trying to undermine the feminist mission of Olivia Records. Stone’s book The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto is a rebuttal to Raymond. Stone’s text is one of the most key foundational texts in Transgender Studies. More recently, Stone offers a course known as Trans: Dangerous Border Violations. This educational offering investigates Transgender elements. Trans concerns are a frequent subject of her performances and lectures.

In the eighties, Donna Haraway advised Stone at the University of California's History of Consciousness Program. Her initial serious work within an instructional establishment began during this period. Her education culminated with her 1993 dissertation "Presence," subsequently printed by MIT Press entitled, The War and Desire of Technology at the End of the Mechanical Age. This interdisciplinary text is challenging, and unapologetic. It immediately became significant in the academia and was embraced by sociology departments around the world—inspiring many translations of the work. It established Stone as a significant voice within the academy. Throughout her career, she was awarded many prestigious analysis grants and taught as a lecturer within the University of San Diego's Department of Sociology.

Stone continues to write articles for anthologies, journals, and conferences. However, she focuses her energy mainly on her multimedia performances that combine lecture and installation. She has performed at countless seminars, festivals, and events including Ars Electronica, International Workshop on Technologies of the Body. Sandy Stone’s concepts on technology issue from her conception of the body and identity. As a transgender individual, Sandy brings her life experiences to each her theoretical and creative works. Sandy Stone is currently married to Cynbe, a cybertheorist and coder. They met in online and bonded over their attempts to create new on-line societies facilitated through new software codes.

Sandy Stone has written many books including, A Praxiological Description of Engineering Design Theory (Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics. 1987), Q-Analysis: Toward a General Theory of Design (IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics. 1987), The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age (MIT Press. October 1995), Electronic Culture: Technology and Visual Representation (Apertude Foundations. October 1996), and webAffairs (Eighteen Publications. 2005).

Sandy Stone is the Wolfgang Köhler Professor of New Media and Performance Studies at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where she teaches an intensivre Summer Seminar.