Eric Millikin

Eric Millikin is a conceptual activist new media artist based in Detroit, Michigan, and Richmond, Virginia. Millikin comes from a working-class family, growing up in a mobile home in rural Michigan, the son of a laid-off auto worker and a Denny’s waitress. The activist themes of his work often seek to change the types of prejudices and exploitation he has seen in the industrial Midwest. Millikin is a first-generation college student who attended Michigan State University with multiple academic scholarships, including a National Merit Scholarship, and he is currently an MFA candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Kinetic Imaging program. Coming out of an isolated rural area, Millikin’s strategy is now to reach as wide an audience as possible in order to affect maximum social change. He has recently exhibited in 20 venues within a year’s time, and his work has been exhibited in museums and galleries from Detroit, Denver, and Dubai to San Francisco, Scotland, and South Korea. Millikin brings a wide range of experiences to his work, including as a human anatomy lab technician, theatrical sound and lighting designer, industrial musician, Pulitzer Prize-winning artist and art director, and descendant of Salem Witch Trial victims. His artwork has been featured in WIRED, USA TODAY, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, and The New York Times Sunday Arts section.  I am a conceptual activist new media artist, using techniques like artificial intelligence, interactive video projection, sound art, bio art, augmented and virtual reality, vegetative tissue culture cloning, 3D printing, occult experiments, and dark humor to address my research into topics like the global COVID-19 pandemic, police brutality, economic injustice, and species extinction. I work in multiple interrelated series, using experimental new media to find the best ways to communicate my ideas and reach the widest audiences. I use both pop and conceptual strategies to create artwork that is both accessible as well as intellectual. I often explore the intersections of art, science, and the occult, what anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss describes as how ’’Art lies half-way between scientific knowledge and mythical or magical thought,” science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke describes as how “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” and artist Takashi Murakami describes as how “An artist is a necromancer.”

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