Alkemie was founded in 2011 by Sha Xin Wei and Michael Montanaro.
S h a Xin Wei
Co-founder, Former Chief Technical Officer
Sha Xin Wei, Ph.D., is Professor and Director of the School of Arts, Media + Engineering at ASU. Sha also directs the Synthesis Center for responsive environments and improvisation with colleagues in AME and affiliate research centers.From 2005–2013 Dr. Sha was the Canada Research Chair in media arts and sciences, and Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Concordia University in Montréal, Canada.
From 2001–2013 he directed the Topological Media Lab, an atelier-laboratory for the study of gesture and materiality from computational and phenomenological perspectives. Dr. Sha's research concerns ethico-aesthetic improvisation, and a topological approach to morphogenesis and process philosophy. With the TML, Sha has created responsive environments for ethico-aesthetic improvisation.
Sha Xin Wei was trained in mathematics at Harvard and Stanford Universities, and worked more than 12 years in the fields of scientific computation, mathematical modeling and the visualization of scientific data and geometric structures. In 1995, he extended his work to network media authoring systems and media theory coordinating a 3 year long workshop on interaction and computational media at Stanford. In 1997, he co-founded Pliant Research with colleagues from Xerox PARC and Apple Research Labs, dedicated to designing technologies that people and organizations can robustly reshape to meet evolving socio-economic needs.
MIT Press has recently published Dr. Sha's book, Poiesis, Enchantment, and Topological Matter.
Michael M o n t a n a r o
Co-founder, Former Creative Director
Michael is a trans-disciplinary artist who is best known for his work in the field of dance and mixed media. A graduate of the Hartford Conservatory, he has performed with the Boston Ballet, Les Grands Ballet Canadiens and Le Groupe de la Place Royale where he also served as Assistant Artistic Director. In 1985 he founded Montanaro Dance, developing a reputation for using cutting edge technology to create theatrical environments for his choreography. Over its ten-year history Montanaro Dance toured both nationally and internationally.
Since 1996 Michael has worked as a choreographer/collaborator on numerous projects including the Cirque du Soleil’s “Varekai”, Opéra de Montréal`s multi-media version of Carmina Burana, Centaur Theatre’s “A Winters Tale”, the documentary “Montanaro In Time”, a series of short films entitled “dances for small spaces” and Frankenstein’s Ghosts.
Michael is the current chair of the Department of Contemporary Dance, Concordia University director of the Topological Media Lab and a member of the Hexagram Institute for Research/Creation in Media Arts.