Before founding the Boston-based creative studio Materials & Methods, Jeff attended the Rhode Island School of Design where he later taught in the departments of Industrial Design, Interior Architecture, and Foundation Studies. A bastion of internal conflict, multidisciplinary designer, creative technologist, and corporate provocateur – Jeff has spent the last 20 years avoiding any particular field or focus, but is an expert seeker of creative pursuits, enhancer of human experience, excels in bi-directional candle burning and using business development as an excuse to have drinks with friends.
Director of Programming
Ethan Vogt is the Director of Programming of ILLUMINUS, where he oversees the selection, development and documentation of the artists’ projects and designs the festival experience for visitors. A Boston native and Harvard graduate, Ethan worked in New York City for 12 years before returning to produce the inaugural festival with Jeff Grantz in 2014. In 2010, Ethan co-founded Nuit Blanche New York (NBNY) with Ken Farmer and Tom Peyton which produced large-scale public art festivals in New York City (Bring to Light), Camden, NJ (Camden Night Gardens) and Washington, DC (Pike & Rose Audio Visual Arts) presenting over 100 artist projects to more than 50,000 visitors.
DAN STERNOF BEYER
Sam Okerstrom-Lang or “Samo" is a Boston based new-media interdisciplinary digital artist and designer. Technology serves as a vehicle and tool in Samo’s practice in order to question the boundaries of digital communication, while in turn questions the boundary and function of the pixel. His work engages associations between technology, body, and perception by immersing the human sensory system with experiences that obscure the line between nirvana and dystopia.
Web Content Manager, BEAM
BENJII TILL SIMMERSBACH
Benjii is a touring musician with his band The Durgas. He has worked in Film and Editorial production in Los Angeles and San Francisco for 18 years. He recently moved to Cambridge from Los Angeles. This is his second year working on the Illuminus Festival.
CHRISTOPHER "GRAIGRAI" SIMMERSBACH
Graigrai is a touring musician with his brother Benjii as lead guitarist in their band The Durgas. He has worked in Film and Editorial production in Los Angeles, Budapest and San Francisco for 18 years. He flew in from Budapest to join the production team of this year's Illuminus.
VANESSA TILL HOOPER
Lead Designer at Materials & Methods. Vanessa received her graduate degree in Architecture from SCI-Arc in Los Angeles. She was introduced to the world of integrated digital media at Oblong Industries where she developed spatial experiences optimal for gestural interface as Director of Architectural Design. She joined the Materials & Methods team just before the first Illuminus festival in 2014, and worked this year as an on-site producer and project coordinator.
After a few years of college and carpentry, Chris moved to Boston in 1994 to pursue a career in architecture. While studying at the Boston Architectural Center, he worked for several firms and realized that his passion for design extends well beyond the walls of the traditional office. Although he is a principal at Vanko Studio Architects, you are just as likely to find him up on scaffolding as you are behind a desk. In the conference room or on the jobsite, Chris is a multi-faceted designer who has never met a stranger or faced a problem he can’t help solve. He is a long-time consultant for Materials & Methods and can’t wait for the next unconventional challenge.
Shawn Faherty is a multimedia visual artist from Melrose, MA. Inspired by Visual Music and the synaesthesia phenomenon, his work focuses on the visual representation derived from music often quoted as saying, “I help people hear music through vision”. To date, nothing in his catalog better showcases this relationship than his award winning Ghosts 8 music video he performed and created for the Nine Inch Nails YouTube contest in 2009.
Immersed in the local artist community, Shawn is managing an AV Club hosted inside the Artisan’s Asylum maker space in Somerville. He curates and hosts an annual VJ Competition with Boston Together Festival and can be found VJ-ing regularly at Elements night in Cambridge. Recent projects Shawn was apart of: “Kinetic Reflections”, an interactive art installation for Illuminus Boston 2014. “Visualize Somerville” (2015), 3D video mapping and projection of Brooklyn Boulders’ rock gym in Somerville. Technologies include Touch Designer and Resolume Arena.
Rob Eckel is a freelance cinematographer and editor from the Boston area. He graduated from Emerson College in 2012 with a BFA in film production and now works camera and grip/electric department on various productions as well as his own independent shooting and editing.