Peer Bode’s works are investigations into electronic media events, active perception systems and culture. His catalog includes works for video, sound, digital print media, performance, installation and dance. His work is shown and collected nationally and internationally.
Peer Bode was born in Rosenheim, Germany 1952, the son of pioneering electronic musical instrument designer and engineer Harald Bode. The Bode family moved to the United States in 1954. Peer was raised with an international perspective which has a continued within his art practice. Throughout his youth electronic musical instruments and sounds were a much loved and a regular presence.
At the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1970, Peer began studies in the newly created Cinema Department with Larry Gottheim, Ken Jacobs and Ralph Hocking. He also studied with Nicholas Ray and Peter Kubelka. He later continued study in new video practices with Ralph Hocking, who would become a lifelong mentor and friend. In 1970 Ralph Hocking established the Experimental Television Center (ETC) in Binghamton, NY. In 1976 Peer became the ETC program’s coordinator and artist in residence. It was during this period that Peer made an impressive body of seminal early works. These were exhibited broadly in New York, including exhibits at the Anthology Film Archives, the Kitchen and the New York Avant Garde Film Festival. It was at the ETC where Peer first met the nonpareil video designer and instrument engineer, David Jones. In collaborations with Jones, Peer assisted in the construction of the Jones Frame Buffer, an instrument which has become a signature processor within Peer's oeuvre. Peer has the distinction of creating some of the earliest digital prints and digital video artworks. Other collaborations from this period include video and dance works with choreographers Bill T. Jones, Arnie Zane and Lois Welk together with Meryl Blackman and Cara Brownell. As the ETC Program Coordinator, Peer assisted numerous artists in realizing major works, including Shigeko Kubota, Walter Wright, Doris Chase, Jud Yalcut, Gary Hill and Richard Kostelanetz. This commitment to the emerging field of new media arts, led Peer in 1975 to pursue graduate study at the newly created Media Study Program at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Here he studied with Woody and Steina Vasulka, Paul Sharits, Tony Conrad, Hollis Frampton and Gerald O’Grady. After graduate work, Peer returned to the ETC and created major works which were exhibited in MOMA, the Whitney Biennial, P.S.1, with additional exhibitions in Paris, Stockholm, Medalin among others.
In 1987 Peer became head of the Video Arts Program at the School of Art and Design, NYSCC at Alfred University. He was seminal in establishing the Alfred component of the Owego and Alfred schools of video arts. Andrew Deutsch, Jax Deluca, Victoria Bradbury, Torsten Burns and Darrin Martin are among the many artists associated with this school. During this period, Peer began a committed involvement with international new media art movements. During the 90's he exhibited works in international festivals and exhibitions, including the European Media Art Festival (Osnabrück, Germany), Impakt Film and Video Art Festival (the Netherlands), Viper Festival (Lucern, Switzerland), Image Farm (Hiroshima, Japan), New Work from New York (Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand) with artist residencies in Oslo, Norway. In 1997 Peer, Joseph Scheer, and Jessie Shefrin co-founded the Institute for Electronic Arts, (IEA) which runs an acclaimed artist residency program for emerging new media arts works in video, sonic arts, new genres and digital printmaking. This was followed by the establishment of the graduate MFA program, Electronic Integrated Arts (EIA) at Alfred University.
Beginning with his first trip to main-land China in 2000, Peer together with Xiaowen Chen and Joseph Scheer curated the IEA new media exhibition, “Mantic Ecstasy” in Hangzhou, China, which featured American and Chinese artists. In 2001, Peer together with the IEA, presented lectures on new media arts and held China’s first digital arts workshops at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Lectures and exhibitions have also been presented at the China Academy of the Fine Arts, Hangzhou, The Fine Art Academy, Tianjin, the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts and others. In 2007 the IEA mounted the major retrospective “Insatiable Streams : Ten Years of Work from the Institute for Electronic Arts” at B.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Zero Fields Gallery and Fun Gallery, Beijing. Peer continues to curate and exhibit work throughout China. During this same period Peer participated in and exhibited works as part of the Evolutionary Girls Club’s national and international exhibitions.
Peer is currently, the director of the Harald Bode Archive, which makes available Harald Bode's papers and recordings to researchers. Harald Bode’s major contributions include the first modular audio synthesizer, famed Bode Frequency Shifters and Vocoder. A recent web feature can be found at eContact! http://cec.sonus.ca/econtact/13_4/index.html, guest editor, Rebekkah Palov. With support from the Archive, Caspar Abocab (Berlin) wrote and produced the South German Radio feature, Living for Sound, The Inventor Harald Bode and the Evolution of Electronic Music, 2009 and Music Is My Field – Harald Bode: The Art of Engineering and Homestudio Music, 2011. Caspar Abocab is author of a forth-coming book on Harald Bode’s life work. Another project of the archive is the documentation of the Bode family 1972 which was shot by Peer’s brother Ralf Bode, a celebrated cinematographer whose credits include, Saturday Night Fever, Coal Miner’s Daughter and Dressed to Kill. Besides directing projects for the Harald Bode Archive, Peer is a member of Carrier Band where he performs on a Bode Vocoder, reading from his fathers 50 years of notebooks. Carrier Band members include Andrew Deutsch, Pauline Oliveros and Stephen Vitiello and features original sound recordings from the Harald Bode Archive. During its thirteen years Carrier Band has produced four CD's, one of which Voice Coil (Deep Listening) was named number two CD of the year, Modern Composition (2008) by The Wire Magazine (UK).
Peer Bode is represented in Surveying the First Decade, Video Art and Alternate Media in the U. S. 1968 – 1980, Video Data Bank, Chicago, Il. and is featured on the 2011 five DVD box set, ETC Experimental Television Center 1969-2009. His extensive body of media work is actively exhibited and collected, nationally and internationally. Through his work, specifically through the related synthesis strategies of audio and video signals, Peer reveals contemporary and emerging spaces and times that are characteristically shimmering, excessive, anti-anti-materialist, poetic, interactive and emerging.