History


Presently based in Brooklyn, Kuffner crafts sonic kinetic sculptures and stages site specific installations around the world as the principle artist behind the Gamelatron project, which marries Indonesian ritual and sonic tradition with robotics and modernist sculpture.  The project was conceived from years of study at the Institut Seni Indonesia di Yogyakarta and field research in Bali and Java followed by an artist in residency with the League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots headed by Eric Singer, one of the fore most experts in robotizing musical instruments. Since 1997 Kuffner is also known by the moniker Zemi17 as a recording artist on The Bunker techno label, an electronic musician heavily tied to the use of field recordings, insect calls and found sounds presented on custom built immersive surround sound systems, and as a DJ where he was the resident for The Danger (Brooklyn warehouse events in the 2000s). From 2008 – 2014, he was a member of the ambient experimental electronic music trio Zero Gravity Thinkers.

In Berlin in 2002 and 2003 Kuffner co-created and curated the Resonant Wave Multi Media art festival and composed original scores for Thikwa, a theater group comprised entirely of mentally disabled adults.

In New York during the late 90s and early 2000s with his bother Geoffrey, and dancer/filmmaker Kathi Von Koerber, Kuffner spearheaded a multi media performance group called the Ransom Corp. that blurred the line between theater and life creating spectacle performances that toured Europe several times. During the same period Kuffner started the community pirate radio station WJMZ in South Williamsburg Brooklyn, was instrumental in the New York City chapter of Reclaim the Streets.  He was instrumental in fostering a culture of subway party takeovers, unauthorized rituals in city parks, co-creating the Task Force for Inventive Philanthropy (TFIP), founding the 23 windows community art space and working with prolific event producers: the Blackkat Sound System, Havoc, and Complacent Nation (later known as the The Danger).

Living in San Francisco and New Orleans in the mid 90s Kuffner started Cicada Enterprises, an in depth street art advertising campaign devoted to the proliferation of the mythology surrounding the insect cicada. With his brother Geoffrey he was a seminal member of the Assault Poetry Unit, which targeted public officials to give readymade art objects inscribed with poems and demands as a means of social awareness and change.  While a student at Syracuse University he founded the Sky and Culture Corporation with James Leonard, that obtained permits to go door to door selling subscription plans to sky and membership plans to culture in suburban neighborhoods.

In the early 90s Kuffner was largely an abstract color field painter, who also worked in graffiti and performance art.   He was classically trained in saxophone at a young age and taught himself guitar as a teenager.  Throughout his music career he occasionally returns to both instruments composing and performing with the accompaniment of effects and loop based samplers.