Hardware, Software, Everywhere: Catherine McCurry

Creative technologist's digital installations bring home Young Guns 12 victory


March is ADC Young Guns Month here on the ADC Blog! As we head towards the deadline for Young Guns 13 entries, we will be featuring the works and thoughts of Young Guns 12, the latest class to join the exclusive club of young creative professionals. We will also be sharing the thoughts of the judges who voted them in. This way, you’ll have some idea of what it takes to become a Young Gun — and the answers just might surprise you.

 Some Young Guns winners agonize over whether or not they’ll enter, and what pieces to submit. Not our latest Young Guns 12 featured winner. This creative technologist saw that the entry deadline was mere hours away, said “why not?” and jumped right in.


catherine_mccurry_headshotCATHERINE McCURRY
Brooklyn, NY, USA



When did you first hear about Young Guns? 

I heard about Young Guns a couple of years ago when I started working in advertising. This was my first time applying, and I hadn’t really planned on it. I was wasting time on the internet one evening and happened to see that the deadline was midnight that day. I looked at the time, looked through my portfolio and thought, why not?

What were your impressions of the competition before entering?

My only impressions before entering were from past winners who I met socially. They all said to do it, and that winning had presented them with lots of opportunities.

There are lots of big names among the list of past Young Guns winners. Did you ever think that maybe you weren’t good enough to join them? How did you overcome that feeling?

I have confidence in my work and my skill set, though I was definitely unsure that what I submitted was what the judges were looking for. I know past winners with similarly interdisciplinary digital work, so I never thought that I didn’t belong while applying.

I did have that thought at the actual Young Guns awards event while looking at the other winners’ work hanging on the walls!

I’ve been accosted by recruiters since winning, so opportunities are definitely coming my way!”

How did you decide which pieces to submit? Was it a no-brainer or did you have to really think about your entry?

I submitted half commercial and half personal projects that I was proud of. I tried to represent my point of view (sometimes serious, sometimes wacky), and the breadth of my work in terms of medium and tool set (installation, performance, hardware, software). Also, things that I had nice looking documentation of… I didn’t think too much about it past that. 

Tell us what it was like when you found out you won.

When I found out I won, I thought, oh that’s cool! The email that let us know we won came a couple of months before the press release, and specifically said to not tell anyone about it. So I didn’t tell anyone about it. When the press release came out in October, everybody at work was like, “WTF WHY DIDNT YOU TELL ME!!?!” I hadn’t realized it was as big a deal as it is.

Which Young Guns winners do you admire most?

I’m a big fan of John Rothenberg (YG5) and Sosolimited, Richard Vijgen (YG7), E Roon Kang (YG8), Richard The (YG9), Nancy Nowacek (YG3), and Masashi Kawamura’s (YG6) work. And I’ve been really inspired and lucky to get to work with past winners Jamie Carreiro (YG11), Julia Neumann (YG7), and Maja Cule (YG7) — as well as my classmate and fellow Young Guns 12 winner Brian Moore. Hi guys!

What have you been up to since winning? Has Young Guns opened up any new doors for you since winning last fall?

(laughs) I’ve been accosted by recruiters since winning, so opportunities are definitely coming my way! Other than that, I’ve started a new gig at Droga5, am working hard, writing applications for larger scale personal projects, and programming a lot.

What would you tell someone who was deciding whether or not to enter Young Guns 13?

Why not?

JuliaNeumann“It’s not a surprise to me that Catherine is a Young Guns winner. She belongs here. I actually knew Catherine’s work before I knew she was the one responsible for it, in particular the “Photon Shower” for Delta. We’re talking about a device that first diagnoses your jet lag and then also cures it. What? I think anyone who has ever stepped out of a plane and into a different time zone can imagine how awesome this idea is.

Non-traditional ideas like that are inherently hard to pull off. And she didn’t just pull it off, she executed it perfectly. And she did something so innovative for a major US airline.

I’m not wearing a hat, but if I was, I’d take mine off right about now. I bet if Catherine has her way, hats will be obsolete and will tip themselves in the future.

Julia Neumann
JulieGlassbergCircle“Catherine McCurry, we need more people like you. This is why I love the Young Guns contest: it allows us to discover new forms of expression and go beyond the trendy and hype that floods our surroundings everyday. With your art and performances, original concepts and complex technical experiments, not only you make us discover the unknown, push our limits, but you also allow us to experience differently with all our senses. I cannot wait to discover your new creations, and most definitely live them. This is genius. Thank you.

Julie Glassberg


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