MoMA Research & Development was established with the goal of exploring the potential and responsibility of museums – MoMA in particular – as public actors, with the vision of establishing our institutions as the R&D departments of society. Part of this initiative is a series of intimate salons that tackle themes relevant both within and beyond the museum walls, and whose goal it is to generate a lively discussion that will not only inform the museums and its program, but also the wider conversation in the world outside. To do justice to this ambitious goal, we invite experts from fields as diverse as science, philosophy, literature, music, film, journalism, and politics to contribute their perspective to the issue at stake.
Rediet Abebe is a PhD candidate in the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University. Her research focuses on algorithms, AI, and applications to social good. She is a co-founder and co-organizer of Black in AI, a group for sharing ideas, fostering collaborations and discussing initiatives to increase the presence of Black people in the field of artificial intelligence. She is also a co-founder and co-organizer of Mechanism Design for Social Good, an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research group working on applications of algorithms and AI to social good. Her work has been supported by fellowships and scholarships through Facebook and Google. She is also a 2013-2014 Harvard-Cambridge Fellow.
Liz Agbor-Tabi is Associate Director, City Relationships at 100 Resilient Cities, an initiative pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation. Liz helped develop and implement health system programs in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America. She served as a Health Policy Analyst and Presidential Management Fellow at the US Department of Health and Human Services, where she developed and implemented Emergency Preparedness policies for vulnerable populations.
Cofounder of StoryCode, an open-source, global community for emerging and established cross-platform and immersive storytellers. Aina is an award-winning filmmaker who has expanded her creative work across media platforms. Aina has written, directed and produced campaigns and platform extensions for Project Runway, Barbie, Hot Wheels, Seamless Web, and The Huffington Post.
Deputy General Counsel, The Museum of Modern Art. Before joining MoMA in 1998, Nancy worked with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA), a legal aid organization that provides free legal assistance and information to low-income artists. Nancy counseled artist-clients, taught legal clinics, and lectured on legal issues of concern to the arts community.
Ola Ronke Akinmowo is a Brooklyn born artist and community activist. She is a recent Culture Push Fellowship recipient for her new performance piece: The Free Black Woman’s Library, a radical mobile library and interactive biblio installation that focuses exclusively on the literary output of Black Women, highlighting authorship that is often ignored.
Elijah Anderson, the William K. Lanman Jr. Professor of Sociology at Yale University, is a pioneering urban ethnographer who has explored the space of the city from a sociological perspective, focusing on race. He is the author of several books, including Streetwise: Race, Class, and Change in an Urban Community (1990), Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City (1999), and A Place on the Corner (1978; second ed. 2003). His talk, focusing on “White Space,” is based on his most recent book, The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life (2012).
Annette Yoshiko Reed is an Associate Professor in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and Program in Religious Studies at New York University. Her research spans Second Temple Judaism, early Christianity, and Jewish/Christian relations in Late Antiquity. Publications include Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity (Cambridge 2005), Heavenly Realms and Earthly Realities in Late Antique Religions (ed. with R. Boustan; Cambridge 2004), The Ways that Never Parted: Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (ed. with A.H. Becker; Mohr Siebeck 2003; Fortress 2007), and Jews, Christians, and the Roman Empire (ed. with N. Dohrmann; UPenn Press, 2013). She is currently working on two monographs: one on the origins of Jewish angelology and demonology, and the other on the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies and the history of “Jewish-Christianity.”
Ashton Applewhite is a leading spokesperson for a movement to mobilize against discrimination on the basis of age. She blogs at This Chair Rocks, has written for Harper’s, Playboy, and The New York Times, and is the voice of Yo, Is This Ageist? She has been named as a Fellow by the Knight Foundation, The New York Times, Yale Law School, and the Royal Society for the Arts. In 2015, Ashton was included in a list of 100 inspiring women who are committed to social change in the inaugural issue of Salt magazine.
Principal and founder of Local Projects, a media design firm for museums and public spaces that is currently responsible for creating the media design for the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (with Diller Scofidio + Renfro), and the Frank Gehry–designed Eisenhower Presidential Memorial. Jake is recognized as a leader in the field of interaction design for physical spaces, and in the creation of collaborative storytelling projects in which participants generate content.
Sunny Bates operates wherever executives, thinkers, artists, creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs connect and collide around the globe. Her medium is people, her expertise human network development. Author, serial entrepreneur, mentor, and advisor, her client roster has included some of the world’s most prominent organizations, from GE, TED, and Credit Suisse to MTV, the National Academy of Sciences, Techstars, and Kickstarter, of which she is a founding board member. Bates’s approach to unleashing potential is unique: it puts people, network building, and management at the center of growth and possibility. She finds the connecting threads that exist all around us and brings them together in new and imaginative ways.
Data Lead, Kickstarter. With the support of Kickstarter fundraising, Fred published Emoji Dick, an emoji translation of Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick, which later became the first emoji book acquired by The Library of Congress. Founder of Free Culture @ NYU, and a former Creative Commons representative, Fred occasionally teaches copyrights and cyberlaw at NYU.
Executive Director of The Bronx Museum of Modern Art. Co-commissioner of the American Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. Previously, Holly was the art director of Art in General, a nonprofit organization, founded in 1981, that is famed for assisting artists early in their careers with the production and presentation of new work.
Cofounder and co-CEO of Warby Parker, a lifestyle brand offering designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses. Prior to launching Warby Parker in 2010, Neil served as director of VisionSpring, a nonprofit that trains low-income women to sell affordable eyeglasses to individuals in the developing world. In 2012, he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company.
Adam is a scientist, entrepreneur, and thought leader who has spent the past 15 years innovating at the nexus of science and society. He is founder and CEO of Seed Scientific, the global data innovation firm. Adam was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, was a Visiting Senior Fellow in Science, Technology & Society at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal. Prior to founding Seed Scientific, Adam founded and served as editor-in-chief of Seed, a print and online magazine (published from 2001 to 2012) with a mission of modernizing science’s place in society. “The best comparison for Seed,” wrote a media critic, “is the early years of Rolling Stone, when music was less a subject than a lens for viewing culture.”
Paul Boghossian is Silver Professor of Philosophy at New York University and Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Birmingham, UK. He is the director of the New York Institute of Philosophy and NYU’s Global Institute for Advanced Study. He was also Chair of Philosophy at NYU from 1994 to 2004. His research interests are primarily in epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He has written on a variety of topics, including color, rule following, eliminativism, naturalism, self-knowledge, a priori knowledge, analytic truth, realism, relativism, the aesthetics of music, and the concept of genocide.
Eric de Broche des Combes is an architect and industrial designer, and a lecturer in landscape at Harvard Graduate School of Design. As head of the visualization studio Luxigon, based in Paris, he has produced architectural renderings for high-profile architecture firms including OMA, MVRDV, REX, and Oppenheim. He has lectured widely and recently launched a new visualization project called “Le Nirvalab.” He will talk about his renderings, which borrow from real and virtual imagery.
Tania Bruguera is a Cuban installation and performance artist who lives between New York and Havana. Bruguera’s work pivots around issues of power and control, and several of her works interrogate and re- present events in Cuban history. As part of the work, Bruguera has launched an Immigrant Respect Awareness Campaign and launched an international day of actions on 18 December 2011 (which the UN has designated International Migrants Day), in which other artists will also make work about immigration.
Calder Zwicky is an Assistant Director in the Education Department at the Museum of Modern Art, overseeing Teen and Community Partnerships. Over the last decade he has been working to create programming for a wide-range of underserved and historically-overlooked audiences including incarcerated youth, post-incarcerated adults, HIV/AIDS service organizations, and homelessness initiatives, among others. He also oversees MoMA’s free programming for teens, including the long-running In the Making workshops and the MoMA + MoMA PS1 Cross-Museum Collective. In addition to his own studio practice, he has been involved with a variety of museums including the Walker Art Center, the Queens Museum, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts.
Latvian-born American painter, sculptor, object-maker, and draughtswoman. Vija is most renowned for her photorealistic depictions of nature. Armed with a nuanced palette of blacks and grays, Vija renders these limitless spaces—seascapes, night skies, and the barren desert floor—with an uncanny accuracy, working for months on a single image.
Rita Charon is professor of medicine and founder and executive director of the Program in Narrative Medicine, Columbia University. Her research focuses on the consequences of narrative medicine practice, reflective clinical practice, and health care team effectiveness. At Columbia, she directs the Foundations of Clinical Practice faculty seminar, the Narrative and Social Medicine Scholarly Projects Concentration Track, the required Narrative Medicine curriculum for the medical school, and Columbia Commons: Collaborating Across Professions, a medical center–wide partnership devoted to health care team effectiveness. She is the author of Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness (Oxford University Press, 2006) and co-author of Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine (Oxford University Press, 2017).
Alexa Clay, who describes herself as a “culture-hacker” and “innovation specialist,” has a background in ethnography, history, philosophy of science, moral philosophy, and creative writing. She has specialized in research on underground activities in times of economic transition, and her recent book The Misfit Economy explores innovation among those who break the rules or operate in informal or illegal economies.
A journalist by training, June has spent most of her career at the intersection of media and new technology. In 1991, she led the Stanford University team that developed the world’s first multimedia publication, dubbed Proteus. Then, in 1994, June helped launch HotWired.com, the world’s first professional website. In her current role as director of TED Media, June has led the development of TEDTalks, she produces TED’s salons, edits the TEDBlog, and co-produces the conference in Monterey.
Gabriella Coleman is an anthropologist, academic and author whose work focuses on hacker culture and online activism, particularly Anonymous. She currently holds the Wolfe Chair in Scientific & Technological Literacy at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Nathan Schneider writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education named her “the world’s foremost scholar on Anonymous”.
Brian Collins is a designer, creative director, and educator who now runs his own communication and branding firm, COLLINS. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Creativity, Fortune, NBC News, ABC News and Fast Company, which named him an American Master of Design. Business Week named his flagship store for Hershey as a design “Wonder of the World.” His team’s design of Helios House in Los Angeles, the first gas station using environmentally sustainable principles, is included in The Cooper Hewitt National Museum of Design. Brian’s clients have included Airbnb, Coca-Cola, Facebook, The Ford Motor Company, Giorgio Armani, IBM, Jaguar Cars, Instagram, Levi Strauss & Co., Mattel, Microsoft, Nike, Spotify, Target, Unilever, The Walt Disney Co., and The Guggenheim Museum.
Stuart Comer was appointed Chief Curator of the Department of Media and Performance Art at The Museum of Modern Art in 2013. He has previously held positions at the Institute of Visual Culture in Cambridge and at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles, and was co-curator of of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2014 Biennial and of the Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art in 2007. He has also organized projects at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College; Beirut Art Center; Kunstverein Munich; CASCO, Utrecht; Frieze Art Fair, London; and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London.
Head of Engineering (Internets and Computers) at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. Aaron has been instrumental in the development of the Cooper Hewitt Pen. His work centers on the potential of the Internet to bridge people, ideas, and communities, and to realize the potential of the network. Previously, Aaron was the senior engineer at Flickr, and design technologist at Stamen Design. Creator of prettymaps and map=yes projects, Aaron’s work has been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the NACIS Atlas of Design, and 20x200.
Visiting Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research; and Senior Fellow, New York University. Kate researches the politics and ethics of big data, and is currently writing a new book with Yale University Press. She is on the advisory board at New Museum’s New Inc, and is a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellow. She also has a secret life as an electronic musician.
Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Stony Brook University, New York, and former chairman of the department. Robert is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Physics in Perspective, and he writes “Critical Point,” a monthly column on the philosophy and history of science, for Physics World magazine.
Dr. Micha Cárdenas is an artist/theorist who creates and studies trans of color movement in digital media, where movement includes migration, performance and mobility. Cárdenas is an assistant professor of interactive media design at the University of Washington Bothell. She completed her PhD in media arts and practice at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. She is a member of the artist collective Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0, and her solo and collaborative work has been seen in museums, galleries, biennials, keynotes, and community and public spaces around the world. She tweets @michacardenas.
Isha Datar has been the CEO of New Harvest since 2013. She has been pioneering the field of cellular agriculture since 2009, when she published “Possibilities for an in-vitro meat production system” in the food science journal Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies. She co-founded Muufri, making milk without cows, in April 2014 and Clara Foods, making eggs without chickens, in November 2014. She was recognized as one of 13 women leading the life sciences movement in Silicon Valley in TechCrunch in 2016.
Heather is a transdisciplinary artist and educator interested in art as research and critical inquiry. Heather has shown work internationally at events and venues including the Poland Mediations Bienniale, Ars Electronica, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, the Science Gallery Dublin, MoMA PS1, the New Museum, and Eyebeam Art and Technology Center in New York City. Her work has been widely discussed in the media, from The New York Times and the BBC to TED and Wired.
Carly Dickson is a Fellow of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, an affiliate of the MIT AgeLab, and this year’s recipient of the KPF Paul Katz Fellowship. She is currently based in London, where is is pursuing her research around aging and the built environment. Her focus is on designing strings of public spaces between the home and the destination to enable physical access to services and social access to society that engage people of all ages.
Shephanie Dinkins is an artist interested in creating platforms for ongoing dialog about AI as it intersects race, gender, aging and our future histories. She is particularly driven to work with communities of color to develop deep-rooted AI literacy and co-create more culturally inclusive equitable artificial intelligence. She is a 2017 A Blade of Grass Fellow and a 2018 Truth Resident at Eyebeam, and her work has been exhibited – to quote her – “at a broad spectrum of public, private, and institutional venues by design”, including the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the corner of Putnam and Malcolm X Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
A designer and speaker based in New York City, Hannah has worked at the intersection of music, design, and technology for the last decade, making digital products in music and entertainment. She currently leads product design at Ripcord. Previously, Hannah cofounded This Is My Jam, with incubation from The Echo Nest; led design at Last.fm in London; and designed for youth-focused brands in Toronto.
Egyptian-American award-winning journalist whose work spotlights Arab and Muslim issues. During the 18-day revolution that toppled Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, she appeared on most major media outlets, leading the feminist website Jezebel to describe her as “The Woman Explaining Egypt to the West”.
Cultural Affairs Commissioner of New York since spring 2014. Prior to his appointment, Tom was the president and executive director of the Queens Museum for 14 years, and the deputy director of P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center during its merger with The Museum of Modern Art. Most recently, he authored What We Made: Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation.
Professor in the Barnard College Department of Anthropology. Trained as an anthropological archaeologist, Severin’s research centers on questions related to pre-modern religion, cultural landscapes, human-object relations, indigeneity, Native American studies, and the archaeology of the present.
Jenna Freedman is the Associate Director of Communications and Zine Librarian at the Barnard College Library and has worked there since 2003. She is a founding member of the Zine Librarians Yahoo Group and of Radical Reference and writes and speaks frequently for trade and scholarly publications, and library and academic conferences about zines. Jenna founded and edited the quarterly Zine Reviews column in Library Journal, which ran from 2008-2012.
Jon Gray is co-founder of Ghetto Gastro, a culinary collective and cultural movement that operates at the intersection of food, design and community empowerment. Ghetto Gastro was formed in 2012 and has since then used food to spark larger conversations around inclusion, race, and economic empowerment, with the ultimate goal of establishing the Bronx as a culinary destination.
A statistician by training, Mark works at the triangulation of data, art, and technology. He is currently the director of the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media and Innovation, and professor of journalism at Columbia University. Mark works with data in an essentially journalistic practice, crafting stories through algorithm, computation, and visualization. In collaboration with Ben Rubin and Jer Thorp, Mark explores new modes of engagement with data at The Office for Creative Research. Previously, Mark was a longstanding visiting researcher at The New York Times R&D Lab.
Bethann Hardison was a supermodel-cum-entrepreneur, and became a household name when she took her turn on the catwalk at the Battle of Versailles, a historic fashion show that took place in Versailles and put American fashion on the map. With that moment, she became one of the first Black models to walk a European runway. She has since turned her efforts toward fashion activism, starting her own agency (Diversity Coalition) to increase diversity in the fashion industry and expose racial prejudice.
Artist, founding member of the queer feminist journal and artist collective LTTR, creator of the cult zine FashionFashion, which parodies fashion magazines and photography, targeting their portrayal of women and the female body as a site for capitalist consumption. K8 also directed music videos for groups including Le Tigre, Lesbians on Ecstasy, and Men.
Co-editor and founder of Paper magazine, “the most sophisticated chronicle of New York’s heart-stopping cultural encephalogram over the past 30 years.” With Kim at the helm, Paper has served as a pop-culture incubator, documenting the fashion, music, and art born from surfing, skateboarding, hip-hop, and gay life.
Alongside Mikkel Storleer Eriksen, Tor is the cofounder of Stargate, a prolific record producing and songwriting team responsible for, among other hits, Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable,” Rihanna’s “What’s My Name”, and Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow.”
Lena Herzog is a Russian-born American artist based in Los Angeles and New York. She is the author of six books of photography. Her work has appeared in and was reviewed by The New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, the Los Angeles Times, The Paris Review and Cabinet, among other publications. Lena’s work has been widely exhibited in Europe and the United States. She is the Director and Producer of Last Whispers, a project on the mass extinction of languages which premiered at the British Museum.
Emmy-award winning president and CEO of Ish Entertainment. Previously, Michael headed programming at VH1, and was responsible for thousands of hours of programming, scripted and non-scripted, and set-up a documentary shingle, VH1 Rock Docs. A former journalist and magazine editor (New York, Esquire, Spin), he has continued to explore the revolutionary impact of digital media as contributing editor at the Atlantic Monthly.
Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art. Previously, Laura was the curator and head of the Department of Contemporary Art at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art, and senior curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York.
Neuroscientist whose work focuses on brain development, the biology of hearing, and the musical mind. As chief neuroscientist at NeuroPop, Inc., Seth has applied his research skills to real-world applications ranging from health and wellness to educational science outreach. Seth authored The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind and his New York Times article “The Science and Art of Listening” was one of the most e-mailed articles of 2012.
Director of Digital Learning at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Previously, Deborah was the assistant director of the Johns Hopkins University Museum Studies program, and museum educator in charge of educational media at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative director of Etsy, where he leads the team of designers building Web products and creating off-line experiences. Prior to joining Etsy, Randy cofounded Supermarket, a curated design marketplace; founded Citizen Scholar Inc.; and worked at both Milton Glaser, Inc., and Number 17. More recently, he authored the book Product Design for the Web: Principles of Designing and Releasing Web Products.
Wendy W. Jacob is an multidisciplinary artist, whose work bridges traditions of sculpture, performance, and invention, and explores relationships between architecture and perceptual experience. Jacob is also a member of the Chicago-based collaborative Haha. Jacob’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries Internationally, including the Centre Georges-Pompidou, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Kunsthaus Graz.
Jacolby Satterwhite is a visual artist whose work weaves together video, 3D animation, printmaking, performance, and dance. Drawing upon the fantastic environments of the video games he played as a child, he incorporates personal ephemera and the drawings of his late schizophrenic mother to fashion his own Bosch-ian dreamscape. His recent developments into 3D animation are a culmination of his background in performance, dance, and more specifically voguing, in conjunction with his training as a painter and his religious upbringing in a home brimming with black magic. His virtual worlds act as entry ways into demonic (and angelic) post-human universes. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally and is in the public collections at Studio Museum in Harlem, Seattle Art Museum, and Whitney Museum of American Art.
Professor and director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Jeff is the founder of the blog Buzzmachine.com and cohost of the podcast This Week at Google. He has authored Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live, What Would Google Do?, and the Kindle Single Gutenberg the Geek.
Johanna Mendelson Forman is Adjunct Professor at the American University’s School of International Service where she teaches Conflict Cuisine: An Introduction to War and Peace Around the Dinner Table, a course that encourages new ways of looking at diplomacy by highlighting the role of food in driving conflict and connecting people and communities. She has written extensively about food and conflict, and topics related to Latin America. Her work has been published in a wide-range of publications including, the Miami Herald, Washington Post, Americas Quarterly, The Globalist, and World Politics Review. Previously, Johanna served as the Director of Peace, Security, and Human Rights at the UN Foundation, and as a Senior Advisor to the UN Mission in Haiti.
Interaction Design Director, Google Creative Labs. Previously, Matt was a principal and partner at BERG, a design consultancy specializing in connected products, and a creative director behind award-winning services like BBC News Online and Sapient’s London studio. In 2007 he cofounded Dopplr.com, a social-networking service for frequent travelers.
Jamal Joseph is a writer, director, activist, professor and former chair of Columbia University’s Graduate Film Division and the artistic director of the New Heritage Theatre Group in Harlem. Joseph was a member of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army, and was prosecuted as one of the Panther 21. His memoir Panther Baby was published in February 2012.
Frances M. Kamm is Littauer Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy, HKS, Professor of Philosophy, FAS, and affiliated faculty, Harvard Law School. She is the author of Creation and Abortion; Morality, Mortality, Vol. 1: Death and Whom to Save from It; Morality, Mortality, Vol. 2: Rights, Duties, and Status; Intricate Ethics; Ethics for Enemies: Terror, Torture, and War; The Moral Target: Aiming at Right Conduct in War and Other Conflicts; Bioethical Prescriptions; and The Trolley Problem Mysteries. Kamm has also published many articles on normative ethical theory and practical ethics.
Peter J. Kim is Executive Director at Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD), the world’s first large-scale food museum. Peter began working on launching MOFAD in 2011. Since then, he has overseen all aspects of the project’s development, including the opening of the museum’s first brick-and-mortar space in October 2015. He and MOFAD have been featured in The New York Times, New Yorker, NPR, and Wall Street Journal, and he has spoken widely about the museum’s dynamic approach. He has worked as a hunger policy advocate, public health educator, and international litigator, and he founded and directed L'Art de Vivre, an arts education nonprofit in Cameroon.
Thomas J. Lax was appointed associate curator in The Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Media and Performance Art in 2014. For the seven years prior he worked at The Studio Museum in Harlem, where he organized over a dozen exhibitions and numerous screenings, performances, and public programs. Lax is a faculty member at the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts. He serves on the Advisory Committee at Vera List Center for Arts and Politics; on the Arts Advisory Committee of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; as a member of the Catalyst Circle at The Laundromat Project; and on the Advisory Board of Recess. Lax received his BA in Africana studies and art/semiotics from Brown University and an MA in modern art from Columbia University. In 2015, he was awarded the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement.
Janna Levin, the Claire Tow Professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College, Columbia University, has contributed to an understanding of black holes, the cosmology of extra dimensions, and gravitational waves in the shape of space-time. She is also director of sciences at Pioneer Works. She is the author of How the Universe Got Its Spots and a novel, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, which won the PEN/Bingham Prize. She was recently named a Guggenheim Fellow. Her latest book, Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space, is the inside story on the discovery of the century: the sound of space-time ringing from the collision of two black holes over a billion years ago.
Principal at Bloomberg Associates, a philanthropic consulting firm that collaborates with cities worldwide to improve the quality of urban life. From 2002 to 2013, Kate was the New York Cultural Affairs Commissioner, and oversaw the commissioning of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s The Gates in Central Park, among many other ambitious public art projects.
Deputy Director and Lecturer in Law, Kernochan Center, Columbia Law School. Pippa’s interest in intellectual property issues stemmed from her earlier work in documentary film production. Her legal research focuses on issues surrounding the visual arts and the entertainment industries, with a particular accent on issues of taxation as they pertain to the arts and the rights of authors and creators.
Director of The Museum of Modern Art since 1995. Glenn conceived and initiated the Museum’s successful merger with P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in 1999. He has lectured and written extensively in support of contemporary art and artists and the role of museums in society, among other topics.
Giorgia Lupi is an award-winning information designer. She co-founded Accurat, a data-driven design firm with offices in Milan and New York, where she is the design director. She received her M-Arch at FAF in Ferrara, Italy, and earned a PhD in design at Politecnico di Milano. She relocated from Italy to New York City, where she now lives. She is co-author of Dear Data, an aspirational hand-drawn data-visualization book. The original collection of postcards from Dear Data was recently acquired by The Museum of Modern Art.
Senior research fellow at the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University; chairman of the Advisory Board at MIT Media Lab; and cofounder and CEO of Born Free, an initiative of the Millenium Development Goals Health Alliance that brings private-sector resources and expertise to the goal of eradicating mother-to-child HIV transmission by 2015. In her role as fundraiser, Jennifer has collaborated with organizations such as Acumen, DonorsChoose.org, and Grameen American, to name just a few.
Brooklyn-based artist and writer. Jill’s work blurs the boundaries between art and life. She explores the emotional, philosophical, and legal tensions between the individual and “protective” institutions, such as intelligence agencies or the police. Her work tends to be characterized by the dynamics of seduction, with the resulting narratives often taking the form of a love story.
Founder and CEO of Fast Forward Labs, a machine intelligence research company, and Data Scientist in Residence at Accel Partners. Previously, Hilary was chief scientist at bitly. She cohosts DataGotham, a conference for New York’s homegrown data community, and cofounded HackNY, a nonprofit that helps engineering students find opportunities in New York’s creative technical economy. Hilary served on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Technology Advisory Board, and is a member of Brooklyn hacker collective NYC Resistor.
Allison C. Meier is a Brooklyn-based writer focusing on the arts and overlooked history. Currently, she is a staff writer at Hyperallergic, and moonlights as a cemetery tour guide at New York burial grounds. She has also worked as the senior editor at Atlas Obscura and has published stories in The New York Times, Artdesk, ARTnews, Mental Floss, Narrative.ly, Brooklyn Based, the Oklahoma Gazette, and others.
Sarah Milstein cohosts The Lean Startup Conference. She is co-author of The Twitter Book, and writes about race, gender, and bias. She has hosted influential conferences like Web 2.0 Expo and has contributed articles to The New York Times, among other outlets. Early in her career, she founded Just Food’s CSA program and helped children’s musician Laurie Berkner launch her record label. She blogs at DogsandShoes.com and splits her time between New York and San Francisco. She holds an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley and a BA from Rutgers University. Bonus fact: she was the 21st user on Twitter.
Linda Montano is a seminal figure in contemporary feminist performance art and her work since the mid 1960s has been critical in the development of performance and video by, for, and about women. Attempting to dissolve the boundaries between art and life, she continues to actively explore her art/life through shared experience, role adoption, and intricate life altering ceremonies. Her work has been featured at museums including The New Museum in New York, MOCA San Francisco, SITE Santa Fe and the ICA in London.
Carlos Motta is a multidisciplinary artist based in New York. He won the Future Generation Art Prize, Kiev, in 2014. His work has been presented internationally at Tate Modern, London; Jeu de Paume, Paris; New Museum, Guggenheim Museum, and MoMA PS1, in New York; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA); X Gwangju Biennale; X Lyon Biennale; and International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). Röda Sten Konsthall in Gothenburg presented a career survey exhibition of Motta’s work in 2015. He will also have solo exhibitions at Pinchuk ArtCentre, Kiev (2015); Mercer Union, Toronto; PPOW Gallery, New York; Hordaland Kunstsenter, Bergen; Perez Art Museum (PAMM), Miami; and MALBA-Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (all 2016).
Mustafa Ali Faruki is the founding partner and creative director of theLab-lab, a Brooklyn-based architecture practice that is dedicated to completely reinventing the outputs of architectural design. He was the winner of The Architectural League of New York’s 2017 League Prize for his Intake Facility proposal. For a site on Governors Island, Faruki designed a complex for “an anonymous client” intended to process extraterrestrial settlers (or angels) migrated to New York City from heaven. He created elaborate plans for various “Decelestialization” zones, in which his clients could assimilate to life on earth. TheLab-lab for architecture’s work has been exhibited in group exhibitions at LMCC Arts Center on Governors Island, and at the Nordisk Kunstnarsenter Dale in Norway, as well as at The Queens Museum and Hatton Gallery in Newcastle, UK. Mustafa is also the 2018-2019 Peter Reyner Banham Fellow, University at Buffalo School of Architecture.
CEO of Virgin Unite, the independent charitable arm of the Virgin Group. Prior to joining Virgin Unite, Jean lived and worked on five continents while helping to lead successful mobile-phone start-ups around the world. Jean has long explored the overlap of the business and social sectors, having worked for the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife in Australia, and in numerous volunteer roles, including a stint as a VISTA volunteer where she worked with—and learned from—homeless teens in Chicago.
Architect and designer Neri is the Sony Corporation Career Development Professor and associate professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab, where she founded and directs the Mediated Matter design research group. Her goal is to enhance the relationship between built and natural environments by employing design principles inspired by nature and implementing them in the invention of novel digital design technologies.
Emily Parker is currently digital diplomacy advisor and Future Tense fellow at New America. She is the author of Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices From the Internet Underground, which tells the stories of Internet activists in China, Cuba, and Russia. Previously, Parker was a member of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s policy planning staff at the US Department of State, where she covered 21st-century statecraft, innovation, and technology. She was also a staff writer and editor for The Wall Street Journal and an editor at The New York Times.
President and artistic director of Creative Time, the New York City arts organization that creates unconventional opportunities for artists to activate and engage urban spaces. Under Anne’s leadership, Creative Time has produced such renowned projects as Tribute in Light, the twin beacons of light that illuminated the former World Trade Center site six months after 9/11; and Waiting for Godot in New Orleans, a restaging of Samuel Beckett’s play in the streets of post-Katrina New Orleans.
Yana Peel is CEO of Intelligence Squared Group, the world’s leading forum for live debate. A cofounder of Outset Contemporary Art Foundation, she maintains board and advisory positions across the arts, including Tate, British Fashion Council, The Serpentine Gallery, V&A, V-A-C Foundation Moscow, Lincoln Center, Para/Site Art Space, and Asia Art Archive. As a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, she speaks regularly at the Davos Annual Meeting, especially in the areas of technology and art. Peel was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and attended McGill University and The London School of Economics before starting her career at Goldman Sachs.
Coming from a computer science background, Claudia focuses on the application of machine learning and predictive modeling to real-world problems. She is currently acting as Chief Scientist at Dstillery and is an adjunct professor in the NYU Stern MBA program. Claudia was recently selected as member of the annual Crain’s NY 40 Under 40 list, Wired’s Smart List, and Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People. Previously, Claudia worked at the IBM Watson research lab, where she won numerous data-mining competitions, and she is still actively involved in local NGOs with a focus on data for social good.
One of Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 rising stars in media for 2013, Latoya Peterson is best known for the award-winning blog Racialicious.com. She is currently an editor-at-large at Fusion working on a documentary about women and video games. Previously, she was the senior digital producer for The Stream, a social media–driven news show on Al Jazeera America; and a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. Her work has been published in ESPN magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Essence, Spin, Vibe, Marie Claire, The Guardian, and Jezebel.com. Her essay “The Not Rape Epidemic” was published in the anthology Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World without Rape.
Curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints at The Museum of Modern Art. Previously, David was the director of Specific Object, an innovative gallery, bookshop, and storehouse for a range of items, from artists’ publications, multiples, and unique works of art to literature, music, and counterculture. Before founding Specific Object, David was the executive director of Printed Matter, a nonprofit institution dedicated to the promotion of artists’ books and publications.
A Bulgarian-born Brooklynite, Maria is a writer, blogger, and critic. A self-professed “hunter-gatherer of interestingness,” Maria founded the highly influential online emporium of ideas Brain Pickings, which she describes as “your LEGO treasure chest, full of pieces across art, design, science, technology, philosophy, history, politics, psychology, sociology, ecology, anthropology, you-name-itology.”
Board Chair of The Rockefeller Foundation, and a longstanding MoMA trustee. His paternal grandmother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, was one of the three founding “ladies” of The Museum of Modern Art. David has also served on the board of the National Endowment for the Arts and National Public Radio. He is the founder and president of Sailors for the Sea, a nonprofit organization that encourages boaters to preserve and protect the sea. He holds a law degree from Harvard University.
Inaugural Director of Digital Content and Strategy, The Museum of Modern Art. Fiona has over a decade of experience in creatively developing digital content and services for brands like the BBC, Disney, and most recently, the Royal Museums Greenwich, London. She is particularly interested in new ways to visualize museum data and invite the public to respond to collections.
Digital anthropologist. Frank’s most recent book, The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, explicates how technology is changing the venerable art of storytelling. He is also the editor and writer of Deep Media blog, which offers a discerning narrative of the digital age.
Martha Rosler is a Brooklyn-born artist that works in photography and photo text, video, installation, sculpture, and performance, as well as writing about art and culture. Solo exhibitions of Rosler’s work have been organized by the Whitney (1977), Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (1987), Museum of Modern Art in Oxford (1990), The New Museum in collaboration with the International Center of Photography in New York, (1998–2000), Sprengel Hannover Museum (2005), and Institute of Contemporary Arts in London (2006). Her work has also been included in major group exhibitions such as Whitney Biennial (1979, 1983, 1987, and 1990), Documenta 7 and 12 (1982 and 2007), Havana Biennale (1986), Venice Biennale (2003), Liverpool Biennial (2004), Taipei Biennial (2004) and Skulptur Projekte (2007).
Professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. Much of his writing focuses on labor, the urban environment, and the organization of work, from the Western world of business and high technology to conditions of offshore labor in the Global South. Author of Creditocracy and the Case for Debt Refusal, The Exorcist and the Machines, and Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City.
Karla Rothstein is a practicing architect and has been an associate professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation for the past 20 years. She is the founder and director of Columbia’s trans-disciplinary DeathLAB and a member of the Columbia University Seminar on Death. Rothstein’s area of inquiry weaves intimate spaces of urban life, death, and memory with intersections of social justice, the environment, and civic infrastructure. Rothstein is also design director at LATENT Productions, the architecture, research, and development firm she cofounded with Salvatore Perry. In 2016, LATENT Productions and DeathLAB were awarded first place in the international Future Cemetery competition, and DeathLAB’s initiative was recognized as one of New York Magazine’s 47 “Reasons to Love New York.”
Steve Schapiro is a photographer who has earned international acclaim for his photos of key moments of the Civil Rights Movement, such as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom or the Selma to Montgomery marches. He is also known for his portraits of celebrities and movie stills, most importantly from The Godfather and Taxi Driver.
Ahmed Shihab-Eldin is an Emmy-nominated journalist and a correspondent/producer for VICE on HBO. In 2015, he was featured on the Arabian Business power list of the planet’s 100 most influential young Arabs, and in 2012 he was featured on Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list of “young disruptors, innovators and media entrepreneurs impatient to change the world.” Shihab-Eldin joined VICE from HuffPost Live, an award-winning online network he helped launch in 2012. There, he produced and hosted World Brief, a 30-minute interactive global news show averaging one million views a day. In 2010, Ahmed created, produced, and cohosted Al Jazeera English’s The Stream, an award-winning interactive talk show that earned him an Emmy nomination for Most Innovative Program in 2012.
Creator and writer of Threaded, the Smithsonian’s fashion history blog. Editor of Worn Stories, a collection of stories about clothing and memory; and Sentimental Value, a blog comprised of noteworthy stories about clothing found on eBay. Former executive director of Shop Well with You, a not-for-profit organization that helps women with cancer improve their body image and quality of life by using their clothing as a wellness tool.
Futurist, prolific science fiction writer, and Internet of Things curator. Bruce is one of the founding fathers of the cyberpunk genre, most notably authoring Mirrorshades: A Cyberpunk Anthology. Bruce is currently curating Casa Jasmina, an Internet of Things bed-and-breakfast apartment housed in a half-abandoned Fiat plant in Turin. The apartment will serve as a testing ground for open-source manufacturing of electronic home automation.
Cofounder and CEO of Kickstarter, a global crowdfunding platform that was dubbed “the people’s NEA” by The New York Times. Prior to Kickstarter, Yancey was the editor-in-chief of eMusic, and his writing appeared in The Village Voice, New York magazine, Pitchfork, and other publications. In 2007 Yancey cofounded the eMusic Selects record label.
Jane Fulton Suri has a background in architecture and psychology. In her role as a partner and chief creative officer at IDEO, she has pursued a “human-centered” approach to design, seeking innovation by looking at problems from the perspective of social science. With techniques such as “empathic observation” and “experience prototyping,” she has brought the methods of design beyond the physical object to services and the environmental. Suri’s talk will focus on a crucial part of this process: how to build community among designers in order to create an atmosphere that is conducive to collaboration.
Tsige Tafesse is one of the five funders of By Us For Us (BUFU), a Brooklyn-based collective focusing on the discourse of Black and Asian cultural and political relationships. The founders of this project are a collective of queer, femme, Black, and East Asian artists and organizers who emphasize building solidarity, de-centering whiteness, and resurfacing our deeply interconnected and complicated histories. Representing BUFU, she has been invited to speak by various museums and institutions, including most recently the Brooklyn Museum and the Rubin Museum.
Cyber-illusionist and Director’s Fellow at the MIT Media Lab. Marco’s work blends video, digital technology, and social media to concoct a new form of contemporary illusion. A keen advocate of the open-source community, Marco works with artists, writers, and technologists to create new experiences, and researches the practical uses of the technology of illusion.
Jane Thompson’s career as a multidisciplinary modernist was launched in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design. She introduced the pioneering journal for all design professionals, ID: Industrial Design, which explores multidisciplinary fields of “design in everyday life.” With Kaufman Foundation sponsorship, she undertook lifelong research on the Bauhaus origins of modernism in Germany. She partnered with TAC architect Ben Thompson to develop original lifestyle design shops, the colorful and sensuous Design Research, and also collaborated with Finland’s Marimekko, helping to transform design in America’s new home boom after 1970. She now celebrates two decades leading Thompson Design Group, Boston, offering innovative urban planning for cities such as Houston, Denver, and Long Branch on the Jersey Coast. Thompson has been honored with three lifetime achievement awards, most recently with the 2008 Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Cofounder of the Office for Creative Outreach, and adjunct professor at New York University’s ITP program. Between 2010 and 2012, Jer was the Data Artist in Residence at the New York Times R&D Group. More recently, he collaborated with NASA and visualized 138 years of Popular Science. Jer also sits on the World Economic Forum’s Council on Design Innovation.
Kasia Urbaniak is the founder and CEO of The Academy, a school that teaches women the foundations of power and influence. Kasia’s perspective on power is unique. She made her living as one of the world’s most successful dominatrixes while studying power dynamics with teachers all over the world. During that time, she practiced Taoist alchemy in one of the oldest female-led monasteries in China and obtained dozens of certifications in different disciplines, including Medical Qi Gong and Systemic Constellations. Since founding The Academy in 2013, Kasia has taught hundreds of women practical tools to step into leadership positions in their relationships, families, workplaces, and wider communities. She has spoken at corporations and conferences worldwide.
Fernanda Viégas & Martin Wattenberg are pioneers in data visualization and analytics. They co-lead Google’s Big Picture data visualization research group (part of Google Brain team), and have co-founded the People+AI Research Google initiative, which is devoted to advancing the research and design of people-centric AI systems. They are world-known for their groundbreaking visualizations of culturally significant data, which have been exhibited in venues such as the MoMA, the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Post-internet artist. Artie’s work concerns the role of image production and dissemination in contemporary networked society. His ongoing work Image Objects explores issues of materiality and the reification of digital entities. Artie’s latest work, Exploits, is an exploration of intellectual property and how issues of authorship and ownership have changed since the transition to a digital society.
Alexandria Wailes is an actress and director. Her theatre credits include the Mark Taper Forum/Deaf West’s Pippin, Australia Theatre of the Deaf’s The Wild Boys, Kirk Douglas Theatre’s Sleeping Beauty Wakes, the Public Theatre’s Mother Courage and Her Children. On television, she has appeared in Nurse Jackie, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Conviction. She received an LA Ovation Award Nomination as Best Lead Female in a Musical for Sleeping Beauty Wakes and was a Tony honoree recipient for Ensemble in the Broadway revival of Big River.
Ari Wallach is the founder and CEO of Synthesis Corp., a New York City–based strategic consultancy that lives at the intersection of innovation, technology, and purpose-driven culture. He is also the host of Fast Company Futures with Ari Wallach. Wallach is the co-founder of The Great Schlep, whose eponymous video had over 25 million views and 350 million global media impressions and started a national conversation about race, faith, and democracy during the 2008 presidential campaign. Wallach is the founder of INFORUM, one of the nation’s largest nonpartisan public affairs forums for young people. He currently sits on the boards of several nonprofits, as well as the Data and Democracy Initiative at UC Berkeley.
Tricia Wang is a global tech ethnographer and cofounder of Constellate Data, a data consultancy helping organizations get the most out of their data by integrating data science and social science. With more than 15 years of experience working with designers, engineers, and scientists, she has a particular interest in designing human-centered systems. She advises corporations and startups on using “thick data"—data brought to light using digital-age ethnographic research methods that uncover stories and meaning—to improve strategy, policy, products, and services. Organizations with which she has worked include P&G, IDEO, Nokia, GE, Kickstarter, the UN, and NASA. She has a BA in communications and a PhD in sociology from the University of California, San Diego. She holds affiliate positions at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and at New York University’s Interactive Communications Program (ITP). She is also a Fullbright Fellow and a National Science Foundation Fellow.
Amy Webb is the founder and CEO of the Future Today Institute, which advises Fortune 500 companies, major institutions and governments. Her future-forecasting work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review and many others. Webb is an adjunct professor at the New York University Stern School of Business and a summer lecturer at Columbia University. She was a delegate on the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, focusing on the future of AI and diplomacy. Webb’s new book, The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe Is Tomorrow’s Mainstream, explains the tools of a futurist and how everyone can forecast the future of technology, society, and business.
Storyteller and filmmaker. Dubbed “one of 25 people helping to re-invent entertainment and change the face of Hollywood” by WIRED magazine. Lance sits on two World Economic Forum steering committees; one focused on the Future of Content Creation, and the other examines the role of Digital Media in Shaping Culture and Governance. In addition, Lance teaches at Columbia University on the art, craft, and business of storytelling in the 21st century.
Ytasha L. Womack is an author, filmmaker, dancer, and futurist. Her book Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci Fi and Fantasy - a 2014 Locus Award Finalist in the nonfiction category - explores black sci-fi culture, bleeks, black comix, and the legacy of futurism. Womack is also author of the critically acclaimed book Post Black: How a New Generation Is Redefining African American Identity, and is coeditor of the hip-hop anthology Beats Rhymes & Life: What We Love and Hate About Hip-Hop. Her films include Couples Night (as screenwriter), Love Shorts (as writer/producer), and The Engagement (as director). She’s also writer and director of the upcoming Afrofuturist film Bar Star City.
Deputy Director of Education at The Museum of Modern Art. Wendy oversees all areas of education at MoMA and has been instrumental in transforming museum education practice for the 21st century. Prior to joining MoMA, Wendy was Director of Education at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
Bill Yosses is an American chef of international renown.He held the prestigious title of the White House Executive Pastry Chef from 2007 to 2014. In those years, Bill got first-hand experience of culinary diplomacy representing the US State Department as part of their Culinary Diplomacy Corps. As pastry chef of the White House, he was also closely involved with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative with the goal of reducing childhood health problems related to diet and conducted bi-weekly tours of the White House vegetable garden for school groups.
Kaydrianne Young is a justice advocate. While earning her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology at the University of Florida, she worked with grassroots public education groups and her university to recruit, train, and mentor youth for leadership in environmental entrepreneurship and renewable energy advocacy. She currently works as Operations Coordinator at Million Hoodies
LinYee Yuan is Founder and editor of MOLD, an editorial platform about designing the future of food. LinYee was previously the entrepreneur in residence for QZ.com and an editor for Core77, T: The New York Times Style Magazine and Theme Magazine. She has written about design and art for Food52, Design Observer, Cool Hunting, Elle Decor and Wilder Quarterly. LinYee also contributed the foreword to Food Futures: Sensory Explorations in Food Design and Cooking Up Trouble.
Hugo, a consumer taste researcher and data scientist, is a partner at Hedonometrics, an innovation consulting firm conducting research into the neuroscience of play and community wellbeing and positivity. He recently helped produce a data and architecture exhibit for the Guggenheim. Previously, Hugo was a Principal Scientist at eBay, where he leveraged machine learning and a massive behavioral dataset to map out consumer tastes and forecast brand trends. Hugo is an advisor to Harvard University’s Experiment Fund and to numerous tech start-ups. He has a PhD from MIT, where he also taught courses in artificial intelligence and the philosophy of aesthetics.
Executive Director at Van Alen Institute, a New York–based independent nonprofit that researches and shapes discussions about how design influences the public realm. Previously an associate curator of architecture and urban studies at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, he was the co-curator of the mobile BMW Guggenheim Lab. In 2012, David co-curated the American Pavilion of the Venice Architecture Biennale.