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.
Danielle Belgrave is a machine learning researcher in the Healthcare Research Group at Microsoft Research, in Cambridge (UK). Her research focuses on integrating medical domain knowledge to develop statistical machine learning models to understand disease progression and heterogeneity. She obtained a BSc in Mathematics and Statistics from London School of Economics, an MSc in Statistics from University College London and a PhD in the area of machine learning in health applications from the University of Manchester. Prior to joining Microsoft, she was a Medical Research Council Fellow at Imperial College London.
Sara Bodinson is Director, Interpretation, Research & Digital Learning at The Museum of Modern Art. She joined the Museum in 2000, coordinating internships for college and graduate students as well as programs and web initiatives for teens. In 2009, she began to oversee the Museum’s interpretive planning process and the development of resources including labels, audio, apps, games, and participatory spaces, as well as qualitative visitor research and evaluation. In 2015, her responsibilities expanded to oversee digital learning initiatives, including online courses and podcasts. Bodinson holds a BA in art history and film studies from Smith College and an MA in art history from Hunter College, where she wrote her thesis about the Arab Image Foundation. She is a member of the executive committee of the Professional Organization of Women in the Arts and the Smith College Museum of Art Visiting Committee.
Hillary Brenhouse is a Montreal-born writer focused on women, religion and culture, and alternative living arrangements. She is also the co-editor-in-chief of Guernica, a magazine of global art and politics, and curates its special themed issues. She is also a senior editor for The Guardian. She’s published in The New Yorker online, The Oxford American, TIME, the New York Times, and elsewhere. And she’s edited for The Guardian, Topic, and The Nation, among others. She edits nonfiction manuscripts on a freelance basis, too.
Karthik Dinakar is a research scientist and Reid Hoffman Fellow at MIT who started the Applied Machine Learning and the Cambridge Computational Clinical Psychology Org interest groups at MIT and Harvard. He is interested in large scale bayesian data science - scalable machine learning, probabilistic graphical models, human-in-the-loop computation and fail-soft computing. Before his work at MIT he ‘machine learnified’ large scale query-entity relationships for the Bing search engine’s knowledge graph Satori. He has previously held positions at Deustche Bank and at Yahoo R&D, where he worked with a team on the Enthusiast Platform. At Carnegie Mellon University he studied human-computer interaction and machine learning.
Mark Fettes is Associate Professor, Faculty of Education and Associate Director, Imaginative Education Research Group (IERG). He is also the President of the World Esperanto Association, an organization that works to promote the Esperanto language while also stimulating discussion of the world language problem and to call attention to the necessity of equality among languages. He has previously worked with First Nations organizations around issues of language maintenance and revitalization. This in turn is related to his long-term interest in cultural diversity and intercultural communication, and particularly the management of multilingualism in a globalized world.
Ulrich Furbach is a retired Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Koblenz and Adjunct Professor at Vellore Institute of Technology in India. He is co-owner of wizAI solutions GmbH. His research interests include knowledge management, automated reasoning, multiagent systems, and cognitive science. Ulrich obtained his Diploma and Habilitation in informatics from the Technical University of Munich and his PhD from the University of Bundeswehr. He directed the Automated Reasoning Group at the TU Munich from 1987 to 1990 and the Institute for Knowledge Media in Koblenz from 2000 to 2003. He was president of CADE Inc., he was a board member of the European Coordinating Committee for Artificial Intelligence and he was speaker of the German AI Society. He is co-founder and owner of the spin-off company wizAI (www.wizai.com), which develops knowledge management systems, information systems and solutions for digital signage.
The Guerrilla Girls are feminist activist artists. They wear gorilla masks in public and use facts, humor and outrageous visuals to expose gender and ethnic bias as well as corruption in politics, art, film, and pop culture. Their anonymity keeps the focus on the issues, and away from who they might be: they could be anyone and they are everywhere. They believe in an intersectional feminism that fights discrimination and supports human rights for all people and all genders. They undermine the idea of a mainstream narrative by revealing the understory, the subtext, the overlooked, and the downright unfair. They have done hundreds of projects (posters, actions, books, videos, stickers) all over the world. They also do interventions and exhibitions at museums, blasting them on their own walls for their bad behavior and discriminatory practices, including their 2015 stealth projection on the façade of the Whitney Museum about income inequality and the super rich hijacking art.
Michael Hardt is an American philosopher and a Professor of Literature at Duke University. His writings explore the new forms of domination in the contemporary world as well as the social movements and other forces of liberation that resist them. In the Empire trilogy – Empire (2000), Multitude (2004), and Commonwealth (2009) – he and Antonio Negri investigate the political, legal, economic, and social aspects of globalization. They also study the political and economic alternatives that could lead to a more democratic world. Their pamphlet Declaration (2012) attempts to articulate the significance of the encampments and occupations that began in 2011, from Tahrir Square to Zuccotti Park, and to recognize the primary challenges faced by emerging democratic social movements today.
Pablo Helguera has been Director of Adult and Education Programs at The Museum of Modern Art since 2007. Previously, he was Senior Manager of Adult Programs at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1998–2005), and Manager of Public Programs at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1996–98), among other positions. Over the course of a 20-year career in museums, Helguera has conceptualized or directed more than 700 public programs for over 150 exhibitions. As an artist, Helguera has exhibited and performed widely in international museums and biennials. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, Creative Capital and Franklin Furnace grants, and was the first recipient of the International Award of Participatory Art of the Emilia Romagna Region in Italy (2011). He obtained his PhD from Kingston University, London, where he has been visiting professor since 2004.
Yasmin Hernandez is a Brooklyn-born and Puerto Rico-based artist and writer whose work is rooted in individual and collective liberation practices. Yasmin studied art at Cornell University and served as an artist educator with Taller Puertorriqueño, Philadelphia; El Museo del Barrio, East Harlem; Studio Museum, Harlem. She has also taught art to Pre K-12th grade students in Aguadilla. In 2017 she was invited to exhibit as part of Occupy Museum’s Debt Fair installation at The Whitney Biennial, with a segment focused on the Puerto Rico debt crisis. She has subsequently used her art in aid efforts following the twin hurricanes of Irma and María.
Janice Kamrin is an Associate Curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Janice holds a BA from Bryn Mawr College and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include Middle Kingdom tomb art and the archaeology of Thebes. Before coming to The Met, Janice lived in Egypt, where she directed several projects at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, and worked with the head of the Antiquities Service.
Shigetaka Kurita is an artist and designer who created the first emoji in 1999 for the Japanese telecom giant NTT DoCoMo. While the system offered emails, they were restricted to 250 characters, so emoji were a way to say more in a limited space. While emoji were immediately copied by other Japanese telecoms companies, the symbols were not standardized, meaning they could not be used across different networks. Additionally, they stayed fairly limited to Japan until 2010 when they were incorporated into Unicode, the standard that governs the software coding of text. That year, 722 emoji were released on both iPhone and Android. In 2016, the Museum of Modern Art in New York acquired 176 miniature drawings of faces, objects, and abstract places, etc.
Hugo Liu, Ph.D. is the founder of Artadvisor, a tech startup building the world’s leading art valuation technology. There are hundreds of factors that influence an artist’s market, from auction results and critical reception to the reputation of an artist’s gallery. Artadvisor applies machine learning and taste-based AI to distill these hundreds of factors down into a concise and actionable snapshot of over 50,000 artists.
Hawk Newsome is an activist and a prominent leader of New Civil Rights Movement. In 2013, Hawk joined the Justice League NYC and has engaged in their national campaign to fix the broken criminal justice system. Previously to his work with the Black Lives Matter Movement, he was a County Committee Member of New York’s District 79. He has previously worked as a paralegal and later as Special Projects Coordinator for the office of the Honorable Robert T. Johnson at the Bronx County Office of the District Attorney. As the DA’s liaison to the community, he worked with N.Y.C.H.A tenants’ associations and social service organizations throughout the Bronx. Hawk attended Howard University Law School, Washington, DC. and completed his Jurist Doctorate at Touro Law School, Long Island, NY.
Emma Ramadan is a literary translator based in Providence, Rhode Island. She attended Brown University and later earned her Master’s degree in Cultural Translation at the American University of Paris. She specializes in translating French to English, and has received various honors and awards for her work, having been the recipient of an NEA Translation Fellowship, a PEN/Heim grant, and a Fulbright scholarship. In 2015 she completed a Fulbright Fellowship in Marrakech, Morocco, where she catalogued and translated the archives of the late Moroccan author Ahmed Bouanani.
Ajay Revels is a strategic design researcher who loves great questions. She works at the intersection of biology, anthropology, product design and systems thinking to create products that are pleasant to use, profitable and, when possible, pro-environment. As a user experience (UX) consultant with 17 years of experience turning insights into actionable maps and mockups for new online products, services, or go-to-market plans, she has worked with design agencies like Razorfish, HUGE and Flow Interactive and corporate clients like Panasonic, CNN, Merrill Lynch, TD Ameritrade and Barclays.
Salil Shetty joined Amnesty International as the organization’s eighth Secretary General in 2010. A long-term activist on poverty and justice, Salil Shetty leads the movement’s worldwide work to end human rights violations and has spearheaded a significant move of Amnesty International’s work to the global south. Before joining Amnesty International, he was Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign from 2003 to 2010, credited with significantly increasing awareness of and accountability for the Millennium Development Goals across the world. From 1998 to 2003, Salil Shetty was Chief Executive of ActionAid, a leading international development NGO. Salil Shetty studied at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and at the London School of Economics.
Adam Szymczyk was the Artistic Director of Documenta 14, Athens and Kassel, from 2013 to 2017. Prior to his position at Documenta, he was Director and Chief Curator of the Kunsthalle Basel. He was also the co-curator of the 2008 edition of the Berlin Biennale, and he cofounded the Foksal Gallery Foundation in Warsaw, Poland. In 2011, the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, gave him the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement.
Jana Traboulsi is a designer, illustrator, artist, and teacher. Her work focuses on image making as critical commentary, often bridging between the personal and the socio-political. She is the art director of the pan-arab quarterly Bidayat and the Lebanese publishing house Snoubar Bayrout. In 2014 she co-founded Sigil with Khaled Malas, Salim Al-Kadi and Alfred Tarazi. Sigil is an Arab art collective that seeks to explore the marvelous and terrifying metamorphoses of the Arab landscape that is the stake and site of historical and contemporary struggles.
Mike Tyka, PhD Biophysics is a researcher of machine learning at Google and a science artist who studies the structure and dynamics of protein models. He is the co-founder of ALTSpace, a shared art studio in Seattle, where he creates sculptures of protein molecules. Since 2015 Mike has also begun working with artificial neural networks as an artistic medium and tool. He created some of the first large scale artworks using Iterative DeepDream and collaborated with Refik Anadol to create a pioneering immersive projection installation using Generative Adversarial Networks called Archive Dreaming. His latest generative portraits series “Portraits of Imaginary People” has been shown at ARS Electronica in Linz, at the New Museum in Karuizawa (Japan) and at the Seoul Museum of Art.
James Victore is an author, artist and designer to brave clients. As a creative thought leader, James is a sought after speaker known for his timely wisdom and impassioned views about creativity and its place in the world. He teaches how to illuminate individual gifts in order to find clarity and purpose. His work is represented in the permanent collections of museums worldwide.
Addie Wagenknecht is an artist whose work explores the tension between expression and technology. Seeks to blend conceptual work with forms of hacking and sculpture, her work has been shown at galleries and museums in Vienna, Paris, Istanbul, London, and Eindhoven. In 2016 she collaborated with Chanel and I-D magazine as part of their Sixth Sense series and in 2017 her work was acquired by the Whitney Museum for American Art. Her work has been featured in numerous books, and magazines, such as TIME, Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, Art in America, and The New York Times. She holds a Masters degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University, and has previously held fellowships at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center in New York City, Culture Lab UK, Institute HyperWerk for Postindustrial Design Basel (CH), and The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University.