Atıf Akın (Turkey,1979) is an artist and designer living in NewYork. His work examines science, nature, mobility, and politics through an (a)historical and contemporary lens. Through a series of activities made up of research, documentation and design, Akın’s work considers transdisciplinary issues, through a technoscientific lens, in aesthetic and political contexts. Akın studied engineering and design at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. Over the past ten years, he has been teaching in İstanbul, Europe, and the US.
During his studies, Akın was actively involved in artistic and political circles in Ankara. He practiced design, photography and video, and in graduate school, developed an interest in interaction design, cyberculture, digital humanities, semantics and semiotics. Akın became active as an artist during his years in İstanbul, and exhibited widely in Turkey and Europe, taking part in collective and international projects in a field that was seeing its first years of development and emergence. From İstanbul, Akın created connections with institutions in Germany, took classes in Berlin, and stayed close to the pioneers who practiced interaction design and digital data driven forms and interfaces in artistic and political contexts.
As a scholar, Akın taught art and design at Bilgi University and Kadir Has University, and lectured in a number of schools in Turkey and Europe. Throughout his tenure at Bilgi University, Akın also took on administrative roles, serving as Vice Chair and Director of the Visual Communication Design MFA program, as well as serving on the curatorial board of santralistanbul, the contemporary art museum of Bilgi University. He has worked with the Goethe Institute, KHM, University of Liege, ZKM, Le Centquatre, Ars Electronica, and Pixelache.
In 2009, his work was listed in the ‘Younger Than Jesus’ art directory project of the New Museum, published by Phaidon. That same year, Akın co-curated a seminal media art exhibition, ‘Uncharted: User Frames in Media Arts,’ and edited an accompanying book.
Akın joined the Mason Gross School of the Arts faculty at Rutgers University in 2011, the same year he moved to New York. In addition to teaching, Akın has a private studio in New York, and works and exhibits actively in the US, as well as Europe, Turkey and the Middle East. He has lectured at the New School, SVA, City College, Northeastern University, CUNY Graduate Center, and Northwestern University.
Akın was the recipient of the 2015 apexart Franchise Program award in New York, and the organizer of the zine project and exhibition, Apricots from Damascus, on behalf of apexart, and co-produced and hosted by SALT in İstanbul. In 2016, he took part in the public programming of Olafur Eliasson’s Greenlight Project, hosted by TBA 21 in Vienna. With the same institution, he embarked on an expedition to research nuclear test sites in French Polynesia. Currently, he is working on a long term research-driven art project on nuclear mobility and archaeology. It will be presented at the 2016 Design Biennial in İstanbul.