Atıf Akın is an artist living in New York and Associate Professor of Art & Design at Rutgers University. 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 studio practice. Akın’s work considers transdisciplinary issues, through a technoscientific lens, in aesthetic and political contexts.
Akın studied science and design at a public university in Turkey, Middle East Technical University in Ankara, and worked in İstanbul and Europe as an artist and educator before moving to New York in 2011.
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. Throughout his practice in İstanbul, he regularly collaborated with Ars Electronica in Austria, ZKM in Karlsruhe and Pixelache in Helsinki. 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. Most recently, part of his long-term research-driven art project on nuclear mobility and oceanography, Mutant Space: Tepoto Sud morph Moruroa, was on display at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Singapore and Le Fresnoy Museum in France.
Since the beginning of his practice, he has been interested in manifestations of boundaries–physical, metaphorical, linguistic–that exist around science, nature and politics. In an effort to create the most effective presentations, he refused to settle into an established medium of expression, and instead, move fluidly between various media, including photography, video, and visualization of quantitative information and programmable media. By looking at scientific and political phenomena, he extracts and creates meaning in a visual context, with broad political and scientific significance. Integrating technology as both subject and means of expression, Akin explores issues that are considered sensitive in the public discourse, unlocking them from the rigid political categories in which they reside. Some of his works appear as museum, gallery or public space installations, and other in screen-based formats, including online works.
As a professor, Akın taught and lectured in a number of schools in Turkey, Middle East, Europe and the US. 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. Akın joined the Mason Gross School of the Arts faculty at Rutgers University in 2011, and 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 Western Asia.