News & Events
Winner of the Biological Art & Design Award!
Excited to announce that I have won the Biological Art and Design Award this year! I will be using the €25,000 award to create new work in collaboration with experts in Radiology. More details from the site below:
Ani Liu (USA): ‘Data Veins & Flesh Voxels: a search for what is Human’
In collaboration with: Academic Medical Center (AMC) Amsterdam, Department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine, division of Musculoskeletal Radiology (Matthias Cabri, Onno Baur, Mario Maas)
This project works to translate social, physical, and even emotional data into new kinds of artistic representation. It proposes doing so in a legible way that still preserves the complexity and immensity of an identity. In this case, the jury also detected a strong cooperative spirit and mutual respect between the designer and the scientific team. In fact, they were even able to acknowledge an early shift in perspective on the part of the researchers, who, through the process of the application development, have arrived at a slightly more empathy-informed approach to patients. Another factor that impressed the jury was the thoughtful contextualization that Ani Liu offered in the first part of the application presentation, illuminating how the way we understand ourselves through the ages is based on the dominant technologies of the time.
Featured on Mashable
Featured on TECH + ART, produced by National Geographic
Ask Me Anything on Reddit through National Geographic
Featured in LIFE Magazine (in China)
Keynote Speaker at PRIMER Conference on Speculative Futures
PRIMER was created to prepare you for the future, and to equip you to help shape it.
In 2018, we are inviting an even wider range of speakers from the design, strategy & futurist communities. We are still loyal to the core of our offering which is Speculative Design; so you can be sure to hear some amazing talks from Speculative & Critical Designers from around the world, as well as student work from top design schools in the US.
Showing at Please Touch: Body Boundaries
Very excited to be showing at Please Touch: Body Boundaries, opening April 29 (1-7pm) Mana Contemporary, an exhibition featuring artists who reference the body to illuminate conceptions of identity, femininity, and competing gazes. Curated by Ysabel Pinyol. April 29-August 1 with panels and performances on June 2.
A Kiss from the Future and Other Biodesign That Will Blow Your Mind: Article from IDEO
Interview on Core77
Speaking at Shenzhen Design Society
Interview on Clot Magazine
Inventing Smells for Space: A chemistry, design, and R&D collaboration with IFF
Speaking at Dense Emptiness Symposium:
Organized by School of Architecture professor Rachel Dickey, Dense Emptiness is a symposium on the impacts of digital culture on design and architecture. Antoine Picon, the G. Ware Travelstead Professor of the History of Architecture and Technology and Director of Research at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, will deliver the keynote.
Dense Emptiness is an event of experiential exhibitions, compelling performances, and radical speakers intended to excite, challenge, and evoke discussion about the impacts of digital culture on design and architecture. The title represents the density of information in a society driven by metrics and data, and the great threat of emptiness, which occurs when all meaning is lost in the absence of the qualitative and the immeasurable. Similar to Reynar Banham’s plea for a serious approach to technology, Dense Emptiness calls for an exploration of the potential impacts on the built world, which result from our fixed relationship with technology. It questions if a day might come “when we turn off our target ads, navigational prompts, Tinder match notifications, and status updates to find a world stripped bare, where nothing is left but scaffolds and screens” (Young). The symposium is intended to provoke ideas which address the challenges imposed by today’s digital culture.
Speaking at Beta-Real Symposium:
I am delighted to be part of a panel that tests the multilayered and superpositioned space between two states: fiction and reality. Drawing from literature, art, politics, technology and science, the panel looks for ways in which, as William Steward aptly framed it, “nothing is real...that isn’t a fiction.” This contradictory structure is precisely the structure of the inbetween, of the Beta-Real, we explored in the first panel. It is the structure of the doppelganger which is at once you and at once not you. It is not simply ambiguous, but rather ambivalent, a superposition: it is precisely both opposing things at the sametime. Just as in the first panel, the point is not to try to resolve these tensions and oppositions or even to explore their liminality, but rather to understand the superposition of their difference as constitutive elements of reality, and to see them as an invitation to dwell within the space of ambivalent impasse.
(From symposium organizer and Boghosian Fellow Linda Zhang:) Ani Liu amplifies while simultaneously undermining sensual experience. Her work explores the ways in which scientific and technological revolutions shift and shape the experiences of longing, nostalgia, and sexuality. She uses the tools of science and technology in her artistic practice to turn so-called objective truths on their heads by injecting biological impulse with affect.
Essay in Mirror Mirror Catalogue
Many thanks to Anonda Bell and Jacqueline Mabey for their thoughtful and insightful words about my work! Pictured above, the slick and gorgeous cover that I couldn't help taking a selfie in.
Opening of Mirror Mirror at Paul Robeson Galleries
Mirror Mirror presents works in a variety of media from thirty-two international emerging and established artists and one artist collective: Manuel Acevedo, Zoë Charlton, Paolo Cirio, David Antonio Cruz, Kevin Darmanie, E.V. Day, Leah DeVun, Nona Faustine, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Anne-Karin Furunes, Phyllis Galembo, Chitra Ganesh, William Kentridge, Riva Lehrer, Ani Liu, Jessamyn Lovell, Hyphen-Labs (Carmen Aguilar y Wedge, Ece Tankal, Ashley Baccus), Peggie Miller, Anna Ogier-Bloomer, Polixeni Papapetrou, Patricia Piccinini, Wendy Red Star, Faith Ringgold, Kevin Blythe Sampson, María Verónica San Martín, Leo Selvaggio, Laura Splan, Dread Scott, Beat Streuli, Arne Svenson, Shoshanna Weinberger, Deborah Willis, and Martha Wilson.
Mirror Mirror plumbs the relationship between identity, cultural norms, and representation. In the most abbreviated of forms, a portrait is a depiction of a person, usually a face, occasionally a torso, sometimes more of the body, or even a symbolic presentation of an aspect of an individual’s character. The artists in the show have approached the subject of portraiture in a multitude of ways. Historically, portraiture was utilized in service of the ruling classes, and some of the works in the exhibition explore the machinations of the powerful, touching upon the fraught histories of colonialism, slavery, American inference abroad, and eugenic practices. Photography is presented in both documentary modes and as a means to deconstruct representations of femininity, adolescence, and motherhood. Other artists work in non-traditional media, exploring the portrait painted by our data and bacteria, and radical possibilities of self-invention through new virtual and bio technologies. Taken as a whole, the works in Mirror Mirror communicate the connected nature of representation and self-determination.
Jury Captain for Core77 Design Concept Awards
I am pleased to announce that I am serving as the Jury Captain in for the Core77 Design Concept Awards this year.
The design concept category includes all conceptual or proposal designs, whether self-initiated or created for a client or educational institution, which have been fully developed, but not yet brought to market or made available for pre-order. Due to the conceptual nature of the category, effective writing and visuals are critical, and entries should be fully described and illustrated to clarify the intent as much as possible.
I deeply encourage everyone to apply! http://designawards.core77.com/
Teaching Workshop "Between Matter, Time, & Energy" at Syracuse University
Students will take a form they have developed in the studio and transform it into a living object. Often forms are conceived and created in the vacuum of software and deployed through the precise mechanical arms of machining. The world that these designs are deployed into are never so simple- the living, entropic forces that disobediently mold, stain, and contaminate are inherent in the fabric of any site. Layering growth, decay, (and thereby time) into the formal dimension, we will investigate the operation of co-creation within different processes. This exercise will be a launching point into taking into account a building as a temporal, living entity.
Interview with architectural journal POSIT
Rhapsody in Zero G: Reimagining research for life in space
I had the honor of participating in the inaugural Zero Gravity flight of the Space Initiative at MIT Media Lab. My research was a speculative design object for the emotional strains of future space travel. You can read the full article here: https://www.media.mit.edu/posts/rhapsody-in-zero-g/
"The projects aboard the flight all represent potentially groundbreaking research; they’ll go on to become peer-reviewed research, models for further iterations, and/or design challenges for others to explore. But the meta goal of this flight speaks to something beyond specific projects and results: it speaks to the broader implications of humanity’s efforts in and around space... Ani Liu created Smells for Space, a project playing with how scent might help spacefarers stay connected to places and people on Earth."
I will be blogging more about this amazing experience. For now, I want to send my sincere gratitude to Ariel Eckblaw, the Space Initiative, MIT Media Lab, and Janine Liberty!
Featured in Dartmouth Alumni Magazine
"She blends art with science, technology and politics to explore what it means to be human in an increasingly virtual world. “I bring very disparate ideas together to reveal aspects about how technology frames our reality,” says Liu"
There is even a print version! Also a mini bonus because I snagged a perception-extension tag in the URL:
Solo Show: Laboratory of Longings
Opening Next Friday October 6th 7PM at Mills Gallery
Edit: Thanks To all who came! Some photos from the opening below!
Microbiome Record Player written up on Gizmodo
Laboratory of Longings: Solo Show at Boston Society of Arts
Hacking Manufacturing: research on the factory floor
I spent a month in factories in China on a research grant called Hacking Manufacturing from MIT Media Lab. You can read about my experience here: https://www.media.mit.edu/posts/hacking-manufacturing-research-on-the-factory-floor/
Profiled by MIT Media Lab
Project Featured on FoxNews
Article on PC Magazine now Live
"In a world full of new science and technology, it's increasingly difficult for society to contemplate what it's doing to itself before it's already doing it. This trend will only accelerate, though, so today's artists should consider it their duty to utilize STEM in their work."
On ArtFCity: "Ani Liu Flips the Script"
Keynote Speaker at Campus Party Brasilia
I will be giving a talk about my work as a keynote speaker in Brasilia, Brazil June 16th! Come visit and say hi if you are in the area!
Update: Images from the Talk!
Interview at PC Magazine
I had the pleasure of sharing my work at PC Magazine today! You can watch the entire interview here.
Featured on Adafruit Blog
1st Place for Schnitzer Art Prize in the Visual Arts
"The Schnitzer Prize was established in 1996 through an endowment from Harold and Arlene Schnitzer of Portland, Oregon. Harold Schnitzer, a real estate investor, graduated from MIT in 1944 with a degree in metallurgy. The prizes—a first prize of $5000, second prize of $3000, third prize of $2000 and honorable mentions of $1000—are awarded to undergraduate and graduate students for excellence in a body of artistic work. This year’s recipients represent the diverse academic backgrounds of contemporary artists, as well as the distinctive creative culture of MIT, where science, technology and art inform each other.
An exhibition of selected works by the Schnitzer Prize winners—Ani Liu, Angel Chen, Jessica Rinland, Anne Graziano and Edwina Portocarrero—will be on view in the Wiesner Student Art Gallery, opening June 2, 2017.
Ani Liu, the first-prize winner, is an interdisciplinary artist and graduate student in the Media Lab in the Design Fiction group. In her research-based art, she explores the cultural implications of emerging technologies. Her work includes architectural installations, wearable prosthetics, augmented reality and synthetic biology.
Her evocative biological design objects include: “Kisses from the Future,” a petri dish of micro-organisms cultured from a kiss; “Forget Me Not,” a plant that is engineered to emit a person’s odor, reversing the perfumer’s art of applying floral fragrances to people; and “The Botany of Desire: Experiments in Interspecies Interfaces,” which tests the limits of interspecies empathy. Ani’s expansive portfolio also includes digital and analog works that investigate everything from networked reality to falling in love.
For her thesis work, she controls the movement of sperm with her mind. She describes the work as a “biopolitical feminist art piece” and says it allows her both “to push the limits of what I was able to accomplish technologically, in terms of the engineering” and “to question who gets control over bodily rights, and what kind of metaphorical acts can empower and make us question the status quo.”
My Work is featured in VICE/ BROADLY!
Mind-Controlled Spermatozoa Project is getting international press:
My work is featured on WIRED Germany
There is also an extensive interview included! https://www.wired.de/collection/design/ani-liu-mit-interview-smelfie-biotechnologie-parfum-duft-geruch-blume
Speaking on BioArt at Columbia University
Speaking at ArtTechPsyche, presented by Harvard Digital Arts and Humanities
Please to announce that I will be speaking at ArtTechPsyche at Harvard this April 20th.
ArtTechPsyche celebrates human expression at the intersection of technology and the arts. Harvard Digital Arts and Humanities (DARTH), in collaboration with the Harvard Library and the Digital Futures Consortium, invites you to participate in a day of immersive digital experiences, art exhibitions, technology demos, and visionary speakers on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at Arts @ 29 Garden.
Explore the creative process and its impact on emerging technologies. Discover the ways in which technology shapes us, and conversely, how the artist continually challenges and informs technological development. Interact with cutting edge art installations and software demos to experience the world in new ways. Meet like-minded faculty, staff, students, researchers, and colleagues of any skill level while exploring new projects and collaborations on and around campus.
Interview in Spanish Press:
My talk "Synthetic Biology for the Senses" is live on TED.com
The walk was also featured on the front page of Ted.com today!
Speaking at Dent the Future 2017!
I am excited to say that I will be speaking at Dent the Future, where I will be sharing new work! Drop me a line if you will be there as well!
I am pleased to announce that I will be participating in a group show titled Body Politic.
OPEN is pleased to premiere Body Politic, a group show featuring works by eleven artists from five countries including Ani Liu, Ayodamola Okunseinde, Azra Aksamija, Emmeline Franklin, Brittany Cohen, Lauren McCarthy, Manisha Mohan, Pedro Oliveira, Sophia Brueckner, Wiena Lin, and Xuedi Chen. Body Politic is guest curated by Laura Zittrain.
The artists in Body Politic deploy wearable objects to resist social power structures. Sculptures, dresses, devices, and a spacesuit depict alternate visions of a tech-enabled, inclusive future. These works respond to the experiences of individuals seeking a place in a post-hope America struggling with sexism, racism, and xenophobia.
Consisting of speculative objects designed for the body, this collection makes tangible the artists’ latent anxieties about safety and inclusion. Some works are intended as a cautionary tale, designed to provoke debate; the hat by McCarthy that pokes the wearer should they stop smiling and the interstellar communication device for people of color by Okunseinde and Lin. Others are working prototypes that contend with a future which has already arrived; the “secure” dress by Cohen and Franklin that only unfastens itself with the wearer’s fingerprint, or the letterman jackets made out of “cultural fabric” by Aksamija, and the portable Faraday cage by Chen and Oliveira.
These objects fall somewhere between the everyday and the uncanny. They're familiar enough to accept at first glance: the lipstick by Liu, the amulet by Brueckner, the bra by Mohan. But something is unsettling: the lipstick attracts plants, the amulet harvests attention, and the bra releases a noxious odor.
If the oppressed co-opted the production style of technology solutionism, these would be the wearables we’d get. Yet contemplated as serious products, they are absurd partial solutions. They show us that without civic discourse about the technology we want and need, gadget-making in isolation only further entrenches the status quo.
In an age of political authoritarianism, runaway tech, and expanding intersectional diversity, the works in Body Politic make clear the need to focus on social justice when creating new technologies.
Guest curator Laura Zittrain works as a stylist and curator at the intersection of fashion and technology. Previously she was the Harvard University Wheatland Curatorial Fellow in the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments where she researched and developed the permanent exhibit for 1944's Mark-1, the world's first programmable computer. While at Harvard, Zittrain contributed to various exhibits, including a retrospective on the Rorschach ink blots, chatbots and the history of artificial intelligence, and science pedagogy during the Cold War. Zittrain holds a A.M. in the History of Science from Harvard University, B.S. from Georgetown University, and a certificate in personal styling from The School of Style.
My TEDx talk is now live! Design Fiction & Synthetic Biology for the Senses: You can stream it below:
Installation at Museum of Fine Arts
TEDX BeaconStreet 2016
This November I presented some of my research at a TEDX event in Boston. Please to share some of the images below. A link to the full talk will be coming up soon!
Speak the Small Truths
MIT Hacking Arts
International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition:
See Yourself X: Expanded Human Futures Book Launch
Boston Museum of Fine Arts: mfaNOW
Boston Museum of Fine Arts: mfaNOW
Above are images from an event and exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, featuring an exploration of the uncanny through a robotic cat cafe. Throughout the night, waitresses from the future served a menu full of options like switches, pacer motors, programmable voice boxes and childhood toys, to reconstruct memories into new futures.
Attendees deconstructed and reconstructed the robots, and then were encouraged to make and write about their future histories through their animatronic creations. This exhibit was a collaboration with my wonderful and talented friends Adam Horowitz, Pip Mothersill, Nicole L'Huillier, and Thomas Sanchez.
Asian Art Museum Takeover
Lecture on my work at NuVu: The Innovation School- April 27th