Atif Akin: Research Driven Design in the Context of Contemporary Art and Data Driven BoredomPhoto
Segal Seminar Series

Atif Akin: Research Driven Design in the Context of Contemporary Art and Data Driven Boredom

February 19, 2015,4: 00 - 5: 00p.m.
Ford Engineering Design Center
Room 1.350 (ITW Classroom)
2133 Sheridan Rd., Evanston, IL 60208

Research Driven Design in the Context of Contemporary Art and Data Driven Boredom


To me, art has been a series of activities made up of research, design, production and presentation. I refused to settle into any established medium of expression, and instead, chose to move fluidly between various media, including photography, video, physical interaction, generative media and data visualisation. 

The content of my work is the outcome of scientific and political research processes of various kinds, as well as literary surveys and field trips. Along with conventional methods such as photographic documentation, typologies and video production, visual display of quantitative information plays an important role, both at research and presentation stages of my works. In fact, this idea of data visualisation has become the sole content of the work in some of my projects.

Through these processes, my aim is to create meaning stripped of cultural connotations yet creating artistic and social value. In this talk, I will try to discuss the convergence of contemporary digital media and aesthetics. Departing from some of my design practice and research driven artwork, I will try to explain this convergence in two parts, research and aesthetics. In the first part, I will try to contemplate on scientific or social research methods in the digital realm and in the second part, I will try to debate the art value in abstract and generative aesthetics of data culture in comparison to that of early color photography from a historical point of view. I would like to conclude with a brief encapsulation of the ways in which this idea of convergence resonates in the postmodern visual culture.

Atif Akin


Atif Akin (1979, Turkey) is an artist and designer. He contributed to many group shows and took part in international collective projects in the field of contemporary art, science and politics. He started teaching in 2006. He taught various courses related to new media and interaction in the context of art and design at various schools in Turkey and Europe. He joined the Visual Arts Department faculty at Rutgers University in September 2011. He is commissioned for interaction design and information architecture projects and as an artist he produced graphics, photographs and multimedia and interactive installations.

Contact Haoqi Zhang at with any questions.