Natalie Jeremijenko speaks at the Ontario College of Design

The Ontario College of Art’s Faculty of Design presents a talk by designer Natalie Jeremijenko, the third speaker in the 2008–09 M.C. McCain Design Speaker Series, which has included lectures by CBC Radio One host Terry O’Reilly and IDEO Creative Director Jane Fulton Suri.

Natalie Jeremijenko is Director of the xDesign Environmental Health Clinic at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, where she is an assistant professor in Art, and affiliated with the Computer Science Department. She is also a visiting professor at the Royal College of Art in London, England and an artist not-in-residence at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California. Previously, she taught visual arts at the University of California, San Diego and engineering at Yale University.

Jeremijenko, whose background includes studies in biochemistry, physics, neuroscience and precision engineering, creates work described as experimental design, as it explores opportunities presented by new technologies for non-violent social change. Her research centres on structures of participation in the production of knowledge and information, and the political and social possibilities (and limitations) of information and emerging technologies — mostly through public experiments. In this vein, her work spans a range of media from statistical indices (such as the Despondency Index, which linked the Dow Jones to the suicide rate at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge) to biological substrates (such as the installations of cloned trees in pairs in various urban micro-climates) to robotics (such as the development of feral robotic dog packs to investigate environmental hazards). Her permanent installation on the roof of the Postmasters Gallery in New York provides infrastructure and facilities for high-density bird cohabitation in an environmental experiment in interaction with the city’s bird population.

Jeremijenko’s work has been exhibited at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. A 1999 Rockefeller Fellow, Jeremijenko was recently named one of the 40 most influential designers by I.D. Magazine and one of the inaugural Top 100 Young Innovators (TR100) by the MIT Technology Review.


The lecture takes place at 6:45pm on Thursday, February 12, 2009 in the auditorium at OCAD, located at 100 McCaul Street in Toronto. Admission is free.


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