Orit Halpern

Orit Halpern a Strategic Hire in Interactive Design and Theory and an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University, Montréal. Her work bridges the histories of science, computing, and cybernetics with design and art practice. Her recent book “Beautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason since 1945” (Duke Press 2015) is a genealogy of interactivity and our contemporary obsessions with “big” data and data visualization. She is currently working on two academic books and also some comic books. The first book, titled “The Smartness Mandate”, is a history and theory of “smartness”, environment, and ubiquitous computing and the second is about extreme infrastructures, futurity, and habitat.

Halpern is also a co-director of the Speculative Life Research Lab a design research cluster at the intersection of art and the life sciences, architecture and design, and computational media that is part of the Milieux, Institute for Technology, Art and Culture. She has also published and created works for a variety of venues including “The Journal of Visual Culture”, “Public Culture”, “Configurations”, “C-theory”, and ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany.

As part of her work as an historian, she is also interested in digital cinema and multi-media documentary, architecture and design, contemporary art practice, animation, and literature. She is particularly partial to those works inspired by, and dedicated to, problems of time and memory. Some of my favourites include Haruki Murakami, Susan Hiller, Sophie Calle, Manuel Puig, Chris Ware, and Chris Marker.

She also works closely with her brother, who is a writer and an artist. They like to build archives, and love all things from the Viennese Secession. They are now working on two comic books concerning machine learning and viruses.

Before coming to graduate school she spent many years working in international development on reproductive rights, and in web production.

As of March 2018

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