Tanya Toft curates digital exhibitions and develops exhibition schemes for public spaces in her role as associate curator for Streaming Museum, an international arts organization that presents multimedia work and programming worldwide on Web-based and onsite installations. Toft explains, “I work at the intersection of new media art, architecture, and the urban environment. The fieldwork research skills I learned at The New School I now apply to my projects.” Toft is based in New York but is pursuing a PhD at Copenhagen University.
After completing her undergraduate degree in film and media studies at Copenhagen University in 2008, Toft went on to pursue a master’s degree in media studies. But the programs at the university didn’t allow her to incorporate all of her interests into a graduate curriculum, so she enrolled in the MA Media Studies program at The New School for Public Engagement. There she focused on the relationship between media and the urban environment, with fine arts as an additional area of study. Toft quickly came to appreciate The New School’s integration of theory and practice. She says, “At first I was hesitant about practice-based research, but I discovered the value of going out in the city to observe, test, and experiment with phenomena, which allowed for posing new kinds of research questions.” Toft studied urban wastelands and media systems and made artistic experiments such as the intervention project Gated Communities–Stranger Danger, which addressed New Yorkers’ fear of strangers. Gated Communities–Stranger Danger won her and her project partner an award at Mixed Messages, an annual exhibition featuring the best film, video, audio, and multimedia work created by students at the New School.