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  • Faculty

  • Marisa Jahn

    Assistant Professor of Design Strategies


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    Marisa Jahn


    An artist, filmmaker, and creative technologist of Ecuadorian and Chinese descent, Marisa Morán Jahn’s artworks redistribute power, “exemplifying the possibilities of art as social practice” (ArtForum). Characterizing her playful approach, MIT CAST writes, ‘[Jahn] introduces a trickster-like humor into public spaces and discourses, and yet it is a humor edged with political potency.” She is the founder of Studio REV, a non-profit organization that codesigns public art and creative media co-designed with low-wage workers, immigrants, and women.

    Key projects include El Bibliobandido (a masked, story-eating bandit who terrorizes little kids until they offer him stories they’ve written), Video Slink Uganda (experimental films slipped or “slinked” into Uganda’s bootleg cinemas and circulated to millions of viewers), Contratados (a Yelp! for migrant workers that has served 2 million users), and a set of projects that amplify the voices of America’s fastest growing workforce, caregivers: two mobile studios (NannyVan, CareForce One), a Tribeca Film Institute-supported app for domestic workers that CNN named as “one of 5 apps to change the world,” and CareForce One Travelogues a film series for PBS/ITVS co-produced with Oscar and Emmy-winning filmmaker Yael Melamede. Her most recent project, “Snatchural History of Copper” explores civilization’s coterminous relationship with copper, a naturally-occurring mineral underlying our homes, networked lives, and the IUD located in the cervix (in English, “snatch”) of 170 million women across the world today.

    Jahn’s work has been featured at venues ranging from worker centers to Obama’s White House to museums and festivals (Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Center, Asian Art Museum, New Museum, Art Brussels). Her work has been widely covered by The New York Times, Art Forum, Art in America, BBC, CNN, Univision, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Hyperallergic, and hundreds more. Jahn is an awardee of Creative Capital, Sundance, Anonymous Was a Woman, and in 2018, she was nominated for the prestigious Visible Award.

    Jahn has taught at Columbia University, MIT (her alma mater), and The New School (where she is an Assistant Professor), and regularly gives lectures internationally.

    Degrees Held

    BA, UC Berkeley

    MS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

    Professional Affiliation

    Founder/Executive Director, Studio REV-

    Designer, The Urban Justice Center

    Member, Public Tech Community Advisory Committee to NYC Councilmember and Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito

    Ongoing Mentee: New York Arts Practicum

    Jury: Eyebeam, Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund, MIT Visual Arts Department, New Langton Arts

    Recent Publications

    Jahn has edited three books about art and politics: ‘Pro+agonist: The Art of Opposition’ explores the productive possibilities of ‘agonism,’ or a relationship built on mutual incitement and struggle. ‘Recipes for an Encounter’ examines anticipatory nature of recipes together with their promise of what will unfold, take place, be consumed. ‘Byproduct: On the Excess of Embedded Art Practices’ investigates art embedded within governments, industries, and electoral politics to produce byproducts of the system itself. She has co-written essays and edited the works of thinkers such as scholar and activist Cornel West, the Pulitzer-winning novelist Colson Whitehead, former Bogota mayor Antanas Mockus, the political scientist Chantal Mouffe, Art Forum editor Michelle Kuo, philosophers such as Michel Serres, John Searle, the late Jean-Francois Lyotard, and art practitioners The Yes Men, Joseph Grima, Sofia Chong Cuy Hernandez, Doris Sommer, Artist’s Placement Group, Billy Kluver, and more.

    Performances and Appearances

    Jahn’s artwork has been presented in various contexts ranging from The White House and U.S. Department of Labor to worker centers to museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, New Museum, Walker Art Center, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, MIT Museum, The Power Plant (Toronto), ICA Philadelphia, Asian Art Museum, The National Fine Art Museum of Taiwan, Studio Museum in Harlem, and more.


    Jahn regularly lectures at wide-ranging venues ranging from film festivals (Tribeca Film Institute, Savannah Film Festival) to conferences (Knight Journalism, CHI - Human Computer Interaction, Open Engagement) to universities (Harvard University, MIT) to museums (Museum of Modern Art, Queens Museum).

    Jahn has taught interdisciplinary art and interactive media at MIT, Northeastern University School of Law, The New School, American Museum of Natural History, Eyebeam, Stanford University, and more. She has been a visiting critic at Columbia University, Yale University, National Kaoshung University (Taiwan), UC Berkeley, California College of Art, SF Art Institute, and more.

    Research Interests

    public art, socially engaged art, design, graphic design, interactive media, social justice, activism, immigration policy, low-wage workers, women

    Awards And Honors


    Map Fund (Creative Capital/Doris Duke Charitable Fund)

    Fledgling Fund

    New York State Cultural Affairs Media Grant

    MIT Open Doc Fellowship

    Feature at The White House Safety Data Palooza

    New York Art and Social Justice Representative to The White House Office of Public Engagement

    Tribeca Interactive Media Fund

    Rockefeller Cultural Fund

    Franklin Furnace Grantee

    CEC Artslink Fellow

    Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Inaugural Curatorial Fellow

    Tenoit Bursaire (Grant Awarded for residency at CAMAC

    Travel Grant, American Embassy in Serbia

    MIT Travel Grant

    MIT Council for the Arts Recipient

    MIT Department of Architecture Scholarship

    CEC Artslink Awardee to create new work in Estonia

    UC Berkeley, Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Theory

    Robert & Colleen Haas Scholar, UC Berkeley

    Honor's Studio Recipient, UC Berkeley



    MIT Open Doc Lab

    MIT Media Lab (2005-8)

    Headlands Center for the Arts

    Kaliningrad Center for Contemporary Art, Russia

    Sogd Cultural Center, Khojand, Tajikistan

    Bactria Arts Center, Dushanbe, Tajikistan

    Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts

    CAMAC (Marnay-sur-Seine, France)

    Un Mundo (El Pital, Honduras)

    Art Interventions (Kucevo, Serbia)

    MoKS (Mooste, Estonia)

    San Francisco Unified School District



    Studio REV-

    Personal Website



    Current Courses

    Creatives and Entrepreneurship

    Creatives and Entrepreneurship (Spring 2021)

    Ind Proj: Design Research

    Integrative Studio 1

    Integrative Studio 1 (Spring 2021)

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