‘My practice is situated in between different actors, in this shape-shifting middle many things can happen.’
Tara Karpinski is a designer, researcher and educator working in the realm of social practice. She holds a BA in photography and art history from the Savannah College of Art & Design (USA), and an MA from the Sandberg Instituut (NL). Her Master studies were funded by a Netherland-America Foundation grant.
In her practice, Tara infiltrates and embeds in socio-political structures to critically investigate and unravel them – and subsequently, aesthetically and performatively intervene in them. The resulting site-specific works subvert and critique the status quo to transform relationships and shift power balances between different actors.
Tara is also a founding member of the interdisciplinary collective Pink Pony Express – pioneers in ‘research through making’. Their oeuvre includes numerous self-initiated projects, often in cooperation with diverse organisations including The Dutch Ministry of the Interior, Amnesty International, and music venue Paradiso and a wide range of local partners. Projects from the collective have been published and exhibited, including at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Beijing Design Week, The Embassy of the Kingdom of Denmark in Beijing, and the Kwaku festival – and in public spaces across the globe.
In 2021-22, Tara spearheaded the program Collective Making (ArtEZ Academy of Art & Design) together with Annemarie van den Berg. Collective Making is an educational and artistic research that investigates how to stimulate cooperation beyond the borders of discipline and practice – within (and beyond) the frameworks of the educational institution.
Additionally, Tara lecturers at universities and art academies, both at home and abroad. She has worked as a researcher-designer for various institutions, including the University of Amsterdam, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, and currently at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, where she is working on the 2-year research project Charging the Commons. Tara is also a tutor at the Avans academy for Technology & Design.
Charging the Commons
Charging the Commons is a follow-up project to Circulate which investigated the design of digital platforms for resource communities. It explores how a situated design approach can be employed to articulate the social values of resource communities. The second phase of the project examines how these values can be translated into (digital) tools and designs for the organisation of an urban commons.
Karpinski, T. (2022) Ener-geyser, Artistic works ISEA2022 ‘Possibilities’, screened at the CCCB and CERC auditoriums.
Gloerich, I., de Waal, M., Ferri, G. Cila, N., Karpinski, T. (2020) The City as a Licence. Implications of Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers for Urban Governance (Frontiers2020).
Nazli, C., Gloerich, I., Ferri, G., de Waal, M. and Karpinski, T., The Blockchain and the Commons: Dilemmas in the Design of Local Platforms. Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – CHI ’20
Karpinski, T., Cila, N., Gloerich, I., Meys, W., de Waal, M. (2019) “Peak Shaving Time”, We Make The City festival, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Research Group: Situated Art and Design
Living in cities developed around data and acting within the inscrutable structure of our techno-society demands art and design that can help understand how we relate to these rapidly changing surroundings and to reflect on that relationship. The research group Situated Art and Design responds to this exigency by fostering a situated turn in art and design through a diverse portfolio of interdisciplinary research projects in partnership with academic and cultural partners, as well as with government and industry.Read more
‘People are the product of their relationships with their environment. It’s important to understand how technological developments influence these relationships.’
‘Imagination is the key to a strong inclusive society. Artistic work and situated design can contribute to a better understanding of the other.’
‘‘Understanding how creativity and imagination emerge from interactions with our environment will lead to improved innovation processes, tools and technologies.’’
‘Through an interplay of design and research, the apt questions and necessary tools can be discovered and applied to each research project.’
‘The essence of the situated, cinematic experience of dance lies in the mental interaction where the public becomes co-author.’
‘Could experimental sensory translation of art works improve their accessibility for sensory diverse exhibition audiences?’
‘I’m interested in how we can implement situated learning within design education.’
‘How can the notion of the ‘script’ be used in a situated design practice? ’
‘The ultimate goal is to enable people to improve their lives, making them more enjoyable and comfortable.’
‘Attention during interaction is personal, not a given fact.’
‘Investigating the potential of sensory augmentation to bridge the sensory gap between deaf and hearing.’
‘Getting comfortable with ambiguity enables designers to absorb feedback and use it to make better design choices.’
‘I look at the ways in which citizens can play an active role in shaping their cities, and how new media and technology can contribute to this.’
‘For me, the iterative design-research process is an exciting journey towards designs that can transform human consciousness.’