Tamiko Thiel is a visual artist exploring the interplay of place, space, the body and cultural memory. She is an internationally acknowledged pioneer in developing the dramatic and poetic capabilities of virtual and augmented realities to create spaces of memory for exploring social and cultural issues. Her virtual and augmented installations seek to reify the invisible webs of meaning that bind place and memory together to create what we call “culture,” while actively engaging the viewer's kinesthetic body sense to meld this virtual imagery with the physical experience of a space or a site to create a new form of reality.
She has a B.S. and M.S. in engineering from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an M.A. from the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich/Germany. She has taught and lectured at institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University, the MIT Media Lab, Harvard University, the Bauhaus-University in Weimar/Germany, the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television, the Berlin University of the Arts and Nanyang Technological University Singapore.
She exhibits internationally in venues such as the Istanbul Biennial, the International Center for Photography/New York, the ICA Boston, the ZKM in Karlsruhe/Germany and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. Her art commissions include institutions such as the Zero1 Biennial in Silicon Valley, the Foundation for Art and Technology (FACT) in Liverpool, the Goethe-Institut and the Seattle Art Museum Olympic Sculpture Park.
As a founding member of the augmented reality artist group Manifest.AR she participated in the pathbreaking uninvited intervention “We AR in MoMA” at MoMA NY in 2010, and was the main curator and organizer of their intervention into the Venice Biennial in 2011.
Her grants and fellowships include the MacDowell Colony, the Grand Prize of the IBM Innovation Award for Art and Technology, WIRED Magazine, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Advanced Visual Studies, the Japan Foundation, Arts Council England and the Berlin Capital City Cultural Fund (Hauptstadtkulturfonds). She was Visiting Artist in the Duke University MFA program in Experimental and Documentary Arts, and Augmented Reality Artistic Advisor for the Caribbean Cultural Center and African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) project “Mi Querido Barrio” in East Harlem/New York, for which she helped bring in a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation Cultural Innovation Fund.