Defne Ayas
Since 2003
Works in United States of America

Defne Ayas (b.1976) is the Director of the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam as of 2012.

During her directorship, Witte de With commissioned Dai Hanzhi: 5000 Artists (with UCCA, Beijing, 2014); Moderation(s) by artist Heman Chong (with Spring, Hong Kong, 2012-2014); The Humans - a theatrical play by writer and artist Alexandre Singh – and its monthly summits Causeries (2012-2013); the open archive and collection Tulkus 1880 to 2018 by artist Paola Pivi (with Castello di Rivoli, 2013-2018) as well as the award-winning exhibition The Temptation of AA Bronson (2013). In addition, Ayas launched Witte de With’s new online platform WdW Review (

While in Shanghai (2005-2012), Ayas co-founded Arthub Asia in 2007 – an Asia-wide active research and production initiative.

Ayas remains a Curator-at-Large of New York-based PERFORMA, where she has organized projects with an international roster of acclaimed artists, architects, curators, and writers, and where she directed biennial’s architecture, writing and print programs since the biennial's first edition in 2005.

In September 2012, Ayas co-curated the 11th Baltic Triennale (with Benjamin Cook, LUX, in collaboration with artists Ieva Misevičiūtė and Michael Portnoy) to great acclaim, as well as the Istanbul and Bandung city pavilions as part of the Intercity Project of the 9th Shanghai Biennale.

She is a Board member of the Rijksakademie (Amsterdam); an advisory board member of PAC (Milan), Jan Van Eyck Academy (Maastricht), Collectorspace (Istanbul), SAHA (Istanbul), Protocinema (Istanbul) and Art Review Asia (Beijing); and a curator at large of Spring Workshop (Hong Kong). Ayas has taught at New York University between 2006-2012 and has lectured at Columbia University, New York, the Tate Modern, London, the Museum for Chinese Art, New York, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong, de Balie, Amsterdam, and Art Basel among other institutions. A patron of ArtInternational, Istanbul, she served on the jury of various fairs including Art Rotterdam, Art Brussels, and Artissima, Turin.

Ayas occasionally contributes to publications such as Yishu Journal, A Prior, Mousse and Creative Time Reports, and was nominated for ICI¹s Independent Curatorial Vision Award in 2012.
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Personal Democracy Forum

Mon May 24, 2004 00:00 - Thu May 20, 2004
Discussion of new tools such as blogs within the political context-
high-profile event...!

The Personal Democracy Forum, produced by Andrew Rasiej, will bring together political figures, grassroots leaders, journalists and technology professionals to discuss the questions that lie at the intersection of technology and politics -- to take a realistic look at where we are now and where we are headed.

Hear about individual experiences that shaped strategy and practice on the campaign trail. Learn about emerging trends and applications that are redefining the relationships between candidates and voters, as well as among voters. Watch as the world of politics meets the world of information technology and listen to how individuals are defining their involvement in the political life of their country on their own terms. Find out what other forms of democracy will develop as technology takes root in society. Meet the politicians, the technologists, and the movers and shakers of the personal democracy movement.


Digital Culture Program: One Block Radius

Sat May 15, 2004 00:00 - Tue Apr 06, 2004

New Museum of Contemporary Art Presents One Block Radius

Presentation and Walking Tour
Saturday, May 15, 2004
2-3:45 PM

Participant, Inc.
95 Rivington Street

Since January 2004, artists Christina Ray and Dave Mandl


Transmission Series Launched at the New Museum of Contemporary Art

Fri Feb 20, 2004 00:00 - Wed Feb 18, 2004

Transmission Series Launched at New Museum of Contemporary Art

Public Program: Digital Culture Evening: Transmission (1)
Performance: Friday, February 20, 2004 6:30-8 PM
Show + Tell: Saturday, February 21, 200412 PM-4 PM
(An all-day opportunity to discuss the work with the artists on site)

Zenith Media Lounge
New Museum of Contemporary Art
583 Broadway

*** Thom Kubli and Sven Mann (Cologne, Germany) create a spatial sound environment where the principle of "transmission" is explored through a wireless FM transmitter system and listening stations. Determinale Verschweifungen provides a topology of fragmented electronic loops and microphone recordings of spatial ambiences and encourages the audience to interfere. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own radios to the venue or pick up one of the portable radios positioned in the site to select their own channels and manipulate the transmitters. The performance itself will take place on February 20 6.30-8pm, and the radio installation will remain on view until Sunday 22 February.

Determinale Verschweifungen is co-produced by the New Museum of Contemporary Art and the Goethe-Institut New York.***

About Transmission Series
As part of its Digital Culture Evenings, the New Museum is launching the Transmission series. The series aims to expose the work of artists and scholars dealing with the concept of 'transmission


Games Programming Workshop with Artist Cory Arcangel at the New Museum

Thu Jan 29, 2004 00:00 - Wed Jan 14, 2004

Artist Cory Arcangel Hosts Games Programming Workshop in Conjunction with Killer Instinct

Digital Culture Evening
Thursday, January 29, 2004

Zenith Media Lounge
New Museum of Contemporary Art
583 Broadway

*** New York-based artist Cory Arcangel will host a games programming workshop in relation to the Killer Instinct exhibition. In this workshop, Arcangel will teach museum visitors creative approaches towards video gaming software. Various game-modification techniques and tools to be discussed include Commodore64 hobbiest cracking, psych abstraction, chipstyle, pixel graphics, and machinma. Participants will learn to make their own modifications.***

About Killer Instinct
Killer Instinct (December 12, 2003


Digital Culture Evening: Workshop with Cory Arcangel at New Museum

JAN 29, 2004 Digital Culture Evening 6:30 - 8PM

New York-based artist Cory Arcangel will host a games programming workshop as part of the Killer Instinct exhibition.

"Killer Instinct"
December 12, 2003 - February 1, 2004

Once considered a pastime for kids, games are now a full-fledged part of adult life, situated as a shared public culture not unlike television. Games come off the screen and to life in this exhibition including sculpture, video, painting, and, of course, Ataris and computers. Besides experimental hacks of commercial games, Killer Instinct features artists who use game hardware and software for social commentary as well as in the development of musical and filmic projects. Player, viewer, artist, curator or critic -- the cross-pollination of gaming and art spheres allows visitors to assume several of these roles during the course of the exhibition. Killer Instinct is organized by Anne Barlow and Rachel Greene.

For more information visit

About the Digital Culture Evenings

The New Museum's Digital Culture Evenings aim to provide an array of opportunities for emerging artists to create and present works using the most innovative technologies available and to familiarize the general visitor with digital media. Digital Culture Evenings include artist presentations, performances and interactive events, as well as theory and research based discussions about broader issues in digital culture. Topics encompass a variety of subjects in addition to art including commerce, entertainment, and science.

About the Zenith Media Lounge

The New Museum's Zenith Media Lounge is New York City's only museum space dedicated to the exhibition and exploration of digital art, experimental video and sound works. Located on the New Museum Store level, programming in the Zenith Media Lounge is ongoing and is always free.

About the New Museum of Contemporary Art

The New Museum of Contemporary Art, founded in 1977 and located in the heart of Soho, is the premier destination for contemporary art in New York City. With an annual schedule of dynamic exhibitions, the Museum presents the most innovative and experimental work from around the world. Debate and discussion about contemporary culture are encouraged through a broad range of educational programs, publications, performances, and new media initiatives. The New Museum recently announced plans to build a new, 60,000 square foot facility at 235 Bowery. Visit for more about the New Museum.