Hi all! This nearly decade-old website has hobbled alongside me since 2011, when I first starting publishing essays in Kill Screen (!) and book reviews in local newspapers. It will thankfully, soon, be retired, as it no longer reflects all my work and projects. I am building out an archive that is more readable and accessible and reflective of the many arms of my collaborative and curatorial practice. So please do use it as a limited introduction and a way to get in touch, below. -NNK
Nora N. Khan is a writer. She writes criticism on emerging issues within digital visual culture, experimental art and music practices, and philosophy of emerging technology. She is a professor at RISD, based in Digital + Media (D+M). She teaches graduate courses on technological criticism, thesis writing for artists and designers, and critical theory and artistic research, across D+M, Graphic Design, and Industrial Design.
Her most recent work is a short book on machine vision, published by The Brooklyn Rail, titled Seeing, Naming, Knowing. Forthcoming is The Artificial and the Real, a book on simulation, semantic mapping walks, and synthetic paint, published through Art Metropole. Khan publishes criticism in places like Art in America, Flash Art, Mousse, California Sunday, Spike Art, 4Columns, The Village Voice, and Rhizome. In 2017, she wrote a small book with Steven Warwick, Fear Indexing the X-Files, published by Primary Information. She has contributed essays and fiction to exhibitions held at Serpentine Galleries, Chisenhale Gallery, and the Venice Biennale, within books published by Koenig Press, Sternberg Press and Mousse. Here is a good interview with Khan about her writing practice.
In 2020, she was the Shed’s first guest curator, organizing Manual Override, an exhibition featuring Lynn Hershman Leeson, Sondra Perry, Martine Syms, Morehshin Allahyari, and Simon Fujiwara. Three of the works were new commissions. Manual Override saw 30,000 visitors in two months. Here is some coverage in Vogue, the New York Times, and a beautiful review of the exhibition by critic Aruna D’Souza in 4Columns.
Other highlighted curatorial projects include a salon, themed ‘Identity,’ for Current Museum (extensive documentation at link!), featuring works by Jakob Steensen, Ryan Kuo, Tabita Rezaire, Jacolby Satterwhite, Meriem Bennani, and more; production of Together in Electric Dreams, a session on the present and future of artificial intelligence, within Open Score at New Museum; ‘California Imaginary’ at Industry Lab (Boston).
Khan’s writing practice extends to a wide range of artistic collaborations, which includes performances, ficto-critical texts for exhibitions, scripts, and even librettos. Notable collaborations include: lead writer for Team Rolfes for Unsound Festival (2020); A Wild Ass Beyond: ApocalypseRN, in collaboration with Sondra Perry, Caitlin Cherry, and American Artist at Performance Space, New York (2018); lecture performances of Fear Indexing the X-Files with Steven Warwick (2017-2018); collaborative essay-writing with DeForrest Brown, Jr. (2014-2017); Decession, writing a libretto for an opera performed at Volksbuhne in Berlin, by Bill Kouligas and Spiros Hadjidjanos (2016).
Khan is currently an editor of Forces of Art (Valiz, 2020), alongside critics and curators Serubiri Moses and Carin Kuoni. She is also editor of Making Pictures with Generative Adversarial Networks by Casey Reas (Anteism Press), a project supported by Google’s Artist and Machine Intelligence group. She was a longtime editor (‘contributing,’ acting, and special projects) at Rhizome.A notable publication was What’s To Be Done?, a magazine marking the tenth anniversary of 7×7. Designed by Richard Turley, it features works and interviews with Paul Ford, Claire L. Evans, Kate Ray, and Martine Syms, and an interview Khan conducted with Stanford professor and Silicon Valley scholar Fred Turner, “We Are As Gods.“
Her writing practice has been supported by many awards over the last decade. Most notable support includes the La Becque Residency (2021), The Islands Arts Writing Residency on Fogo Island and Toronto Islands (2019), a Critical Writing Grant given through the Visual Arts Foundation and the Crossed Purposes Foundation (2018), an Eyebeam Research Residency (2017), and a Thoma Foundation 2016 Arts Writing Award in Digital Art for an emerging arts writer.
General Interests (Still): Understanding grounding ideology beneath technology; how we manage to express joy and wonder, and maintain our creative energy, within the bounds of increasingly oppressive systems; how to consistently ground analysis of creative work in the social, political and material realities that make the work possible; the ongoing play between affect, cognitive studies, and emerging technology; how new tech- makes us feel, think, and relate to one another in new ways; the hope of digital, networked, and virtual systems that might just allow for a more open, learned, and compassionate world.
Some Selected Writing:
Seeing, Naming, Knowing, a special book publication within the Brooklyn Rail of an essay written with support of the Crossed Purposes Critical Writing Grant.
Machine Séance: On Kevin Beasley at the Whitney
Frame, Frame, Frame: On Tony Conrad’s Retrospective at Albright Knox Galleries
The Possibility of a Field in queer.archive.work, published by Paul Soulellis
Full Zine Made For A Wild Ass Beyond: ApocalypseRN in collaboration with Caitlin Cherry, Sondra Perry, and American Artist
Towards a Poetics of Artificial Superintelligence
Business Fish, or Emotion Under Late Capitalism
Faulty Inventory Control
Scaling up to the Sublime
Speaking: Khan speaks frequently at festivals, museums, and galleries. Many of the recordings are available online. Notable talks in recent years have been at Brown University, UCLA Digital Media Arts, Serpentine Galleries, Moderna Museet (Stockholm), LIMA (Amsterdam), Triple Canopy, Gray Area Festival, transmediale, UCLA IDEAS, New School, NYU IDM, the Whitney, as part of New Ways to See: Digital Art Criticism Now.
June 2021 La Becque Artist Residency, Switzerland
11/2020 Seminar Series @ICA Miami
11/2020 Lecture: Pratt Institute
11/19 Manual Override Opening, The Shed
10/19 Conversation Series in MISCA, Malta
10/19 Discussion and Panel, Western History Association Conference, Las Vegas, NV
10/19 Guest Speaker, Brown University
7/19 Currently: Arts Writing Resident, Fogo Island, Islands Arts Writing Residency, Fogo Island Arts and Art Metropole
3/19 Carnegie Mellon University, Distinguished Visiting Critic, Capstone MFA Critiques
3/19 Duke University, Incomputable Futures: A Symposium on Representation, Computation, and Experimental Scholarship, Lecture
2/19 CORE, Museum of Fine Arts-Houston, CORE Postgraduate Fellows Program, Lecture + Guest Critic
11/19 Mourning Money: UKK Artists’ Symposium with artist Jesse Darling and Patricia Reed, in Aarhus, Denmark
10/19 A Wild Ass Beyond: ApocalypseRN, Performance Space, New York (show, film, installation, in collaboration with Caitlin Cherry, Sondra Perry, American Artist)
10/19 RISD Graphic Design Lecture Series, Providence, RI
7/18 E-State Realisms, Conversation with Emer Grant and Max Wolff, Red Bull Arts Curator, at ArtCenter South Florida, Miami.
5/18 A Prelude to the Shed: In Conversation with Laurie Anderson and Tino Sehgal, moderated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Dorothea von Hantelmann. The Prelude Series is curated by Dorothea von Hantelmann with Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Kevin Slavin.
5/18 “Refiguring The Future,” respondent to an internal session on Transfeminist AI at NetGain Partnership conference, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
4/18 In Conversation with Harm van den Dorpel, LIMA Amsterdam.
4/19 In Conversation with Ian Cheng and Ben Vickers, Serpentine Galleries, London.
1/18 In Conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist, DLD Conference, Munich, Germany.
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