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Sophia Brueckner

Sci-Fi Prototyping and Critical Optimism

Brueckner Sophia

Friday, February 26, 2021
8:00 pm


Virtual Event

This event will take place online - please see listing for information on how to attend.


Watch Video
Open to the public
Free of charge

Insep­a­ra­ble from com­put­ers since the age of two, Sophia Brueck­ner believes she is a cyborg. As a soft­ware engi­neer at Google, she designed and built prod­ucts used by tens of mil­lions. At the Rhode Island School of Design and the MIT Media Lab, she researched the simul­ta­ne­ously empow­er­ing and con­trol­ling aspects of tech­nol­ogy with a focus on tan­gi­ble and social inter­faces. Since 2011, Brueck­ner has taught Sci-Fi Pro­to­typ­ing, a course com­bin­ing sci­ence fic­tion, extrap­ola­tive think­ing, build­ing pro­to­types, and tech­nol­ogy ethics at MIT, Har­vard, RISD, Brown, and the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan. Both the class itself as well as the stu­dents’ indi­vid­ual projects received inter­na­tional recog­ni­tion and were fea­tured by The Atlantic, Smith­son­ian Mag­a­zine, Wired, NPR, Sci­en­tific Amer­i­can, Fast Com­pany, and many oth­ers. Cre­at­ing new ways to apply sci­ence fic­tion to the design process, Brueck­ner pro­to­types alter­na­tives to the tech industry’s lim­ited visions for how we live with tech­nol­ogy. She makes both phys­i­cal and dig­i­tal arti­facts com­bin­ing soft­ware pro­gram­ming, dig­i­tal fab­ri­ca­tion, and elec­tron­ics with tra­di­tional media. These projects chal­lenge the norms of the tech com­mu­nity, whose work has enor­mous impact on our day-to-day lives, as well as trans­lates the prob­lems in ways that are under­stand­able to the every­day user. She invites oth­ers to embody an atti­tude of crit­i­cal opti­mism” and to imag­ine what tech­no­log­i­cal futures they might pre­fer for them­selves. Brueck­ner is the founder and cre­ative direc­tor of Tomor­row­naut, a cre­ative stu­dio focus­ing on spec­u­la­tive futures and sci-fi-inspired pro­to­types. Brueckner’s work has been fea­tured by Art­fo­rum, SIG­GRAPH, the Peabody Essex Museum, Portugal’s National Museum of Con­tem­po­rary Art, Leonardo, Eyeo, ISEA, TEDx, the Bemis Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Art, and more. She was an artist-in-res­i­dence at Autodesk Pier 9 and is now an artist-in-res­i­dence at Bell Labs Exper­i­ments in Art and Tech­nol­ogy (E.A.T.). She is cur­rently an assis­tant pro­fes­sor at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design at the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan. Her ongo­ing objec­tive is to com­bine her back­ground in design and engi­neer­ing with the per­spec­tive of an artist to inspire a more pos­i­tive future.


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