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Roland Graf

Associate Professor, School of Art & Design

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Photograph of Roland Graf

Biography

Curriculum Vitae
  • Dr. techn. (Doc­tor of Tech­ni­cal Sci­ence), Vienna Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, 2021
  • Dipl.-Ing. (MSc equiv­a­lent), Vienna Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, 2002

Roland Graf is a media artist, design researcher, and inventor. He collaborates across disciplines to design platforms, games, and interactive systems that reframe the body and interactivity in the built environment. Graf’s doctoral research focused on tracing a convergence of artistic and ludic (i.e., playful) engineering approaches at the intersection of interactive art and human-computer interaction. His current research explores the roles of play and playful exploration of emerging technologies in prototyping and building more accessible and inclusive futures.

Graf initiated and directs several interdisciplinary research collaborations at the University of Michigan including: Daylight Media Lab, a collaboration with material scientists and engineers exploring sunlight as a medium for interactive outdoor media systems; Internet of Shoes, a sensory networking platform for street-level interactions in collaboration with engineers of embedded wireless technologies. His most recent research with computer engineers, iGYM, is an inclusive augmented reality system that enables people with different abilities to play and exercise together. Funded by the U-M Exercise & Sport Science Initiative, it received the Best Paper Award in the proceedings of CHI Play 2019 and was featured in more than 300 media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC News, Houston Chronicle, and USA Today.

Graf is also a co-founder of the artist collective Assocreation, whose oeuvre includes a wide range of interactive installations, happenings, and urban interventions. Assocreation’s work has been shown internationally in galleries, museums, and at art festivals, conferences, and computer/world expos, including the Bienal de Valencia, The Vienna Künstlerhaus, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, CENTRALE for contemporary art in Bruxelles, Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, CeBIT in Hannover, EXPO 2017 in Astana, TEI’15 in Stanford, as well as in the streets of, among others, New York, Detroit, Sao Paulo, Istanbul, Mumbai, Hong Kong, and Kathmandu.

Throughout his career, Graf has often worked simultaneously in different creative domains including art, architecture, and product design. His individual and collaborative work in these domains has received awards, patents, and international recognition including: the Excellence Award at the Japan Media Arts Festival for the street video game Solar Pink Pong, the Prix Ars Electronica Distinction in the Category of Interactive Art for the telematic sidewalk Bump, Winner of the National Play Everywhere Design Challenge with the urban intervention Brightmoor Runway, Feldmark licensed to the German retailer Magazin, Slim Jim exhibited by Fredericia at the Milan Design Week.

Since relocating to the USA in 2011, Graf has also collaborated with communities at the heart of Michigan’s postindustrial society on public art and design/build projects such as “Camp Take Notice” in Ann Arbor, and “Black Men for Social Change” in Flint. Before joining the Stamps School of Art & Design faculty, Graf was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Spatial and Sustainable Design at the Vienna University of Technology.