Keynote Events

This year’s ACADIA conference will feature a series of keynote conversations organized around specific prompts related to the conference theme REALIGNMENTS: Toward Critical Computation. The format will encourage dialog, discussion, and debate around topics that span critical computation to practices and pedagogies of design computation, including: Critical Computation, Ecology, Environmental Crisis, AI, Data, Bias, & Ethics, Culture & Access, Labor & Practice, and Speculation & Critique.

November 3: Critical Computation, Participation, Intersectionality and Emancipatory Design

Lesley-Ann Noel

Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University

Lesley-Ann Noel is an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Design Studies at North Carolina State University. Her current work is situated at the intersection of equity, co-creation and futures thinking. Her research interests are emancipatory research centered around the perspectives of those who would traditionally be excluded from research, community-led research, design-based learning and design thinking. She practices primarily in the area of social innovation, education and public health. She promotes greater critical awareness among designers and design students by introducing critical theory concepts and vocabulary into the design studio e.g. through The Designer’s Critical Alphabet. She is co-Chair of the Pluriversal Design Special Interest Group of the Design Research Society. Before joining North Carolina State University, she was the Associate Director of Design Thinking for Social Impact at Tulane University. She was also a lecturer at Stanford University and the University of the West Indies.

Krzysztof Wodiczko

Artist, Professor, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University

Krzysztof Wodiczko is born 1943 in Warsaw, Poland, lives and works in New York City, Cambridge, Massachusetts and Warsaw. His projections on architectural facades, and monuments as well as especially designed performative instruments give a public voice to the marginalized city residents. Krzysztof Wodiczko has held retrospective exhibitions at numerous museums and his work has been presented at Documenta, Venice Biennale, Whitney Biennial, and many other art festivals. He received the 4th Hiroshima Art Price “for his contribution as an international artist to the world peace”. He is a former director of the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies. Since 2010 he is a Professor of Art, Design and the Public Domain at G.S.D, Harvard. His work is being presented in PBS series Art in the Twenty-First Century. Krzysztof Wodiczko books include Critical Vehicles, MIT Press, Krzysztof Wodiczko, The Abolition of War, and The Transformative Avant-Garde, Black Dog Press.

Amelia Jones

Robert A. Day Professor of Art & Design, Vice Dean of Academics & Research, Chair of Critical Studies, USC Roski School of Art and Design

Amelia Jones is Robert A. Day Professor and Vice Dean of Academics and Research in Roski School of Art & Design, USC. Recent publications include Seeing Differently: A History and Theory of Identification and the Visual Arts (2012); Otherwise: Imagining Queer Feminist Art Histories, co-edited with Erin Silver (2016). The catalogue Queer Communion: Ron Athey (2020), co-edited with Andy Campbell, and which accompanies a retrospective of Athey’s work at Participant Inc. (New York) and ICA (Los Angeles), has just been listed among “Best Art Books 2020” in the New York Times. Her book entitled In Between Subjects: A Critical Genealogy of Queer Performance (2021) is published by Routledge Press.

Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello

Ronald Rael, Professor of Architecture at the University of California Berkeley, CEO Emerging Objects, Co-Founder Rael San Fratello, Co-Founder Forust. Virginia San Fratello, Chair and Professor of Design at San Jose State University, CCO Emerging Objects Co-Founder Rael San Fratello, Co-Founder Forust.

Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello are the alchemists and architects behind the Oakland based think-tank Rael San Fratello and the make-tank Emerging Objects. A primary focus of their work folds together indigenous and traditional craft and material practice, contemporary design technologies, and storytelling, as strategies to unravel the complexities of contemporary society. Humor, play, and hybridity are important aspects of the work of Rael San Fratello, often layered with serious topics that span the themes of immigration, start-up companies, waste, homelessness, fashion, graphic design, and 3D printing. You can see their drawings, models, and objects in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Design Museum in London.

November 4: Designing with AI, Data, Bias, & Ethics

Benjamin Bratton

Professor of Visual Arts at University of California, San Diego, Program Director of The Terraforming program at the Strelka Institute, Visiting Professor at The European Graduate School, SCI_Arc and NYU Shanghai.

Benjamin Bratton’s work spans Philosophy, Architecture, Computer Science and Geopolitics. He is Professor of Visual Arts at University of California, San Diego. He is Program Director of The Terraforming program at the Strelka Institute. He is also a Professor of Digital Design at The European Graduate School and Visiting Professor at SCI_Arc (The Southern California Institute of Architecture) and NYU Shanghai. He is the author of several books, including The Revenge of The Real: Politics for a Post-Pandemic World (Verso Press, 2021. 166 pages), which sees the COVID-19 pandemic as a crisis of political imagination and capacity in the West and in response argues on behalf of a positive biopolitics. It frames the pandemic as an involuntary experiment in comparative governance, one that demonstrates the failures of populism and the need for an epidemiological view of society based on sensing, modeling and collective organization. His current research project, Theory and Design in the Age of Machine Intelligence, is on the unexpected and uncomfortable design challenges posed by A.I in various guises: from machine vision to synthetic cognition and sensation, and the macroeconomics of robotics to everyday geoengineering.

Sarah Williams

Associate Professor of Technology and Urban Planning, MIT Director of the Levinthal Center for Advanced Urbanism and the Civic Data Design Lab, MIT

Sarah Williams is an Associate Professor of Technology and Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she is also Director of the Civic Data Design Lab and the Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism. Williams’ combines her training in computation and design to create communication strategies that expose urban policy issues to broad audiences and create civic change. She calls the process Data Action, which is also the name of her recent book published by MIT Press. Williams is co-founder and developer of, a web-based software product that visualizes and allows users to modify zoning in New York City. Before coming to MIT, Williams was Co-Director of the Spatial Information Design Lab at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). Her design work has been widely exhibited including work in the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Venice Biennale, and the Cooper Hewitt Museum.

Lauren Lee McCarthy

Associate Professor, UCLA Design Media Arts, p5.js, Processing Foundation

Lauren Lee McCarthy is an LA-based artist examining social relationships in the midst of surveillance, automation, and algorithmic living. She is the creator of p5.js, an open source creative coding platform that prioritizes inclusion and access, and a part of the Processing Foundation. She is a 2021 United States Artist Fellow, 2020 Sundance New Frontier Fellow, 2020 Eyebeam Fellow, 2019 Creative Capital Grantee, and has been a resident at Eyebeam, Pioneer Works, Autodesk, and Ars Electronica. Her work SOMEONE was awarded the Ars Electronica Golden Nica and the Japan Media Arts Social Impact Award, and her work LAUREN was awarded the IDFA DocLab Award for Immersive Non-Fiction. Lauren’s work has been exhibited internationally, including the Barbican Centre, Ars Electronica, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Haus der elektronischen Künste, SIGGRAPH, Onassis Cultural Center, IDFA, Science Gallery Dublin, and the Seoul Museum of Art. Lauren is an Associate Professor at UCLA Design Media Arts.

Caitlin Mueller

Associate Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Caitlin Mueller is a researcher and educator who works at the creative interface of architecture, structural engineering, and computation. She is currently an Associate Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Architecture and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, in the Building Technology Program, where she leads the Digital Structures research group. Her work focuses on new computational design and digital fabrication methods for innovative, high-performance buildings and structures that empower a more sustainable and equitable future. Professor Mueller earned a PhD in Building Technology from MIT, a SM in Computation for Design and Optimization from MIT, a MS in Structural Engineering from Stanford University, and a BS in Architecture from MIT. She has recently contributed to the organization of several major conferences in architecture and engineering, including the 2017 Design Modelling Symposium, the 2017 ACADIA Conference at MIT, the 2018 IASS Symposium at MIT (which she chaired), and the 2021 AAG conference in Paris. She is currently developing a new MOOC entitled Creative Machine Learning for Design, planned to launch in Fall 2021.

November 5: Design Imperatives in Social & Environmental Crisis

Paola Antonelli

MOMA’s Senior Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, and Director, Research and Development

Paola Antonelli is Senior Curator at The Museum of Modern Art in the Department of Architecture & Design, and MoMA’s founding Director of Research & Development. Her most recent exhibition, Broken Nature, opened at MoMA in November 2020. She is also currently working on design.emergency, an Instagram and book project that explores design’s role in building a better future for all, in collaboration with critic Alice Rawsthorn.

Lydia Kallipoliti

Assistant Professor of Architecture, The Cooper Union, New York + Principal of ANAcycle thinktank

Lydia Kallipoliti is an architect, engineer and scholar whose research focuses on the intersections of architecture, technology and environmental politics. She is an Assistant Professor at the Cooper Union in New York. Kallipoliti is the author of The Architecture of Closed Worlds, Or, What is the Power of Shit (Lars Muller Publishers, 2018), the History of Ecological Design for Oxford English Encyclopedia of Environmental Science (2018) and the editor of EcoRedux, an issue of Architectural Design in 2010. She is the principal of ANAcycle thinktank, which has been named a leading innovator in sustainable design in Build’s 2019 and 2020 awards and Head Co-Curator of the 2022 Tallinn Architecture Biennale. Kallipoliti holds a Diploma in Architecture and Engineering from AUTh in Greece, a Master of Science (SMArchS) from MIT and a PhD from Princeton University.

Justin Garrett Moore, AICP, NOMAs

Program Officer, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Justin Garrett Moore is a program officer for the Humanities in Place program at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. His work focuses on advancing equity, inclusion, and social justice through place-based initiatives and programs, built environments, cultural heritage projects, and commemorative spaces and landscapes. He has extensive experience in architecture, planning, and design—from urban systems, policies, and building projects to grassroots and community-focused planning, design, preservation, public realm, and arts initiatives. With over fifteen years of public service with the City of New York, Mr. Moore has led several urban design and planning projects, including the Greenpoint-Williamsburg Waterfront, Hunter’s Point South, and the Brooklyn Cultural District. From 2016 to 2020, he was the executive director of the New York City Public Design Commission, where he spearheaded initiatives to address social equity and sustainability through improved built environment design and public processes. In 2021, Moore received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Architecture and was named to the United States Commission of Fine Arts by President Joseph Biden.

Mariana Popescu

Assistant Professor, TU Delft Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences

Mariana is Assistant Professor of Parametric Structural Design and Digital Fabrication at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at Delft University of Technology. She is a computational architect and structural designer with a strong interest in innovative ways of approaching the fabrication process and use of materials in construction. Her area of expertise is computational and parametric design with a focus on digital fabrication and sustainable design. Her extensive involvement in projects related to promoting sustainability has led to a multilateral development of skills, which combine the fields of architecture, engineering, computational design and digital fabrication. In 2019, she successfully defended my Ph.D., which was nominated for the ETH Medal for outstanding dissertation, and was named a “Pioneer” on the MIT Technology review global list of “35 innovators under 35”.