The upcoming IMPAKT Festival 2023 (1-5 November) is all about turning big tech into fair tech and is curated by Merit Zimmermann, Ezgi Aktug, Ruby Thelot, Adrienne Cassel, Niv Fux, Emily Hsiang-Yun Huang, Dunja Nešović & Miranda Mungai. 

Top row from left to right: Merit Zimmermann, Ezgi Aktug, Ruby Thelot and Adrienne Cassel
Bottom row from left to right: Niv Fux, Emily Hsiang-Yun Huang, Dunja Nešović and Miranda Mungai.

Merit Zimmermann is an independent researcher and curator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural and Curatorial Studies from Central Saint Martins (UAL) and a Research Master’s in Sociology, completed at Erasmus University Rotterdam in 2022. Her research interests include the field of contemporary art, curation, museology, media and urban studies. She has (co)authored reports for the design company Vitra, as well as book chapters and entries that are accepted for publication by Routledge and Bloomsbury. In the professional world, Merit has done various roles within the cultural and creative sector, including working for art fairs, exhibition centers and music festivals. Currently, she works for a gallery and magazine as a freelancer and volunteers at a non-profit organization for the cultural education of children and teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Ezgi Aktug is an interdisciplinary cultural professional with a passion for exploring the intersection of social sciences and arts. She holds a bachelor’s in Psychology and a Research Master’s in Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts. Her interests include but are not limited to digital culture, labor politics, mental health, migration and urban culture. Having worked in various roles in the cultural and creative sector, Ezgi strives to create meaningful and engaging cultural experiences and alternative ways of knowing that challenge traditional assumptions and invite individuals to explore new ideas and perspectives. Currently, she works at Kunstinstituut Melly as an art mediator and at Motel Mozaique as an arts & culture programmer. She is also a member of Artists in Solidarity NL, a newly-formed collective collaborating in solidarity with vulnerable communities in times of crises.

Ruby Justice Thelot is a designer, artist and curator based in New York. He is the founder of the creative research and design studio 13101401 inc. His work focuses on the interactions between humans and artificial intelligence, the metaverse and the implications of being-on-line. He has given talks and shown works in Tallin, Berlin and Abuja, amongst other places.

Adrienne Cassel, also known as Avatar Lilith, is an artist, creative technologist, and designer based in NYC. They are currently pursuing their MFA in Design and Technology at Parsons School of Design at The New School. Masquerading as an avatar, they use voice, sound design, motion capture, & cgi as a speculative and critical practice. Their work has been exhibited at ACUD GALERIE in Berlin, Laboratory Art Residency in Spokane, Washington, The Stonewall Inn, The Fuse Factory in Columbus, Ohio, The Miller Gallery, The Frame, Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria, Fact Magazine, Future Tenant Gallery in Pittsburgh, PA, and PS1 Iowa City. Avatar Lilith is just as real as you.

Niv Fux is an Amsterdam-based curator, film programmer and the Festival Director of Leiden Shorts. He worked as Artistic Director of Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival (2015-2017) and as guest curator for institutions including Nederlands Film Festival and Noorderlicht Festival (2021). Niv earned his bachelor’s in film Cum Laude from Tel Aviv University (2015) and gained his master’s degree in Arts & Society from Utrecht University (2019), with the effects of digitisation on film festivals as his primary field of research. Niv is also the co-founder and Managing Director of T-Port – an online industry platform for short films and writes for the online film magazine Talking Shorts.

Emily Hsiang-Yun Huang is a researcher and visual artist from Taiwan. She holds a BA in Philosophy from National Taiwan University (TW) and an MA in Media Studies from Leiden University (NL). Her research interests focus on the relationship between body and technology from the perspective of postcolonialism and digital materialism. Projects she has curated include Taipei Digital Art Festival-Fake It Real (2022), Embodied Interface (2020) and Uchronia (2020). As an artist, she often makes performances derived from her poetry on the vulnerability of human existence, with a focus on the female body, in-between identity and the circularity of time. Her works have been exhibited at the Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art and the Cinedance Festival at the Eye Museum in Amsterdam, among others.

Dunja Nešović is a new media researcher, focused on exploring the notions of (queer) visibility, networked image, and algorithmic imaginaries in the social media sphere. Graduated with a Research MA in Critical Studies in Art and Culture at Vrije Universiteit in 2021, she wrote and edited publications for the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam and Tijdschrift Kunstlicht, and has presented her research for the Screen Walk, a project organized by The Photographer’s Gallery in London and Fotomuseum Winterthur.

Miranda Mungai is a film curator, events producer and facilitator with an interest that lies at the intersection of sociality, new media, and short, experimental non-fiction film. She engages with the potentiality that emerges from the synergy between film, neutral exhibition spaces, and non-hierarchical, generative discussion. She has a first class degree in Film Studies from King’s College London and has worked for the London Short Film Festival, Open City Documentary Festival, Sheffield Documentary Festival and various arts institutions, community projects and activist networks in the UK.


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