Michael Naimark is a producer, inventor, and scholar in the fields of virtual reality and new media art. He is best known for his work in projection mapping, virtual travel, live global video, and cultural preservation, and refers to this body of work as “place representation.” His work has been seen in over 300 art exhibitions, film festivals, and presentations around the world, and he has been awarded 16 patents relating to cameras, display, haptics, and live. Michael has directed projects with support from Apple, Disney, Atari, Panavision, Lucasfilm, Interval, and Google; and from National Geographic, UNESCO, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Exploratorium, the Banff Centre, Ars Electronica, the ZKM, and the Paris Metro. Since 2009, he has served as faculty at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, USC Cinema's Interactive Media Division, and the MIT Media Lab. In 2015, Naimark was appointed Google’s first-ever “resident artist” in their new VR division, and since Fall 2017, he is Visiting Associate Arts Professor at NYU Shanghai, to teach VR / AR "Fundamentals" and learn about VR / AR in China.
Michael Naimark is a producer, inventor, and scholar in the fields of virtual reality and new media art who often explores "place representation" and its impact on culture, who is actively engaged in understanding the dynamics between art and technology, and who has an uncanny track record of art projects presaging widespread adoption, often by decades. He is noted in the Computer History Museum’s account on Street View; the Wikipedia entries on Projection Mapping, Virtual Reality, and New Media Art; and a short vision essay of his ranks #1 (of over 1 billion results) on Google searches for live global video. He has recently served as faculty at the MIT Media Lab (2011-14), NYU Tisch School of the Arts' Interactive Telecommunications Program (2009-13), and the USC School
of Cinematic Arts' Interactive
Media Division (2004-09), and gave the opening keynote address at ISEA 2013, the 19th International Symposium on Electronic Art, in Sydney.
Michael has directed projects with support from Apple, Disney, Atari, Panavision, Lucasfilm, Interval, and Google (where he was a 2007 Research Award recipient); and from UNESCO, National Geographic, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Exploratorium, the Banff Centre, Ars Electronica, and the Paris Metro. His mentors include artist and scholar Gyorgy Kepes, ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, indigenous rights geographer Bernard Nietschmann, filmmaker Ricky Leacock, and media and academic activist Red Burns.
Naimark has made interactive "moviemaps" of Aspen from the street, Paris from the sidewalk, San Francisco from the air, Karlsruhe from the
rail, Banff from hiking trails, and stereo-panoramic movies in Jerusalem,
Dubrovnik, Angkor, and Timbuktu. His living room projections (as well as object, face, and eyeball projections) were precursors to today’s large-scale projection mapping. His work is an unusual combination of
enthusiasm and criticality, for example, VR
webcams and camera
zapper. Naimark was instrumental in the founding of several world-renown
research labs and his art projects exhibit internationally.
Naimark was on the original design team for the MIT
Media Laboratory in 1980 and was a founding member of the Atari Research
Lab (1982), the Apple Multimedia Lab (1987), and Lucasfilm Interactive
(now LucasArts, 1989). He joined Interval
Research Corporation, a long-term lab funded by Paul Allen, as it
opened in 1992, and worked an additional year after it closed in 2000
on Kundi.com, a web video spinoff venture. Patents for his work have been granted from 1989 on, with several
more currently pending.
Naimark's art projects are in the permanent collections of the American
Museum of the Moving Image in New York, the Exploratorium in San Francisco,
and the ZKM | Center for Arts and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany. His 3D
interactive installation "Be
Now Here," produced by Interval with the cooperation of the UNESCO
World Heritage Centre, toured in the ZKM's "Future
Cinema" exhibition in 2002 and 2003.
Naimark was the 2002 recipient of the World
Technology Award for the Arts and the 2003 recipient of a Rockefeller
Foundation grant to direct a feasibility study for a unique, financially
sustainable Arts Lab. In 2004, he
taught the first “History of New Media” class at NYU's Interactive
Telecommunications Program, taught the first graduate thesis seminar at
USC’s Interactive Media Division, and helped Columbia University
write its strategic plan for art and technology. He also guest curated
Electronica 25th Anniversary Symposium in Linz, Austria, themed “The World in 25 Years.” In 2005, the Art
Center College of Design in Pasadena organized a 20 year
survey of Michael Naimark's work.
In 2006, Naimark initiated a USC research project to explore ways of democratizing Earth mapping and modeling. In 2007, the project received a Google research award, and in 2008, the results were published online. The project, called Viewfinder, was well-received by the press, on blogs, at USC, and at Google. Along the way, he also coined the phrases "Google Jockey" and "Google Feeling Lucky List."
In 2009, Naimark was Project Director of "80+1: A Journey Around the World" for Linz09, the European Union Culture Capital. For it, Naimark initiated a unique open competition called "Live Bits: Art Exploring Real-time Connectedness" which received 295 proposals from 42 countries, from which 15 were selected for exhibition. In Fall 2009, he taught a new class at NYU ITP called "Representing Earth".
In 2010, Naimark began work on Liiive.tv, a unique live mobile video infrastructure. The project became inadvertantly caught in the crossfire of a large patent infringement lawsuit. (As of 2016, it remains unresolved except the lawyers on all sides are winning.)
From 2011 through 2014, Naimark was Visiting Faculty and Affiliate at the MIT Media Lab.
In 2015, Michael was Google VR's first resident artist. He's currently consulting and producing at large.
Naimark currently works as an independent producer and consultant out of Francis Coppola’s Zoetrope building in downtown San Francisco. Since Fall 2017, Naimark accepted an appointment as Visiting Associate Arts Professor at NYU Shanghai, to teach VR / AR "Fundamentals" and learn about VR / AR in China.
CV (Mar 2020) (pdf)
Google "Feeling Lucky" List (What?)