michael naimark


Michael Naimark is a media artist and researcher who's been blessed (and sometimes cursed) with an uncanny track record of art projects presaging widespread adoption, often by decades. He is noted in the histories of Google Street View, Projection Mapping, and Virtual Reality (and, some claim, the Facebook Like Button); and in ongoing work with cinematic crowdsourcing, live global video, and cultural heritage. 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. He occasionally serves as faculty at USC Cinema's Interactive Media Division, NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, and the MIT Media Lab.


Michael Naimark is a media artist and researcher who often explores "place representation" and its impact on culture, and who is actively engaged in understanding the dynamics between art and technology. 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 the Ars 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".

Since 2010, Naimark has been based in New York to develop several new projects, most notably Liiive.tv.

CV (01/15) (pdf)

Google "Feeling Lucky" List (What?)