Of Chinese and Ecuadorian descent, Marisa Jahn is an artist, multimedia designer, educator, and the founder of Studio REV-, a nonprofit studio whose public art projects combine creativity, bold ideas, and sound research to impact the lives of low-wage workers, immigrants, women, and underserved youth.
Jahn originated El Bibliobandido (or ‘story thief’), an ongoing living legend built around a masked bandit who, ravenous for stories, roves the jungles of Northern Honduras — a region with an 80% illiteracy rate — terrorizing little kids until they offer him stories they’ve written; Video Slink Uganda, a project that transposes experimental videos by African diaspora video artists into the Ugandan black market; and a public art nanny hotline (think NPR’s car talk but for nannies) about the New York State’s Domestic Workers Bill of Rights; and The NannyVan, a bright orange mobile design lab and sound studio that “accelerates the movement for domestic workers’ rights nationwide.”
As a multi-media designer and educator, Jahn’s clients include The American Museum of Natural History, Unesco/Adobe Systems, The National Domestic Workers Alliance, Urban Justice Center, Stanford University’s Cantor Art Museum, under-resourced public schools in San Francisco and New York City, and grassroots organizations internationally.
Jahn’s work has been presented at The White House, IDEO NY, Lincoln Center, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Center, MIT Museum, The Power Plant (Toronto), ICA Philadelphia, The New Museum, Asian Art Museum, as well as museums in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Estonia, Russia, and Taiwan.
Jahn has edited three books about art and politics: ‘Pro+agonist: The Art of Opposition’ explores the productive possibilities of ‘agonism,’ or a relationship built on mutual incitement and struggle. ‘Recipes for an Encounter’ examines anticipatory nature of recipes together with their promise of what will unfold, take place, be consumed. ‘Byproduct: On the Excess of Embedded Art Practices’ investigates art embedded within governments, industries, and electoral politics to produce byproducts of the system itself. She has written about, interviewed, and edited texts by artists and thinkers such as Cornel West, Claire Bishop, Jean-François Lyotard,Michelle Kuo, Billy Kluver/Experiments in Art and Technology, John Seely Brown, Kristin Lucas, Pedro Reyes, Antanas Mockus, The Yes Men, Chantal Mouffe, D. Graham Burnett, Joseph Grima, Sofia Chong Cuy Hernandes, Colson Whitehead, Doris Sommer, John Searle, Artist’s Placement Group, Michel Serres, more.
Jahn has curated and produced over 33 socially-engaged art exhibitions and events in the U.S., Uganda, and Estonia featuring art practitioners such as Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky, Tom Finkelpearl, Rashaad Newsome, Hank Willis Thomas, Carin Kuoni, Amy Franceschini/FutureFarmers, Gregory Sholette, Harrell Fletcher, Marisa Olson, Otto von Busch, Judi Werthein, Lize Mogel, Noam Toran, Robby Herbst, Natalie Jeremijenko, Steve Lambert, Saya Woolfalk, Sarah Oppenheimer, Conrad Bakker, Vahida Ramujkic, and Kamau Patton.
A graduate of UC Berkeley and MIT, Jahn has received numerous awards and distinctions including a CEC Artslink Fellow; a 2007-9 artist in residence at MIT’s Media Lab; a 2013 MIT Open Doc Fellow. Jahn and Studio REV- have received numerous grants including Rockefeller Foundation Cultural Innovation Fund, apexart’s Franchise Art award, Open Society Foundation, and Tribeca New Media Fund grant for interactive media. She is also an Advisor of NuLawLab, a design+law initiative of Northeastern University’s School of Law.
Jahn’s work has been reviewed in hundreds of international publications including The New York Times, BBC, ArtForum, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Boing Boing, Make Magazine, Art in America, and Discovery Channel.