Adrian Van Allen
Anthropology design art about contact

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Adrian Van Allen is an anthropologist, artist and designer.

She holds a Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology from U.C. Berkeley. Her dissertation, titled "Crafting Nature: An Ethnography of Natural History Collecting in an Age of Genomics," examines the mining and extending of natural history collections to archive all life in the face of mass biodiversity loss, focused on an ethnographic study of the Smithsonian's Global Genome Initiative. She also holds two MFA's from the California College of Art in Interactive Media and in Photography, and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College.

She held a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in Anthropology at UC Berkeley from 2010-2013, was a 2011 Rome Prize Fellow in Design at the American Academy in Rome, and a Wenner-Gren Foundation research grantee from 2014-2016. She held a Peter Buck Predoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History from 2014-2015, working with Dr. Joshua A. Bell, Curator of Globalization and Dr. Jonathan Coddington, Director of the Global Genome Initiative. She was an Artist-in-Industry resident at the Kohler Factory from July-September 2016. Currently she serves on the board of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at U.C. Berkeley.

She has created exhibits and web sites for the Exploratorium, NASA, the Smithsonian, U.C. Berkeley, the Cleveland Museum of Art and was founding Creative Director of ReadyMade magazine. She has created site-specific installations for the American Academy in Rome (in collaboration with the Vatican Observatory), Genetic Savings and Clone, The Exploratorium, and Southern Exposure Gallery. She has received two Webbys, a Golden Muse award, A Griffith Observatory Award, and has received grants from the National Science Foundation, the American Academy in Rome, The Film Arts Foundation, New Langton Arts, and Women's Studio Workshop.

Van Allen's work engages the history of science and emerging technology through both academic scholarship and fine art which includes installations, interactive media art, video, scale models, replicas of scientific objects, artist books, works on paper, and taxidermy. She is currently working on a website and a book based on her research in Rome that traces three genealogical pathways through the representations of science in the city, and consists of an interactive map, photos, essays, and papercraft models of scientific objects.

Her multimedia art, videos, and installations have shown internationally at such venues as The Fontanone Estate in Rome, Italy, The North-by-Northwest Media Festival in Liverpool, UK, The Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, Cantor Center for the Arts at Stanford University, and the Public Netbase Media Center in Vienna, Austria. Her work has been featured at SIGGRAPH, Museums on the Web, and is included in the ArtBase.

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Specialties & Research Interests:
Translating scientific ideas into museum exhibits; User interface design; User Experience Design; Graphic and interactive media design and production; Anthropology of Design & Craft; Science, Technology and Society studies; Material culture and history of visualizations in the natural sciences; Reproductions of scientific objects as a method of research.

photo by Will Francis