Charissa Terranova

Associate Professor of Aesthetic Studies

Areas of Specialization

Modern and Contemporary Art and Architectural History, History of Biology in Art and Architecture, New Media Art History, History of Urbanism

Education

Ph.D. in Architectural History and Theory (2004) Harvard University
M.A. in Architectural History and Theory (2001) Harvard University
M.A. in Art History (1996) University of Illinois at Chicago
B.A. in Art History (1992) University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Charissa N. Terranova lectures and teaches seminars on modern and contemporary art and architectural history, theory, and criticism, the history of biology in art and architecture, and media and new media art and theory.

Terranova researches complex systems within art and architecture, focusing on the history of biology and biocentrism in art and architecture. She is author of Art as Organism: Biology and the Evolution of the Digital Image (2016) and Automotive Prosthetic: Technological Mediation and the Car in Conceptual Art (2014), editor of a double-issue of Technoetic Arts devoted to "Complexism" (2016), and coeditor with Meredith Tromble of The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture (2016).

Her work centers on tracing the connections between biology, art, and architecture in the diaspora of the Bauhaus in England and the U.S. after 1933. Art as Organism: Biology and the Evolution of the Digital Image (IB Tauris, January 2016) links the emergence of the digital image to the dispersion of biocentric aesthetic philosophies developed by Bauhaus pedagogue László Moholy-Nagy, from 1920s Berlin to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1970s. It uncovers seminal but overlooked references to biology, the organism, feedback loops, emotions and the Gestalt, along with an intricate genealogy of related thinkers across disciplines.

The forthcoming Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture (June 2016), coedited by Terranova and San Francisco media artist Meredith Tromble, brings together thirty essays by artists, architects, theorists, and historians on the broad-ranging topic of bios, life as a matter of ecological relations, within art and architecture.