Published: Aug. 18, 2022

joel swansonBeginning this year, ATLAS faculty member Joel Swanson is promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure in the Herbst Program for Ethics, Engineering and Society. A member of the ATLAS faculty since 2005, Swanson played a key role in the development of the Technology, Arts and Media program, which he directed from 2008 to 2015, helping to oversee the launch of the College of Engineering and Applied Science BS in Technology, Arts and Media (subsequently renamed Creative Technology and Design).

Since 2015, Swanson has taught a wide range of graduate and undergraduate classes, in addition to devoting more time to his creative work. He's a visual artist who explores the subtle but powerful ways that language shapes perception and structures our world through standards such as spelling and grammar, digital character encoding, and even alphabetization. His work has taken many forms: blinking neon signs, interactive digital works, sculpture and handmade works on paper. 

“I want my artwork to make people perceive words from new and unconventional perspectives,” says Swanson, who has shown work in national and international venues, including The Banff Centre for the Arts, The Broad Museum in Lansing, The Power Plant in Toronto, the 57th Venice Biennale, the Glucksman Museum in Cork Ireland, the North Miami Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. 

While earning his Master of Fine Arts in Visual and Digital Art at the University of California at San Diego, Swanson focused on computing and the arts. This fall, he launches TYPO Lab, a speculative design lab exploring the intersection of language and technology—work that exemplifies the ATLAS Institute’s spirit of exploring the spaces between conventional disciplines and fields.

Joel Swanson's website