PhD – Comparative Literature, Stanford University

MA – Comparative Literature, Stanford University

BA – English and Philosophy, Middlebury College / Oxford University



2016 – 2020 – Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss, Digital Content Strategy and Concept Design

2015-16 – Humboldt Forum Staff Unit, Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Media Concept and Planning for the Humboldt Forum


Schrecklich schön! Elefant – Man – Ivory – Jul 20, 2021 – Nov 28, 2021 – 1st Special Exhibition of the Humboldt Forum

Concept and planning for the central video installation “Voices of Ivory”, and concept development for interactive media stations on the ivory trade and object provenance

Sound – Listening to the World – March 22, 2018 – September 16, 2018 – Humboldt-Box, Berlin

Exhibition module on language research, incl. interactive map station for sampling audio of regional accents from the Berlin Lautarchiv and the Berliner Phonogrammarchiv

Watch Out! Children – Loved, Protected, Endangered – July 7, 2017 – January 14, 2018 – Humboldt-Box, Berlin

Mobile app of exhibition texts in 9 languages incl. text-to-speech audio and prototype development of indoor navigation systems

Extremes! Nature and Culture on the Humboldt Current – November 2, 2016 – May 1, 2017 – Humboldt-Box, Berlin

2 channel atmospheric video installation; wall projection incl. filmed interviews of scientists over regional map with animated grafics; wall projection incl. animated climate data and news clips on a world map


2022-present – Studio TheGreenEyl, Berlin, Media Concept, projects on the mediation of digital collections

2013-14 – q-bus Mediatektur GmbH, Berlin, Senior Concept Designer

2012-13 – zweimaleins, Berlin, now Saatchi & Saatchi Pro, Creative Director for Concept

2009-2012 – Activeark Oy, now Miruna, Helsinki, Copywriter and Concept Designer


2022-2023 Humboldt-Universität, Institut für Kulturwissenschaft – Seminar CULTURE MEDIA CONCEPT

2021 Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Kulturwissenschaft – Seminar on Digital Concept and Cultural Production

2018-2020 New York University Berlin, participation as client in practice-based seminars with Pierre Dupaz

2017-2019 Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Hermann von Helmholz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik – Seminars in the Program Vielfalt der Wissensformen (Diversity of Knowledge Forms)

2015-2017 Technische Universität Braunschweig, Institut für architekturbezogene Kunst – Foundations course workshops, seminar and lecturing

2009-2012 Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn, MA Program in Urban Studies – Yearly lecturing and workshops on literature, urbanism and contemporary critical art practices

2008-2011 Aalto University/TaiK, Helsinki, MA Graphic Design – Yearly courses in visual communication theory and social messaging. Multi-year consulting towards a master’s-level theory curriculum

2004-2008 Aalto University/TaiK MA Program in Environmental Art – Core program teaching in theory and practice; curriculum design and development

2004-2009 University of Helsinki, Dep’t of Art Research/Comparative Literature – Courses on experimental poetics, intermedia and the avant-garde

2001-2002  Adjunct Professor of English, Fresno City College, Fresno, CA – Writing and critical thinking, introduction to literature

2001-2002  Adjunct Professor of English, Madera Center Community College, Madera, CA – Writing and Critical Thinking, Intro to Literature

2000-2001  Teaching Assistant, English Department Stanford University

1996-1997  Instructor, Writing and Critical Thinking program, Stanford University

Languages:           German, French, Spanish, and Italian; moderate Finnish.


Visual Poetics: Meaning Space from Mallarmé to Metalheart : Stanford, Comparative Literature, 2004.

Develops a reception theory of visual poetries in terms of the perceptual and cognitive resources at their disposal, in particular spatiality as a body-based semantics.  Covering visual poetry and graphic design from 1897 to 2001 (print, digital, and architectural), it investigates the expanding role of 3-D space, and of embodied visual ‘reading’, in the experience of this work.  Combines methodologies from literary theory, art history, aesthetics, semiotics, psychology of perception, and cognitive linguistics.

Courses Taught:

2022-23 Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin – Institut für Kulturwissenschaft

Culture Media Concept

2021 Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin – Institut für Kulturwissenschaft

Digital Concept and Cultural Production

2017-18 Humboldt Universität zu Berlin – Hermann von Helmholz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik, bologna.lab, in the studies program Vielfalt der Wissensformen

Attention – interdisciplinary takes on an endangered resource

Visualizing Mind – a Seminar on Speculative Graphics and Epistemology

2015-2017 TU Braunschweig, Institute for Architecture-Related Art

Landing: some phenomenology for architecture-related artists (Summer 2016)
Architectural Body seminar (Summer 2016)

Space and Perception – sound workshop with Jost Muxfeldt (May 2016)

2004-2009 University of Helsinki – Department of Art Research/Comparative Literature

Cognitive Impact Poetics: 20th Century Experimental Poetries (Fall 2004)
Poetry at the Turning Point: Avant-Garde Resurgences in 1950’s Europe (Spring 2006)
Avant-Garde and Modernity: Art, Poetry, Theory (Fall 2007)
Total Poetics: Intermediality and Poetic Migrations (Fall 2009)

2004- 2008 University of Art and Design, Helsinki (TaiK), now Aalto U. – MA Program in Environmental Art

Masters Program co-development (w/ Prof. Markku Hakuri), MA research and thesis supervision, course core teaching, special studio theory courses (2004-2008)

Environmental Arts: Backgrounds – art-history survey of forms and trends 1950’s to 2000’s (2005, 2006)
Making Sense I: Artist Writing Seminar (2004, 2005, 2006)
Making Sense II: Critical Writing and Research Seminar (2005, 2006, 2007)
MA Thesis Supervision (2005-2007)
MA Thesis Research Seminar (2005, 2006)

Meaning Space: Introduction to Architectural Poetics – theory seminar on architectural poetics (2004)
Mental Environments – theory seminar on Situationist urbanism and critical art practices (2005)
Ultimate Space – Week-long environmental art workshop on Kuuskajaskari Island, Rauma (2005)
InnerCity – Applied Urban Aesthetics, full-year theory-studio (2005-2006)
BodyBuilding – Procedural Architecture and Embodiment, full-year theory-studio (2006-2007)

2008 – 2011 University of Art and Design, Helsinki (TaiK), now Aalto University – MA Program in Grafic Design

Thinking Graphics – MA-level theory-studio on perception, visual language and message design (2009, 2011)
Attention, Space and Meaning – 2-week workshop on “attention tracking” in design research (2008, 2009)

2006 – 2007 University of Art and Design, Helsinki – MA Program in Art Pedagogy

Free Advertising: a Liberation Graphics Workshop – Experimental EU 3-country virtual learning course (2007)
Stories and Places – Experimental virtual learning course, co-taught with Jan Kenneth Weckmann (2006)

2009 Universität der Künste, Berlin – Aesthetic Practices Program, Design Faculty

Text Bild Raum – 2 day-long workshops BA/MA on intermedial textuality as applied in spatial design

2009 – 2012 Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn – Urban Studies MA Program – Architecture Faculty

The City in Literature – half-semester course examining the urban engagement of literary movements

One thought on “CV

    andrew topel said:
    28/12/2013 at 13:34

    hello alan, how are you? i’d like to invite you to share essays with me for consideration in a book anthology of visual poetry & language arts that i’m editing. if interested, please write and i’ll share more information with you. thank you. have a beautiful day!

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