Briana J. Smith
I am a writer, educator, and historian based in Cambridge, Mass. I currently serve as Assistant Director of Studies and Lecturer in the Committee on Degrees in History & Literature at Harvard University and teach writing for the Harvard Extension School. My book, Free Berlin: Art, Urban Politics, and Everyday Life, will appear with MIT Press in September 2022. Free Berlin examines spontaneous art actions, performances, and installations staged in galleries, apartments, private art spaces, and city streets across Berlin from the late Cold War period to the present. It reveals the emergence of an egalitarian and socially engaged visual culture in the divided city that elevated art and creativity as an essential component of civic life. This visual culture was equally formative of the durable tradition of participation, civic engagement, and lively urban agitation in the contemporary city.
My new project explores how German artists promoted experimental, collective, and egalitarian uses for the early internet and personal computers in late Cold War and post-Wall Germany and shaped German attitudes toward technology and digital privacy in the process.
In my free time, I like to hike in any forest I can find, play table tennis in public parks, chase my cats around the house, and make amateur recordings on GarageBand.