Jesse Shapins is an entrepreneur, cultural theorist and media artist. For the past decade, he has been a leader in innovating new models of web and mobile publishing, his work featured in Wired, The New York Times, and other venues, as well as supported by private and foundation investors. He is also a recognized figure at the forefront of transforming research and teaching in higher education through experimental pedagogy and technology. His artistic practice focuses on mapping the imagination and perception of place between physical, virtual and social space.
Currently, Jesse is the Co-Founder/CEO of: Zeega, a startup dedicated to revolutionizing web publishing for a future beyond blogs. Zeega supports a community of makers passionate about creating awesome immersive experiences, and also works regularly with partners in media organizations around the world. Previously, Jesse co-founded and directed various media and arts organizations over the past decade: Yellow Arrow, a seminal project in locative media that involved cities, stickers, mobile phones, and participants in over 450 cities in 39 countries, transforming the urban landscape into a “deep map” that expresses the personal histories and hidden secrets that live within our everyday spaces; Mapping Main Street, a collaborative documentary with NPR that creates a new map of the country through stories, photos and videos recorded on actual Main Streets; metaLAB (at) Harvard, a research and teaching unit at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society exploring the frontiers and overlooked histories of networked culture; Stadtblind, a gallery and urban research studio focused upon challenging the urban imaginaries of Berlin; and the UnionDocs Collaborative, a laboratory for documentary research and production in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Jesse’s scholarly and artistic work has been published in PRAXIS, Places, Metropolis, The New York Times, Wired, Libération, Berliner Zeitung, Taiwan Daily News, and been exhibited at MoMA, Deutsches Architektur Zentrum, architekturgalerie am weißenhof and the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, among other venues.
Jesse is also on the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he is an Instructor of Architecture and has invented courses such as the The Mixed-Reality City (w/ James Burns) and Media Archaeology of Place (w/ Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ernst Karel). Previously, he co-taught the studio/seminar Critical Urban Media Arts: An Experimental Workshop in Urban Research, Mapping and Representation (w/ Brian House) at Columbia University’s GSAPP. He holds a PhD in Architecture and Media from Harvard University, as well as B.A in Urban Studies, summa cum laude, from Columbia University. His dissertation was titled “Mapping the Urban Database Documentary: Authorial Agency in Utopias of Panoramic Perception, Sensory Estrangement and Networked Participation.”