Marisa Moran Jahn

Daemons Tools Art Tech

Date 11/19/18

Affiliation Artist, Cambridge, MA


A “daemon” for ancient Greeks referred to a divinity or being betwixt and between humans and the supernatural, an inner spirit or inspiring force. Today, “daemon” commonly refers to a discrete background process that handles requests for services such as print spooling and file transfers, and is dormant when not required.

A tool is a device or implement used to carry out a specific function. To “tool” something is to customize it for a particular use.

In her talk, Jahn weaves together her interest in creative technology as myth-making and co-designing with and for historically under-served communities (specifically low-wage workers, immigrants, youth, and women). She draws from her background as an artist working across media — sculpture, film, journalism, interactive media, performance, photography — to probe questions such as, “Why are agonistic approaches to technology essential in building tolerance?” “How can we shift frameworks in order to best understand how people are actually using creative technology?” “How can creative technology be used in movement building?”


An artist of Ecuadorian and Chinese descent, Marisa Morán Jahn founded Studio REV-, a non-profit organization whose public art and creative media impacts the lives of low-wage workers, immigrants, women, and youth. Key projects include El Bibliobandido (a masked, story-eating bandit who terrorizes little kids to offer him stories they’ve written), Video Slink Uganda (experimental films slipped or “slinked” into Uganda’s bootleg cinemas), and Contratados (a Yelp! for migrant workers). As an artist in residence with the National Domestic Workers Alliance since 2012, Jahn co-created various projects that amplify the voices of America’s fastest growing workforce, caregivers: two mobile studios (NannyVan, CareForce One), an app for domestic workers that CNN named as “one of 5 apps to change the world,” and CareForce One Travelogues a Sundance-supported docuseries for PBS/ITVS co-produced with Oscar and Emmy-winning filmmaker Yael Melamede. Jahn’s work has been reviewed in The New York Times, BBC, Univision, and described by ArtForum as “exemplifying the possibilities of art as social practice.” Her work has been awarded grants from Creative Capital, Rockefeller Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, MAP Fund, NEA, Anonymous Was a Woman; and showcased at The White House in D.C., Museum of Modern Art, New Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Walker Art Center, and more. Jahn has taught k-12 youth since 1999 and is currently a Lecturer in MIT’s Department of Art, Culture, and Technology, her own alma mater. @marisa_jahn,,

-- As of 11/19/18