Tamiko Thiel (born June 15, 1957, daughter of Midori Kono Thiel) is an internationally active American media artist who specializes in "exploring the interplay of place, space, the body and cultural identity".
Tamiko Thiel attended Stanford University and graduated with a B.S. in Product Design Engineering with an emphasis on human factors design in 1979. She later went on to receive her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1983 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, she studied human-machine design at the school's Biomechanics Lab and computer graphics at the precursors to the Media Lab. In 1991, Thiel received her Diploma in Applied Graphics, specializing in video installation art, from the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Germany.
From November 1994 to February 1996 she worked for Starbright World as the creative director and producer of the initial system for the Starbright World project, working closely with Steven Spielberg, to create an online interactive 3D virtual world for seriously ill children. Since then, Thiel has had many other exhibits, some of the most notable being her shows "Beyond Manzanar" (a piece about a World War II-era Japanese-American internment camp in California), "The Travels of Mariko Horo", and "Shades of Absence". She is also one of the founding members of Manifest.AR, a group of artists focused on augmented reality, with which she staged spontaneous interventions at Corcoran Gallery of Art in 2013, Tate Modern in 2012, the Venice Biennial in 2011, and Museum of Modern Art (New York City) in 2010,
Thiel's artwork for the last 15 years has focused on "site specific virtual reality installations". Her art has been displayed in international venues including the International Center of Photography (New York City), DUMBO, the Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston), the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), ZKM (Karlsruhe), Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Art Gwanju, Fondazione Querini Stampalia/Venice, Ars Electronica, SIGGRAPH and ISEA. To completely describe the venues in which Thiel's artwork is on display one must take into consideration that her chosen platform is augmented reality. With the use of Layar, an augmented reality viewer, Thiel's works can be layered over locations such as the New York Stock Exchange, the Tate Modern Museum in London, New York's Museum of Modern Art, the Berlin Wall, Piazza San Marco Venice, Istanbul, and many other locations.
"Cyber-Animism and Augmented Dreams," Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA), Istanbul, April 2011.
"The Design of the Connection Machine," The Designed World: Images, Objects, Environments. Richard Buchanan, Dennis Doordan and Victor Margolin, Ed. Berg, New York, pp. 155–166.
"Where Stones Can Speak: Dramatic Encounters in Interactive 3D Virtual Reality," chapter in the book Third Person: Authoring and Exploring Vast Narratives, ed. Pat Harrigan & Noah Wadrup-Fruin, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA.
"Life at the Interface of Art and Technology," ON SCREEN, 911 Media Arts Center, Seattle, WA., USA. Winter 2007, Vol. 18 No.1, pp. 32–34.
"Beyond Manzanar: Creating Dramatic Structure in Ergodic Narratives," Published in the conference proceedings for Technologies for Interactive Digital Storytelling and Entertainment (TIDSE, now subsumed into the ICIDS conference), Darmstadt, Germany, June 24–26, 2004, Springer Berlin / Heidelberg.
"Veiled Fantasies," Site Street Online Journal, Fall 2002
"Dramatic structure in interactive virtual reality," Aedo-ba, Villa Tosca Design Management Center, Milan, Nr. 03/04, Fall 2001 pp. 40–45.
"Beyond Manzanar: Constructing Meaning in Interactive Virtual Reality," COSIGN 2001 Conference Proceedings, Amsterdam, Holland.