Tamiko Thiel was awarded the 2018 SAT Montreal Visionary Pioneer Award for (now) over 35 years of media artworks exploring place, space, the body and cultural identity in political and socially critical artworks. She was born in Oakland, California/USA in 1957 as the daughter of the Japanese American artist Midori Kono Thiel and the German American architect Philip Thiel. She has degrees from Stanford University (B.S. 1979, Product Design Engineering), MIT (M.S. 1983, Mechanical Engineering), and the Akademie der Bildenden Künste Munich (Diplom 1991, Applied Graphics). Tamiko lives and works in Munich, Germany, where she has been based on and off since 1985.

She was lead product designer on Danny Hillis’ Connection Machines CM-1/CM-2 (1986/1987) at the MIT AI Lab startup Thinking Machines Corporation These were the first commercial artificial intelligence supercomputers and in 1989 a CM-2 won the Gordon Bell Prize as the fastest supercomputer in the world. These machines influenced Google’s AI technology, inspired Steve Jobs‘ designs, and are in the collections of MoMA NY and the Smithsonian Institution. Her own AI artworks include Lend Me Your Face! (2020, with /p) deepfake video installation, and Lend Me Your Face: Go Fake Yourself! (2021, /p), The Photographer’s Gallery London commission for an online net art version, and I am Sound (2016, with Christoph Reiserer) a generative audio visual selfie installation.

Her first VR was as producer/creative director of Starbright World (1994-1997), the first Metaverse for children, in collaboration with Steven Spielberg. Her own VR artwork Beyond Manzanar (2000, with Zara Houshmand), an interactive large screen VR projection installation, was the first VR artwork collected by a US art museum (San Jose Museum of Art, 2002). Subsequent artworks created in this media include The Travels of Mariko Horo (2006, with music by Ping Jin), funded by a Japan Foundation fellowship and an MIT CAVS fellowship, and Virtuelle Mauer/ReConstructing the Wall (2008, T+T (Tamiko Thiel and Teresa Reuter)), funded by a Berlin Capital City Cultural Funds grant and winner of the IBM Innovation Award for Art and Technology at the 2009 Boston Cyberarts Festival. Using more recent VR technology she created Land of Cloud (2017) as GoogleVR Tilt Brush Artist in Residence, which won the audience award at the inaugural VRHAM Festival in 2018. Recent VR projects include Atmos Sphaerae (2021) for the DiMoDA 4.0 VR platform „Dis/Location“ curated by Whitney Museum curator Christiane Paul.

Her first augmented reality artwork was ARt Critic Face Matrix (2010), in a path-breaking intervention into MoMA NY, followed by Shades of Absence in an intervention into the 2011 Venice Biennale. Many invitational AR shows and commissions followed: Biomer Skelters (2013, with Will Pappenheimer) from FACT Liverpool, Brush the Sky (2015, with Midori Kono Thiel) from Wing Luke Museum of the Asian-Pacific Experience, Gardens of the Anthropocene (2016) from Seattle Art Museum, Unexpected Growth (2018, with /p) from the Whitney Museum (the 1st edition is in the collection and the 2nd edition was auctioned as a NFT at Christie's NY), ReWildAR (2021, with /p) for the 175th anniversary of the Smithsonian Institution, ARpothecary’s Garden (2022, commissioned by Roche Basel and in their collection) for the Basel City AR ArtTour curated by Sabine Himmelsbach, Waldwandel/Forest Flux (2023, with /p) for the Kunsthalle Munich/Biotopia/Bavarian State Forest Enterprise, and What You Sow (2023, with /p), commissioned for the AR Biennial of the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf.