Hakan Topal is an artist and scholar living and working in New York City. He is an Assistant Professor of New Media and Art + Design at Purchase College, SUNY. Trained as a civil engineer (B.S.), he continued his studies in gender and women’s studies (M.S.) and sociology (M.A.). He received a Ph.D. in sociology from the New School for Social Research with a concentration in urban sociology and sociology of arts. His dissertation was titled Negotiating Urban Space: Contemporary Art Biennials, The Case of New Orleans.
He was the co-founder of international art collective, xurban_collective (2000-12) and exhibited his collective and individual art works and research projects extensively, in institutions such as the 8th and 9th Istanbul Biennials; apexart, New York; Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21), Vienna; Kunst-Werke, Berlin; ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe; MoMA PS1; Platform, Istanbul and the 9th Gwangju Biennial. Topal represented Turkey in various international exhibitions including the 49th Venice Biennial Turkish Pavilion. His texts and projects have been featured in various international journals, books and catalogs.
In 2010, he was the guest editor of ArteEast Quarterly Journal’s Silence issue, and directed a documentary film on 18th-century Austro-Bavarian sculptor, Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, commissioned by the Neue Galerie, New York. He is the co-editer and publisher of the book, The Sea-Image: Visual Manifestations of Port Cities and Global Waters distributed by D.A.P. This book is the outcome of visual research and a symposium that brought together an international group of artists, scholars and writers as part of the Istanbul European Capital of Culture 2010. He is currently working on a new book and project about the idea of collateral damage and condolence payments in globalized wars.