Hakan Topal is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. He is an Assistant Professor of New Media and Art + Design at Purchase College, SUNY and a graduate faculty in the School of Visual Arts’ Fine Arts Department. 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-editor 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. His ongoing project about on Roboski Massacre was generously supported by the Prince Claus Fund. He is currently working on projects deals with concepts such as new ecologies, catastrophes (Turkey, USA, Japan) and phantasmagory in Islamist world.

Professionally, he worked as a researcher at Audio Visual Research Center, Middle East Technical University, Ankara where he taught media classes and organized seminars together with international scholars and filmmakers loosely organized under the Korotonomedya group. From 2001-2008, he worked at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York as New Media Projects Manager. He was responsible for the museum’s Media Lounge, the only dedicated museum space exhibiting new media art projects at the time. He worked on a broad range of technical, conceptual and design projects, produced art works and developed websites. During this period, his projects received substantial grants from institutions such as The Getty Foundation and Third Millenium Foundation. The New Museum archive website, which he initiated, was recently launched online at  In 2008, Topal started his research and design firm Newgray LLC, which was active until 2013. Newgray was kept alive as a publishing and research arm.

Hakan loves biking, cooking and watching all sorts of documentaries. He currently teaches full-time and focuses on his upcoming art projects.

Download CV

For more information please visit:  | For xurban_collective’s archived projects and texts (2000-2012)  | For professional research & design projects (2008 – 2013) | For current and past teaching activities | Purchase College New Media Program | Purchase College Design Program


Email: hakantopal ((at)) gmail ((dot)) com
Tel: ++1-646-283-5252  [ + WhatsApp ] Located in Brooklyn, New York
Skype: xurbanite