You are here

micha cárdenas

Portrait of micha cardenas, brown curly hair, looking up to the left, with a red sweater on.
Assistant Professor, Art & Design: Games & Playable Media ​BA Program

micha cárdenas, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Art & Design: Games + Playable Media, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and Digital Arts and New Media, at the University of California, Santa Cruz. cárdenas sees education as a path to liberation, and her teaching focuses on discussion, interactivity and creative practice as research. Her book in progress, Poetic Operations, uses algorithmic analysis to develop a trans of color poetics by analyzing new media art, digital games, poetry and performance. cárdenas’s co-authored books The Transreal: Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realities (2012) and Trans Desire / Affective Cyborgs (2010) were published by Atropos Press. Her artwork has been described as “a seminal milestone for artistic engagement in VR” by the Spike art journal in Berlin. She is a first generation Colombian American, born in Miami.


Dr. cárdenas is the director of the Critical Realities Studio, a hybrid studio/lab that uses multiple realities, in art, to address critical global issues including climate change, racism and gendered violence. Learn more about the studio here:


cárdenas is an artist/theorist who was the winner of the 2020 Impact Award at the Indiecade Festival and the 2016 Creative Award from the Gender Justice League. She was the recipient of the inaugural James Tiptree Jr. fellowship in 2014, a fellowship to provide support and recognition for the new voices in science fiction who are making visible the forces that are changing our view of gender today.


Her solo and collaborative artworks have been presented in museums, galleries, and biennials around the world including the alt_cph Copenhagen Biennial (2020); the Stamps Gallery (2020) in Ann Arbor; the Thessaloniki Biennial (2019) in Greece; Arnolfini Gallery (2019) in England; De La Warr Pavillion (2019); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2018); House of Electronic Arts Basel (2018) in Switzerland; Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen (2018) in Germany; Henry Art Gallery (2017); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015); ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe (2014), and more.

Games as art and activism, algorithmic analysis, trans of color poetics, XR/VR/AR, alternate reality games, practice-based research, queer of color critique, decolonization, interactive narrative, science fiction.


DARC 233