Katarzyna Balug is an instructor and PhD Candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Her research explores feedback loops between techno-political change and subjectivity as mediated by artistic practice. Her dissertation studies late 1960s inflatable forms in art and architecture, and the post-lunar imaginaries that they articulated in response to a confluence of 1960s scientific and social transformations. She is particularly interested in how the elemental aesthetics of the inflatable simultaneously recalled earlier human spaceflight, resisted their technological milieu, and anticipated theorizations sensitive to non-human forces that became increasingly prevalent across disciplines in subsequent decades.
Kate’s academic work is complemented by curatorial and artistic practice. In 2017, she co-curated The New Inflatable Moment for Boston’s BSA Space, which captured the episodically utopian sensibilities of inflatables from the 18th to the 21st centuries. Her long-term art project, Department of Play, intervenes in public space through momentary fictions. Past project support includes a 2015 ArtPlace America grant.
Kate is a 2011 MUP alumna of the Harvard GSD, with past research supported by the Sinclair Kennedy Fellowship. She received her BA in studio art and French from the University of Southern California. Her essays have been published in Geoforum, Critical Sociology (co-authored), and in the forthcoming issue of New Geographies: Extraterrestrial. She has a book chapter forthcoming in NASA in the American South (University of Alabama Press).