Faculty Directory

micha cárdenas
  • Pronouns she, her, her, hers, herself
  • Title
    • Associate Professor
  • Division Humanities Division
  • Department
    • Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Affiliations Department of Performance, Play & Design (PPD); Feminist Studies Department
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Digital Arts Research Center, 233
    • DARC 233
  • Office Hours By appointment
  • Mail Stop Humanities Academic Services
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Virtual Reality, Immersive, and Augmented Reality Environments; Critical Race and Ethnic Studies; Environmental Justice; Digital Arts; Digital Humanities; Digital Media; Gender Studies; Feminist Theory

Biography, Education and Training

micha cárdenas, PhD, MFA, is an artist, and Associate Professor of Critical Race & Ethnic Studies and Performance, Play & Design, at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she directs the Critical Realities Studio. Her debut novel Atoms Never Touch (forthcoming October AK Press 2023) imagines trans latina love crossing multiple quantum realities. Her academic monograph Poetic Operations: Trans of Color Art in Digital Media (Duke UP 2022) was the co-winner of the Gloria Anzaldúa Book Prize in 2022 from the National Women’s Studies Association “for groundbreaking monographs in women’s studies that makes significant multicultural feminist contributions to women of color/transnational scholarship”. cárdenas was a winner of the 2022 Anonymous Was a Woman artist award. She is currently working on her next academic monograph After Man: Fires, Oceans and Androids, as well as The Probability Engine, a multi-disciplinary artwork imagining futures of climate justice. She is a first generation Colombian American.

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 is a member of the artist collective Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0. Her artwork has been described as “a seminal milestone for artistic engagement in VR” by the Spike art journal in Berlin. She was the recipient of the inaugural Otherwise 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. She has been described as one of “7 bio-artists who are transforming the fabric of life itself” by io9.com.

cárdenas completed her Ph.D. in Media Arts + Practice in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.  Her solo and collaborative artworks have been presented in museums, galleries, and biennials including the SUR Biennial (2023), Outfest Fusion (2023), Tangled Arts + Disability in Toronto (2022), Transmediale in Berlin (2021), the alt_cph Copenhagen Biennial (2020); the Stamps Gallery (2020) in Ann Arbor; the Thessaloniki Biennial (2019) in Greece; Arnolfini Gallery (2019); De La Warr Pavillion (2019); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2018); House of Electronic Arts Basel (2018); Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen (2018); Henry Art Gallery (2017); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (2011); Centro Cultural del Bosque, Mexico City (2015);  the Zero1 Biennial, San Jose, CA (2012); and the California Biennial, Newport Beach, CA (2010). She has given keynote talks at the Allied Media Conference, the Association of Internet Researchers, the Digital Gender Conference at Umea University in Sweden, the Dark Side of the Digital Conference, and the Vera List Center at the New School in New York.

Her co-authored book The Transreal: Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realities (2012) was published by Atropos Press. cardenas’ poetry has appeared in the anthologies Troubling the Line, The &Now Awards 3, Trans Bodies, Trans Selves and Writing the Walls Down. She has published book chapters in Plants, Androids and Operators – A Post-Media Handbook, Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, Queer Geographies, The Critical Digital Studies Reader and the Feminist and Queer Information Studies Reader. Her articles have been published in Transgender Studies Quarterly, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, CTheory, the Media-N Journal, the Ada Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology, The Journal of Popular Music Studies, and the AI & Society Journal, as well as the magazines Terremoto, No More Potlucks, Mute Magazine and Make/Shift Magazine.

cárdenas has previously been an editor of Transgender Studies Quarterly, on the editorial boards of Art Journal and Art Journal Open, and on the advisory boards of FemTechNet and the York University Center for Feminist Research.  She holds a PhD from the University of Southern California, an MFA from University of California, San Diego, an MA in Communication from the European Graduate School and a BS in Computer Science from Florida International University.



Selected Publications


Atoms Never Touch, AK Press, forthcoming October 2023

Poetic Operations: Trans of Color Art in Digital Media, Duke University Press. March 2022.

micha cárdenas, Elle Mehrmand, Amy Sara Carroll, Ricardo Dominguez, Brian Holmes, James Morgan, Allucquére Rosanne Stone, Stelarc, The Transreal: Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realities, New York: Atropos Press, 2012.

micha cárdenas and Barbara Fornssler, Trans Desire / Affective Cyborgs, New York: Atropos Press, 2010.


Articles (in refereed Journals)

Jian Neo Chen, micha cárdenas; "Times to Come: Materializing Trans Times." TSQ 1 November 2019; 6 (4): 472–480. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/23289252-7771639

"Monstrous Children of Pregnant Androids: Latinx Futures After Orlando." Special Issue on Orlando Pulse Massacre. Gay and Lesbian Quarterly. GLQ (2018) 24 (1): 26-31.

"Imagining A Trans World", Special Issue on Ursula K. Le Guin. Ada Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology. 12. Alexis Lothian ed. http://adanewmedia.org/2017/11/issue12-cardenas/

"Dilating Destiny: Writing the Transreal Body Through Game Design." Jump Cut Journal, No. 57. Fall 2016, https://www.ejumpcut.org/currentissue/-cardenasDilatingDestiny/index.html

“Trans of Color Poetics: Stitching Bodies, Concepts, and Algorithms.” Scholar and Feminist Online Journal, 13.3. 2016. http://sfonline.barnard.edu/traversing-technologies/micha-cardenastrans-of-color-poetics-stitching-bodies-concepts-and-algorithms/

“Pregnancy: Trans Latina Reproductive Futures.” Transgender Studies Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 1-2, Pp 48-57. 2016.

“Shifting Futures: Digital Trans of Color Praxis.” Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology, No. 6. 2015. http://adanewmedia.org/2015/01/issue6-cardenas/

"Operation Faust y Furioso: A Trans [ ] Border Play on the Redistribution of the Sensible." with Amy Sara Carroll, Ricardo Dominguez, Elle Mehrmand and Brett Stalbaum, Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Vol. 21 No 1, pp 28-42. 2015

“Local Autonomy Networks: Post-Digital Networks, Post-Corporate Communications.” Media-N Journal, CAA Conference Edition 2013, , http://median.newmediacaucus.org/caa-conferenceedition-2013/local-autonomy-networks-post-digital-networks-post-corporatecommunications/

“Introduction.” Media-N Journal, CAA Conference Edition 2013.

“Imaginary Computational Systems: Queer Technologies and Transreal Aesthetics.” with Zach Blas, AI & Society, Vol. 28, No. 4, pp 559–566. 2013

“Blah, Blah, Blah: Ke$ha Feminism?” Journal of Popular Music Studies, Vol 24. No. 2, pp. 176-195. 2012.

Articles in edited volumes

“The Android Goddess Declaration: After Man(ifestos)”, in Losh, E., and J. Wernimont. Bodies of Information: Intersectional Feminism and the Digital Humanities. University of Minnesota Press, 2019.

“Decolonial Media Praxis: From Cinema to Network” in Keeling, K., and T. Soundararajan. From Third Cinema to Media Justice: Third World Majority and the Promise of Third Cinema. 2019. http://scalar.usc.edu/nehvectors/thirdworldmajority/index

"Dark Shimmers: The Rhythm of Necropolitical Affect." In Johanna Burton, Reina Gossett and Eric Stanley eds. Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility. MIT Press. December 2017.

“Queer OS: A User’s Manual.” with Zach Blas, Jacob Gaboury, Jessica Marie Johnson, Margaret Rhee and Fiona Barnett. In Matthew K. Gold and Lauren F. Klein eds. Debates in the Digital Humanities Vol. 2. University of Minnesota Press. 2016.

“Movements of Safety, A Safety Movement, Safety in Movement.” In C. Apprich, A. Iles, J. Berry Slater and O. Shultz eds. Plants, Androids and Operators: A Post-Media Lab Handbook, Mute Publishing. 2014.

“Becoming Dragon: A Transversal Technology Study.” In Arthur Kroker and Marilouise Kroker eds. Critical Digital Studies Reader, 2nd Edition. University of Toronto Press. 2013. (Reprint)

“Becoming Dragon: A Transversal Technology Study.” In Patrick Keilty and Rebecca Dean eds. Feminist and Queer Information Studies Reader. Litwin Books. 2013. (Reprint)

“Becoming Dragon: A Transversal Technology Study”, Code Drift, Essays in Critical Digital Studies. 2010. http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=639 (Reprint)

“Sustenance: A Play for All Trans[]Borders.” with Amy Sara Carroll, Ricardo Dominguez, Elle Mehrmand and Brett Stalbaum. In Laura Cull and Will Daddario eds. Manifesto Now!. University of Chicago Press. 2013.

“I am Transreal.” In S. Bear Bergman and Kate Bornstein eds. Gender Outlaws the Next Generation, pp. 116-121. Seal Press. 2010.


Poems in Anthologies

“What If We Got Free?” and “150” in Small Portions. 7. Sarah Baker, Laura Burgher, Tracy Gregory, and Travis Sharp eds. https://smallportionsjournal.com/category/issue-7/

"Redshift and Portalmetal." in Stephanie Boluk, Leonardo Flores, Jacob Garbe, Anastasia Salter eds. Electronic Literature Collection Vol. 3. February 2016. http://collection.eliterature.org/3/

“net.walkingtools.transformer” and “We Are the Intersections." The &Now Awards 3, Northwestern University Press. 2015. (“We Are the Intersections.” Reprinted in Laura Erickson-Schroth ed. Trans Bodies, Trans Selves, Oxford University Press. 2014.)

“Redshift and Portalmetal, Excerpt.” Writing the Walls Down, pp. 105-111. Trans Genre Press. 2015.

“Micha Cárdenas.” Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, pp. 388-398. Nightboat Books. 2013.


Essays in Published Conference Proceedings

“Productive Confusions: Learning from Simulations of Pandemic Virus Outbreaks in Second Life.” SPIE Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality 2011 Proceedings, with Laura S. Greci, Samantha Hurst, Karen Garman, Helene Hoffman, Ricky Huang, Michael Gates, Kristen Kho, Elle Mehrmand, Todd Porteous, Alan Calvitti, Erin Higginbotha, Zia Agha M.D. 2011.

“The Transborder Immigrant Tool: Violence, Solidarity and Hope in Post-NAFTA Circuits of Bodies Electr(on)/ic." with Amy Sara Carroll, Ricardo Dominguez, Elle Mehrmand and Brett Stalbaum, Community Practices and Locative Media Workshop, Mobile HCI 2009 Proceedings. 2009.
“Becoming Dragon: a durational, mixed reality performance in Second Life.” SPIE Electronic Imaging Proceedings. 2009.


Art Publications

"Reenvisioning Humanity." in Sabeth Buchmann, Isabelle Graw, Antonia Kölbl, Christian Liclair, Anna Sinofzik, and Beate Söntgen eds. Texte Zur Kunst Issue 131, September 2023.

"What if We Got Free?" In Eunsong Kim and Gelare Khoshgozaran eds. Contemptorary.

“Local Autonomy Networks: Queer and Feminist Geographies of Violence." In L. Lau, M. Arsanios, F. Zuñiga-González, M. Kryger eds. Queer Geographies: Beirut, Tijuana, Copenhagen, pp. 110-117. Museet for Samtidskunst // Museum of Contemporary Art, 2014.

“Transborder Immigrant Tool.” with Amy Sara Carroll, Ricardo Dominguez, Elle Mehrmand and Brett Stalbaum, in Sarah C. Bancroft ed. 2010 California Biennial, pp. 56-59. Orange County Museum of Art, 2011.

Sustenance, A Play for All Trans[]Borders, with Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0, Printed Matter

"San Diego / Tijuana: Free Phone.” Inflexions: A Journal for Research-Creation. No. 3. 2009.



Selected Presentations



"From Sin Sol to Oceanic", Queerness in Games Conference 2020, online

Sites/Sights/Cites of Resistance, University of Wisconsin, Madison

“Poetic Operations: Towards Algorithmic Analysis”, Digital Humanities and Computer Science Colloquium, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL, November 2017

"Health Beyond Gender." What Now? Symposium, Vera List Center for Art and Politics, New York, NY. 2016

“Shifting Poetics: Imagining Trans of Color Futures.” Association of Internet Researchers, Phoenix, AZ. 2015.

“Shifting, Flickering Futures: Digital Trans of Color Praxis.” Beyond the Page, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

“Redshift and Portalmetal.” Gender, Bodies and Technology Conference, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, May 2014

“From The Transreal to Decolonization.” Digital Gender: Theory, Methodology, Practice Workshop, HUMlab, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden, March 2014

“Local Autonomy Networks: Post-Digtial Networks, Post-Corporate Communications.” Dark Side of the Digital Conference, Milwaukee, WI, 2013

“Local Autonomy Networks.” Differential Mobilities Conference, Concordia University, Montreal, QC, 2013



Selected Exhibitions


2020    alt_cph Copenhagen Biennial, Copenhagen and Online (Curated by the Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology)
2019    Thessaloniki Biennial, Greece (performance, curated by Louisa Avgita, Domna Gounari, Panagis
Koutsokostas, Areti Leopoulou, Thodoris Markoglou, Thouli Misirloglou, Hercules Papaioannou, Eirini Papakonstantinou, Katerina Syroglou, Maria Tsantsanoglou, Syrago Tsiara)
2012    ZERO1 San Jose Biennial, San Jose, CA
2010    California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (performance in collaboration with Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0/b.a.n.g. lab, curated by Sarah Bancroft)
2009    Mérida Biennale: Arte Nuevo InteractivA '09, Museo de la Ciudad, Mérida, Mexico (exhibition in collaboration with Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0/b.a.n.g. lab)

Solo Exhibitions/Performances

2017    Este Suelo Secreto (To Be Human Once More) and Pregnancy, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (Curated by Chris Vargas)
2014    Redshift and Portalmetal, Beyond the Page, Temple Contemporary, Philadelphia, PA (curated by Nicole Restraino)
Redshift and Portalmetal. Gender, Bodies, Technology Conference, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia (opening night keynote performance)

Collaborative Solo Shows

2023 "Oceanic, Portal", with Gerald Casel, Ian Costello, Anna Friz, Cynthia Ling Lee, Susana Ruiz, and Huy Truong, Leslie Lohman Museum, New York, NY (curated by Stamatina Gregory)

2016    "UNSTOPPABLE", with Patrisse Cullors, Edxie Betts and Chris Head, INCA Institute, Seattle, WA (curated by Aeron Bergman and Alejandra Salinas)

Group Exhibitions/Performances/Screenings

2023    TRANSlations Festival, Seattle, WA

2022    “Cycles of the longed for and grasped”, Tangled Arts + Disability, Toronto, ON (Curated by Tobaron Waxman)

            “Fluid Matters, Grounded Bodies: Decolonizing Ecological Encounters", NYU Gallatin Galleries, New York, NY (curated by Dr. Patricia Eunji Kim and Dr. Anastasia Amrhein)

            “alternate universe: Visualizing Queer Futurisms”, Stamp Gallery, College Park, Maryland (curated by Marjorie Antonio)

            San Francisco Transgender Film Festival, San Francisco, screening

            Infinite Points on a Circle, Toronto International Film Festival Lightbox, screening, curated by Syrus Marcus Ware

2021    “AFTER LIFE (we survive).” Yerba Buena Center. San Francisco, CA. (Curated by Thea Quiray Tagle)

            “Force Majeure”, Tarble Arts Center, Charleston, IL (curated by Jennifer Seas)

2020    “not in, of, along, or relating to a line.” NYU Abu Dhabi Gallery. (Curated by Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Maya Allison)

            “Women Filmmakers Festival”, Smithsonian American Art Museum (curated by Saisha Grayson)

            “Taking a Stand”, Stamps Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI



“ARCH”, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, New York City, New York
    “Refiguring the Future”, 205 Hudson Gallery, New York, New York. (Curated by Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Dorothy Santos)
    “Staring at the Sun”, Ecofutures Festival, The Art Pavilion, London, England (Curated by Giulia Casalini and Diana Georgiou)   
    “Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance - Act 3”, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, UK (Curated by Amy Budd, Albert Potrony and D-M Withers)
    “Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance, Act 2”, De La Warr Pavilion, East Sussex. (Curated by Irene Aristizábal, Rosie Cooper and Cédric Fauq)


“Vector Festival: Born Digital”, 918 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario (Curated by Katie Micak, Martin Zeilinger, Jenny Western and Clint Enns)
    “Between Bodies”, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, Washington. (Curated by Nina Bozicnik)
    “Future Love. Desire and Kinship in Hypernature”, House of Electronic Arts, Basel, Switzerland (Curated by Boris Magrini)


“Beautiful New Worlds. Virtual Realities in Contemporary Art”, Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen GmbH, Friedrichshafen, Germany (Curated by Ina Neddermeyer)
Between Nothingness and Infinity, Navel Gallery, Los Angeles (Curated by April Baca and Allison Littrell)


Peacock Rebellion at I.D. Festival, OBERON, Cambridge Massachusetts Hacking/Modding/Remixing as Feminist Protest, Miller Art Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University,
Morewood, Pittsburgh (Curated by Angela Washko)
Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (Curated by Chris Vargas)
Contesting/Contexting Sport, neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst, Berlin, Germany (curated by
Željko Blaće et al)
Bubble and Clickbait, Alice Gallery, Seattle (curated by Susan Surface) Cover Reveals, Alice Gallery, Seattle (curated by Julia Freeman)
Out of Sight Festival, King St Station, Seattle (curated by Julia Fryett)
What You See is What You Sweat, Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle (curated by C. Davida Ingram, Chieko Philips, Christopher Shaw, Leilani Lewis and Zorn B. Taylor)
Trans & Genderqueer Poetry Reading, Fluxx Gallery/Studio, Tucson, AZ (curated by Trace Peterson)


voz-a-voz, YYZ Artist’s Outlet, E-Fagia, Toronto, ON (curated by Maria Coates and Julieta María)
Fall Convergence, University of Washington | Bothell
That’s So Gay: Fall to Pieces, Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, ON (curated by Syrus Marcus Ware) That Used to Be Us, Haw Contemporary, Kansas City, MO (curated by Carrie Riehl)
Our Cold Bodies: Shifting Poetics in Trans Science Fiction, UCLA, Machine Dreaming Symposium
iMappening 2015, SCA Gallery, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Boom, Bubble and Blast: Art Against the Crisis, Motorenhalle, Dresden, Germany (curated by Cecilia Wee, Janneke Schönenbach & Olaf Arndt)

Teaching Interests

Trans of color poetics, algorithmic analysis, transreal aesthetics, science fiction, climate justice, critical race and ethnic studies, environmental humanities, environmental art, decolonization, augmented reality, games as art and activism, practice-based research