Marisa Morán Jahn

Fellow, Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism and Future Urban Collectives

An artist, filmmaker, and transmedia producer of Ecuadorian and Chinese descent, Marisa Morán Jahn’s works redistribute power, “exemplifying the possibilities of art as social practice” (ArtForum). Characterizing her playful approach, MIT CAST writes, ‘[Jahn] introduces a trickster-like humor into public spaces and discourses, and yet it is a humor edged with political potency.” Codesigned with youth, new immigrants, and working families, Jahn’s public artwork, civic media tools, installations, films, architectural and urban-scale collaborations have engaged millions both on the street and through strategic partners such as The New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, The American Museum of Natural History, Brooklyn and Seattle Public Library systems, PBS Newshour, National Domestic Workers Alliance, and Street Vendor Project of the Urban Justice Center. Her work has been presented at venues such as the United Nations, Tribeca Film Festival, Obama’s White House, Museum of Modern Art, and Venice Biennale of Architecture. Her work has received international media coverage in outlets including The New York Times, CNN, the BBC, Univision Global, Hyperallergic, Art in America, Architectural Review, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, PBS, and hundreds more. 

She has received grants and awards from Sundance, Tribeca Film Institute, Creative Capital, National Endowment for the Arts, Anonymous Was A Woman, and more. 

She has taught at Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (her alma mater), and Parsons/The New School where she is the Director of Integrated Design. She is currently an Artist in Residence at the Brooklyn Public Library, a Fellow at the MIT Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism, and Sundance Institute. | Instagram | Twitter


Bibliobandido riding a burro on a dirt road in a tropical setting
“Bibliobandido, Story Eater” unfolds in semi-tropical, rural Honduras when in 2010, artist Marisa Morán Jahn and a group of youth from a low-literacy community invented the idea of a roving bandit who eats stories. To appease Bibliobandido’s insatiable appetite and avert general calamity, youth nourished him with stories they’ve written. Captivated, thousands of Honduran youth since that time have enacted the legend of Bibliobandido on a seasonal and sometimes monthly and seasonal basis, weaving an elaborate cosmology (arch-enemies, getaway vehicles, and corroborators) whose allure rivals Santa Claus, allegorizing the power of the imagination to transcend reality. At the same time, Marisa brought the Bibliobandido legend to tens of thousands of youth in North American libraries and museums.

Over a decade later, Marisa has teamed up with award-winning filmmaker Benjamin Murray to create a Sundance-supported documentary film about Bibliobandido. Equal parts magic and journalism, this hallucinogenic documentary transports viewers into a space of wonder as youth, equipped with the power of imagination, triumph over their beloved, story-hungry villain.
A colorful superhero themed station wagon designed by artist Marisa Morán Jahn
Initiated by artist Marisa Morán Jahn (Studio REV-) with the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), the CareForce is an ongoing set of public art projects and PBS film amplifying the voices of America’s fastest growing workforce — caregivers.

About the film: A humorous and touching road tale, the "CareForce One Travelogues" features Marisa, her son Choco, and their buddy Anjum Asharia as they travel from their homes in NYC to Miami in a fifty-year old station wagon, the CareForce One. Meeting up with nannies, housekeepers, caregivers, and allies along the way, this series explores how care intersects with some of today's most pressing issues — immigration, the legacies of slavery, racial discrimination, and more.
Image of Carehaus illustrated by artist Marisa Morán Jahn
Co-founded by artist Marisa Morán Jahn with architect Rafi Segal and developer Ernst Valery, “Carehaus” is the U.S.'s first intergenerational care-based co-housing project. In a Carehaus, older and disabled adults, caregivers and their families have independent living units clustered around a series of shared spaces. Designed for care and living, Carehaus’ communal areas enable shared meal-times, past times, relaxation, and more.
Painted image of a video hall in Uganda; art project by Marisa Morán Jahn
Initiated by artist Marisa Morán Jahn with media ethnographer Paul Falzone, Video Slink Uganda is an apex art and Creative Capital-supported project that involves translating and burning — "slinking"— experimental art by Ugandan and US diasporan artists onto bootleg DVDs, seen by millions of viewers as previews to the main film, and circulated throughout Uganda's bootleg cinemas. Participants include VJ Junior, VJ Emmie, and VJ Jingo adapting/translating/re-interpreting the works of artists of the African diaspora: Paul D. Miller a.k.a. Dj Spooky, Rashaad Newsome with Kenya Robinson, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Kamau Patton, Zina Saro-Wiwa, Hank Willis Thomas/Terence Nance, and Saya Woolfalk.
Bright orange superhero themed 1976 Chevy Van created by artistMarisa Morán Jahn
Created by artist Marisa Morán Jahn (Studio REV-) with members of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the NannyVan is a mobile studio that accelerates the movement for domestic workers’ rights. As a pop-up, place-making project, the NannyVan unfolds in parks, transit stops, schools, and public spaces where domestic workers (nannies, housekeepers, caregivers) convene to exchange stories and resources.