Tahir Hemphill

Visual Arts, 2012

Tahir Hemphill is a creative technologist whose practice investigates the role systems play in the generation of form and the role collaborative knowledge production plays in the resilience of communities. Hemphill's creative research has been fueled by the tension between his reverence for traditional models of scientific inquiry and the wisdom of uncertainty contained in the lived experience. As a native New Yorker, Tahir came of age in the 1980s and divided his time between practicing various elements of hip-hop culture and exploring cyberspace from a Queens basement with a dial-up modem connected to a Commodore 128 computer. A fundamental correlation between hip-hop culture and hacking would inform the trajectory of his professional and creative life. Hemphill's exposure to educational knowledge foregrounding STEM fields led him to acquire these values and skills while hip-hop’s “golden era” informed his perspectives on popular culture, and politics. The theoretical frameworks that support these two influences are synthesized into his current creative pursuits at the Rap Research Lab, where they catalyze critical discourse through the production of VR, AI, and big data projects.

Awards and Accomplishments

2018: Papamarkou Chair in Education at the John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress

2018: LACMA 2018 Art + Technology grant for Implications of a Rap Neural Network (RNN), a community data project.

2018: Mapper's Delight at the Arlington Arts Center Fall SOLOS 2018: October 13, 2018

2018: Tahir Hemphill participates in the Duke University-Virtual and Augmented Reality Digital Humanities

2017: Hive NYC Leadership Grant: To establish a model for implementing VR as a classroom learning tool; and to increase knowledge about: the challenges in implementing VR as a classroom learning tool; the viability of immersive classroom VR experiences in engaging students' imaginations; and the role collaborative knowledge production plays in the resilience of communities.

2017: Mapper's Delight VR receives a Alternative Realities Grant from Engadget

2017: Tahir Hemphill is an Artist in Residence Pier 9, Autodesk, in San Francisco, CA

2017: Mapper’s Delight: Maximum Distance, Minimum Displacement at California College of the Arts, San Francisco, September 2017

2016: Tahir Hemphill is a Thematic Month of Human Behavior Resident, at the Bellagio Center Residency Program, the Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio, Italy.

2016: Tahir Hemphill receives a Media Artist in Residence, at Spotify headquarters in New York

2016: Tahir Hemphill is a Something In Residence, at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, ITP

2016: Tahir Hemphill is an Impact Resident, Eyebeam Art + Technology Center


Hemphill is selected for the 35th session of the Bronx Museum Artist in the Marketplace Program

2015: Maximum Distance Minimum Displacemen receives an Art Works Grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to produce an exhibition at CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts


Hemphill is a 2013 Fellow at The Studio for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University


Hemphill is a 2012-13 Hip Hop Archive Fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University


Hemphill presents with Creative Capital at IdeaFestival in Louisville, KY