Editorial photography: Visual Culture
Academic profile: The Cooper Union


Esther Choi is a Canadian multidisciplinary artist and scholar based in New York City, whose work moves in the space between art and architecture. In her artistic projects and writing, she explores the politics of worldmaking: the interpretive frames, symbols, and practices through which we create our worlds. She is particularly interested in how political technologies of modernity such as architecture, biotechnology, and design have abstracted concepts and representations of nature, human nature, and identity.

In addition to time-based media, photography, and installation, Choi works in participatory forms created with their means of circulation in mind, reframing contemporary photographic culture, ubiquitous information technologies, and distribution networks to speculate on alternative realities. Choi is the creator of Office Hours (2020–), a knowledge sharing project for cultural practitioners who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour, and Public Service (2023–), a forthcoming spin-off web zine inspired by the writings of Stuart Hall that places BIPOC cultural producers in moderated conversations about creating cultural change. In 2019 she published Le Corbuffet (Prestel, 2019), an artist’s book that appropriates the format and circulation systems of cookbook publishing to pose questions about history, cultural privilege and cultural value, which was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award in Photography.

Choi’s writing has appeared in publications such as Artforum, Art Papers, and e-flux, in addition to edited volumes and exhibition catalogues. She is the co-editor of two books, Architecture at the Edge of Everything Else (MIT Press, 2010) and Architecture Is All Over (Columbia U, 2017).

Currently a Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art, Choi’s scholarship often seeks to understand the histories of the conditions to which her artwork responds. Choi is working on a book entitled The Organization of Life, based on her Ph.D. dissertation completed at Princeton University. The manuscript considers how biological discourses positioned modern architecture and design as “civilizing” and evolutionary tools to invent an ideal human and worldview that replicated the biocentric orders, racial logics, and coloniality of Western thought.

Her work has been featured in publications including The New York Times, PIN-UP, Dwell, Vogue, The Architect’s Newspaper, 032, and more. Her photographs have been commissioned by publications such as T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Le Monde, Dazed and Confused, The New York Times Magazine, and AnOther Man. Choi's work has been supported by awards, fellowships, and grants from The Ford Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, Social Sciences Humanities Research Council of Canada, Richard Rogers Fellowship, Princeton University, The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Society of Architectural Historians, and Canadian Centre for Architecture, among others.

Choi is an Adjunct Associate Professor at The Cooper Union. She has taught courses in photography, criticism and curatorial practice, socially engaged practice, and architectural history and theory at OCAD University, University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design, and The New School.