The independent artist Jennifer Kanary Nikolov(a) studied fashion design from 1994-1998 before graduating with the first version of roomforthoughts from the fine arts department of the Maastricht Art Academy in 2000. She continued with a ‘tweede fase’ program at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam (equivalent of Masters), which she completed in 2002. Afterwards, she was invited to participate in the first experimental curating course initiated by the University of Amsterdam and the Sandberg Institute.

Jennifer has participated in several art and science projects such as Battle of the Universities, Kloone4000 and Discovery07. From Nov 2007 to April 2008 she has been artist-in-residence at the National Psychiatry Museum in Haarlem, Netherlands.  From 2008-2011 she has been tutor of the Honours Program Art and Research of the University of Amsterdam and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam. From 2010-2012 she was artistic researcher in residence at Waag Society Institute for Art and Technology. Since 2006 she has embarked on a journey of artistic research PhD with The Planetary Collegium, Plymouth UNiversity, M-Node NABA.


Born:              1974 City of North York, Toronto, Canada
Nationality:    Dutch, Canadian                             


2006-2012PhD Candidate Planetary Collegium, Plymouth University, M-Node

2002-2004    Experimental curating, University of Amsterdam and Sandberg Institute

2000-2002Fine Art, Sandberg Institute, Tweede Fase (Equivalent of MA)

1998-2000BA in Fine Art (initially Fashion Design), Art Academy Maastricht

Exhibitions and artist residencies:

2010-2012  Artistic-researcher-in residency, Waag Society, Amsterdam

2009           Group show, Polytech University Hong Kong

2007-2008Five-month artist residency, Museum of Psychiatry Het Dolhuys, Haarlem

2006           Group show, Brainspotting Festival, Amsterdam

2006           Two-month artist in residency, Lokaal 01, Breda (NL)

Stipends and Awards:

2010                Standaard Werkbijdrage Fonds BKVB (now Mondriaanfonds)

2007-2009       Basisstipendium, Fonds BKVB (now Mondriaanfonds)

2006                Subsidy Scholingsfonds voor Kunst en Cultuur

2006                Subsidy Prins Bernard Cultuur Fonds

2002                Amsterdam, Winner café culture prize

                        granted by Interbrew and Living Tomorrow, with Ivanka Hendriks

2002                Amsterdam, nomination for oneminuteawards, for The Opening

Teaching experience:

2012            Guest teacher at the Honours Programme ART and RESEARCH of the         University of Amsterdam and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie

2011            10 week artistic research elective at the Amsterdam School of The Arts based on the question what is it like to be in psychosis – includes final presentation to the public.

2008-2011Head tutor of the Honours Programme ART and RESEARCH of the University of Amsterdam and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie (guiding students with collaborative artistic research projects that result in a publication and an art exhibition)

2008            Guest teacher at the Master Artistic Research, University of Amsterdam

2005-2007‘Art and philosophy for children’ course (teaching to look and think in different ways by creative interventions)

Presentations, lectures, symposia, conference participation:

2012               Prague, Mutamorphosis, Prague [upcoming in December]

2011               Stockholm, Toward a Science of Consciousness conference

2011               Delft, University of Technology Delft, Studium Generale, Art and Science

2011               Oxford, England, Interdisciplinary Net, Oxford University, Probing The Boundaries - Making Sense of: Madness -Global Conference 4

2010               Trondheim, Norway, TEKS, Trondheim Electronic Arts Center, Consciousness Reframed 10th International Research Conference: Art and Consciousness in the Post-Biological Era, Making Reality Really Real

2010               Oxford, England, Interdisciplinary Net, Oxford University,  Probing The Boundaries - Making Sense of: Madness- Global Conference 3

2009               Munich, Germany, MMHK, Macromedia Hochschule für Medien und Kommunikation, Consciousness Reframed 10th International Research Conference: Experiencing Design, Behaving Media

2009               Oxford, England, Interdisciplinary Net Oxford University, Probing The Boundaries - Making Sense of: Madness -Global Conference 2, 'roomforthoughts, Labyrinth Psychotica: Understanding the Subjective Experience of Psychosis', published in Madness in Context (hardcover), Inter-Disciplinary Press, Araoz, ed

2009              Hong Kong, China, Polytech University Hong Kong, Toward a Science of Consciousness conference

2008               Sao Paulo, Brazil, Simposio: Sincretismo dos sentidos, SESC published in conference proceedings, e-book

2008               Vienna, Austria, Universität für Angewandte Kunst Wien, Consciousness     Reframed 9th International Research, New Realities: Being Syncretic published in conference proceedings

2008               Haarlem, Museum Het Dolhuys

2007               Prato, Italy, Contemporary Art Centre, Pecci Museum

2007               Amsterdam, Pecha Kucha, Discovery 07, European Researchers Night, Partner event van Picnic 07

2007               Amsterdam, Bessensap, NEMO

2007               Montreal, Canada, Consciousness Reframed 8th International Research Conference, Coeur des Sciences de L’UQAM

2006               Milan, Italy, NABA Art Academy

2006               Mexico City, Mexico, Art History Institute

2005               Amsterdam, KNAW, public launch Arts & Genomics Centre



Since 1998, Jennifer’s art practice roomforthoughts has tried to formulate an answer to the question of what a thought is. What is the power of thought, how is a thought born? How does a thought affect our body (our brain), our behaviour, and our consciousness? Up until recently roomforthoughts built installation artworks that were materialized questions about the physics of thought. Jennifer has been interested in discovering possibilities to employ her investigations as a creative tool for knowledge production, making room for new ways of commissioning art in science, which go beyond the more traditional role of art as an illustrator/translator of science to the general public.

As Jennifer has a background in fashion, she started to look at her art as a way to stitch, weave and knit thoughts together, almost like an outfit – much like the simple act of trying on a crown to imagine what it would be like to be a king. Here, art becomes a form of materialized thought and thoughts become the clothes to wear. Jennifer then started to develop installations that aimed at capturing the complexity of subjective experiences to be ‘tried on’ by the visitors. To achieve this, the installations appeal to the five senses as much as to individual and collective memories, which are connected with a sense of spatial and temporal embeddedness.  Jennifer became interested in the question whether it would be possible to develop an art-related experience that could help imagine what it would be like to be psychotic. Jennifer’s current aim is to understand the epistemological relation between her art practice of roomforthoughts and the scientific development of psychosis simulators, which are usually created to increase understanding concerning symptoms of schizophrenia.