During his studies at the Middle East Technical University, Akın was actively involved in artistic and political circles in Ankara. He practiced design, photography and video, and in graduate school, developed an interest in interaction design, cyberculture, digital humanities, semantics and semiotics. Akın became active as an artist during his years in İstanbul, and exhibited widely in Turkey and Europe, taking part in collective and international projects in a field that was seeing its first years of development and emergence. From İstanbul, Akın created connections with institutions in Germany, took classes in Berlin, and stayed close to the pioneers who practiced interaction design and digital data driven forms and interfaces in artistic and political contexts.
In 2009, his work was listed in the ‘Younger Than Jesus’ art directory project of the New Museum, published by Phaidon. That same year, Akın co-curated a seminal media art exhibition, ‘Uncharted: User Frames in Media Arts,’ and edited an accompanying book. Throughout his practice in İstanbul, he regularly collaborated with Ars Electronica in Austria, ZKM in Karlsruhe and Pixelache in Helsinki. Akın was the recipient of the 2015 apexart Franchise Program award in New York, and was the organizer of the zine project and exhibition, Apricots from Damascus, on behalf of apexart, co-produced and hosted by SALT in İstanbul. In 2016, he took part in the public programming of Olafur Eliasson’s Greenlight Project, hosted by TBA 21 in Vienna. With the same institution, he embarked on an expedition to research nuclear test sites in French Polynesia. Currently, part of his long term research-driven art project on nuclear mobility and oceanography is on display at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Singapore and Le Fresnoy Museum in France.
Since the beginning of his practice, he has been interested in manifestations of boundaries–physical, metaphorical, linguistic–that exist around science, nature and politics. In an effort to create the most effective presentations, he refused to settle into an established medium of expression, and instead, moves fluidly between various media, including photography, video, and visualization of quantitative information and programmable media. Some of his works appear as museum, gallery or public space installations, and others in screen-based formats, including online works. Most of his works and links to his online projects can be reached through http://atifakin.info.