David Burns works in media and space.
His current research examines the role of media in the historiographies of sites of nuclear colonialism. His PhD from the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths was concerned with the Woomera Rocket Range in South Australia, specifically the British nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s and 1960s at Maralinga. His dissertation traced the histories of Maralinga via its landscape, the effects of repeated acts of colonisation and remediation, and the devastating effects of the tests on Indigenous populations and their modes of living. The project was accompanied by an archive of found photography, drawings, court records, newsreels, scientific studies, and memorabilia combined with new photography and moving image work completed during fieldwork in South Australia.
For two decades David has written and led transdisciplinary curricula in architecture, art, and design in universities in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. He leads Media Studies at the Royal College of Art School of Architecture and was previously the Director of Photography and Situated Media at the University of Technology Sydney, an adjunct assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and the Paul Rudolph Visiting Assistant Professor of Architecture at Auburn University. David is a co-founder, alongside Adam Kaasa and Thandi Loewenson, of the Fiction, Feeling, Frame research collective at the Royal College of Art.
In addition to his PhD, David holds a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Tennessee. He has worked as an architect and designer for Asymptote Architecture, the Guggenheim Museum, and Holabird and Root. In 2000, he founded the multi-disciplinary practice SO-AD, which completed projects in architecture, set design, interactive design, and graphic design. SO-AD’s work for the Andy Warhol Museum garnered two AIGA awards and was featured in Metropolis Magazine. David’s solo work and projects have been published in Architectural Record, Abitare, Domus, Architecture Australia, Architecture Review Australia, and the Architect’s Newspaper, among others.
His research outputs include an extensive history of exhibitions and commissions, combined with publications, articles, and invited lectures and symposia. He is currently working on a book of photography and essays, a chapter in an upcoming book, and several commissioned essays.