Maria Mandea (b.1991, Bucharest) is a playful media artist and designer working within social contexts. Considering viewers as players and collaborators in the artwork, she challenges disciplinary and role boundaries. With a background in object design and, before that, in algorithm thinking, she creates objects that contain sets of rules for imagined situations in which players can become immersed.
Her work's recurring themes are togetherness, reaching a common aesthetic decision within groups and the post-industrial, post-socialist context in which she lives.
She graduated from the Product Design department at UAUIM Bucharest in 2017 and is currently (2018-present) a Doctorate student at UNARTE, where she researches the design of playful objects.
In 2013 she created Micul Haos, a toy design project based on an original concept on the border between toys and participatory art objects. In 2017, she co-founded Super Serios design studio, where she develops games and playful-performative installations. In 2021, she co-founded Știrbei47 art-space for emergent and participatory art in Bucharest.
Lately, she has found the medium of large-scale interactive installations (Divided, 2020, Aproape Departe, 2020, System in the Room, 2020, I Me Ours, 2021) and is currently exploring it. Many of the projects she has worked on combine tangible and digital mediums (Nunu - Cinema Elvira Popescu, 2016; Eviction Notice - Cinetic, 2017; Divided - Ars Electronica, 2020, Aproape Departe, WASP, 2020). She developed various designs for performances (Familia Offline, Teatrul Foarte Mic - 2012, Memories from the school-age, Teatrul de Comedie - 2014, Kunterbunt, Teatrul Gong - 2020, București Livrator, Teatrul Masca - 2021).
She has participated in national and international festivals: Explore Dance Festival 2013, Temps des Images 2013, 2014, Poitiers Film Festival 2018, TAKAVOIR - laboratoire des nouvelles images 2019, Romanian Design Week 2019, 2021, Simultan Festival 2020, Ars Electronica Festival 2020.