tk5hs4thBetti Marenko is a design theorist, academic, educator, public speaker and consultant.


Her work is located at the intersection of philosophy and design. Influenced by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, her research examines the tension between design taken as way of speculating on, and instigating, the future, and thought that addresses materiality, affect, the virtual and the nonhuman.

Betti’s interest is in fostering lines of minor design: multiple ways of repositioning design in the 21st century as a problematising tool for thinking, making and creating change. With an interdisciplinary approach that brings together design studies, philosophy and the analysis of digital cultures, her work features frequently in conferences, collections and journals.

She is the co-editor of the volume Deleuze and Design (Deleuze Connections Series, Edinburgh University Press 2015, with Jamie Brassett), and her writing is published in Design and Culture, Design Studies, and Digital Creativity.

She is Associate Editor of the journal Design and Culture.

She is currently writing a book titled Digital Uncertainty. Between Prediction and Potential in Algorithmic Culture, which investigates the new contingent logic of planetary computation and its impact on society, publics and subjectivities. It looks at the production of algorithm-driven knowledge and suggests ways of re-imagining human-machine interaction through unpredictability, intuition, and minor practices. It asks: What does it mean to be human in a world populated by objects designed to be smart? It examines the emerging  nonhuman intelligence of smart objects, informed matter and sentient environments by focusing on the animation and contested materiality of the digital. Animism and digital enchantment are proposed as post-human, post-cognitive, post-user theoretical frameworks to speculate on alternative models of interaction between humans and digital objects and, broadly, between the human and the nonhuman.

Betti’s previous work focused on the practices and politics of body modification – specifically tattooing –  analyzed  through Deleuze, Guattari and Spinoza’s thought. You can read here the abstract of her PhD thesis Body marking/body mapping. Technologies of shifting subjectivity through skin shedding machines. In the late 1990s she wrote two seminal Italian books on this subject: Ibridazioni. Corpi in Transito e Alchimie della Nuova Carne. Roma, Castelvecchi. 1997, and Segni Indelebili. Materia e Desiderio del Corpo Tatuato. Milano, Feltrinelli. 2002. Both are works of ‘practical philosophy’ based on Betti’s own extensive experience of, experimentation with, and reflection on permanent body marking.

She is currently Reader in Design and TechnoDigital Futures at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London where she is also the Contextual Studies Leader for the BA (Hons.) Product Design since 2007, having previously held teaching posts at the University of Essex, and the University of Urbino, Italy. She was Research Leader in Product, Ceramic and Industrial Design at Central Saint Martins from 2013 until the Summer of 2017.

She is Specially Appointed Professor, School of Environment and Society, Tokyo Institute of Technology – part of Tokyo Tech World Research Hub Initiative (WRHI)

For a full CV see here.

To contact Betti: hello@bettimarenko.org

portrait by kirsti abernethy