Born in Moscow, Lev Manovich studied fine arts and architecture before moving to New York in 1981. He began working in computer animation in 1984 at Digital Effects, one of the first commercial companies devoted to producing 3D animation for television and film and has worked with computer media as an artist, computer animator, designer, and programmer since that time.
In 2007 Manovich founded the Software Studies Initiative in order to facilitate work in the emerging field of software studies. The lab, housed within the UC San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunication and Information Technology (Calit2) and the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA), is focused on projects in cultural analytics (data mining and visualization of patterns in large cultural data sets) and game studies.
Manovich's best-known book is The Language of New Media, which has been widely reviewed and translated. His awards include Mellon Fellowship and Guggenheim Fellowship (2002-2003).
Manovich as an MA degree in Experimental Psychology from NYU, (1988), and PhD in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester (1993).