mit program in art, culture and technology
The MIT Program in Art, Culture & Technology (ACT) is an academic program and research unit headed by internationally renowned practicing artists. At ACT, students, fellows, and affiliates engage in hybrid artistic research and practice that experiments with new compositions of media and new forms of art technologies and deployments at the personal and the civic scale. In the spirit of artist and educator György Kepes—founder of ACT’s predecessor, the Center for Advanced Visual Studies—ACT promotes artistic leadership in the field and engages with critical investigations in art and culture that aspire the future of technologies and science in transforming the world and its perception.
Born out of a merger between MIT’s influential Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS founded in 1967) and Visual Arts Program (VAP founded in 1989) in 2009, ACT shares in a rich heritage of work expanding the notion of visual studies and pushing the capacity of art to enlist science and technology in cultural production and critique. Situated within the School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P), ACT inhabits a dynamic ecosystem of centers, institutes, and programs promoting the interplay between STEM and the arts. Within this broader network, ACT has a unique role to play: it offers students, researchers, practitioners, and guests the opportunity to expand the interrogative function of art: to develop art as a set of perspectives and means for addressing the social, cultural and ecological consequences of technology; to use art to build bridges between technics and life, industry and culture, representation and embodiment; and to challenge the boundaries between self and other, fiction and history, public and private, human and non-human, research and life.
The program currently offers an undergraduate minor and concentration, as well as a highly selective two-year graduate program, the Master of Science in Art Culture and Technology (SMACT). It also offers a variety of introductory courses to the general MIT student population and courses tailored to undergraduates majoring in architecture. Advanced courses related to specific media and topics are offered as electives for both undergraduate and graduate students. ACT studio courses are complemented by practical workshops and discussions in theory and criticism, often provided by fellows and visitors to the program. Studios also regularly involve in situ engagements and research field trips, which, in addition to their research/pedagogical value, are intended to establish an MIT presence in international circuits of artistic and scholarly collaboration.