Gediminas Urbonas, Lars Bang Larsen, and Laura Knott
Laura Genes
MW 9:30-12:30

This class will focus on collaborative artistic research projects related to ACT’s recognition of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies, a unique and renowned center of artistic research founded at MIT in 1967, and the predecessor to ACT. Working with the curatorial team for the anniversary events and exhibits, the workshop will investigate contemporary approaches to some of the key terms that emanated from the Center for Advanced Visual Studies, addressing questions such as: How does contemporary art conceive of and grapple with proliferating dimensions of “civic scale,” “environment,” and “the future”? Who comprises the “community” to which contemporary art is addressed? How might new and hybrid forms of visual communication act in partnership with, and parallel to, contemporary practices in exhibition-making? How does curatorial research become a site for intervention and action via strategies of display and spatialization?

Topics to be explored include the porosity and permeability of the art concept to social space and to other forms of sentience and knowledge; the creation and protection of fictions that allow for engagement with the intractable; the instigation of problems at the limit of knowing and un-knowing; and the displacement of the art concept to an un-sited position that could be anywhere.

Students will propose projects and develop them from an initial concept to realization of finished models, prototypes, and fully articulated design proposals. Student work will be supported by group discussions, field trips, presentations and individual meetings organized in the class, as well as visits by guest lecturers and artists in the field. Readings related to this subject include those by Latour, Haraway, Tsing, Stengers, Bennet, et al. Visitors to the class will include lecturers in ACT’s public lecture series.

Class limited to 12 students.


LES-6, an experimental military communications satellite, being tested at Lincoln Labs, 1968. Courtesy of the MIT Museum.