Gediminas Urbonas
Aubrie James
U/G or G
Lab Fee
Per-term $75 fee after Add Date; SMACT students are exempt
3-3-6 or 3-3-3
MW 9:30-12:30

This course focuses on the production of art in the public sphere as a spatial articulation of a paradoxical reality: what constitutes public art in a time when technologies can access, expand, and augment almost any site remotely? To answer this question, this class will probe the critical edges of unexplored monstrosity in hybrid spaces produced by AR/MR/VR/AI/AL technologies. Using the lenses of hybridity and monstrosity (Canguilhem, Haraway), we will explore how to leverage site specificity, natural and cultural histories, and public immersion to produce work that critically engages with its environment in the face of new climatic regime (Latour).

Class participants will deploy AR to unveil invisible and imaginative ecosystems of the MIT campus, drawing inspiration from campus geological, biological, cultural, political and social ecologies while invoking speculative ecological design, Indigenous knowledges, and local public imaginaries. Artistic proposals will be designed to engage the MIT campus, and artworks created in the class will be presented in a form of public performance on campus in May.

Readings and visitors to the class will guide an interrogation of concepts such as Anthropocene aesthetics, the shadow biosphere, human and non-human assemblies, new climatic regimes, feminist fabulation, archipelagic thinking, and hybridity and monstrosity. Participants will probe artistic strategies by mapping shifting notions of public art. Class discussions and artistic explorations will ask how to radically expand the way we feel and operate in a rapidly changing climate. Through monstrous combinations of intellectual, theoretical, aesthetic, and sensorial tools (“devices”), we will explore how to cope with and confront a changing climate on different levels and spatio-temporal scales.

Readings related to this subject include those by Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour, Gilbert Simondon, Georges Canguilhem, Brian Holmes, Miwon Kwon, Sven Lütticken, Andrew Pickering, Isabelle Stengers, Eduardo Viveiro de Castro, Oliver Marchart, Elizabeth Povinelli, Daniel Birnbaum, & Sven-Olov Wallenstein, TJ Demos, and others.

Visits to the class, examples of practice and the field trips may include Mark Jarzombek, Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Christian Skovbjerg Jensen, Lundahl & Seitl, Tamiko Theil, John Craig Freeman, Rus Gant, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Sarah Wolozin, Ursula Ströbele, MIT Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.

The class will meet as a group on Mondays 9.30am-12.30 pm for main input: lectures, visits from guest artists and scholars, and discussions of readings, with a Lab work scheduled on Wednesdays, when individual meetings and/or studio visits and desk crits with the instructor (and guest artists) would be organized. Wednesdays time slot would also be reserved for library/archival research and workshopping of students ideas, including the production of AR project.

The class is structured with a help of three conceptual lenses through which we will look into the artistic project: The Monster, The Paradox and The Hybrid. As such these conceptual lenses would (A) connect with pressing concerns on climate crisis – making bridge between community / injustice / climate change, and (B) help to un-earth the underlying (autochthonous) landscape of the campus, affected by the Anthropogenic events.

In addition to lectures, class discussion, and individual studio meetings the class will organize several field trips facilitated by guest interlocutors, to catalyze explorations.


  • Prerequisites: UG: 4.301 or 4.302; 4.307; 4.312 or permission of instructor; G: 4.307; 4.312 or permission of instructor.
  • Restricted Elective: BSA
  • HASS: A/E
  • Can Be Repeated for Credit: No
  • Undergraduate and Graduate students are welcome to enroll. 
  • Info session is slated on Feb.8th at 9.30am. 
  • For more information contact: Aubrie James (TA), Gediminas Urbonas (Instructor)