ACT’s Center for Advanced Research in Art, Culture and Technology supports faculty research and sponsors fellows and affiliates, research clusters, and maintains an archive of over 40 years of visionary artistic production. This part of ACT’s work continues the legacy of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) founded in 1967 by Hungarian artist and MIT Institute professor György Kepes. The Center reports directly to the Dean of SA+P.

The intention of ACT as a research center is to define and explore artistic research methods and to connect research and curriculum through thematic clusters headed by individual faculty members. Current topics include: “Artistic Interventions: Creative Response to Conflict and Crisis,” “Art, Culture and Public Sphere,” “Interrogative and Eco-design,” “The Future of Body,” “Theatricality, Performativity, Process,” and the “Future Archive.”

ACT holds the archive of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) containing materials concerning collaborative and time-based productions generated by or related to the tenure of nearly 100 internationally recognized artist-fellows over the past 44 years. It is extremely important to find a way to allow public access to this previously untapped and unique archive of time-based art that documents the intersections between art, science, and technology, beginning with the Art and Technology movement of the late 1960s. The archive materials require copyright assessment, preservation, cataloguing, storage, and digitization. A strategy to make the materials publically accessible is also crucial. For the first time the archive is being held in a climate-controlled room, an important step in protecting its contents. However, even though some strides forward have been made, the majority of the archive materials still need to be inventoried and the time based material needs to be migrated to hard-drives and DVD. Patrick Schumann, a Visiting Student, who is a Master’s candidate in Digital Preservation from Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design in Germany, carried out research in the Archive and submitted a report with recommendations on media preservation based on his thesis work.