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Orkan Telhan, “Ouroboros Steaks,” Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019. (Courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art)
Orkan Telhan, “Ouroboros Steaks,” Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019. (Courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art)

December 6, 2021, 6:00 pm

Monday, December 6 at 6pm
Virtual Event
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This panel discussion will include short presentations followed by a moderated discussion and an open Q+A.

The Art, Science & Climate Crisis panel aims to bring together cutting edge artists and scholars in conversation with interesting trans-disciplinary scholars from MIT and beyond, including Rania Ghosn (MIT), Sarah Kanouse (Northeastern) and Orkan Telhan (UPenn). The hope is to probe how an intersection of art, architecture, and design with science and technology can inform addressing the pressing concerns of climate crisis.


Rania Ghosn, Associate Professor, MIT

“Elephant in the Room”

Elephant in the Room is a speculative ecofeminist fable for the climate crisis. The animation addresses the elephant in the room — the climate emergency — by telling the story of one elephant who storms out of the Museum of Natural History action to stomach the systemic legacies of “the commerce of power and knowledge in white and male supremacist monopoly capitalism,” all outlined by Donna Haraway as the “Teddy Bear Patriarchy.” The story comes full circle when, in rhyming verse, Donna narrates the adventures of the Elephant Matriarch in her environmentalist rebellion.

Rania Ghosn is Associate Professor of architecture and urbanism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founding partner with El Hadi Jazairy of DESIGN EARTH. Her design research practice deploys the speculative architectural project to make public the climate crisis. The work of Design Earth is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and has been exhibited internationally in venues such as Venice Biennale, Bauhaus Museum Dessau, Matadero Madrid, SFMOMA, Triennale Milano, Sursock Museum, and Times Museum Guangzhou. Ghosn’s honors include Architectural League Prize for Young Architects, Boghossian Foundation Prize, and ACSA Faculty Design awards. Ghosn is co-author of Geographies of Trash (2015), Geostories: Another Architecture for the Environment (3 rd ed. 2022, [2018]), and The Planet After Geoenigneering (2021).

Sarah Kanouse, Associate Professor, Northeastern University

“Beyond Property” – sensing and making relationships to land

Property subtends the Anthropocene. Modern European property theory rests on colonization and chattel slavery—inseparable institutions that bound far-flung continents, ecologies, and people in brutally unequal relations. Property-thought and an ideology of improvement suffuse Western subjectivity, traceable across such disparate phenomena as HGTV reality shows, middle-class health and wellness fads, the “stand your ground” laws that cost Trayvon Martin his life, and opposition to regulations that might stave off climate catastrophe. In the Anthropocene, human survival demands moving beyond the stranglehold of property-thought to embody more porous and accountable ways of relating to land, people, more-than-human beings, and ourselves.

Sarah Kanouse is an interdisciplinary artist and critical writer examining the politics of landscape and space. Migrating between video, photography, and performative forms, her research- based creative projects shift the visual dimension of the landscape to allow hidden stories of environmental and social transformation to emerge. Her creative work has been screened or exhibited at Documenta 13, the Museum of Contemporary Art-Chicago, the Cooper Union, the Clark Art Institute, the Smart Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and in numerous academic institutions as CUNY Graduate Center, George Mason University, University of California Berkeley, and the University of Wisconsin. She has written about performative and site-based contemporary art practices in the journals Acme, Leonardo, Parallax, and Art Journal, as well the edited volumes Ecologies, Agents, Terrains; Critical LandscapesArt Against the Law, and Mapping Environmental Issues in the City.

Orkan Telhan, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania

“Breakfast Before Extinction”

The talk is centered on an installation called “Breakfast Before Extinction” that was commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the “Designs for Different Futures” exhibition. This work investigates questions concerning the future of the human diet and how it shapes and gets shaped by the global climate crisis. I will discuss the artistic and scientific research processes behind the work as well as its reception in the broader public.

Orkan Telhan is interdisciplinary artist, designer and researcher whose investigations focus on the design of interrogative objects, interfaces, and media, engaging with critical issues in social, cultural, and environmental responsibility.

Telhan is Associate Professor of Fine Arts – Emerging Design Practices at University of Pennsylvania, Stuart Weitzman School of Design. He holds a PhD in Design and Computation from MIT’s Department of Architecture. He was part of the Sociable Media Group at the MIT Media Laboratory and a researcher at the MIT Design Laboratory. He studied Media Arts at the State University of New York at Buffalo and theories of media and representation, visual studies and Graphic Design at Bilkent University, Ankara.


Urgent, Critical, and Experimental Explorations Across Art-Culture-Technology

The Fall 2021 programming aims to revisit the foundational parameters of the Art, Culture, and Technology Program, positioning ACT within the context of a changing world and its future challenges. By articulating key thematic avenues and methodological approaches that intersect the work of invited artists and ACT faculty members, we link these inquiries to concerns of other researchers at MIT and beyond. The programming falls into two categories: artist talks and panels.