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Light Dance 1989 MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies. Photo: Noah Riskin
Light Dance 1989 MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies. Photo: Noah Riskin

October 23, 2023, 12:30 pm2:00 pm

In Light Dance, Seth Riskin extends his body with light and, with the control of a gymnast, articulates light phenomena around viewers who find themselves at the center of the movement experience. Through unique artistic methods and technologies, Light Dance creates a visual environment in which light is perceived as a reflexive experience of vision. In this talk-demo, Riskin will shift the focus of Light Art to shaping of human perception. He will relate Light Dance to forebearers in the Light Art tradition, including CAVS artists and works. Demonstrating his method of articulated illumination and its perceptual effects, Riskin will rework the relationship between artistic practice and vision neuroscience, centering artistic insight not as corroboration of scientific theory, but as companion—and at times, as lead—to discoveries on the nature of perception.

About Seth Riskin:
Seth Riskin’s Light Dance embodies the core method of his art and thought. He developed the art form at the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS). He earned a masters degree at CAVS under the direction of German artist Otto Piene, and a PhD at the Center for Advanced Integrative Arts (CAiiA) at Plymouth University in England (with Roy Ascott). Riskin pursues his art in connection with vision research, e.g., at MIT, Carnegie Mellon University and the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, Germany. On a Fulbright scholarship to India 1992-3, he studied Hindu fire dancing in its philosophical context. Riskin teaches original, interdisciplinary courses, e.g., “The Architecture of Light” and “Light as an Art Medium” at the Rhode Island School of Design and the annual “Vision in Art and Neuroscience,” offered by the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Riskin is the founding manager of the MIT Museum Studio and Compton Gallery, a program that brings experimental museum practice to forefronts of MIT research and education . Perception is a core interest at the Studio, bridging art and science.

Part of the Artistic Inquiry Luncheon Series 2023-2024.