Recent News for ACT Alumnus Matthew Mazzotta

Matthew Mazzotta, Looking for a Landscape, 2009.
ACT at MIT

Matthew Mazzotta, ACT alumnus and lecturer whose work is focused around public interventions in everyday life, has been active in the arts community over the last two years!

The Headland Centre for the Arts in Sausalito, California recently announced that he is the second recipient of their Chamberlain Award for his work with public spaces and social engagement. The Headland Centre for the Arts is an organization dedicated to offering “opportunities for reflection, dialogue, and exchange that build understanding and appreciation for the role of art in society.” The award supports artists engaged in the highly participatory “social practice” art.

Mazzotta’s project, Open House, was featured in the November 2014 issue of SCULPTURE Magazine. The project was conceived in 2011, when Mazzotta met with residents of York, Alabama in an “outdoor living room,” that he designed and created. The living room was furnished with couches, televisions, and coffee tables and allowed locals to discuss the needs of the community in a familiar setting. These conversations exposed the lack of public space and led Matthew to develop Open House, a house-like structure that can be disassembled to create a 100-seat open-air theater, with the community’s input. The area around the house is used as a park when it is closed, and it hosts free community events when it is open. Videos and photos of Open House are also featured in a group show, Grey Matter: Materials, Reuse, Architecture, at Pavillon de l’Arsenal, Paris.

His 2009 project Looking for a Landscape, is part of the group show Reprogramming the City – Opportunities for Urban Infrastructure, an exhibition exploring objects and structures that alter human interactions with urban environments. Looking for a Landscape appears to be an urban utility box but it unfolds into padded platforms that are attached to the box by cables, cantilevering over the ground and resulting a “drawbridge-like” appearance. Each box comes with binoculars that allow people to sit and view the city and hidden wheels so the structure can be moved to different locations within the city. The show runs through January 4, 2015, at the Danish Architecture Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Mazzotta’s work was recently featured in Aesthetics of Protest, an online archive comprising of a collection of entries related to socio-political practices and engagement of what we call everyday protest. The article features Mazzotta’s 2011 piece DO NOT DISTURB: The Complexities of Public Space in Italy, a series of three placemats as public artwork for local Italian restaurants which contain images of famous Italian architecture made of Italian food. The images were accompanied by relevant text about the lack of public space in Italy.

Inspired by his work with outdoor living spaces in York, Alabama, the Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore invited Mazzotta to be an artist-in-residence from November 2014 to January 2015 to develop another iteration of his “outdoor living room” project. The installation will be concerned with community engagement and public art.

Mazzotta’s work was featured on the September 2014 cover of ArtVoices Magazine, with a four-page article about his work, including two projects from his time at MIT, Insertion Module and Tuesday. A comprehensive article about Mazzotta’s practice can be found here.