October 26 | Barbara London | What’s Technology Got to Do with It? (ACT Fall 2020 Lecture Series)

Rachel Rossin, Stalking the Trace. 2019. VR installation. The Zabludowicz Collection. Photo: Courtesy the artist.
ACT at MIT

Monday, October 26
6pm EDT
Virtual Lecture – Register Here

Speaker: Barbara London
Respondent: Caroline Jones

Barbara London will investigate how media art is shaped by its DNA: technology, real-world politics, and art’s mutability. She will focus on how early pioneers and today’s young innovators combine forms, and along the way revise the definitions of such categories as single-channel, installation, performance, painting, photography, and interactivity. Most aspects of daily life are touched today by the Internet and social media’s broad reach. Now since COVID-19, artists are forging inventions that go beyond conventional gallery spaces. To make her points, London will discuss the work of artists Julia Scher (surveillance), Zhang Peili (installation), Teiji Furuhashi (performance and installation), Zina Saro-Wiwa (documentary and installation), Cao Fei (Second Life), and Rachel Rossin (VR).

Barbara London is a pioneering New York-based curator and writer, who founded the video-media exhibition and collection programs at The Museum of Modern Art, where she worked between 1973 and 2013. Her current projects include the book Video Art/The First Fifty Years (Phaidon: 2020), the podcast series “Barbara London Calling,” and the exhibition “Seeing Sound” (Independent Curators International, 2020-2024.)

London organized one-person shows with such media mavericks as Laurie Anderson, Peter Campus, Teiji Furuhashi, Gary Hill, Joan Jonas, Shigeko Kubota, Nam June Paik, Song Dong, Steina Vasulka, Bill Viola, and Zhang Peili. Her thematic exhibitions at MoMA included Soundings: A Contemporary Score (2013); Looking at Music (2009); Automatic Update (2007); Video Spaces (1995); Music Video: the Industry and Its Fringes (1985); and Video from Tokyo to Fukui and Kyoto (1979). She was the first to integrate the Internet as part of curatorial practice, with Stir-fry (1997); Internyet (1998); an dot.jp . (1999.)

London teaches in the Sound Art Department, Columbia University, and previously taught in the Graduate Art Department, Yale, 2014-2019. Her honors include: Getty Research Institute scholar, 2016; the Courage Award, Eyebeam, 2016; Gertrude Contemporary Residency, Melbourne, 2012; Dora Maar House Residency, Menerbes, 2010; a CEC Artslink award in Poland, 2003; a Japanese government Bunkacho Fellowship, 1992-93; and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1988-89.