February School 2019

Jenna Sutela: nimiia cétiï, 2018, video still.
ACT at MIT

Below are the events currently scheduled for February School 2019. Most workshops have limited places. To sign up for a workshop event, please email .

In the month of February, the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology will set up a temporary school in the Wiesner Gallery, Student Center (W20). 

Initiated in 2018, February School is an experiment in peer-to-peer learning which aims to intervene and critically reflect on the institutional and pedagogical structures of MIT. The School is a subsystem of education where students and the general public are invited to organize and attend classes, cinema cycles, exhibitions, community discussions, workshops, and construction projects throughout the month. Operating ‘within and against’ the structures and conventions of the Institute, February School explores other ways of learning, sharing, and building knowledge and community.

Schedule and Events:

Moving a Still Painting:
Jessica Sarah Rinland (SMACT ’18)

February 6th, 11am-1:30pm
February 12th, 4-5:30pm

Taught by Jessica Sarah Rinland, this two-day 16mm workshop will cover hands-on Camera-less Filmmaking and instruction of Bolex H16 filming. Participants will learn techniques for both filming and painting, drawing, or scratching directly onto film. 

With rolls of transparent film for each participant, we will be exploring multiple filmmaking styles and perspectives to find new ways of making and seeing. At the end of the workshops, the films will be projected.

 

Mutual Pictures #5:
Jenna Sutela and Nicole L’Huillier
Bartos Theatre (E15-070)
February 6th, 7pm

Screening and listening session followed by an informal discussion with the artists, and dinner. 

Jenna Sutela works with words, sounds, and other living materials. Her installations and performances seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments, often in relation to technology. In 2019 she will be an MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology Visiting Artist.

Nicole L’Huillier is a transdisciplinary artist from Santiago, Chile, currently pursuing a PhD in the MIT Media Lab, Opera of the Future group, working at the intersection of art, music, architecture, science, and technology. 

 

Instruments of Protest: Speaker Tower
Nicolás Kisic Aguirre (SMACT ’18)
Wiesner Gallery (W20-209)
Pt 1: February 12th, 1-4pm
Pt 2: February 19th, 1-4pm
Pt 3: February 27th, 5-7pm

During the month of February, a series of protests are being held in the Boston area against Raytheon, a major US weapons contractor and war profiteer with strong ties to MIT. Raytheon seeks talent in local universities, sponsors different programs, and has strong partnerships with the Institute. Throughout this workshop, participants will research the connection between MIT and Raytheon and collaborate on a sound piece to explore new ways of occupying the sonic space to manifest and strengthen a collective voice.  

Participants will engage with the Speaker Tower, a portable and autonomous instrument of protest developed by artist Nicolás Kisic Aguirre, in a series of workshops culminating in a performance and protest.

 

Douglass Davis Darwin Lincoln X
With MIT Radius
Wiesner Gallery (W20-209)
February 13th, 7:30pm

In this interactive event, participants will read aloud sections of Frederick Douglass’s Fourth of July Speech alongside related texts from the abolitionist, civil rights, and black power movements. With Gospel music led by Robbie Pate. 

Radius is an MIT faculty group that explores ethics at the heart of science and technology at MIT.

 

To Cambridge With Love, MIT
Laura Perovich and Lillian Hsu
Wiesner Gallery, (W20-209)
February 14th, 3-5pm

How do MIT and Cambridge interact as institutions and as individuals? What kind of power structures inform their relationships? This workshop will investigate the MIT and Cambridge relationship and explore new methods for engagement on local challenges such as justice, environment, city planning, health, public space, education, and more. Community and city representatives will join us to explore first steps to beginning new collaborative projects together. Since the NECCO conversation hearts are gone, we’ll decorate cookies with messages from MIT to Cambridge and Cambridge to MIT establishing our relationship…and eat these cookies to internalize our new future together! 

Laura Perovich, PhD Candidate, MIT Media Lab.

Lillian Hsu, Director of Public Art and Exhibitions, Cambridge Arts Council. 

 

Giant Inflatables Workshop
Agnes Cameron and Gary Zhexi Zhang (SMACT ’19)
Wiesner Gallery, (W20-209)
February 16th | 11am-3pm
February 23rd | 11am-4:30pm 

Over 2 sessions, we will collaboratively make a giant inflatable! No experience required. First session: intro to sewing and designing inflatables. Second session: make a room sized inflatable/an inflatable room. There will be food. 

 

Pixilate: A Spontaneous Collective Animation Workshop
Samuel Mendez
Wiesner Gallery (W20-209)
February 17th, 12-1:30pm

In this workshop, participants will receive a basic introduction to the mechanics of pixilation: stop-motion animation using human body movement. Then, they will learn through creating a short animation collaboratively, one photo at a time, using only body movement. This workshop aims to expose anyone interested to a budget-friendly animation technique, and expand all participants’ notions of what can be said without words. No previous formal artistic experience necessary. Comfortable clothes recommended. 

Samuel Mendez is a Master’s student in the Department of Comparative Media Studies at MIT. 

 

An Analog Interface in a Digital World
Kalli Retzepi
Wiesner Gallery (W20-209)
Opening February 18th, 6pm 

Branden Hookway describes the interface as a “form of relation”. As interfaces increasingly work by inserting themselves in our subconscious ways of being, this short photographic exploration probes the nature of our encounters with them by creating a dialogue between digital and analog interfaces, and asks, given our techno-cultural context, what the consequences of these momentary mediations are. 

Kalli Retzepi is a graduate student at the Media Lab. She uses technology, design, and images in order to explore the politics of digital interfaces, the narrative of the user and to imagine new metaphors for the Web. 

 

Traditional Dyeing Workshop
Elizabeth James Perry (Aquinnah Wampanoag), weaver
Wiesner Gallery (W20-209)
February 21st, 1-5pm

Participate in this fun hands-on workshop to learn how to dye with natural materials and traditional techniques. Through the process, learn about local plant ecology and textile arts traditions in the Northeast Algonquian Tribal Nations from Wampanoag culture-bearer and master weaver, Elizabeth James Perry. Make a dyed item to take away with you.

Elizabeth James Perry will also be speaking about her work on Wednesday February 20, 2019 7pm in the Bartos Theater.

 

Skip Read Open Studio
Billy Foshay
Wiesner Gallery (W20-209)
February 22nd, 6:30-8:30pm

Skip reading is an adaptation of William Borough’s “cut-up method” that allows readers to skip freely around different portions of a text to create new non-linear interpretations. The goal is to surpass the linearity of reading by rearranging words through the readers’ discretion to composite a new text. Participants are encouraged to bring in a text of their choosing they wish to be skip read. This could be writing of their own or of another – a textbook, a poem, a paper, an online review, an email, etc. Each skip read text will require three readers, and therefore 3 electronic copies of the text. The readers will take turns reading a selected portion of the text – the next reader picking up where the previous left off and continuing the cycle until the group feels the composite is complete. The audio will be captured with microphones and recording devices. 

Billy Foshay is an MFA candidate at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 

 

REALIZSTANCE
Sultan Sharrief
Wiesner Gallery (W20-209)
February 23rd-24th, 1-6pm

A mixed reality performance piece in which a group comes together, develops a script that fits into an existing VR structure, and puts on an event for their peers. The narrative involves a message that has been sent back from the future and encourages people to come together and join in a compassion dance that is rooted in spiritual traditions from around the world. The event is creative with performance, set design, hair and makeup design, cosplay, live action role playing elements, as well as use of new technology like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in a communal setting. At the end of the experience, there is a curriculum that was developed with the transformative justice project in Detroit where the event partners facilitate discussions with the attendees. The goal is to use creative practice as a means of fostering collaboration across difference and creating safe space for sensitive but in depth dialog about race and class. 

Sultan Sharrief is a trans-media activist, filmmaker, educator, and social entrepreneur. His interest lies at the intersection of art, business, and community impact.

 

Cybernetics Library: The Anti-Canonizer (working title)
Wiesner Gallery (W20-209)
February 25th, Time TBD

The Cybernetics Library, a collective of artists, architects, and designers, who have created a physical library around the history of cybernetics, as well as organizing events like the Cybernetics Conference in 2018, will be hosting a workshop as part of February School exploring connections between their work and collection and MIT. They will also bring some great books. More details to come!

 

Gardening Workshop
Laura Knott
Wiesner Gallery (W20-209)
February 27th, 10am-1pm 

It may seem that gardeners are growing tomatoes, or zucchini, or pumpkins, corn, and beans. But the best gardeners are growing soil. And, in the meantime, they’re growing communities of bacteria and fungi and, sometimes, of neighbors and friends. This workshop brings together textual references and a little dirt, to think together about food, seeds, and gardening as a generative and regenerative action. 

Laura Knott is an artist, curator, editor and author, specializing in work at the intersection of art and technology. She is also an alumna of the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies. 

 

Ecosystem: The Sentence Verses the Line and the Line Verses the Sentence
Kevin McLellan
Wiesner Gallery (W20-209)
February 27th, 2-4pm

We must consider that each line of poetry is an independent division of information that has the ability to accommodate both separation and wholeness, yet each line also informs or speaks to the abutting lines, thus challenging: the sentence, the sentence’s preoccupations, and the reader’s expectations. In this seminar we will contemplate the sentence and the line; participate in a relevant writing prompt; and then engage in discussion. 

Kevin McLellan is the author of Hemispheres (Fact-Simile Editions, forthcoming), Ornitheology (The Word Works, 2018), [box] (Letter [r] Press, 2016), Tributary (Barrow Street, 2015), and Round Trip (Seven Kitchens, 2010). He won the 2015 Third Coast Poetry Prize and Gival Press’ 2016 Oscar Wilde Award, and his poems appear in numerous literary journals including: American Letters & Commentary, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Kenyon Review, West Branch, Western Humanities Review, and Witness. Kevin is a Financial Assistant in MIT’s Program in Art, Culture, and Technology. 

 

Closing Party
Wiesner Gallery (W20-209)
Thursday February 28th, 8pm

Come celebrate the end of the February School 2019!

 

Mutual Pictures #6: November Actions
Hosted in collaboration with MIT Radius and MIT KSA
Bartos Theater (E15-070)
March 4th, 6pm

Film screening of excerpts of “November Actions”, a powerful documentary by Ricky Leacock following the protests of MIT students, faculty, and staff against the war in Vietnam and MIT’s complicity in that war. Followed by a moderated conversation with a panel to provide focused discussion on three pressing issues/crises facing the MIT community: Ethics of AI and the #techlash movement of tech workers; MIT and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; and Local Impact of MIT: Housing and physical operations (sustainability/environmental issues). We will invite one local expert on each of these issues to serve as panelist.

This event provides not only historical information but also inspiration and a strong sense of “what’s next” amongst the community for actions we can take now (letter signing re: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and MIT, lunches to talk about how to work in the tech industry within an ethical framework, how to learn more about MIT’s real estate dynasty and how that is impacting our area of Cambridge).

On March 4, 1969, there was an extraordinary mass meeting of MIT faculty, students and staff to protest MIT’s complicity in the Vietnam War. This was considered a “positive protest” and included plans for positive action. Included in the storied panel of speakers were Noam Chomsky, Lionel Trilling and Nobel Laureate George Wald. Wald’s speech “A Generation in Search of a Future” became known world-wide. In addition, the day marks the founding of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Join us for an exploration of the power of protest at MIT focusing on this momentous moment in MIT’s history. What can we learn from previous protests and use that knowledge and energy to spur the Institute to create ethical policies? 

We will screen excerpts of November Actions: Defiance at MIT,1969a powerful documentary following the protests of MIT students, faculty and staff against the war in Vietnam and MIT’s complicity in that war–protests that lead to the historic March 4th event.

 This will be followed by a moderated conversation with a panel to provide focused discussion on three pressing issues facing the MIT community:

The Ethics of AI: Abby Everett Jaques, a philosopher at MIT, is the Ethics lead for MIT’s Quest for Intelligence, and a Research Fellow in Digital Ethics at the Jain Family Institute

MIT’s on-going relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Ryan Costello, Coalition to Stop the Genocide in Yemen

Local Impact of MIT: Housing: Rose Lenehan, MIT Graduate Student in Philosophy and tenant organizer 

Moderator: David Wright, PhD, Senior Scientist and Co-Director, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists

Introductory Remarks: Deborah G. Douglas, Director of Collections and Curator of Science and Technology at MIT Museum, and Research Associate in MIT’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society

This event will be a starting point for additional programs, lunches, panels later on in spring 2019focusing more specifically on these issues. Participants at the MIT March 4 @ 50 Years event would be able to sign up for follow-up programming.  

The MIT Press has recently published March 4, Anniversary Edition: Scientists, Students, and Society, edited by Jonathan Allen and foreword by Kurt Gottfriend, co-founder of the Union of Concerned Scientists. 

Refreshments will be served.

Co-Sponsored with the MIT Faculty Newsletter, and the MIT Day of Action Committee

 

Machine + Arm Knitting Workshop
Carmel Snow
March 8th

A hands on arm + machine knitting workshop learn- ing basic knit structures knitting theory and material innovation. Explore 3D knitting thru making shapes innovative knit struc- tures and material designs to make new forms objects and sculptures with textiles. In the workshop you will learn basic arm knitting domestic machine knitting and learn more about Indus- trial knitting craft + industry. Carmel Snow will talk about her tex- tile journey and whats happening in the knit revolution world- wide. Feel free to bring yarn rope threads to knit + explore with.

Carmel Snow is a CNC Knit Researcher at the Self Assembly Lab at MIT

Sign up required,  to register.

 

February School is supported by MIT Office for Graduate Education, the Graduate Student Council and Arts Committee.

venue

  • wiesner gallery
    Stratton Student Center,
    MIT Building W20-209
    84 Massachusetts Avenue,
    Cambridge, MA

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