Alejandro Medina, Class of 2023

Cloud Forest (Ways of Seeing) is a single channel video work that collides the latest advances in computer vision with video footage of a cloud forest in Guatemala (which is amongst the most bio-diverse environments in the world, with many different forms of intelligences cohabiting together) to think through the consistencies and inconsistencies between natural and artificial forms of intelligence. The slow panning footage of the forest is run through different filtering techniques and algorithms that are commonly used in machine learning to train new “intelligences” to see and understand the world around them. the video contemplates how both natural and artificial forms of intelligences might read the world (or learn to read the world) around them through the use of abstraction.

Untitled (Sombra) is a series of photographs that try to consider plant sensing. the images try to imagine the different forms of information/sensing that could potentially be captured by the medium of photography (the pixel) beyond the visual.

Figures is a series of drawings based on extracted pages from the the twenty research papers on climate change with the most citations. in theory these papers are the ones that have had the most influence within scientific discourse (each with more than 5,000 citations), and thus have gone on to influence and largely formulate our understanding of climate change. Once these pages are printed, all traces of legible language are erased from the drawings, only leaving behind the abstract line work of the “figures.” the graphs, diagrams, and visualizations that are used to explain data in these papers. the work tries to point towards the un-graspability of climate change, and the different ways in which data, facts and research from the sciences becomes an abstraction the moment it leaves the spheres of science and academia.

Alejandro Medina is a research-based artist and architect from Guatemala. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) degree from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles and is currently pursuing a Master of Science (MS) in Art, Culture, and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work explores the relationship between humans and nature, particularly through the lens of the architecture and technologies that we build and use; reflecting critically upon our exploitation and manipulation of living systems, non-human beings, and the biosphere at large.

About the ACT Studio:

The ACT Studio serves as a space for participants to develop their independent practices in relation to each other’s work and in the context of the Art, Culture, and Technology program (ACT) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The understanding and interpretation of each of these terms – art, culture, and technology – can vary significantly between each of the 14 participants; through shared readings, intimate conversations in small groups around each participant’s work, the spring 2022 ACT Studio aimed at developing a common language to allow for a fruitful conversation between the diverse practices of its participants.

In April, a study trip was organized to New York City, the first official out-of-campus travel since the beginning of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. During the weekend, the studio participants visited several art galleries and museums; on Sunday the 11th, they were hosted in the morning by Participant Inc.’s founder, Lia Gangitano; in the afternoon, the studio gathered at Bortolami Gallery in Tribeca, where a seminar took place in the gallery’s upstairs with the invited guests: geographer and abolitionist activist professor Ruth Wilson Gilmore, and Dia Art Foundation curator Jordan Carter.

The trip culminated on Monday, April 12th, with a full-day visit to the Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as it’s Kept, in which the instructor Renée Green’s work is included. after visiting the overall exhibition, the act studio engaged in an extended and intimate conversation with the biennial curators, Adrienne Edwards and David Breslin.