Loading What’s On

October 20, 2023October 23, 2023

Celebration of 55th anniversary of MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies

A series of events including a Book Launch for Elizabeth Goldring and Ellen Sebring’s Centerbook at the Goethe-Institut Boston, Research Salons, Screening of Márton Orosz’s György Kepes: Interthinking Art + Science, and a lecture from Margit Rosen.

Centerbook, by Elizabeth Goldring and Ellen Sebring, is the first comprehensive history of MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) told through personal accounts and images of groundbreaking artwork. The Centerbook launch is part of a four-day series of events celebrating the 55th anniversary of the founding of CAVS, and dedicated to explore the state of art, technology and science collaboration in the 21st century vis-à-vis changing environments and new climatic regime.

The Research Salons will bring more than fifty artists and scholars to MIT to discuss new methods and forms of environmental art, immersive media, and diverse forms of intelligence that grapple with the changing environments and new climatic regime. Within this context the film György Kepes: Interthinking Art + Science by Márton Orosz (Vasarely Museum, Budapest) will premiere at MIT Bartos Theater on October 21 at 7pm.

The public lecture from Margit Rosen (ZKM): Of Bored Machines and Enthusiastic Humans – Gordon Pask and the Art of Conversation, will take place at MIT ACT Cube on October 23 at 6pm.

The series is curated by Gediminas Urbonas (MIT ACT) and developed in dialogue with Azra Aksamija (MIT ACT), Alan Sonfist (Land Art Forward), John Craig Freeman (Emerson college), and ACT studio and is supported by MIT ACT, Goethe-Institut, and the Dean’s office of MIT SA+P.

Friday, October 20 at 6:30pm

Book Launch and an Evening with the Authors

Goethe-Institut Boston
170 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02116

Featuring a welcome from the Goethe-Institut’s Joerg Suessenbach (Director) and Annette Klein (Program Curator) and introductions from Gediminas Urbonas (MIT ACT), with remarks from Margit Rosen (ZKM), followed by a discussion with Elizabeth Goldring, Ellen Sebring, Azra Aksamija (MIT ACT), Bill Seaman (Duke University), Vin Grabill (University of Maryland), and Rus Gant (Harvard University).

Saturday, October 21 from 12:00 - 9:00pm

Research Salons

The Cube (MIT E15-001)
Art, Culture, and Technology program at MIT
Wiesner Building
20 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA

Session 1: Launching of the Land Art Forward and discussion on the future of environmental art

12:00–1:30 pm

Alan Sonfist (founder of Land Art Forward), Yuko Hasegawa (Kanazawa Museum), Gaël Forget (MIT EAPS), Claudio Gulli (Fondazione Butera), Sangil Kim (Taepyung Salt), Ran Ortner (Contemporary Artist), John Grande (Environmental Art Critic), Shelot Masithi (She4Earth Director), Ayesha Mubarak (Emerging AI/ML environment), Basia Goszczynska (Sustainable Art), Fritz Horstman (Environmental Art), Fabrice (Sustainable Art), Norman Kleeblatt (Curator and Art Critic), Alejandro Carosso (Environmental Art Advisor), Jay Lu (Art and Business).

Session 2: Emergent Futures: Critical Zones and Confronting Colonial Myths

3:00 pm–5:00 pm

Adesola Akinleye (TWU), Azra Aksamija (MIT ACT), Silvia Bottinelli (Tufts/SMFA), Vladimir Bulovic (MIT.nano), Joe Davis MIT (MIT Biology Schwartz Lab and Harvard Medical School Church Lab at Harvard Genetics), Caroline A Jones (MIT HTC), John Craig Freeman (Emerson), Rus Gant (Harvard), Erin Genia (MIT ACT), Vin Grabill (UMBC), Mark Jarzombek (MIT HTC), Cadine Navarro (MIT), Jean-Luc Pierite (NAICOB/ MIT DUSP), Tobias Putrih (MIT ACT), Margit Rosen (ZKM), Kristupas Sabolius (VU), Bill Seaman (Duke), Nida Sinnokrot (MIT ACT), Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas (MIT ACT), Matej Vakula (RPI), Robert van der Hilst (MIT EAPS), Sarah Wolozin (MIT CMS), ACT students

Film Screening: György Kepes. Interthinking Art + Science 

Bartos Theater (MIT E15)
Art, Culture, and Technology program at MIT
Wiesner Building
20 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA

Screening of Márton Orosz’s György Kepes. Interthinking Art + Science,  with opening remarks from the director followed by a discussion/Q&A on Kepes

Monday, October 23 at 6pm

Margit Rosen (ZKM) | Of Bored Machines and Enthusiastic Humans. Gordon Pask and the Art of Conversation

The Cube (MIT E15-001)
Art, Culture, and Technology program at MIT
Wiesner Building
20 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA

Nearly seven decades ago, British cybernetician Gordon Pask (1928-1996) envisioned a world in which machines engaged humans in conversation. Pask, who gained international fame in the 1950s for his innovative adaptive teaching machines, created cybernetic devices and environments that not only adapted to humans, but challenged them. Assuming that humans find it pleasurable to continuously develop new mental models of the behavior of their environment, Pask developed devices that attempted to keep their human counterparts in a state of uncertainty.

Gordon Pask’s visionary concepts and projects were unique within cybernetics not least because of his close involvement with the arts. Not universities or research institutes, but theaters and music halls were the experimental laboratory for Pask’s first cybernetic machines. By introducing key projects such as Musicolour (1953-1957), the “moody” light organ, the Colloquy of Mobiles (1968), as well as his cybernetic contributions to the Fun Palace (1964), the visionary architectural project by Cedric Price and Joan Littlewood, this talk situates Pask’s work in the context of the historical moment when the relationships of humans and machines in industrial societies began to change in light of the sudden availability of learning, sensor-equipped devices. It shows how the cybernetician, within the 1950s and 1960s, oscillated between his artistic passions, the need to respond to the individual and social challenges of automation, the new role of humans as sources of error in civilian and military machine systems, and his work on a new epistemological concept, later called Conversation Theory. This talk aims to put up for discussion how we might relate to Pask’s early vision of a world of machines that behave in difficult or to some degree unpredictable ways, that is to say to conversational machines that we may bore, but which would always shield us from boredom.