In 1965, the founder of MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies György Kepes wrote The Visual Arts and Sciences: A Proposal for Collaboration, in which he declared himself a painter “who feels at home in the visible world rather than in the complexities of concepts.” By rephrasing this statement as a question, this online exhibition of new works from the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology acknowledges the embedded legacies of art and research at MIT while also recognizing the radical shifts happening in contemporary society--many of which are driven by developments deeply rooted in the culture of this institution.
Bringing together artistic-research practices around their shared embrace of respective positionalities, the selected projects (largely created in physical isolation) highlight ACT’s inquiries into changing notions of humanity by exploring non-human agencies from microbes to machines that are increasingly disassociated from the visible world. Are we actually just assemblages of many beings? How is our existence being quantified as data? Where is the border between the self and others; between soil, plant, bacteria, human and machine? And how are we, as systems, deeply regulated by other systems from architecture to smart cities, and from digestive systems to ecosystems? Traversing geographies and temporalities in the shifting terrains of labor, data, and colonization these artists work to find lost histories, reframe accepted discourses, and propose new futures.