Being Material Conveners March for Science Statement

Posted on March 13, 2017 by leaht

A statement from the symposium conveners:


“BEING MATERIAL—and being digital, for that matter—demands that we be with science and engineering, both in the sense of standing with the scientific method and its results as well as in the sense of recognizing that all of us—scientists, artists, humanists, engineers—must be with one another, in support of reliable accounts of the material world, accounts crafted in cross-disciplinary solidarity, dialogue, and, as demanded, debate. BEING PROGRAMMABLE, as Skylar, Kevin, Benjamin Ben, Nadya, Manu, and Casey teach us, means tuning to the material consequences and active possibilities of today’s algorithmic living. BEING WEARABLE, as Leila, Azra, Christina, Hussein, Michelle, Lucy, and Natasha show us, means attending to how new science and technology will reshape our bodies, clothing, and data, and thereby the texture of our communities. BEING LIVABLE, as Rebecca, Bettina, Tal, Bill, and Claire make manifest, is about following how splices of biology and economy might re-shape our livable or unlivable worlds. And BEING INVISIBLE, as Sandy, George, Lisa, Trevor, and Michelle clarify, is in tension with being visible and with creating new ways of making public the evidence of the material world around us.

BEING MATERIAL, then, entails many things, and most of us are hard at work thinking all this though every day—in our labs, our research groups, our offices, and, now, here at this symposium.

On Saturday, April 22, after the symposium concludes (see new schedule), on the Boston Common—just two subway stops away—there will be a March for Science, in synchrony with a March on Washington DC and with 320 satellite marches around the world. So, if being material is being scientific, artistic, and humanistic—that is, being things that MIT is good at—it will also mean, for some, BEING VISIBLE in support of such alliances, especially as they may be under threat from funding cuts to the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts. If you’d like to join in, witness, or even critique the March, many of us are heading over to the Common to experiment with BEING MATERIAL, BEING VISIBLE, and BEING AUDIBLE in alliance with science.”


In solidarity,

Stefan Helmreich, Leila W. Kinney, Skylar Tibbits, Rebecca Uchill and Evan Ziporyn



Below is the updated schedule:


Friday, April 21, 2017

11:00am: Registration open

12:00pm: “Been Digital,” a welcome by Nicholas Negroponte

1:00-3:00pm: Programmable

3:00-4:00pm: Break with snacks and demos

3:00pm: Audible performance by Grace Leslie

4:00-6:00pm: Wearable

6:00pm: Audible performance by Maya Beiser

6:30-7:00pm: Reception and Demos


Saturday, April 21, 2017

8:30am: Registration open

9:00-10:30am: Livable

10:30-11:00am: Coffee break

11:00am-1:00pm: Invisible

1:00-1:30pm: Closing Discussion and Q&A

2:00pm March for Science on Boston Common