David Adjaye receives the 2016 McDermott Award from Rick Stone during the McDermott Gala. Photo: L. Barry Hetherington.
David Adjaye receives the 2016 McDermott Award from Rick Stone during the McDermott Gala. Photo: L. Barry Hetherington.

David Adjaye awarded the 2016 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT

Renowned architect David Adjaye visited campus on several occasions this year as part of his award residency, sharing his perspective on the future of the university campus, the museum and the library.

Watch a video: Adjaye’s thoughts about the MIT Chapel

Watch a video: Adjaye’s Keynote Address


Read more about the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT

Students don virtual reality equipment to explore The Enemy. Credit: Lenny Martinez.

Professor Fox Harrell and Visiting Artist Karim Ben Khelifa collaborate on a virtual reality project

The Enemy introduces participants to combatants from opposing sides of contemporary conflicts in the Congo, Israel and Palestine, and El Salvador. The virtual reality project is driven by the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) Visiting Artist Karim Ben Khelifa, a conflict photographer who has worked extensively in the Middle East over the last 18 years covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Read about The Enemy in The New York Times

Aerocene balloon propelled by the energy of sun heat. Tomás Saraceno, "Becoming Aerosolar". Credit: © Studio Tomás Saraceno, 2015.

Aerocene featured at MIT2016 Open House

CAST Visiting Artist Tomás Saraceno, Lodovica Illari, Glenn Flierl and Bill McKenna are reimagining how human beings can navigate around the world. Videos of Saraceno’s air-fuelled sculptures were presented at MIT2016 Open House alongside display simulations of potential flight tracking and data on iGlobe–a spherical display system for visualizing earth systems data.


Aerocene will also be presented at the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

Hacking Arts 2016. Credit Dana Tarr.

Fourth Annual Hacking Arts Festival

Igniting cross-disciplinary innovation, Hacking Arts brings together artists, engineers and entrepreneurs to take on challenges at the intersection of the arts and technology. Projects produced in 2016 ranged from a pitch-shifting controller that unites users’s spatial and auditory senses, a drawing drone and a software program that produces 3D-printable furniture designs using music data from the Spotify API.

Watch a video about the 2016 Hacking Arts created by The Atlantic

Memory Matrix Proposal Rendering. Courtesy Azra Aksamija.
Memory Matrix Proposal Rendering. Courtesy Azra Aksamija.

Council for the Arts at MIT Grant: Memory Matrix

The Memory Matrix was conceived by Azra Aksamija, Class of 1922 Career Development Professor in the Department of Architecture and Assistant Professor in the Art, Culture and Technology Program. The installation was showcased at the MIT2016 Open House with the help of a diverse range of partners within the MIT community, participants from the Maker Faire in Cairo, and Syrian refugee camps in Jordan.

Find out what’s next for Azra Aksamija, recipient of the 2017 Mellon Faculty Grant

Jacob Collier performs at MIT, 2016. Credit: L. Barry Hetherington.

Jacob Collier performed with over 200 students

CAST Visiting Artist Jacob Collier had a packed house in Kresge Auditorium on their feet during his performance with over 200 students including the MIT Wind Ensemble, Choir and Jazz Ensemble. A jazz prodigy who was first known for his inventive covers of popular songs on YouTube that are rendered in dizzying multiplicity as Collier performs all the instruments and sings every harmony.

Media Lab PhD Candidate Ben Bloomberg, who started working with Collier in 2014, created a customized vocal harmonizer for Collier that has transformed his videos into live one-man-show performances.

Coming soon: a short documentary film about Collier’s MIT residency

Pedro Reyes. Credit: Madeleine Gallagher.
Pedro Reyes delivers a lecture at MIT. Credit: Madeleine Gallagher.

Dasha Zhukova Visiting Artist Pedro Reyes

Pedro Reyes, the inaugural Dasha Zhukova Distinguished Visiting Artist, taught “The Reverse Engineering of Warfare: Challenging Techno-optimism and Reimagining the Defense Sector (an Opera for the End of Times),” a course that explored the interplay of imperialism, armed interventions, the defense budget, the history of engineering and military technology, crisis management in environmental disasters, popular entertainment and the global imbalances created by the West’s fixation on technological advancement.

Learn more about the recently founded Dasha Zhukova Distinguished Visiting Artist Program

Experience: Culture, Cognition, and the Common Sense

The first book published by CAST presents a conversation between artists, musicians, philosophers, anthropologists, historians and neuroscientists.

A work work of art itself, the book has a heat-sensitive cover designed by Olafur Eliasson, endpapers by Carsten Höller, margins and edges by Tauba Auerbach and bookmarks that cascade from the center by Tomás Saraceno.

Purchase a copy from the MIT Press