Agnieszka Kurant

Creating art through emergence and collective intelligence

Conceptual interdisciplinary artist Agnieszka Kurant explores how complex social, economic, and cultural systems can operate in ways that confuse distinctions between fiction and reality or nature and culture. She investigates “the economy of the invisible,” in which immaterial and imaginary entities, fictions, phantoms, and emergent processes influence political and economic systems. As the Ida Ely Rubin Artist in Residence at CAST, Kurant collaborated with Boris Katz, Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and head of the InfoLab Group, to explore the crossover between collective intelligence and artificial intelligence. Kurant and Katz analyzed how collective intelligence and emergence—in nature and culture—can be applied to creativity and art production. Their research will be used to develop crowd-sourced artworks that will be shaped and animated by a new working class—workers of online crowdsourcing marketplace platforms.


Presented by the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST).

Born in Poland and based in New York City, Kurant probes the “unknown unknowns” of knowledge and the speculations and exploits of capitalism by integrating elements of science and philosophy, and analyzing certain phenomena—collective intelligence, emergence, virtual capital, immaterial and digital labor, evolution of memes, civilizations and social movements, artificial societies, energy circuits, and the editing process—as political acts. She explores the hybrid and shifting status of objects in relation to value, aura, authorship, production, and circulation. Many of her works emulate nature and behave like living organisms, self-organized complex systems, or bachelor machines.

Kurant studied in Lodz, Warsaw and London, and was awarded residencies at Palais de Tokyo in Paris, ISCP in New York, Paul Klee Center in Bern, Location One in New York and Iaspis in Stockholm. She represented Poland at the Venice Biennale 12th International Architecture Exhibition (in collaboration with the architect Aleksandra Wasilkowska) with a pavilion presentation entitled Emergency Exit, and her artwork has been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum, MoMA PS1, Sculpture Center, The Kitchen, Witte de With in Rotterdam, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Moderna Museet, Tate Modern, MAMCO in Geneva, MUMOK, and Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (2015). Other key exhibitions include Performa Biennial in New York (2013 & 2009), Moscow Biennale (2007), Bucharest Biennale (2008), and 2nd Ural Biennial (2012). Her films have been featured at film festivals including Kino der Kunst in Munich and CPH Docs in Copenhagen.


More on the artist’s website: Agnieszka Kurant

Past Events

Comparative Media Studies/Writing Lecture Series
“Collective Intelligence”
Featuring Agnieszka Kurant, Stefan Helmreich, Adam Haar Horowitz and Caroline Jones
Moderated by Nick Montfort

Thursday, September 27, 2018 / 5:00pm
MIT Building 56-114
21 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA

Free and open to the public, no reservation required


Hacking Arts 2017
November 11-12, 2017
MIT Media Lab
75 Amherst St, Cambridge, MA


Residency Visits
January 3 – 4, 2018
December 13 – 14, 2017
September 15, 2017
June 29, 2017
April 20 – 22, 2017
January 31 – February 1, 2017
December 8, 2016

“Art, science and philosophy seldom converge as felicitously as they do in Agnieszka Kurant’s work”

The New York Times

“It was exciting for us to engage with somebody who is using the same tools that we are, but who is deeply rooted in theory and who is thinking through a completely different lens.”

— MIT student Adam Haar Horowitz



BOMB Magazine: Artist Interview: Agnieszka Kurant by Sabine Russ

Art Forum: Agnieszka Kurant

Contemporanietes de l’art: Exposition “Crash test” La révolution moléculaire | La Panacée – Montpellier

SFMOMA Open Space Heavy Machinery: Assembly Line / Animal Internet

Boris Katz, Principal Research Scientist, Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)

MIT InfoLab

Agnieszka Kurant. Photo: Janek Zamoyski.
Agnieszka Kurant. Photo: Janek Zamoyski.


Selected Past Projects