Diversifying Space

2018 Mellon Faculty Grant Recipient

Joseph A. Paradiso, director of the MIT Media Lab Responsive Environments research group, collaborates with Marie-Pier Boucher, postdoctoral fellow in the MIT Program in Science, Technology and Society, and Xin Liu, Arts Curator in the MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative, on the project Diversifying Space.

The project centers on two classes: STS.058 Space Exploration and Interplanetary Habitation (Boucher, spring 2019) and MAS.S64 Prototyping our Sci-Fi Space Future: designing & deploying projects for zero gravity flights (Paradiso, fall 2019), as well as a series of workshops and presentations by visiting artists. Topics range from parabolic flight research to the social impact of science and technology at an interplanetary level.

Diversifying Space launches in early 2019. During the 2019 calendar year and in conjunction with the Zero-G and Outer Space courses, visiting artists will give lectures, run workshops, lead informal discussions with students about their research and host a movie screening with a Q&A.

Joseph Paradiso is Alexander W. Dreyfoos (1954) Professor and Associate Academic Head in the Program in Media Arts and Sciences, and directs the MIT Media Lab’s Responsive Environments group, which explores how sensor networks augment and mediate human experience, interaction and perception. After two years developing precision drift chambers at the Lab for High Energy Physics at ETH in Zurich, Paradiso joined the Draper Laboratory, where his research encompassed spacecraft control systems, image processing algorithms, underwater sonar, and precision alignment sensors for large high-energy physics detectors. He joined the Media Lab in 1994, where his current research interests include embedded sensing systems and sensor networks, wearable and body sensor networks, energy harvesting and power management for embedded sensors, ubiquitous and pervasive computing, localization systems, passive and RFID sensor architectures, human-computer interfaces, and interactive media. He has authored 200 articles and technical reports on topics ranging from physics detectors to power scavenging.


Marie-Pier Boucher is MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) Postdoctoral Fellow in the Program in Science, Technology and Society. She received her PhD in Visual & Media Studies from Duke University in 2015.


Xin Liu is an artist and engineer, and Arts Curator in the MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative. She is an alumna of the Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces group. Mixing scientific research with personal narratives, she creates transformative, participatory experiences and bodily objects to examine the constitution of subjectivity and affects. Conventionally trained as an engineer, she claims technology as her native language and craft in art practice. In the midst of the paradigm shift between technology and humanity, she tries to weave new connections for active participation. The goal is to reconfigure the tools of technology, not for exploitation but for the recovery of human feelings, affects, and emotions; not for hegemonic control of life but for the discovery of a bottom-up evolution through subjective experience.

Spring 2019

STS.058 Space Exploration and Interplanetary Habitation
Marie-Pier Boucher


Fall 2019

MAS.S64 Prototyping our Sci-Fi Space Future: designing & deploying projects for zero gravity flights
Joseph Paradiso

Selected Past Projects