Steeplechase, a short film about time travel starring quantum physicists Michele Reilly and Seth Lloyd, filmed in Belarus and directed by renowned Russian artist Andre Kezzyn in 2021.

The Art and Science of Time Travel

Instructors: Seth Lloyd and Michele Reilly

Investigating time travel and other physical paradoxes in the contexts of human narrative and contemporary scientific understanding, students learn the fundamental science of time travel in relativity and quantum mechanics, read and view classic time travel narratives and films, and construct their own time travel narratives and representations. With guidance from the instructors and the course’s artistic advisors, the class culminates in a group project in the form of a script or screenplay.

Offered: Fall 2023

Tobias Putrih's CoD. Courtesy of the artist.

Creating Art – Thinking Science

Instructors: Tobias Putrih, Vladimir Bulović, and Ardalan SadeghiKivi

A cross-disciplinary class exploring the connections between art inquiry and scientific research through visual thinking strategies and emerging technologies. Introducing celebrated art and science collaborations and create opportunities for cross-pollination between fields. Throughout the semester, students will analyze tools used for artistic and cultural expression and experiment with technical opportunities to deliver a unique creative vision.

Offered: Fall 2023

Spatial Frequencies drawing project, MIT Museum Studio 2022. Photo credit: Sarah Schwettmann.

Drawing Human Experience

Instructors: Graham M. Jones and Seth Riskin

Equal parts studio and seminar, 21A.513 Drawing Human Experience introduces fundamental drawing techniques and their application as tools of anthropological inquiry. Students examine the human impulse to draw and what it reveals about connections between mind, hand, and eye. Through hands-on drawing exercises from life and imagination, students explore how the art form can generate and convey cultural insights. Award-winning author and artist Lynda Barry visits the course for a student workshop and public program.

Offered: Fall 2023

Students in full black outfits working with fabrics in class.
Intelligent Skin Class Critique. Credit: HErickson/MIT.

Interactive Intelligent Skin

Instructors: Skylar Tibbits and Hussein Chalayan

Bringing together the worlds of fashion, design, and technology, the studio was offered in Fall 2021 as part of a large multi-year collaboration between MIT, Hussein Chalayan, and Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft (HTW) – Modedesign, Berlin (University of Applied Sciences, Fashion Design). A conceptual and experimental vehicle, the course prompted students to imagine, design, and create projects materializing their unique perspective on ‘interactive intelligent skin.’

Offered: Fall 2021

Four professors who co-taught the class, smiling and looking into the cameras.
Queer-Feminist-Antiracism Future and Design for the Future cotaught by Danielle Wood (top left) and J. Austin Eyer (bottom right) with guest artists Jennifer Harrison Newman (center top) and Paul Lieber (bottom center).

Queer-Feminist-Antiracism and Design for the Future

Instructors: Danielle Wood with J. Austin Eyer

MAS.S61: Queer-Feminist-Antiracism and Design for the Future is part of an ongoing research collaboration exploring dynamics of intersectional identities in the fields of complex systems (Wood) and theatre (Eyer).

The course launched in Fall 2021 with a focus on critical theory and continues in Spring 2022 with a focus on artistic practice from theatre, poetry, dance, and literature that exhibits Queer-Feminist-Antiracism. The outcome of the work from the fall and spring terms will be a performance or exhibition that invites people to experience visions of practices and products built on Queer-Feminist-Antiracism in engineering, design, architecture, science, and art.

Offered: Fall 2021 and Spring 2022

Adesola Akinleye stands in front of the Charles River and Boston Skyline with an arm and a leg raised.
Visiting Artist Adesola Akinleye Choreographing the Campus. Credit TLemp/MIT.

Choreographing the City

Instructors: Gediminas Urbonas with CAST Visiting Artist Adesola Akinleye

This course looks at an emerging lexicon (for movement) that connects to ideas shared across dance-making (choreography), to building/city-making (community).

The aim of the course is to explore how research and creative collaboration between choreographic and spatial practices can help create new techniques, lexicons, and ways of consulting with community around urban design. Participants will look at how choreography (seeing movement as a ‘three-dimensional language’) can contribute to larger discussions across subject areas that engage with movement in space and the Place making that the experience of choreography (dance) creates.

Offered: Fall 2021

Choreographing the City Podcast


Choreographing the Campus

Haptic Field by Chris Salter & TeZ - Berliner Festpiele Immersion 2017
Haptic Field by Chris Salter & TeZ - Berliner Festpiele Immersion 2017

Digital Instrument Design

Instructor: Ian Hattwick

This course situates the design of technological systems firmly within lived, embodied experiences, and challenges market-based narratives of design success. In addition to current designers of digital systems, the class examines instrument makers from western cultures such as Hugh Le Caine, Gunnar Schonbeck, and Bart Hopkin, and the role of instrument design in musical performance practice across different traditions, from the mbira dzavadzimu of the East African Shona people to the role of the gu’qin in Chinese philosophical traditions. This course will also examine adaptive music systems and inclusivity, reviewing strategies for successful design for musicians with a range of abilities and discussing how instruments can support use by performers from diverse cultural, musical, and personal backgrounds.

By the conclusion of the course, students will have critically engaged with the ramifications of technical and conceptual design, will have gained practical experience in the design of digital musical instruments as well as their use for artistic performance, and will be prepared to build on this experience as they continue to develop their artistic practice.

Offered: Spring 2020 and 2021

Architecture as Media Theory. Credit: Will Lockett.
Architecture as Media Theory. Credit: Will Lockett.

Architecture as Media Theory

Instructor: Will Lockett

1.) Energy-consuming infrastructure and anthropological theories of the nature-culture boundary;
2.) Utopian urban plans and critical social theories;
3.) Diagrams of global communications systems and 1960s information theory.

Media theorists have names for these pairings of built form and bodies of thought: “media ecology,” “political theology,” and “discourse networks.”

Canonical texts in the history and criticism of architecture ground our approach to theory. Students learn to nuance and enrich critical and speculative thought by selecting evidence and developing descriptions that contribute to theoretical discussion. Students also have the option of making diagrams, models, and booklets to help them formulate architectural media theories.

Offered: Spring 2020

Medium Kevin Lawrenson ends a trance, Montcabirol Center for Physical Mediumship, Mirepoix, France, 2014. Credit: Shannon Taggart.
Medium Kevin Lawrenson ends a trance, Montcabirol Center for Physical Mediumship, Mirepoix, France, 2014. Credit: Shannon Taggart.

Paranormal Machines

Instructors: Graham M. Jones and Seth Riskin

Paranormal Machines (21A.S01) focuses on technological strategies for detecting and measuring paranormal phenomena, from traditional divination devices to the electromagnetic field meters of present-day ghost hunters. The class introduces anthropological research on paranormal beliefs in different cultures and explores art as a method for altering perception and generating anomalous, potentially meaningful experiences, such as ambiguous images, auditory apparitions, and affective sensations.

A combination seminar discussion and studio work, Paranormal Machines culminates in a final project assignment where students create their own interactive paranormal interfaces.

Offered: Fall 2019

Photos on Flickr

Vision in Art and Neuroscience.
Vision in Art and Neuroscience.

Vision in Neuroscience and Art

Instructors: Professor Pawan Sinha, Sarah Schwettmann and Seth Riskin

9.S52/9.S916 Vision in Neuroscience and Art seeks to introduce and engage students hands-on with core concepts in visual perception through the lenses of art and neuroscience. The material has been selected both to expose students to the study of brain and cognitive sciences and to engage those already within the neuroscience community in the use of art as a medium to explore and visualize core principles of perception. A combination of seminar-style and studio work will create the foundation for fostering valuable interdisciplinary dialogue between art and visual neuroscience, culminating in an exhibition of students’ semester-long projects.

Offered: Fall 2017 and 2018

Q&A with Seth Riskin
Class Website

Nancy Turner, "Sun Tunnels." Photo: Jessica Varner.

Landscape Experience

Instructors: Caroline A Jones and Rebecca Uchill

This seminar explores “land” as a genre, theme, and medium of art and architecture of the last five decades. A major opportunity afforded by the course is an optional field trip to visit major works of land art in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas during the summer preceding the term. Focusing largely on work in the United States, the course seeks to understand how the use of land in art and architecture is bound into complicated entanglements of property and power, the inheritances of non-U.S. traditions, and how the term “landscape” is variously deployed in the service of a range of political and philosophical positions. The work of artists, architects, and writers on art and architectural theory can offer rich insights into the tangled nexus of phenomenology, pilgrimage, and property development that has been conjured by landscape, in history and at present.


Offered: Fall 2016

The Travelogue of the Undocumentable,” a video created by Landscape Experience students or read PhD student Jessica Varner’s personal reflections from the field.

Skylar Tibbits, critique, 4.022 Architecture Design Fundamentals I, Spring 2015. Photo: S. Lacey.

Architecture Design Fundamentals I

Instructor: Skylar Tibbits

This studio class aims to develop students’ understanding of architecture by studying the intersection of art, design and materials science. Through three primary exercises, “Generative drawings,” “New material formations” and “Living objects/growing structures,” students develop their techniques of drawing, making and organizing structures. This course is specifically created to play off students’ non-architectural education by introducing a domain of investigation whereby students can learn to design through the lens of cross-disciplinary experimentation. Throughout the semester students investigate generative art, design, and materials science, looking at “pattern formation” in an attempt to extract principles, learn techniques and develop strategies for design.

Offered: Spring 2015

Photos from critiques on Flickr


Active Matter Summit

Photos of summit on Flickr
Active Matter Publication

A professor points out an aspect of a flower-like object, a rendering of which is also shown on a computer screen.
J. Meejing Yoon, School of Architecture and Planning. Credit: MY Studio

Design Across Scales

Instructors: J. Meejin Yoon and Neri Oxman

Inspired by Charles and Ray Eames’ canonical “Powers of Ten,” the course explores the relationship between science and engineering through the lens of design. It examines how transformations in science and technology have influenced design thinking and vice versa. It offers interdisciplinary tools and methods to represent, model, design and fabricate objects and systems across physical, economical and social scales. Structured as core lectures and labs, the course is organized by “systems” such as design of information, design of fabrication, design of intelligence, design of play and design of innovation. Leaders in the fields of design, material science, artificial intelligence, and mechanical engineering will contribute through guest lectures. We will learn design tools, digital and analog. We will develop design methods, disciplinary and anti-disciplinary. And we will design things, material and immaterial.

Offered: Spring 2013 – current


“CAST Class Creates new Paradigm for Design Education”
Article: “Designing New Tools”
MIT OpenCourseWare Class
Class Listings:
Spring 2014

Spring 2015

Spring 2016

Spring 2017

Spring 2018

Students reach for one of several earbuds and ipods suspended above.
Student installation for “The Harmonic Archive,” 2014.

The Harmonic Archive: Music, Sound & Installation Art as Artistic Research

Instructor: Arnold Dreyblatt

The course is taught by Composer and Media Installation Artist Arnold Dreyblatt who is a CAST Visiting Artist. Dreyblatt’s musical and artistic practice has ranged from composition and performance to permanent installations, digital projections, dynamic textural objects and multi-layered lenticular text panels. His visual artworks create complex textual and spatial visualizations about memory, reflecting upon such themes as recollection and the archive. Students will develop projects related to musical minimalism, microtonality, harmonic resonance and musical instrument building. In response to Dreyblatt’s installation work, students discuss artistic and technical modes of visualization of archival practice and memorization. The conception and execution of a final group project is an essential component of the course.

Offered: Fall 2014

“The Harmonic Archive: Music, Sound and Installation Art as Artistic Research”
“Visiting Artist Arnold Dreyblatt’s Magnetic Resonances” by CAST Faculty Director Evan Ziporyn
Photos of the exhibition on Flickr

A complex wooden contraption with gears and wires.
The undergraduate course, “Exhibiting Science,” offered by the STS program and taught through the Museum Studio, enables students to go beyond papers and slide presentations, learning to communicate through multimedia exhibits. Credit: Elizabeth Woodward.

Exhibiting Science

Instructors: John Durant, Seth Riskin, Allan Doyle with Visiting Artists Arthur Ganson, Anne Lilly, and John Douglas Powers.

With the advent of the MIT Museum’s “Year of Kinetic Art,” students create their own kinetic sculptures for display in the museum. Working in the newly re-located Museum Studio, students will receive mentorship from artists Arthur Ganson, Anne Lilly, and John Douglas Powers, whose work is currently on display in 5000 Moving Parts, and from the Museum’s technical team. The aim is to conceive, design, fabricate, test and mount kinetic sculptures in the Museum, for display as part of summer exhibition of MIT student work that will be opened in time for commencement 2014.

Offered: Spring 2014


MIT News: “MIT students create original kinetic art”
Photos on Flickr

A man stands behind a glass box with a small black circular object
Scanner at Resonating MIT. Credit: Andy Ryan.

Sound Installation and Sonic Practice

Instructor: Gediminas Urbonas with Visiting Artists Scanner (Robin Rimbaud) and Stephen Vitiello

This course explores the connections between sound, architecture, urbanism, and contemporary art, inspired by interdisciplinary artistic practices and precedents. Students receive mentorship from sound artists Scanner (Robin Rimbaud) and Stephen Vitiello. After students research the complex intellectual, social, and historical ecology of the MIT campus, the course culminates in site-specific sound installations and on-site interventions. These “sound pavilions” function as testing grounds investigating the links between visual, experiential and sonic cognition.

Offered: Spring 2014


“MIT Students Explore Intersections Between Sound and Architecture”
Photos of installations on Flickr

A man performs triangle in front of a marble altar
Either/Or performs Alvin Lucier Chamber Music for Instruments and Sine Waves at the MIT Chapel, 2014. Credit: L. Barry Hetherington.

Music Composition

Instructor: Keeril Makan with Visiting Artists Either/Or

Through a progressive series of composition projects, students investigate the sonic organization of musical works and performances, focusing on fundamental questions of unity and variety. Weekly listening, reading, and composition assignments draw on a broad range of musical styles and intellectual traditions from various cultures and historical periods. The course culminates in the acclaimed chamber music ensemble Either/Or performing students’ original compositions, an exciting and instructive opportunity for students to benefit from masterful contemporary musicians performing their work in public.

Offered: Spring 2014

A man with futuristic eyewear stands in front of a dilapidated building.

Cinematic Migrations

Instructor: Renée Green with Visiting Artists John Akomfrah and Lina Gopaul

Cinematic Migrations is a two-year collaborative research and production project focusing on the work of filmmaker John Akomfrah and producer Lina Gopaul (Smoking Dogs Films, and founding members of the seminal UK-based Black Audio Film Collective). Speakers include filmmakers, artists, and thinkers who explore and engage with cinema in a variety of formats, genres, and contexts. Their work often raises provocative questions regarding aesthetic, cultural, national, and economic borders. The discussions in this series explore a variety of cinematic spheres—essayistic, documentary, experimental, independent, activist, and commercial—designations that are experiencing redefinition and permutation. Cinematic Migrations is a multi-faceted look at the role of cinema’s transmutations over time and its worldwide and circuitous shifts.

Offered: Spring 2014

Photos on Flickr

A pile and a stack of oozy black material next to a funnel-shaped metal device.
Scumak no.2, by contemporary artist Roxy Paine addresses the automation and computerization of contemporary life. Credit: Creative Commons.

Automatism in Art and Architecture

Instructor: David Mather

While automatism is closely associated with the French surrealists and their method for composing texts and images via psychic automatism, the term likewise refers to a centuries-old concept connoting a spectrum of self-directed, mechanical, or uncontrollable processes across historical, social, and cultural contexts. This interdisciplinary seminar focuses on iterations of the deeply-rooted concept of automatism, including mechanized automatons; philosophical discourses of materialism and metaphysics; the legal definition of individuals; various psychological and physical disorders; as well as spontaneous social and political disruptions.

Offered: Spring 2014

Image of MIT campus taken from a rooftop, made up of many individual photographs in the shape of triangular beams.
Credit: Melissa Shumacher

Objective Narratives: Portraits of Science through Material Culture and Photography

Instructors: Anne McCants and Ellan Spero

This course gives students the tools for thinking and communicating about the material culture of scientific practice through a combination of written work and photographic practice. Students to use photography to support a more creative and conscious writing process by using its power both to observe and to communicate. Guests include photographers Felice Frankel, Essdras Suarez, and Jan Kostecki. The course culminates in an exhibit open to the MIT community, curated by the students, featuring their own photographic work. Objective Narratives is co-presented with MIT’s Concourse program, a Freshmen Learning Community dedicated to exploring fundamental questions that lie at the intersections of science, social science, and humanistic inquiry.

Offered: Fall 2013

Photos on Flickr

A woman performs while holding parts of a rotary phone.
Pamela Z, Ars Electronica, 2008. Photo: Rubra.

Music and Technology

Instructors: Christine Southworth and Evan Ziporyn

The Music and Technology seminar series presents weekly lecture/demonstrations by twelve prominent sound and multimedia electronic artists, who stretch sound-making to new dimensions. Their work explores mechanical experimentation, algorithmic modes of composition and performance, playful and improvisatory processes and the material, spatial, and kinetic properties of sound. With these lecture/demonstrations as a point of creative departure, students in the course design original instruments, software and compositions. The series culminates in a marathon concert featuring five-hours of genre-blending and experimental new music and a demonstration of the glass instruments created in collaboration with Visiting Artist Mark Stewart.

Offered: Spring 2013

Photos on Flickr

A student works with a robotic device in a laboratory.
The ExpandaBot's expanding wheels allow the robot to rapidly adapt to various kinds of terrain. Credit: Sarah Southerland, Bianca Homberg, Jason Gao, and Shiyu Wei.

Mechanical Invention Through Computation

Instructors: Daniela Rus, Erik Demaine with Visiting Artist Chuck Hoberman

Featuring Visiting Artist Chuck Hoberman, the inventor of many folding toys and structures, this hands-on class considers the creation of mechanisms with a focus on the inventive process itself. Topics include kinematic analysis and synthesis, self-actuated form-creation through origami and other means, and the design of transformable structures that change size and shape. The class explores various techniques to conceptualize these innovative devices. Student groups organize semester-long projects to develop interactive software applications to facilitate “invention through computation,” and to enable the fluid, intuitive development of surprising and unique mechanisms.

Offered: Spring 2013