Tent installation of Azra Aksamija
Azra Aksamija, Displaced Empire. Courtesy of the artist.

Azra Akšamija’s Displaced Empire

The MIT Future Heritage Lab, in collaboration with displaced Syrian refugees, humanitarian workers, and host communities in Jordan, presents Displaced Empire at the Co-habits section of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia curated by Hashim Sarkis.

Focused on the Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan, one of the region’s largest camps sheltering more than 35,000 displaced Syrians, the large-scale installation speculates a near-future world in which the majority of people have been forcibly displaced. In this scenario, the Azraq Camp has become the capital of the global Displaced Empire.

2020-21 International Exhibition and Performance Grant

Azra Aksamija, Photomontage of Future Heritage Lab planned facility in Al Azraq Camp, Jordan, Credit: Future Heritage Lab.

Azra Akšamija’s Lightweaver

Azra Akšamija’s Lightweaver prototypes are playful kinetic lighting machines and educational devices developed in collaboration with artists, engineers and inventors from the Al Azraq refugee camp. The Lightweaver translates stories from textiles into a sensory play of light, aiming to preserve cultural memory and inspire hope.

2017 CAST Faculty Grant

A person sits in a gallery with their back to the camera watching a large screen.
Xavi Laida Aguirre's Proofing: Resistant and Ready at the Venice Biennale, 2023. Courtesy of the artist.

Xavi Laida Aguirre's Proofing: Resistant and Ready

Assistant Professor Xavi Laida Aguirre’s project Proofing: Resistant and Ready features at the 2023 Venice Biennale of Architecture in a pavilion curated around the theme of “Everlasting Plastics.” Incorporating a built environment and an immersive video experience, Proofing: Resistant and Ready explores the contradictory nature of plastics in architecture as they help us create more robust and durable environments while also being partially responsible for the climate disaster. The project offers a series of prototypes and building techniques to intervene subversively in the built environment with the intention of reintroducing the lost promises of plastic’s longevity through both material and digital tactics.

2023 CAST Mellon Faculty Grant

A table with booked laid out on it next to two large photographs of people and cityscapes displayed in an art gallery.
"All The Light That's Ours To See," Judith Barry, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

Judith Barry's All the light that is ours to see

Judith Barry‘s exhibition at Lumiar Cité constitutes the international premiere of her two-channel immersive installation All the light that’s ours to see, for which the artist appropriates the story of a New York video rental chain store, the infamous Mondo Kim’s, and the quest to find a home for 55,000 video tapes and films after it closed.

2019 International Exhibition and Performance Grant

Cords and equipment pour out of a broken wooden crate labeled "Hardcell"
Judith Barry, HA®DCELL, MoMA 1995

Judith Barry's HA®DCELL

First exhibited in Crash: Nostalgia for the Absence of Cyberspace at Thread Waxing Space in 1994, and included in MoMA’s 1995 landmark exhibition, Video Spaces: Eight Installations, Judith Barry’s HA®DCELL explores the life, death, and afterlife of technology. With support from CAST and a team of MIT artists, technologists, and tinkerers, Barry is reimagining and reanimating HA®DCELL for the present. As society grapples with Artificial Intelligence and ubiquitous “smart” technology, the dead tech of HA®DCELL reawakens.

2023 Mellon Faculty Grant

Charlotte Brathwaite's Bee Boy

Charlotte Brathwaite’s Bee Boy is an interdisciplinary artistic response to the violent murders of black men and women around the country, to bee colony collapse disorder, to #Blacklivesmatter, to an unjust prison/industrial complex, to human-animal-technological hybridization, to life in urban streets, and the emotional toil it takes to turn hate to love. It is a meditation on struggle and change in a world of chaos.

2021 CAST Faculty Grant

The Future is Present. Courtesy of TFP.

Charlotte Brathwaite and The Future is Present

The Future is Present (TFP) is a high-impact, liberatory media project that engages a core group of Black and Indigenous youth activists and art makers working in tandem with students, adult movement leaders, artists, and researchers.

2021 CAST Faculty Grant

Dissolve Music @ MIT. Credit: Caroline Alden.
Dissolve Music @ MIT. Credit: Caroline Alden.

Ian Condry’s Dissolve Music

Ian Condry‘s “Dissolve Music @ MIT” was a two-and-a-half-day conference, workshop and sound festival held on March 7-9, 2018. Combining art and scholarship in a spirit of experimentation, the conference aimed to dissolve boundaries between different arenas of sonic engagement to identify paths towards alternative, more inclusive futures.

2017 CAST Faculty Grant

d&b audio soundscape used in Starlight Express, by sound designer Gareth Owen. Courtesy of d&b audiotechnik.
d&b audio soundscape used in Starlight Express, by sound designer Gareth Owen. Courtesy of d&b audiotechnik.

Ian Condry’s Sound, Learning, and Democracy

Ian Condry‘s “Sound, Learning, and Democracy” is a collaborative project aimed at developing works and performances for the MIT Spatial Sound Lab, an initiative led by Condry, a cultural anthropologist and professor in Global Studies and Languages with joint appointments in Comparative Media Studies/Writing and Anthropology at MIT. Working with the d&b soundscape, a new technology that enables high-resolution, precise localization of sound objects in 360-degree space, the Spatial Sound Lab is housed in the START Studio (W20-429).

2019 Fay Chandler Creativity Grant

Photograph of a crowd in the Stratton Student Center Courtyard in 1968.
In April 1968, MIT cancelled classes to mourn and honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Courtesy of the MIT Museum.

Delia Duong Ba Wendel's A Memory Atlas for Racial Justice

The Memory Atlas for Repair is an exhibition that attempts to reckon with the historical persistence of racialized dispossession in cities. Located in the MIT Student Center Plaza, it evokes a place of memory as the site of the 1968 exhibition that commemorated the civil rights work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. after his assassination. Exhibition opening spring 2023.

2021 CAST Faculty Grant

Anais (Yevpime Avedisian) Եւփիմէ Աւետիսեան (Անայիս) 1872, Constantinople -1950, Paris.
Anais (Yevpime Avedisian) Եւaփիմէ Աւետիսեան (Անայիս) 1872, Constantinople -1950, Paris.

Lerna Ekmekçioğlu's Twelve Faces of Armenian Feminism

As a CAST Mellon Faculty Fellow, McMillan-Stewart Associate Professor of History Lerna Ekmekçioğlu is creating an exhibition and digital archive, “Twelve Faces of Armenian Feminism, 1860s to 1960s.” The project, based on research conducted by Ekmekçioğlu and Dr. Melissa Bilal (Visiting Scholar at MIT 2017–18), highlights 12 pioneering Armenian women writers and activists who produced work from the 1860s to 1960s.

2019 CAST Faculty Grant

Stephanie Frampton. Courtesy of the artist.

Stephanie Frampton’s ARTificial Intelligence

Stephanie Frampton’s ARTificial Intelligence is a collaborative project between MIT and the Cambridge Public Library. The project is a multifaceted ongoing program fostering public dialogue about the emerging ethical and social implications of artificial intelligence (AI) through art and design. ARTificial Intelligence radically draws on the university and the public sphere as sites of critical engagement and embodies the spirit of public-facing scholarship.

2018 Fay Chandler Creativity Grant

Christian Frederickson plays the viola while looking at a laptop.
Christian Frederickson. Courtesy of the artist.

Christian Frederickson’s The Hammer and the Feather

The Hammer and the Feather, an immersive audio and visual installation, takes its name from the experiment performed on Earth’s moon by U.S. astronaut David Scott, which proved Galileo’s assertion that gravity exerts equal force on all objects. Developed at MIT by technical instructor Christian Frederickson and visual artist and filmmaker Greg King, The Hammer and the Feather uses the architecture of the liturgical mass as a structural and conceptual framework to create a contemplative and spiritual environment where audience participants can connect with large questions and pursue their own inquiries into the nature of existence. Bridging humanistic and scientific inquiry, the piece uses gravity as a poetic and conceptual departure point for musical, visual, and sonic material.

2020-21 Fay Chandler Creativity Grant

A Seat at the Table. Credit: Deborah Garcia.

Deborah Garcia's A SEAT AT THE TABLE

A project by MIT Department of Architecture’s 20-22 Marion Mahony Emerging Practitioner Fellow Deborah Garcia, A SEAT AT THE TABLE is a two-story table set on the MIT campus, serving as both a physical and virtual platform for performances and dialogue. The TABLE, an architectonic platform scaled to the dimensions of the theatrical, serves the double task of interiorizing its activities within its constructed environment, while communicating outwardly by recording and broadcasting itself.

2021 Fay Chandler Creativity Grant

Rania Ghosn's The Planet After Geoengineering. Courtesy of the artist.

Rania Ghosn's The Planet After Geoengineering

Commissioned for the 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale and responding to the theme, “How will we live together?,” The Planet After Geoengineering tracks five geoengineering technologies in a series of 25 large-scale drawings that make visible geographies of deployments—sites, forms, externalities, the color of the sky, the smell of the air—and situates future promises within the genealogies of modern climate control technologies ranging from 19th-century rainmaking machines to Cold War weather modification schemes. In drawings and narratives, The Planet After Geoengineering makes geoengineering and its controversies public, inviting the viewer to interrogate the expansion of engineering (and by extension, design) to the scale of the planet.

2020-21 International Exhibition and Performance Grant

Ekene Ijeoma, featuring Dr. Kristín Taylor, Dr. Bryan Stanley, Deconstructed Anthems: Nebraska 12 (2015) 2021. Software-generated score, incarceration data, piano, machine-plotted ink drawings, duration 18:12 min. Installation view, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE, USA Photo by Colin Conces courtesy of Bemis Center for Contemporary Art.

Ekene Ijeoma's Deconstructed Anthems Boston

Deconstructed Anthems is a series of compositions, instruments, performances, and installations that portray black incarceration in the US using data from the US Department of Justice.

Assistant Professor in Media Arts and Sciences Ekene Ijeoma programmed an algorithmic composition that sonifies the over 1.5 million people who were removed from their communities from 1925 to today by repeating The Star-Spangled Banner while removing notes at the increasing incarceration rates. 

2024 Fay Chandler Faculty Creativity Grant

Anna Kohler, Anna Martel, Adam Strandberg in Mytho? Lure of Wildness . Photo: Caleb Hammond.
Anna Kohler, Anna Martel, Adam Strandberg in Mytho? Lure of Wildness . Photo: Caleb Hammond.

Anna Kohler’s Mytho? Lure of Wildness

Anna Kohler’s Mytho? Lure of Wildness is a surround-sensorial theatrical experience/experiment, conceived and performed by MIT faculty member Anna Kohler and directed by lecturer Caleb Hammond. It is an experiment, a study of the beast within, of beauty and its transformation from young and fresh to old and worn, but not resigned.

2016 Fay Chandler Creativity Grant

Installation view of Two Mobility Futures.
Two Mobility Futures, 2022, MIT. Courtesy of the artists.

Kent Larson and the Media Lab City Science Group's Two Mobility Futures 0∞

Two Mobility Futures 0∞, exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, presents a dichotomy of divergent possibilities for mobility in the future. The 2020 pandemic instantly halted most human travel while products, food, information, and experiences were delivered to each household. At the same time, fantastic new land, air, and space mobility modes may enable humans to move frictionlessly to wherever they desire.

2022 CAST International Exhibition Grant

Three cast members of VALIS singing and performing on stage.
Tod Machover. VALIS. Courtesy of Tod Machover.

Tod Machover and Jay Scheib's VALIS

VALIS, composed by Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media and director of the Media Lab’s Opera of the Future Group Tod Machover, was commissioned for the 10th anniversary of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, premiered there in December 1987, and then toured the U.S. (including performances in the MIT Media Lab’s Cube) and Asia through the early 1990s. A recording of the opera is still a best-seller for Bridge Records and various voice-instrument-electronics versions have been presented over the past years, but a full production of VALIS has not been mounted for almost 30 years. A new production will be directed by Jay Scheib and developed in MIT’s Theater Arts performance space (W97). Technology will be created at the MIT Media Lab, under the direction of Tod Machover, marking the first collaboration between the Media Lab and the Theater Arts program.

2021 CAST Faculty Grant

Persona, a collaboration of Keeril Makan and Jay Scheib. Credit: Scott Irvine.
Persona, a collaboration of Keeril Makan and Jay Scheib. Credit: Scott Irvine.

Keeril Makan and Jay Scheib’s Persona

Persona, a chamber opera based on Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 classic film, composed by Keeril Makan, with direction and libretto by Jay Scheib, previewed in a workshop performance at MIT on October 17, 2015.

The fully staged production premiered at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NY on October 23-24, 2015. Persona starred soprano Amanda Crider, was produced by Beth Morrison Projects (BMP) and conducted by Evan Ziporyn.

2016 CAST Faculty Grant

Ana Miljacki. Courtesy of the artist.
Ana Miljacki. Courtesy of the artist.

Ana Miljački's Critical Broadcasting Lab

Through a series of interventions including workshops and public lectures, Critical Broadcasting Lab performs as a curatorial entity at MIT and beyond. In a series of Agit Arch Experiments in fall 2018, Miljački and participants of Critical Broadcasting Lab investigate contemporary media and methods of broadcasting architectural discourse and criticism. The lab simultaneously conducts an oral history, presented in the form of an exhibition, about two forms of refusal by architects to engage—refusal to accept commissions and refusal to sue for copyright infringement.

2018 CAST Faculty Grant

Digital illustration of small human forms sitting on connected and colorful tubes.
Rendering for See Us Seesaw Together. Credit: Ana Miljacki and the Critical Broadcasting Lab.

Ana Miljački's See Us Seesaw Together

Critic, curator, and Associate Professor of Architecture at MIT Ana Milja​​čki’s See Us Seesaw Together is a network of inflatable seesaws that allow for an embodied comprehension of another’s presence and cooperation, all at a six-foot distance. As one player sits, the others bob up and down as the structure responds to their movement. The installation opens in fall 2021.

2021 Fay Chandler Creativity Grant

The Electron-Ion Collider at Jefferson Lab.
Richard Milner, The Electron-Ion Collider, Jefferson Lab. Courtesy of the artist.

Richard Milner's Visualizing the Proton

Richard Milner, in collaboration with physicist colleagues Rolf Ent and Rik Yoshida at Jefferson Lab and video artists Chris Boebel and Joe McMaster at MIT, have taken inspiration from the colorized Hubble images of the large-scale structure of the universe from original black-and-white exposures. The creators of these images describe them as “equal parts art and science.” This project’s goal is to create similarly scientifically authentic, visually inspiring images of the microcosm and explore the creative process, the challenge of scientific “accuracy,” evidence, and the very concept of “understanding.” Milner and his colleagues are motivated by new and planned electron accelerators that aim to deliver snapshots of the fundamental structure of matter with unprecedented clarity.

2019 CAST Faculty Grant

Xin Liu, Orbit Weaver in zero gravity. Credit: Steve Boxall, Space Exploration Initiative.

Joseph Paradiso's Diversifying Space

Diversifying Space 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.

2018 CAST Faculty Grant

Cristina Parreño Alonso

Cristina Parreño Alonso's Tectonics of Wisdom

Tectonics of Wisdom is an art installation that aims to expand architecture’s temporal sensibilities by examining the physical and material space of the library building.

In response to the question of the future of public architecture raised in an exhibition organized by the Schusev Museum of Architecture in Moscow, Tectonics of Wisdom situates the building of the library within the temporal scales of the Earth.

2020-21 Fay Chandler Creativity Grant

Artist Rendering of TESSERAE (Self-Assembling Space Architecture) , Ariel Ekblaw, Joe Paradiso Credit: Responsive Environments, Space Exploration Initiative and TU Dortmund
Artist Rendering of TESSERAE (Self-Assembling Space Architecture), Ariel Ekblaw, Joe Paradiso. Credit: Responsive Environments, Space Exploration Initiative and TU Dortmund.

Elena Ruehr’s Songs from Extrasolar Spaces

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), launched in April 2018, aims to survey 85 percent of the sky in the search for new planets. Songs from Extrasolar Spaces sets this mission to music during the MIT TESS Science Conference, the first academic gathering dedicated to TESS mission science, including exoplanets, asteroseismology, stellar binaries, variable stars, Solar System science, and extragalactic astronomy.

2019 Fay Chandler Creativity Grant

Three people pose next to a geometric architectural installation.
The Open Collectives team is initiated by MIT’s Future Urban Collectives Lab founded and directed by architect Rafi Segal (back right), in collaboration with MIT Civic Data Design Lab director Sarah Williams (front), artist Marisa Morán Jahn (left), and futurist Greg Lindsay (not pictured). Photo: Marisa Morán Jahn.

Rafi Segal and Marisa Jahn's Architecture for New Collectives

Architecture for New Collectives is an immersive installation featuring digital, urban, and architectural platforms seeking to leverage the power of solidarity to strengthen economic sovereignty, housing affordability, communal self-determination, and mutual aid. Led by MIT’s Future Urban Collectives Lab, founded and directed by architect Rafi Segal and artist Marisa Morán Jahn with MIT Civic Data Design Lab Director Sarah Williams, Architecture for New Collectives asks how communities can be formed, organized, and strengthened through both the digital and physical design of space.

2020-21 International Exhibition and Performance Fund

Pawan Sinha. Credit: Ed Quinn.
Pawan Sinha. Credit: Ed Quinn.

Pawan Sinha’s Vision in Art and Neuroscience

Pawan Sinha’s 9.S52/9.S916 Vision in Art and Neuroscience introduces students to core concepts in visual perception through the lenses of art and neuroscience. Students engage with these concepts through hands-on studio practice. 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 art production as a means to explore and visualize the principles of perception.

2017 and 2018 CAST Faculty Grants

The Silence, 2019. Credit: Jay Scheib.
The Silence, 2019. Credit: Jay Scheib.

Jay Scheib's The Silence

As an MIT CAST Mellon Faculty Fellow, Jay Scheib is reinventing Ingmar Bergman’s The Silence (1963). The film, described both as a “landmark of modernist cinema” (Lloyd Michaels) and a “tangle of brooding confusions and despairs” (The New York Times), exposes the tense and uncomfortable relationship of two sisters at a hotel in an unfriendly, unknown city.

2019 CAST Faculty Grant

Melissa Isidor standing in Mill Creek with a map of the area.
“Making Change: In Place Over Time” tells a story that embodies the MIT tradition of mens et manus in engaging issues of environmental sustainability and racial justice. Children learned to read their landscape, tracing its past, envisioning their future. When learning was real, performance soared. Credit: Melissa Isidor.

Anne Whiston Spirn's Making Change: In Place Over Time

Anne Whiston Spirn, Cecil and Ida Green Distinguished Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning, and filmmaker John Moody collaborate on a 60-minute film featuring personal and collective reflections on the West Philadelphia Landscape Project, an award-winning action research project founded by Spirn in 1987. The project engages MIT faculty and students in exploring how to restore the urban natural environment and rebuild low-income communities of color, simultaneously and synergistically. More than six years in the making, the film depicts the struggle to envision and implement an integrated approach to wicked problems of pollution, poverty, and race. Design as research is featured, including the role of design thinking and design experiments, and how real-world successes and failures test and generate ideas, prompt pivots, and forge deep relationships among university and community partners.

2022 Fay Chandler Creativity Grant

Viola Ago and Hans Tursack. Courtesy of the artists.
Viola Ago and Hans Tursack. Courtesy of the artists.

Hans Tursack and Viola Ago's Understorey: University Design Research Fellowship Pavilion For Exhibit Columbus

Hans Tursack, Pietro Belluschi Research and Design Fellow in SA+P, and Viola Ago, Knowlton School of Architecture, Ohio State University, received a University Design Research Fellowship to design and build a pavilion for an architecture exhibition in Columbus, Indiana, which will open to the public in August 2019. Exhibit Columbus is an internationally renowned showcase for experimental commercial and academic architecture offices.

The pavilion design, titled “Understorey,” is a large open-air vivarium built from a combination of off-the-shelf agricultural products, and custom, digitally fabricated structural elements.

2019 Fay Chandler Creativity Grant

Two actors perform in a kitchen set.
CAST Faculty Grant Recipient Ken Urban's The Remains. Studio Theater, May 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

Ken Urban’s The Immortals

The Immortals, a work in progress by playwright Ken Urban, draws from the strange and troubling case of Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman whose “immortal” cancer cells (HeLa cells) continue to be used in biological research over 65 years after her death. The idea for The Immortals stems from interviews with scientists who work in biological research labs, exploring the issues surrounding HeLa cells and the acquiring of cellular material for research purposes.

2019 Fay Chandler Creativity Grant

People observe a patch of greenery.
The Swamp School's Community of Plants workshop with biologist Daubaras. Photo credit: Urbonas Studio.

Gediminas Urbonas’s The Swamp School

For the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, Gediminas and Nomeda Urbonas curate the Swamp Pavilion, which represents their native Lithuania. It is a networked effort to create new imaginary space for exercises in architectural and artistic practices, theory and pedagogy through events including public interventions, field trips, workshops, lectures, discussions, chat channels and printed publications.

2018 CAST Faculty Grant

Christine Walley's Southeast Chicago Archive and Storytelling Project. Image courtesy of the artist.

Christine Walley's Southeast Chicago Archive and Storytelling Project

The Southeast Chicago Archive and Storytelling Project highlights a remarkable collection of objects, gathered and preserved by residents of a steel mill community as its industrial base was collapsing, and “storylines” that explore their meaning by weaving together artifacts, documentary film, and online storytelling.

Christine Walley, Chris Boebel, and Jeff Soyk collaborate on a new documentary storyline on post-industrial environmental activism spearheaded by Latina leaders. Tentatively titled “From Wetlands to Waste,” the storyline begins with the artifact of a jar of “petcoke,” an industrial pollutant that community activists successfully fought against.

2022–23 Fay Chandler Creativity Grant

J. Meejin Yoon
J. Meejin Yoon

J. Meejin Yoon’s FloatLab

J. Meejin Yoon’s FloatLab project is an educational platform to study and observe the transforming urban waterway and is sited within the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. Professor Yoon leads an interdisciplinary team of researchers, engineers, and environmental scientists to explore how cities like Philadelphia are revitalizing their riverfronts and learning from urban river ecologies.

2017 CAST Faculty Grant