FAST Future Forum on the Arts

FAST Future Forum on the Arts
Saturday, April 16, 2011 / 9:30 am – 8:30 pm
MIT Media Lab E14

FAST Future convened MIT creative arts faculty, alumni and students from throughout the Institute to celebrate the Institute’s one-of-a-kind culture of invention and creativity. This unique environment enables boundaries to be bridged, new fields to be founded with astonishing fluency, and world-changing entities – like the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) and the Media Lab – to be launched and to flourish. The forum acknowledged MIT’s culture and engage in a future-oriented series of debates, demonstrations, and open studios.

Introduction to the FAST FUTURE Forum on the Arts
Tod Machover, Director, FAST Festival

Session 1: New Performance/New Media 
Introduction, Leila Kinney, Director of Arts Initiatives at MIT

Joan Jonas, Professor of Visual Arts, Emerita
Interviewed by Ute Meta Bauer, Associate Professor and Head, Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT)

New Performance/New Media 
Moderated by Rebecca Uchill, Ph.D. candidate, Program in History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture and Art
Azra Aksamija, former CAVS affiliate, PhD candidate, HTC
Oliver Lutz, SM ’06, Lecturer, ACT
Dietmar Offenhuber, Urban Studies and Planning, G

Session 2: New Music
Introduction, Tod Machover, Director, FAST Festival

New Music
Moderated by Evan Ziporyn, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music
Vicky Chow, Bang on a Can
David Harrington, Kronos Quartet
David Lang, Bang on a Can, Artistic Director
Wu Man, pipa (Chinese lute) virtuoso

New Instruments
Moderated by Tod Machover, Director, FAST Festival
Christine Southworth, ’02
Laurel Smith Pardue, Media Lab, G
Jeff Lieberman ’00, SM ’04, SM ’06

Session 3: New Architecture
Introduction, Adèle Naudé Santos, Dean, School of Architecture and PlanningPresentation of Faculty and Student Installations

FAST Future Presenters


Azra Akšamija, Panel on New Performance/New Media
Azra Akšamija is a Sarajevo-born Austrian artist, architect, and architectural historian. Her interdisciplinary practice explores representation of Islamic identities in the West, spatial mediation of identity politics, Orientalism, and cultural interaction through architecture. She studied architecture at the Technical University Graz, Austria from which she received the diplomas engineer degree in 2001. She received her Masters of Architecture degree from Princeton University in 2004 and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Architecture at MIT, studying in the History, Theory and Criticism program and the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture. Her research focus is Islamic religious architecture from the 19th century to the present. Her PhD dissertation – entitled “Our Mosques Are Us: Rewriting National History of Bosnia-Herzegovina through Religious Architecture” – explores construction of Bosnian Muslims’ identities through the history of mosques and in response to the systematic devastation of cultural heritage during the war of 1992-95. In addition to her academic research, she has been working as a conceptual artist and a curator, and from 2004 – 2008, she was a graduate affiliate at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT. Her interdisciplinary projects have been published and exhibited in various international venues, including the Generali Foundation Vienna (2002), the Gallery for Contemporary Art Leipzig (2003), the Liverpool Biennial (2004), the Witte de With Rotterdam (2005), the Sculpture Center in New York City (2006), Secession Vienna (2007), Manifesta 7 (2008), and at the Stroom in The Hague (2009).


Ute Meta Bauer 
Ute Meta Bauer is Associate Professor of Architecture at MIT, and Director of the Program in Art, Culture and Technology, which operates as a critical studies and production-based laboratory connecting the arts with an advanced technological and scientific community. Prior to coming to MIT in 2005, she was a professor of theory and practice of contemporary art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. During that time, she also served as director of various art institutions, as advisor to a number of high-profile cultural boards, and as editor of numerous publications in the field of contemporary art. She was the founding director of the Norwegian Office for Contemporary Art, a private foundation established by the Norwegian government to develop collaborations in contemporary art between Norway and the international art scene. For more than two decades Bauer has worked as a curator of exhibitions and presentations on contemporary art, film, video and sound, with a focus on transdisciplinary formats. Focusing on art, architecture and sound linked to feminist and socio-political discourses, her curatorial work includes the conception and production of the Mobile Transborder Archive for inSite 05 (San Diego/Tijuana)in 2005.


Vicky Chow
Canadian pianist Vicky Chow has performed extensively as a classical and contemporary soloist, chamber musician and ensemble member, including the Bang on a Can All-Stars, which she joined in 2009. She has also performed with groups such as Wordless Music Orchestra, Opera Cabal, Wet Ink Ensemble, ai ensemble and AXIOM, collaborating with leading composers and musicians including John Adams, Nik Bärtsch, Glenn Kotche (of Wilco), David Longstreth (of Dirty Projectors), and Lee Ranaldo (of Sonic Youth). She has performed across North America, Europe and Asia in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Guggenheim Museum, The Stone, le Poisson Rouge, Galapagos Art Space, Symphony Space, Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, the Oriental Arts Center in Shanghai, the Polytheater in Beijing and the Chan Center for the Performing Arts in Vancouver, among others. In addition to performing, she produces and curates “Contagious Sounds”, a new music series focusing on adventurous contemporary artists and composers at the Gershwin Hotel in New York City. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Chow made her orchestral debut at the age of 10 with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. She received her Bachelors and Master of Music degrees in piano performance from the Juilliard School and received advanced degrees in contemporary performance from the Manhattan School of Music.


David Harrington
David Harrington is the founder, artistic director and first violinist of San Francisco’s Kronos Quartet, which for more than 35 years has been dedicated to combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to expanding the range and context of the string quartet. Incorporating classical music, jazz, rock and folk idioms into their repertoire, and collaborating with composers and musicians from all corners of the globe, Kronos has helped create a mass market for world music, and has challenged established ideas of how a string quartet can or should sound. In the process, the GRAMMY-winning Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential ensembles of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 45 recordings and commissioning more than 650 new works and arrangements for string quartet.


Joan Jonas
A pioneer of video/performance art, Joan Jonas is Professor Emerita of Visual Arts in MIT’s Department of Architecture. Her experiments and productions in the late 1960s and early 1970s were essential to the formulation of the genre. Her influence was crucial to the development of contemporary art in many genres – from performance and video to conceptual art and theater. More recently, she has worked with composers such as Alvin Lucier to develop collaborative video-performance works, and has performed and toured with The Wooster Group. She has had major retrospectives at museums in Amsterdam and Stuttgart, is currently developing a performance for the Museum of Modern Art in Dublin where three of her installations will also be included. Jonas has been awarded fellowships and grants for choreography, video, and visual arts from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the CAT Fund, the Artist TV Lab at WNET/13 (New York City), the Television Workshop at WXX1 (Rochester) and the Deutsche Akademischer Austauschdienst in Germany. Among her honors and awards are the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Modern Art Prize at the Tokyo International Video Art Festival, the Polaroid Award for Video and the American Film Institute Maya Deren Award for Video.


Sheila Kennedy
A pioneer in the integration of technology and design, Sheila Kennedy is Professor of the Practice in the Department of Architecture. Her research and teaching at MIT focus on the creation of new energy systems for buildings, cities and regions, and on the design and development of flexible, mobile and embedded technologies in materials, objects and architecture. A principal of Kennedy & Violich Architecture Ltd (KVA), Kennedy’s work was featured in MoMA’s exhibition on breakthrough designs for new technologies, Design and the Elastic Mind. She, along with her partner Frano Violich, was designated one of. Fast Company’s Masters of Design – “insightful and original thinkers who are designing new ways of working, competing, learning, leading and innovating.” She also explores the connections among technology, the environment and social issues, as in her firm’s creation of the Portable Light Project, a nonprofit global initiative that enables people in the developing world to generate their own power through the use of energy-harvesting solar textiles.


Leila W. Kinney, Director of Arts Initiatives at MIT
Director of Arts Initiatives at MIT, Leila W. Kinney previously served as administrator for academic programs in Comparative Media Studies. As Executive Director of Arts Initiatives and Executive Director of the Center for Art, Science and Technology, Kinney works with Associate Provost Philip S. Khoury, the Office of the Arts, the MIT Museum, the List Visual Arts Center and the Creative Arts Council to advance the arts at MIT in the areas of strategic planning, communications, resource development and cross-school collaboration. Kinney is an art historian with experience in both the Schools of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and Architecture and Planning at MIT. Previously on the faculty in the History, Theory and Criticism section of the Department of Architecture and Planning, she specializes in modern art, with an emphasis on media in transition, arts institutions and artists’ engagement with mass culture. She also taught in the Program in Women’s Studies and served on search committees for the Visual Arts Program and the List Visual Arts Center. She is delighted to see the FAST festival come to fruition as a celebration of all that is creatively MIT.


David Lang
David Lang is co-founder and co-artistic director of New York’s legendary music festival Bang on a Can, and is one of America’s most performed and celebrated composers. His music has been performed in settings as varied as concert halls, music and arts festivals, ballets and theatrical productions throughout the world, and his composition The Little Match Girl Passion, commissioned by Carnegie Hall for Paul Hillier’s vocal ensemble Theater of Voices, was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for music. Of the piece, The Washington Post‘s Tim Page said, “I don’t think I’ve ever been so moved by a new, and largely unheralded, composition…[it] is unlike any music I know.” In many ways, his music – ranging from operatic, orchestral, chamber and solo works – defies categorization: His 2008 CD Pierced was praised both on the rock music site Pitchfork and in the classical magazine Gramophone. His many honors and awards include the Pulitzer Prize, the Rome Prize, the BMW Music-Theater Prize (Munich) and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. An Adjunct Professor of Music at Yale since 2008, he holds degrees from Stanford University and the University of Iowa and received a DMA from the Yale School of Music in 1989.


Jeff Lieberman, Panel on New Music
Jeff Lieberman holds four degrees from MIT: a Bachelor of Science in Physics and one in Math along with a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering and in Media Arts and Sciences. He currently explores the connections between the arts, sciences, education, passion, creativity and the potential future of human consciousness. The host of Time Warp on the Discovery Channel, he uses technology to see beyond the limits of normal human perception. He composes music in the duo “gloobic,” shows technological sculptures around the world and pursues the applications of technology to evolving human consciousness.


Oliver Lutz, Panel on New Performance/New Media
New York-based artist Oliver Lutz explores the conditions surrounding the individual as understood and defined through media and technology. His projects, which often involve installation, video, drawing and performance, often incorporate the viewer as the subject of the artwork. His work has been exhibited internationally at the Tate Modern (London), S.M.A.K. Museum of Contemporary Art (Gent, Belgium), Württembergischer Kunstverein (Stuttgart, Germany), MARTa Museum (Herford, Germany), FILTER projectraum (Hamburg, Germany), and i8 (Reykjavík, Iceland); throughout the United States at Artpace (San Antonio, TX), SFMOMA (San Francisco), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), Broad Art Center (Los Angeles), and in New York at The Kitchen, Apex Art, Scaramouche Gallery and John Connelly Presents. He studied at the National Academy of Film and Television in Prague while completing his BFA in Painting and Multimedia at Cornell University in 1996. He received his Master of Science degree in Visual Studies from MIT’s Department of Architecture in 2006 and was the recipient of the IV International Painting Prize Diputación de Castellón in 2007. He has been a resident artist at The Banff Centre (Alberta, Canada) and Fogo Island Arts Corporation (Newfoundland, Canada), and is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Architecture at MIT.


Tod Machover, Chair of the FAST Steering Committee
Co-Curator of the FAST Music | MACHINES Exploration and Celebration
Coordinator, FAST Future
Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media at MIT Media Lab since its founding in 1985, Tod Machover has been described as “America’s Most Wired Composer” by the Los Angeles Times. His music, which includes several operas in addition to Death and the Powers, has been acclaimed for breaking traditional artistic and cultural boundaries, offering a unique and innovative synthesis of acoustic and electronic sound. Machover is the inventor of many new technologies for music, most notably his hyperinstruments, which use smart computers to augment musical expression and creativity. He has designed these instruments for some of the world’s greatest musicians, from Yo-Yo Ma to Prince, as well as for the general public and for children. His latest opera, Death and the Powers, received its U.S. premiere March 18–25, 2011 at Boston’s Cutler Majestic Theatre, presented by the American Repertory Theater.


Wu Man
Renowned internationally as a virtuosic pipa performer, Wu Man has also carved out a career creating and collaborating on projects that give this ancient Chinese instrument a new role in today’s music world, not only introducing the instrument to new audiences, but greatly enhancing and growing the core repertoire. Cited by the Los Angeles Times as “the artist most responsible for bringing the pipa to the Western World,” Man continually collaborates with some of the most distinguished musicians and conductors performing today. She is a principal member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project and performs internationally as part of the Project’s Silk Road Ensemble. Man also frequently performs and records with the groundbreaking Kronos Quartet.


William O’Brien, Jr.
Creator of Video Pavilion and FAST Future Panelist
William O’Brien is Assistant Professor of Architectural Design at MIT and principal of an independent design practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His research and creative practice have been fostered by an interest in the relationships between architecture, technology, landscape and urbanism with an emphasis on the development of alternative resonances between natural and artificial systems. He has taught previously at the University of California Berkeley as a Bernard Maybeck Fellow and was the LeFevre Emerging Practitioner Fellow at the Ohio State University. He was also Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, where he taught advanced theory seminars and design studios in the graduate curriculum. O’Brien pursued his graduate studies at Harvard University, where he was the recipient of the Faculty Design Award. He has been named a MacDowell Fellow by the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire.


Dietmar Offenhuber, Panel on New Performance/New Media
Dietmar Offenhuber has backgrounds in architecture, urban studies and digital media. He works on the spatial aspects of cognition, representation and behavior. Offenhuber holds degrees from TU Vienna and the MIT Media Lab. He was key researcher in the Ars Electronica Futurelab and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Media.Art.Research and taught in the Interface Cultures program as a professor at the Art University Linz. Currently, he is researching his PhD dissertation in the Senseable City Lab, at the Department for Urban Studies and Planning, MIT. His work has been shown, among other places, at ZKM Karlsruhe, Ars Electronica, the Sundance Film Festival, Secession Vienna, the Seoul International Media Art Biennale and Arte Contemporaneo, Madrid.


Laurel Smith Pardue, Panel on New Instruments
Laurel Smith Pardue is currently a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab where she is working on her fourth MIT degree building electronics and programming things. Between her “undergraduate masters” and present “graduate masters,” she served as a U.S. Air Force officer, including a stint as a UN Peacekeeper in Liberia. This enabled her to become the top violinist in that country (by default) and do it wearing a fancy blue beret. Next was audio engine work for ProTools. Pardue plays violin, viola and also Balinese gamelan with Gamelan Galak Tika. She is presently working on two separate electronic gamelan projects because gamelan is so good that one simply isn’t enough. In addition to plenty of orchestral and chamber music performance, Pardue is big into classical improvisation. With dj Daps and composer Ganucheau, she’s played sets of improvised acoustic violin with electronica at a handful of Bay Area electronic music festivals and wherever they decide to go next. Other projects have led to concerts around the globe, including BAM, Mass MoCA, the port just outside of Timbuktu and the Lincoln Center, along with performances with members of the Bang on a Can All-Stars and Kronos Quartet. Pardue has also recorded for Cantaloupe records playing hurdy-gurdy and violin as a member of Arnold Dreyblatt’s Orchestra of Excited Strings.


Otto Piene
Creator of SKY Event
Pioneering environmental artist Professor Emeritus Otto Piene was director of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT from 1974 to 1993. Throughout his career he has been a leading force in demonstrating the interdependency of art, nature and science, and in emphasizing the civic and public role of art. In 1950s Germany, he co-founded the influential avante-garde Group Zero, an international assembly of artists interested in kinetic, environmental and elementary art. He brought this focus to MIT, and as director of CAVS, he fostered a creative collaboration of artists, scientists and engineers. He coined the term Sky Art: celebratory public art works that use the sky as his canvas and often include immense inflatable sculptures, some requiring dozens of volunteers and complex physics calculations to lift them into the sky. A hallmark of his work has been the involvement of spectators as participants in his installations. Some of his most notable works include a stunning 1600-foot rainbow at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games and starbursts over Berlin on its 750th anniversary. His work is represented in more than 100 museums and he has participated in countless group exhibitions around the world. Among his many prizes and awards have been the Grand Prize of the Tokyo Museum of Modern Art; the Kohler-Maxwell Medal for art writing, the sculpture prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the 2003 Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts from the World Cultural Council.


Seth Riskin
A former painter and U. S. national champion gymnast, Seth Riskin earned his master’s degree from the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies in 1989. He develops the technologies for his “Light Dance” art form: silent, space-defining performances of light effects that extend from his body. The artwork has been performed internationally, at venues such as India’s National Centre for the Performing Arts and the Sao Paulo Biennial. Described as “anthropology” of light, Riskin’s research led him to India on a Fulbright scholarship in 1993 to study light in Hindu concept and practice. His courses such as “The Architecture of Light” and “Light as an Artistic Medium”, have been taught at MIT, the Rhode Island School of Design and other universities. Currently Riskin heads the Holography and Spatial Imaging Initiative at the MIT Museum and co-directs Museum Lab, a platform for cross-disciplinary projects at MIT.


Adèle Naudé Santos, Moderator, Panel on New Architecture
Adèle Naudé Santos was appointed dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT in 2004. Previously, she was professor at the University of California, Berkeley, College of Environmental Design, where her academic focus was the design of housing environments. Her interdisciplinary courses in urban design encouraged architecture, landscape, and urban design students to collaborate and address unsolved problems in the urban environment. Prior to her position at UC Berkeley, she was the founding dean at the University of California at San Diego School of Architecture and professor of architecture and urban design at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was also chair of the architecture department for six years. She also taught at Harvard University Graduate School of Design and at Rice University. She has had numerous visiting appointments throughout the United States and the world, including Italy and in her native South Africa. Professor Santos holds an AA Diploma from the Architectural Association in London, as well as a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard University, and a Master of Architecture and Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.


Rebecca Uchill
Rebecca Uchill is a graduate student in History, Theory, and Criticism of Art at MIT, where she studies the institutional conditions for contemporary art production, display and dissemination. Uchill was formerly associate curator of contemporary art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where she organized over ten exhibitions and was one of two originating curators overseeing the 100 Acres contemporary art park. She has formerly worked in the curatorial and education departments of institutions including Mass MoCA, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Henry Street Settlement Abrons Arts Center. Uchill is author and editor of On Procession: Art on Parade (Indianapolis Museum of Art, 2009) and Adrian Schiess: Elusive (Klaus Kehrer Verlag, 2007), and is also a contributor to publications including: The Interventionists (MIT Press, 2004); ASPECT: The Chronicle of New Media Art; Visual Resources: An International Journal of Documentation (Routledge); and Art Papers.


Meejin Yoon
Curator of Installations for FAST, Creator of Wind Screen and Light Drift 
FAST Future: New Architecture
J. Meejin Yoon is Associate Professor of Architecture at MIT, teaching the architecture design studios. Her design research investigates the relationship between form and performance, public space and technology, and interactivity and architecture. As the founder of MY Studio and co-founder of Howeler + Yoon Architecture, she is engaged in a multidisciplinary practice, operating in the space between architecture, art, and landscape. Her projects include architecture, urban design, installations, concept clothing and artist books. Among her more prominent design projects are: White Noise White Light (an interactive public space installation for the Athens 2004 Olympics), the 3 Degrees of Felt (for the Aztec Empire Exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum), and Hover (a solar-powered canopy in New Orleans). Her designs have been exhibited at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper-Hewitt, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum, the Somerset House in London, and Tokyo’s National Art Center. Her many design awards include Architecture Record Design Vanguard, and the Rome Prize.


Evan Ziporyn, Professor of Music and Theater Arts
Composer for Language of Music Concert
Curator of the FAST Future New Music Marathon
Evan Ziporyn, award-winning composer and clarinetist, is Professor of Music at MIT. His compositions and performances have been described as a crossroads between genre and culture, high and low, east and west. From concert halls to Balinese temples, from loft spaces to international festivals, he has traveled the globe in search of new musical possibilities. He performed at the first Bang On a Can Marathon in New York City in 1987, and went on to co-found the Bang on a Can All-Stars, with whom he has toured the globe and performed over 100 commissioned works. He is also founder and artistic director of Boston’s Gamelan Galak Tika, based at MIT, a group dedicated to new music for Balinese gamelan, which he has studied for almost 30 years. His most recent opera, A House in Bali, is a spectacular multi-media performance including the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Balinese gamelan, shadow puppets and dancers. Premiered in Bali, it has been performed in New York and Boston under the theatrical direction of his MIT colleague Jay Scheib.