Liquid Archive

Liquid Archive
by Nader Tehrani, Professor of Architecture and Head of the Department of Architecture, and Gediminas Urbonas, Associate Professor and Mitsui Career Development Chair of the Department of Architecture
May 7–8, 2011 / 7–10:00 pm
The Charles River

Liquid Archive, a floating, interactive artwork, imaginatively extends MIT’s Killian Court beyond Memorial Drive into the Charles River, to celebrate the Institute’s 150th anniversary. Consisting of an inflatable screen anchored to a floating platform, it provides a backdrop for dynamic projections. Visible from the banks of the Charles, an hour-long program will feature several original artist proposals conceived in 1972 as part of the Charles River Project, a series of environmental artworks conceived by the designers, artists and scientists associated with MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies. Liquid Archive will bring these projects to life and demonstrate MIT’s renewed commitment to creating an energy-efficient environment and environmental art on a civic scale.


Nader Tehrani is Professor of Architectural Design and head of the Department of Architecture at MIT. He is the founding Principal at Office dA, an architecture and design firm internationally recognized for its invention, precision and advancement of new forms of knowledge. Working on interdisciplinary platforms, Tehrani’s research has focused on the transformation of the building industry, innovative material applications, and the development of new means and methods of construction – as exemplified in his work with digital fabrication. He has participated in symposia and conferences at architecture and design institutions all over the world, and has served as juror for many design competitions and awards. His award-winning designs include the Tongxian Art Gatehouse in Beijiing, the Fleet Library at the Rhode Island School of Design, Banq restaurant in Boston, the LEED-certified Helios House in Los Angeles, and the LEED-Gold certified Macallen Building in Boston. Other award-winning designs include the Thunder Stadium in St. Paul, Obzee Headquarters in Seoul, the Issam Fares Institute at the American University of Beirut, and Elemental Housing in Valparaiso, Chile. As part of his digital and material research, he has also designed many installations such as Boolean Valley at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Voroduo at Pekin Fine Arts in Beijing, and Immaterial/Ultramaterial at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. As Principal of Office dA, he has been honored by the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum (National Design Award in Architecture, 2007), United States Artists (Target Fellowship in Architecture and Design, 2007) and the Architectural League of New York (Young Architects Award, 1997).



Gediminas Urbonas is Associate Professor of Architecture at MIT, where he teaches in the Visual Arts Program. He shares an artistic collaboration with his partner, Nomeda Urbonas. Together they have developed an international reputation for socially interactive, interdisciplinary work exploring the conflicts and contradictions posed by the changing economic, social and political conditions in the former Soviet countries – particularly Lithuania. Their approach embraces a flexible array of disciplines, utilizing old and new media practices, and frequently involves collective activities such as workshops, lectures, debates, TV programs, Internet chat-rooms and public protests that stand at the intersection of art, technology and social criticism. In 1993, together with his partner and others, he established JUTEMPUS – Lithuania’s first artist-initiated space, which served until 1996 as a site for exhibitions and cultural events. In 1997, the couple co-founded the JUTEMPUS interdisciplinary art program to initiate new modes of communication between art and society by creating a platform for critical discourse. They are also co-founders of the Vilnius Interdisciplinary Lab for Media Art (2000) and VOICE (2005), a net-based publication on media culture. Among numerous international shows, the artists have exhibited at Documenta 11 in Kassel, Germany, at the San Paulo, Berlin, Moscow and Gwangju Biennales, at Manifesta 4 in Frankfurt/Main, and at the Museu d’Art Contemporani in Barcelona. They have been awarded a number of high level grants and residency awards, including the Lithuanian National Prize for achievements in the arts and culture (2007); a fellowship at the Montalvo Arts Center in California (2007/08); and the prize for the Best International Artist at the Gwangju Biennale (2006).