Arts on the Radar

Get to know the arts at MIT! Explore opportunities, resources, events, workshops, and more.

Thank you for joining us online on September 3 and 4, 2020 to learn more about a range of arts-related topics, spanning the myriad opportunities for making, learning, and experiencing the arts at MIT this academic year. If you missed it or just want to revisit the events, please explore the recordings of the info sessions, virtual student art gallery tour, workshops on remote artistic collaboration, and more found below.

There are many departments, labs, centers, and initiatives at the Institute that offer resources and support for students interested in pursuing the arts at MIT. We know that the vast number of options can be dizzying, so we joined up to host a series of events to help put the arts on your radar!

Arts on the Radar is hosted by the Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT), Music and Theater Arts (MTA), List Visual Arts Center, and Office of the Arts.

If you have any questions, you can contact us at or follow us on social media:

Schedule of Virtual Events

Thursday, September 3, 2020


Info Booth / Arts Lounge

Open for the duration of the event | Event was not recorded

Do you want to learn more about opportunities in the arts at MIT? Do you have specific questions about a program or opportunity you’re interested in pursuing? Having technical difficulties with one of the Arts on the Radar activities? We’re here for you! Drop in any time during the Arts on the Radar events to speak to arts staff from across the institute, get your questions answered, or just hang out.


Making Music Virtually

How do you create music without physical access to the stage, the practice room, the studio, and your fellow musicians? There are many ways to keep making music while physically distancing, and virtual connection creates many possibilities for collaboration. Join student performers and music producers from MIT a cappella groups Syncopasian and Logarhythms to learn about their experiences rehearsing, performing, and recording music in a physically-distanced world, and hear from MTA Lecturer Ian Hattwick about recommended techniques and best practices. 

Creating Dance Virtually

The virtual world offers new ways to choreograph, rehearse, and perform dance online, even when collaborators are half a world away. Hear from student dancers Joy Feng ’22, Faraaz Nadeem G, and Aniket Dehadrai ‘22 about how they are creating collaborative dance projects in new virtual spaces, and learn techniques and best practices from MTA Lecturer, dancer, and choreographer Dan Safer. 


Panel: MIT Students in the Arts

Hear from fellow MIT students about the many ways they have been engaged with the arts during their MIT careers — as learners, makers, thinkers, performers, appreciators, and more! From fashion design to filmmaking, from trying out a new hobby to majoring in the arts, this panel showcases the depth and breadth of MIT’s arts scene. Feel free to come with questions!

ACT Maker Workshop: Making from Memory

Hosted by the Program in Art, Culture and Technology | Event was not recorded

Do you make art, machines, food, music, trouble, or something else? Join Graham Yeager, Fabrication Associate in MIT’s Program in Art, Culture, and Technology, for a maker workshop: Making from Memory. Participants will discuss their making backgrounds (or lack thereof) and generate a list of prompts based on the objects, tools, or materials used. Together we will draw pictures of those prompts from memory and casually discuss the role making has in each of our lives. Please bring a few sheets of paper or a sketch book, something to draw with, and a willingness to make less than perfect drawings.


Artists’ Tour of Misalignments: A Live Web Conversation

Join Dalma Földesi and Jung In Seo (both M.Arch ’20) for a walk-through and conversation about Misalignments, their exhibition in the online Wiesner Student Art Gallery. The artist-architects have created an enticing series of gallery rooms, each illuminating a different aspect of their robotically-fabricated ceramics. Strikingly beautiful and conceptually rigorous, Földesi and Seo’s vessels and forms are created with clay extruding and carving mechanisms of their own design. Join us for a gallery tour and Q&A session with the artists as we consider the tension between hand and machine, the controlled and the accidental.

Friday, September 4, 2020


Info Booth / Arts Lounge

Open for the duration of the event | Event was not recorded

Do you want to learn more about opportunities in the arts at MIT? Do you have specific questions about a program or opportunity you’re interested in pursuing? Having technical difficulties with one of the Arts on the Radar activities? We’re here for you! Drop in any time during the Arts on the Radar events to speak to arts staff from across the institute, get your questions answered, or just hang out.


Creating Successful Virtual Events

Transitioning to virtual events presents many challenges, but it also opens up many opportunities. Hear from Peter Godart G and Tiandra Ray ‘15 about how they have been creating engaging online events, including Space for Action: Rebuilding a Sustainable World, a 90-minute performance-conversation in April that brought together leading musicians, scientists, politicians, and activists to reflect on how the pandemic is reshaping our relationship with the earth. 


Artist Tour: Who Feels at Home in the Visible World

Event was not recorded

Join ACT students for a walk-through and conversation about Who Feels at Home in the Visible World, the current exhibition in the virtual ACT Student Art Gallery. Exhibiting artists include: Casey Tang, Luíza Bastos Lages, Matthew Ledwidge, Nancy Valladares, Rae Yuping Hsu, Ryan Aasen, Aarti Sunder, Chucho Ocampo, Emma (Yimeng) Zhu, Faruk Sabanovic, and Po-hao Chi.

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Participate in an Art Activity

Drawing on Love and Justice

Hosted by the List Visual Arts Center
Share your art from September 1 – November 3 (Election Day)

Drawing on Love and Justice, a project by artist Evelyn Rydz, is an open call for participation, a call for change. Create art addressing what you see in the world and what you want to see in the future.

Postcard Mail Art Exchange: Works in Progress

Hosted by the List Visual Arts Center
Sign up deadline: Friday, September 11, 2020

MIT List Visual Arts Center invites community members to participate in a mail art exchange and share “Works in Progress.” We hope to overcome physical distance with an offline project that encourages a dynamic conversation on how we keep afloat projects that have been interrupted or put on hold because of COVID-19.  

Proof of Concept

Conceived and performed by Stratton Coffman (M.Arch ’20) and Isadora Dannin (M.Arch ’21), with support from the Transmedia Storytelling Initiative, the NuVu Research Fund, and Lord Jim

On view for two weeks starting on September 4th, the north-facing facade of the MIT Wiesner Building (E15) will display selected footage and documentation of Proof of Concept, an ongoing series of guerilla performances staged in the various halls, conference rooms, labs, and lobbies belonging to the nebulous phenomenon called design thinking. The projection will be visible at night throughout this period, with special programming four nights a week (Thursday-Sunday), weather permitting.

Additional Topics to Explore at Your Leisure

Some of the Arts Classes Offered Fall 2020

For a full list of classes that satisfy the HASS-A Requirement, visit the Registrar Office website.

21M.380 Music and Technology

Satisfies HASS-A Requirement; 3 hrs/wk synchronous lecture
Instructor: Matthew Schumaker

Explore various technologies in relation to musical analysis, composition, performance, culture, and quantitative methods. Topics may include development and impact on society, generative and algorithmic music, recording techniques, or procedural sound design. May involve hands-on components such as laptop music ensemble, new instrument building, or comparing the theory and practice of audio recording.

21M.731 Sounds Design for Theater and Dance

Satisfies HASS-A Requirement; 3 hrs/wk synchronous lecture
Instructor: Christian Frederickson

Examine the role of music and sound in the contemporary theater and develop the creative and technical skills necessary to practice the art of sound design. Technical skills to be addressed include sound recording, editing, processing, and sound cue creation in a DAW. QLAB software programming and principles of sound system design will address live theater applications.

21M.715 Creating the World We Want: Protest, Activism, and Performance

Satisfies HASS-A Requirement; 3 hrs/wk synchronous lecture
Instructor: Charlotte Brathwaite

Taking inspiration from the earth shaking events of 2020 – the novel Coronavirus pandemic and the international uprisings against racism and police brutality – the class looks at how individual action done as a collective has ignited powerful political, social, economic, and cultural shifts to the status quo and how art has been essential to that work. Examine historical and current social fights for justice and the artistic tools used to make those changes possible. Learn about the oppressed peoples of the world and create work that will serve to inspire our own community to change. This class welcomes a diversity of voices, no performance experience necessary.

4.307/8 Art, Architecture and Urbanism in Dialogue >> Monument Matters <<

Satisfies HASS-A Requirement; Synchronous hours: T/TR 10:30am–12:00pm
Instructor: Azra Akšamija

From Birmingham, Alabama to Antwerp, Belgium, the recent removal and defacing of monuments to Confederate and imperialist leaders marks a new wave in our stream of struggles over haunting legacies. Some believe that removing these statues is an attempt to erase or cover up history. For others, it is a means to confront violence, racism, and oppression in history and at present. This advanced course initiates a dialogue between art, architecture, and urbanism by focusing on intellectual debates about and critical interventions on monuments. We will discuss a range of themes related to politics of memory and commemoration, from trauma, iconoclasm, and censorship, over ethics of preservation, to the agency of monuments in relation to colonialism, nationalism, social justice, and democracy.  The research component involves a group work on a “Dictionary of Monument Matters,” through which we will analyze methodologies of practitioners who intertwine these three disciplines in a critical spatial practice addressing traumatic, troubling, or toxic memory.  Lectures, screenings, readings, and discussions with guests and faculty will inform the development of individual projects: a monument or an intervention on an existing site of memory chosen by students.

4.314/5 | Advanced Workshop in Artistic Practice and Transdisciplinary Research: Choreographing the City

Satisfies HASS-A Requirement; Synchronous hours: M/W 9:30am–12:30pm
Instructor: Gediminas Urbonas

The Choreographing The City class will look at an emerging lexicon (for movement in urban space) that connects to ideas shared across dance-making (choreography) to building/city-making (community). Developed in dialogue with Theatrum Mundi, prof. Richard Sennett and MIT CAST Visiting Artist and choreographer Dr Adesola Akinleye, the class asks the question: how do we become attentive to a community’s emotional, cultural, and corporeal memory in order to move beyond the scripted spaces and codified routes? The aim of the course is to explore how trans-disciplinary research and creative collaboration between choreographic and spatial practices can respond to the urgencies of this time and create new techniques, lexicons, and ways of engaging the community to produce more just spaces. Participants will look at how choreography (‘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.

4.344/5 | Advanced Photography and Related Media: Cutting Across the Archive – From Photomontage to Digital Folklore

Satisfies HASS-A Requirement; Synchronous hours: T 9:30am–12:30pm
Instructor: Lara Baladi

This advanced photography course is designed for students who wish to explore photography, images, and archives as tools and resources for artistic practices. The course focuses on the use of archival images in photographic practices while encouraging students to explore analog, digital, and new technologies. Through lectures, readings, film screenings, student-driven projects, guest lecturers and critic sessions, students experiment with a range of artistic strategies, while engaging in cross disciplinary research and working on collaborative and individual assignments. Students discuss theoretical texts in relation to artistic practices, which cut across archives, themes and historical contexts. Students are encouraged to work with a diversity of media and formats, including video, VR, sculpture, multimedia installations and more, providing images/photography remain central to their projects. Students from various disciplines are invited to enroll.

4.361/2 | Performance Art Workshop: Walking Anew

Satisfies HASS-A Requirement; Synchronous hours: W 7:00–9:00pm, Recitation by appointment
Instructor: Jesal Kapadia

Performance Art Workshop will study performance in relation to our body as a space of resistance, as well as the collective body and its powers. Exploring performance art in its expanded sense, we will enact gestures of care, commoning, and conviviality; a call and response—in the tradition of Ivan Illich, Gayatri Spivak, Silvia Federici, Fred Moten and many others—through a collective praxis tied to the creation of decolonized ways of relating to the social and to each other. Constructing a space for an engaged playful dialogue around radical listening, retrieving attention to details of our dreams, reclaiming our sources, our here and now, and converting everyday acts in preparation for shifts in epistemic performances are the tasks we will perform.

4.s31 | Video Installation: Art, Architecture, and Related Media

Satisfies HASS-A Requirement; Synchronous hours: W 2:00–5:00pm
Instructor: Georgie Friedman

Video installation is a contemporary and expanding art genre that intersects with the world of architecture, engineering, programming/new media, and performance practices. In this intermediate to advanced course, students are encouraged to expand the current themes and methods within their art or research practices by experimenting with various video installation strategies including: video mapping to 3D objects; site-specific architectural projections; multi-channel projection environments; and mixing moving image content with live performance, wearable sculpture, live feeds, physical computing, or other elements that may interest the student. Independent research and trans-disciplinary projects are encouraged and welcome.

4.s33 | Synchronizations of Senses: What Can Be Made?

Satisfies HASS-A Requirement; Synchronous hours: T 7:00–10:00pm
Instructor: Renée Green

Synchronizations of Senses (SOS), a seminar/workshop/studio/study group/conversation, is a complement to Cinematic Migrations. This class invites in-depth examination of sense percepts, noting nuances, and articulating specificities. A generative focus is placed on the practices of varied practitioners—film directors, artists, musicians, composers, architects, and designers—whose writings relay a process of thinking and feeling integral to their forms of material production. Using prompts suggesting varying contexts, such as The Film Sense, written by Sergei Eisenstein, and The Cinema Interval, written by Trinh T. Minh-Ha, in addition to other writings by Eisenstein and Minh-Ha and others, the intention of this course is to create a space for experimentation, exploratory discussion, and productions via aesthetic inquiry into perceptions of all senses.

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Explore More Opportunities in the Arts at MIT

Whether aiming to make, experience, or study art, or simply seeking to connect with others who share a passion for the arts, there are many opportunities to explore the arts for MIT students.

More about the Hosts

Program in Art, Culture and Technology

Academic program in the School of Architecture + Planning

A hub of critical art practice and discourse, ACT offers a community of artist-thinkers exploring art’s complex relationship to culture and technology.

List Visual Arts Center

The contemporary art museum at MIT

A creative laboratory that provides artists with a space to freely experiment and push existing boundaries.

Music and Theater Arts

Academic program in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Music and Theater Arts invites students to explore these disciplines as artistic practices and as cultural, intellectual, and personal avenues of inquiry and discovery.  Students may pursue concentrations, minors, or majors in either music or theater, as well as joint majors with engineering or science.

Office of the Arts

Extra-academic programs, events, and resources for students, staff, faculty, and the general public

Includes the Council for the Arts at MIT, Center for Art, Science & Technology, Student Art Association, Student Art Programs, and more.

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