John Douglas Powers

John Douglas Powers’ work intersects cinema, computation, music and physical space.

About the Residency

Past Event

Artist Presentation
Emotion: Movement and Meaning
Monday, April 21 5:30pm-7:00pm

How does the human brain interpret and give meaning to movement, whether from kinetic sculptures or a dancer’s body? Explore the art and science of movement and draw connections between kinetic sculpture, dance and the neuroscience underlying human movement. Engage in dialogue revealing not only how we move, but also why movement is so important and effective as a vehicle of communication. 5000 Moving Parts.

Participants: John Powers, MIT Visiting Artist and Assistant Professor, School of Art, The University of Tennessee Benjamin Bartelle, Dancer and Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Biological Engineering, MIT Emilio Bizzi, Institute Professor, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT.



Class Visits
Exhibiting Science, STS.035
Monday April 21, 2014

Class Visits
Exhibiting Science, STS.035
Wednesday April 23, 2014

Collaborators at MIT


John Durant is the Director of the MIT Museum and Adjunct Professor in the Science, Technology & Society Program.

Seth Riskin is the Director of the MIT Museum Studio.

Adam Doyle is the Director of Technology at the MIT Museum.



The allure of the unattainable and its connection to the passage of time are central to John Douglas Powers’ research. Drawing from areas as diverse as natural history, architecture and the history of technology, Powers is engaged in an investigation of what lies at the intersection of cinema, computation, music and physical space. By employing motion and sound in his work, Powers incorporates the passage of time as a compositional element in an attempt to more closely examine abstract and often intangible topics such as memory, thought, emotion, language and the essence of self.

Powers’ residency coincides with the MIT Museum’s new kinetic art exhibition, 5000 Moving Parts, which includes two of Powers’ own sculptures, Ialu and Haliades. Powers will work with students in MIT Museum Director John Durant’s project-based seminar, “Exhibiting Science,” (STS.035) culminating in the design, fabrication, and installation of an original multimedia exhibit in conjunction with the Cambridge Science Festival.

John Douglas Powers received his M.F.A. in sculpture (with distinction) from The University of Georgia and a B.A. in art history from Vanderbilt University. John is the recipient of The Virginia A Groot Foundation Award, a Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant as well as the Southeastern College Art Conference Individual Artist Fellowship and an Alabama State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship. His sculptures, installations, animation and video works have been exhibited nationally and internationally.

Learn more about John Douglas Powers.

John Powers’ residency is co-presented by Professor John Durant, the Center for Art, Science & Technology, the MIT Museum Studio, and the Cambridge Science Festival.